Questioner: Amie Neel
Subject: I HAVE THE WORSE 2 YEAR OLD IN THE WORLD !!!! AND HE IS CHILD # 3
Question: Ok, my son turned 2 in september 2009. He does not speak full sentences AT ALL. He has the vocabulary or MAYBE 5 words that is a daily habit. He has said words that I have only heard him say one time. Anywho... He throws these OBNOXIOUS fits that are so overwhelming I cannot control him. He screams, kicks bites etc... He hates to be cuddled with during the day, but at night he HAS to be in my bed with me. He will fight his sleep until daylight hours if I refuse and am consistent with it. He gets into everything when I am asleep. He literally wakes up regularly in the middle of the night and gets into everything. I have caught him even going as far as climbing on top of the refrigerator. He has been disciplined and told "NO" a thousand times with certain things. It seems like the older he gets the worse he gets. From birth I noticed that he had something not normal with him. I have 4 children all together and ALL my children are "typical". Besides my 2 year old. WHAT DO I DO? I am losing my mind and sanity. I am embarrassed to even take him to public places. I love him to death, but at the same time, He is like caring for 20 children in one body. PLEASE HELP !!!!!!!!!!
Answer: Dear Amie,
First of all no child behaves in a way that does not get them what they want. So his behavior is working for him. First I suggest you talk to his pediatrician and have a complete physical to make sure there is nothing physically wrong. Then I would suggest that you get him evaluated for any social/emotional/learning disorders.
Next, I suggest you evaluate your own attitudes towards him. I am very concerned that you refer to your other children as "normal" and say that you noticed at birth that something was "not normal" with him. These types of labeling are not helpful to him or to you.
Lastly, I doubt anything with him or you has been consistent because consistent behavioral modeling and reinforcement does work.
If you give him eye contact when he is misbehaving or in anyway engage with him, he has reinforcement for his behaviors. Let him know you will deal with him when he uses his big boy voice and acts like a big boy. When his behavior is positive reinforcement with lots of eye contact and positive reinforcement. Also, he is 2 and is capable of listening to stories. There are plenty of age appropriate books about age appropriate behaviors to read to him. Get them and read them.
He has a different temperament than your other children which means he needs to not feel that you feel different towards him. This will only make the problem a problem and make it worse. Parenting can be a challenge and not all children are as easy to parent.
M Kay Keller