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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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My 24 month old has been hitting and kicking kids at daycare

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My 24 month old has been hitting and kicking kids at daycare lately. I've been working through that problem. But I'm realizing now that part of the problem is that he is incredibally stubborn.

For example, when we got home tonight he wanted juice. We didn't have any. So I gave him a choice between milk and water. He threw himself on the ground crying. This went on for 20 minutes, during which time I tried redirecting his attention once and ignoring him the rest of the time (i was in a different room). He stopped crying and started playing with something else. Two minutes later, he started crying again. This went on for another 45 minutes. Then he saw my husband outside and went with him. But he basically cried and screamed for an hour.

I think I should have handled things differently. What should I do in the future ?

Heidi LPC : Hi there! I believe we worked together this morning on your question about daycare and the positive vs. negative reinforcement. To add to that conversation, yes--- 2's can be "stubborn", however, they will learn to do what works. If tantrums work for them, meaning they get what they want, they will continue. Have you ever given in in the past when he tantrums? It usually takes many lessons for little ones to gain self-control and learn to manage frustration--- many adults still cannot do it! :-)
Heidi LPC : In terms of his need for juice, did you let him see the refrigerator to prove that there wasn't any? I am sure he really wanted some and was frustrated that it wasn't available. Your offering of other choices was great... choices are key in managing this age & stage. They are just tiny little people who are trying their best to learn how to get along and get their needs met, and really have quite a lot to learn in such a short period of time.
Heidi LPC : Sometimes, we just have to let the tantrum burn out itself, not giving attention as you wisely didn't, and eventually the child realizes that it just won't solve their problem. Saying, "When you are finished crying, come and find me and we will play."... gives the child a reason to end it quickly.
Heidi LPC : Kids really just need our comfort, safety and our teaching, clear boundaries, and love. Keep providing these, and you will get through the two's with limited issues! I hope this was somewhat helpful to you, and let me know if you'd like further information! Have a good night!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I was hoping you would respond again. His daycare teacher told me today that he's hitting whenever he doesn't get what he wants. Today they were in the gym and he started pushing a little boy that was on a piece of equipment that he wanted. They asked to son to get down and he just climbed higher.

I had no idea he was capable of screaming for so long. Unfortunately we've given in a few times in the past. I couldn't show him the refrigerator immediately because I knew there were wine coolers that looked just like his juice.

I did notice that the next time I told him no the tantrum wasn't quite as long.
Keep working on remaining calm, and simply focusing on the facts when dealing with these situations. Keep setting boundaries, and enforcing them. Keep on teaching him how to handle frustration. Opening the refrigerator and showing him your sad face as if to let him know you are sorry there is no juice, but letting him make another choice may have helped him to move on... but kids have to accept that sometimes they just won't have all of their wishes met. You could model saying "Bummer! No juice left!" and saying "Now what? What would you like instead?" and if he screams, you just walk away and tell him you'll be happy to talk to him when he's done. The tantrums will grow shorter and shorter as he learns that they don't work. You are all learning together! Keep up the great work!! :-)
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