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How to discipline a 2 year old

Updated on February 6, 2012

An answer to Savanahl

I am sorry to hear you are going through such an ordeal, I was reading your profile and I hope your other children didn't give you this much trouble.

Obviously your 2 1/2 year old is jealous. Jealousy is an allowed emotion, abusing is not an allowed action. Is pretty difficult to set aside the love we have for them in order to instill them with proper education, to guide them as responsibly as possible.

But we have to. I have three children myself, the eldest one is 21 years old (already out of the house). I am still raising an eight year old boy and an eleven year old princess.

When my little one was born, she became very jealous of him. I noticed right away the very first day she saw him at the hospital.

As I left the hospital, she clung to my legs as I was holding my newborn. I understood immediately. She was going to lose mommy's attention. Is such a classical stage.

This is how I addressed it

1) I created several moments in which she had to "help me" in taking care of her little brother. I had her "watch" over him. I constantly repeated to her that now she was "in charge", she was the big sister.

2) I took many pictures of them together. I acted (still do) like all my children are my only children. When my daughter was born, my older son immediately got promoted to "older brother". Now he had a sister! It wasn't about me having a daughter. It was about him having a sister.

3) I made it about them in my daily conversations. Whenever I was on the phone, especially when my daughter was around me, I made it a point to refer to my baby as "Alaiyah's brother" instead of "my baby". Every time a relative would call asking about him, I would put her on the phone. She was too shy to come to the phone but, in any event, she didn't take long to realize she was always going to be the star of her show.

4) Now, when the time came to put my foot down, because she always manage to do something, I would call some time out, put her against the wall. Even at two, they get it. And absolutely never (or almost never) lost control. If you lose control they got you. You have the upper hand. You do not need to scream in order to be the mom.

5) I never treated them as if they had a say. They are not my siblings, they are my children. Temper tantrums are not allowed because is not appropriate behavior because is not fair for the rest of the world to have to put up with all this nagging and screaming. I took the time to teach them self-control. She will go against the wall for up to five minutes, or go to her room until she calmed down or I said so.

Mommy's Boot Camp = Happiness

When children realize you are really in charge, that you hold the edge, when they have structure and routines they can count on... when their roles within the family are clearly defined they grow happier than when parents go overboard and bend over backwards to give their ungrateful heirs any unimaginable or latest gadget.

I always tell my children that they have the right to be sad, what they don't have is the right to make others miserable.

Mommy also deserves some special treatment. I used to tell my eldest one that he has to address me as follows: "Beautiful mommy AND pretty mommy". Maybe this is too much for you, but think about this: it takes the same energy to insult someone. Why do we tend to feel more sincere when we insult than when we praise? At two is a great time to let them know that their mommy is indeed special. Because you really are. All the best.

One more thing, start at home

As you surely know, being consistent in any disciplining methods is critical. Do not expect your two year old to behave appropriately in public if you allow for rowdy behavior at home.

Have them behave at home the way you want them to behave in public, they don't know about public shame just yet, for one matter. And if they do, they might already be holding a key to further manipulate you as you might want to try to avoid making a scene.

And be willing to make a public scene if necessary, most parents will commend you for your bravery even if they don't tell you. No means no regardless of the circumstances.

And when the time comes to praise them, also jump off your seat and make a positive scene! Yell hooray and kiss them hard! Positive reinforcement is discipline's forbidden treasure!


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    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      You're so very welcome! I can tell from all the way here that your children must be very well mannered! Thank you for reading and posting!

    • profile image

      kelleyward 6 years ago

      Never thought of telling my children to say those nice things to me, but most of the time they are pretty great kids. Thank you for sharing your journey. I really enjoyed reading this!

    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Thank you very much for the inspiration, savanahl!

    • savanahl profile image

      savanahl 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for writing this hub in response to my answer and the advice is great. I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 6 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Aww!!! I so admire you! If I could further relate, I used to tell my eldest son his mommy was a great singer... One day I asked him about this and he remained silent... That's how I realized he was growing up :-).

      Thank your for reading and posting!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have five and these are all very good rules to follow. I never thought about having them say beautiful mommy and pretty mommy. It would have been nice when they are who I saw all day long. They did anyway because children always think their mommy is beautiful. My youngest is the only girl and at 15, she is still telling me that. She is jealous of my hair, even if it is going grey.