See that adorable little guy? Look at those dark brown puppy dog eyes, surrounded by the longest dark eyelashes you’ve ever seen. Just try to keep from kissing those soft cheeks: it’s almost impossible. See that cute smile? Try your best to not give in when you say, “No!” and he says, “Oh,” while looking at you with the saddest looking little frowny face ever.
The so-called terrible twos are here.
Oscar will scream, will steal Abby’s favorite blankie, and then run off into his room, slamming the door shut.
It wasn’t a subtle change, it seemingly happened overnight. My “easy” child, the one who ate anything, always listened, and had never bit or hit anyone, turned into the “difficult” child.
Until very recently, when he felt upset, sad, left out, or ignored, Oscar would cross his arms, pout, and give a sad face. Now, Oscar has begun stealing toys away from his older sister. He will refuse to eat foods that he previously would devour. He will knock his sister down with a running tackle or give her a big bear hug and pull her over onto the floor and sit on top of her so that she can’t get up. He will hit. He will climb on top of tables and throw their Little Tikes chairs like he’s a little out of control rockstar in training.
My daughter never did any of this. She never had a biting phase. She hit me once- but after I talked to her about it and she stood in the corner for a little while, she never hit anyone again, not even at the babysitter’s house or at pre-school. I have no idea how to deal with this.
When in trouble, my mom always made my sister and I stand in the corner as children. I distinctly remember that I always felt it was the worst torture because I knew that my sister was doing something fun and I couldn’t see what it was because I had to stand in the corner. When we would fight she would make us hug each other until we could resolve our problem and say, “I love you.”
What should I do?
I have approached Oscar’s behavior the same way we have always tried to discipline Abby. A couple of years ago when she would misbehave we started to make her stand in the corner and count to ten. After she finished counting, we would get down on her level and ask her if she knew why she had gotten sent to the corner. Sometimes she would be able to tell me, sometimes not; we would talk about what had been wrong and if she needed to apologize to someone, she would have to give them a hug and say, “I’m sorry for —,” rather than just a quick, “Sorry.”
This hasn’t seemed to work with Oscar. I will intervene immediately. He will stand in the corner until I count to ten and then come to me; he will nod when I ask if he knows why he was punished, but he isn’t as advanced in speaking as his sister was at this age. I often get a frustratingly adorable roguish smile and then a quick repeat of the action that he was sent to the corner for.
I try to praise his good actions. I try to encourage him to “use his words” to say please, no thank you, stop, get off, etc. I try to reinforce the need to be gentle to everyone. I understand that some of this aggressiveness may be a result of his older sister always being bossy, wanting to have hugs, or constantly being in his face. I’ve even started warning both kids that I’m going to send Santa an e-mail asking for him to send an elf to our house in order to watch them more closely.
Is it because he’s a boy? Is he just a more aggressive child? Is it because he’s just trying to keep up with his sister and can’t communicate so he gets frustrated? Is it just his age?
I’m at a loss of what to do now.
Have your children gone through a phase like this? What did you do? I would appreciate your comments!