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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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Hi, Im a single mother of a 26 month old son who im having

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Hi, Im a single mother of a 26 month old son who im having a bit of trouble with discipline lately. He is going through a stage of biting and scratching other kids and myself, i think due to frustration of not being able to express what he wants to say. Im not sure how to approach it as i have tried countless things such as time outs and even biting him back once. It is often hard to catch him as he does it and if i dont address it straight away he is not sure what he is getting in trouble for. He is also constantly in fridges and cupboards even when we visit at other peoples houses, it gets quiet embarrassing constantly telling him to not do it, and usually feels like i am talking to a brick wall. Its hard to get him to listen to me, being a single mother and i dont think i have a very authoritative voice.
Any tips on how to approach him and get him to listen to me would be greatly appreciated!
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,
I am sorry you are feeling so helpless at this time. Welcome to the "terrible twos"!! You are right on with your theory that it is all about frustration in not being able to communicate. So, good news is...this does get better as speech evolves.

Since the typical behavior management techniques are not working, it may be necessary to step back to discipline which is more appropriate to a younger child, that is: "removal and distraction". Be prepared with a number of favorite activities (including snacks) which you keep on a shelf at home or in a bag at friends house. When he goes into fridge or cupboards at friends homes...remove him from cupboards and distract him with the favored snack or activity. At home it is best to prevent this behavior with child safety locks (they make them for refrigerators too).

For the aggressive behaviors...again...pick him up and remove him from the situation...and distract him. But this time say I know you are mad that _______ (reflect his feeling that he cannot express); but the rule is no biting (in a matter-of-fact tone to teach the rule).
He may be too young for the time-out and naughty corner so try this again when he is closer to 3 years old.

I hope these strategies will work for you,
Warm regards
Bonnie and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help, I will definitely try those techniques Smile

Best wishes, Emily !!!