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Ask Carol Kryder Your Own Question

Carol Kryder
Carol Kryder, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  Substance Abuse Professional- 18 years experience working with adolescents and adults
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My 2 year old daughter does not behave well, anywhere we go

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My 2 year old daughter does not behave well, anywhere we go she acts up and wants things done her way...for example she doesn't want to stay in stroller and wants to be running around...she is constantly whinning and crying...I immediately get her attention to stop and she cries even can i discipline her when she is acting like this?
Hello, and thank you for using Your child is 2 years old. That is the age developmentally in which children are beginning to see themselves as separate from their parents and they will often assert their independence in a very annoying manner. That is the bad news. The good news is that they will usually settle down by age 3. I think your instinct is good about discipline, because punishment will just make her act out even more. You never want to get into a power struggle with a 2 year old.

Children this age and through school age often respond very well to postive reinforcement. Example: "If you are a good listener while we are in the store and stay in your stroller you will get a ride on the horse. " You might try a sticker chart in which she will get a sticker added to her chart every time she listens well and cooperates. In other words, reward the desired behavior and try to ignore the negative behavior. If you use a sticker chart for a child of this age I would recommend that you give her the reward very frequently, such as every day, if she gets all "happy face" stickers. Once she gets used to this, you can remind her when she begins to act out that if she continues with this behavior she will not get her happy face sticker, etc.

If you are more comfortable with assigning consequences to her behavior, I would recommend the "1-2-3" method. Example: "You need to get back into the stroller by the time I count to 3, and if not, the consequence is we will go home and you do not get a ride on the horse."

When this system is implemented systematically and consistently, there are no more power struggles. You simply tell the child what the expectation is, and what the consequence is if she does not comply. That keeps you calm, since you know the "game plan" so to speak, and if you are calm and most of all confident, the child will take you more seriously. Speak to her in a calm and soft voice, be firm but gentle. No need to shout. Most of all never, repeat never make a threat that you will not follow through upon.

I hope this is helpful for you and that you will be able to enjoy your delightful and precious 2 year old. Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.

I wish you well. Take care.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

My husband is in the military on deployment do think that him not being around may be the reason why she acts like that...I live with my parents and i feel that they spoil her somewhat ...she is my only child...when my husband comes to visit she doesn't act up as much..Do you think his absence is provoking this?

Hello, again. It is certainly possible that this child is picking up on your stress level due to your husband's depoyment - and please thank him for his service - and since she does not have the cognitive maturity to process this stress, she is acting out. Yes, it certainly could be the reason. The interventions I suggested will still work, and actually are very important, since she needs to have a parent who is consistent and calm. Have you gotten any help for yourself? Tricare has a very generous insurance benefit for active duty family members. You will not have a copay. Please consider talking to someone about this.


I wish you well. Take care

Carol Kryder and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.

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