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Refuses Discipline
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Refuses Discipline

My girlfreinds 2 year old refuses to be disciplined, he kicks, bites, spits, screams and hits when he does not get his way, I have 2 boys of my own and I have never witnessed anything like this. We have tried spanking, time out and holding him down and nothing seems to work, the more we try and calm him the more anger he displays. He is a very smart child, however he is uncontrollable 70% of the time. I am concerned he is going to hurt himself or someone else, What should we do?
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13167_tn?1327197724
Brad,  I think you should completely leave this child alone.  Boyfriend's of the mother aren't usually very loving to the mother's boy children.  

You should certainly not be hitting this child.  He's not yours to do that to,  and it's unlikely you have the kind of deep affection for him that a father would.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, the first thing I'm going to say, you won't like. . . but that is that his mother is the one to be disciplining him.  If someone was discplining my child by holding him down and spanking him and he wasn't the person I had that child with . . . I would contacting my lawyer.  So, let her do it to protect yourself.

Secondly, spanking usually doesn't help a child that is aggressive----  it says "don't hit . . . so I will hit you".  It gives the wrong message if you know what I mean.

Restraining an out of control child will usually escalate the situation.  Some kids do respond well to deep pressure when upset as in hugging them to your chest----  but if he fights you, then this isn't appropriate.  
Not every child has the same temperment and some are more difficult than others.  Perhaps there have problems within this child's life and his mother that now result in a child that is harder to discpline which would not be his fault.  Now you are on the scene and ready to take action.  Well, I'd first look at the interaction that is going on with him.  Is he spoken to in a clam way?  Does he have anyone in his life that is rough with him?  Does he get lots of physical activity throughout his day (my kid needs this activity to maintain  his behavior----  all kids are different and some NEED this type of activity)?  Does he feel like he now has to compete for mom's attention and seeks it negatively?  There are lots of things that can go into this type of situation.

I would go to the library and get books on emotions.  These books will give him words to use for how he is feeling.  Then you can work on giving him appropriate ways of expressing it (crying is okay, hitting is not).  There is a book called  "hands are not for hitting".  It woud be good for our child.  Try to give him choices so he feels he has a little control as well as not always being thwarted.  I know he is just a kid but you are looking for ways to improve the situation---  this will help.  His mom is still the parent and she can direct the choices.  Model the behavior you'd like from him.  There is a book that the expert recommends on this website called "sos for parents" by Lynn Clark.  I've read it and it is helpful.  It goes through discipline strategies using time out.  My son needs a cool down place to go when he is upset.  A pop tent is good.  
Remember that he is 2 and learning.  Praising for when he does good can be motivating.  Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I understand your concern, However I am probably the pnly Father figure he has right now. His father is a convicted felon who is still on drugs. I have never been on drugs and resent people who do them. I do have a question, If you feel I should leave this child alone then what are you suggesting? Should I shut him out of my life?
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your concern I believe I will buy the books you have mentioned and give them to my girlfreind. I am really confused right now, I believe I amtrying to help and it seems everyone on this forum is against me. Maybe I should let her and he child move back in with her Father to save myself from any potential Lawsuit....... I am starting to feel I should stay single instead of entering into a ready made Family that already has issues.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I think that last line you said is very wise,  Brad.  She doesn't only have two choices - you,  who don't like her son,  and the boy's father who is a felon.

She can choose to stay single and raise this child,  or find a man who likes him.   No child should be sentenced to live with a mother's boyfriend who doesn't like the child.  That's a hell of a life.

My first advice to you is actually keep track of what percentage time this child is misbehaving,  if he is allowed to play without interference in his home.  I have a teacher handbook that says even the worst behaved child in your classroom behaves 90% of the time.  Without interference from the two of you,  what percentage of the time is he truly behaving?
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973741_tn?1342346373
I wasn't necessarily coming down hard on you and am sorry if you feel as such.  I think that blending families is tricky business.  And discipline is especially  hard when it comes to new people in a child's life.  

So with the additional information you've given me, I would think that this child has had a tough time of it.  I'm also not trying to knock his mother, but she chose a man that was on drugs to have a baby with . . . it makes me wonder about her skills in general with her child.  I suspected that initially but am probably more convinced now.  By this, I am not trying to put her down----  I promise.  But I'm trying to express to you that this child is behind the 8 ball here.  He deserves lots of patience and empathy.  And I personally cheer on anyone that is willing to love a child and be a posative role model for them.  However, you have to do it lovingly.  And if you feel you can't, then this isn't the situation for you.  I see and hear all too often when families blend that one parent thinks their child is so much better behaved.  Well, all kids are different and you can't just pat yourself on the back that you've done a good job and expect the new kids in your life to be like your own.

Also, does this boy have any issues.  How is his speech?  How are his fine motor skills?  Does he play rough and intensely?  Does he have trouble sitting still?  I ask because my son has a developmental delay called sensory integration disorder-----  my son is super super smart and hit all his milestones on time, but by 2 1/2, he had some difficulties.  Behavior issues can actually be because of something else going on.  With my son, it is his nervous system.  They don't know what causes lots of delays-----  but in vitro drug use, smoking, drinking can all cause it as well as premature birth.  

Try the things I mentioned before, but most of all-----  he needs a calm and stable atmosphere in which he is guided and not pushed around.  Discipline is about teaching and not just whipping into shape.  So have his mom focas more on the teaching part and less on the whipping part.

Whether you should part ways, I don't know.  But she is a package deal and this boy deserves a happier life than this.  Good luck.
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973741_tn?1342346373
ps:  with my son's developmental delay, he was able to maintain himself accordingly in preschool about 40 to 50 percent of the time.  Hence, we sought an evaluation by an ot that diagnosed his issue.  We've worked on it ever since and now at 6 and in kindergarten, he has good behavior 95 to 99% of the time!  If you suspect something is wrong, this boy still qualifies for the birth to 3 programs provided by law to give kids extra help.  At 3, he can be evaluated by your local public school system for an early intervention that needs to take place (if that is the case.) Have no idea if that is needed or not, but thought I'd tell you in case it is.
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1039620_tn?1272597604
My question to you is...do you honestly want to make this work? Do you love this child and his mother enough to struggle through the hard times? If the answer to both questions is yes, then I would suggest getting counseling for the adults and the child AND take parenting classes to learn how to properly take care of a two-year-old. If, in your heart, the answer is no, then you really need to part ways as this is only going to hurt the child in the long run. Hitting a toddler only teaches them one thing...to hit when they are upset. ( I hope) you would not hit the mother because she does something you don't like. You would speak to her and try to explain to her that what she did wasn't appropriate to you. This little boy deserves that same respect. I hope you make the right decision for this child's sake.
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535822_tn?1389452880
I have nothing to add except I agree with the posters here .in my opinion it is not appropiate to hit any child never mind a 2 year old .,if he has any behavior issues it is because you are teaching him that abuse is okay .I think you should leave them ...
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Avatar_m_tn
First Off I do appreciate all of your opinions! I hate to have too defend myself however I feel the need to do so at theis time. For one thing I don't understand why everyone thinks I am beating this child, In 3 months time I have spanked (lightly) maybe 2 times, the Mother does most of the discipline. It seem's maybe the fact I am a MAN that I have NO Brains and only know how to be cruel. I hope everyone here understands I do Love them both. Has anyone considered I am on here looking for help? HELLO ! who someone who does not care even attempt to look for help? I am faced with a difficult situation here, I have her EX who is a EX-Con, Beat her, still uses drugs, has a new girlfreind who just had a baby taken away from here because the baby tested Positive for drugs, rings our phones off the hook all times of the day and night, and is harrassing her Family because she is trying to stay away from him and this situation. I think the simple fact I have moved them in with me and given them a stable environment is a positive step. The child has a room to himself as well as a playroom, his eating habitshave changed from junk food to healthy food, he now has plenty of clothes and educational toys. I am not blaming the Mother she was in a bad situation where the EX totally controlled her and made her feel as if she was nothing, she was abused physically and mentally, I know this because I have read the Court Records. I believe She and the Child desereve better in thier life than being used and manipulated by others. The Mother is enrolled in College and doing well here, her grades are fantastic and she is realizing she is NOT stupid, useless and someone elses pawn. The Mother does seem to be having a problem controlling the child and that is why I am trying to get some help on here..... I am sorry if you think I am a bad person, that is your opinion, However try and at least be helpful and give me advice that will help, Books, Seminars, websites and Doctors!!!!!! I am not going to throw them out for someone else to abuse them, If I fail I acn at least know in my heart I did my best.
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1039620_tn?1272597604
Obviously you did not read my post fully as I did offer the solution of counseling and parenting classes. I'm sorry you feel attacked, but you are not going to find anyone who think what you wrote in your original post is the right way to deal with a 2 yr old. Your argument of saying you only spanked him twice in three months is like saying you only slapped/hit your girlfriend twice in three months. Neither being acceptable.

By your passion in your last post I can see you do care deeply for the mother and son and the best way to try and fix this situation is to seek out professional help in counseling and parenting classes since you have tried other things that have failed. I can't offer any specific doctors or seminars, but if his pediatrician should be able to refer you to a counselor or some other avenues that may be able to help you. I do not think you are a bad person by any means, and I am sorry it came across that way.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry Victoria01 I am just a bit upset that I came on here to seek and it seems I am being attacked. I understand why everyone thinks I should not spank the child, however this is and extreme situation he is totally out of control, today alone he has destroyed the Living Room, Used a chair to climb on top of the kitchen counters (where he could hurt himself) and to top it off he made sure he took a bite out of my leg to show his displeasure when I removed him from the counter tops.
I have never hit a lady and very few spankings to children have I administered, I have spanked my own boys in the past and they learned from them. I am not saying my boys are better than her son, I am saying I need advice to help this child behave. I will say I will not spank him again not because everyone is saying not to but because I see it is useless for this young fellow. I am still willing to listen to any advice and all given will be appreciated....
Thanks for your concern................

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1039620_tn?1272597604
I have a 3 1/2 year old boy and believe me, my living room has been destroyed many times and there are many times he has climbed on the counter/table. I don't find this unusual behavior at all for a toddler. It sounds less like a discipline problem and more like a child trying to test his limits with you. The only suggestion that I have is a consistent punishment for the behavior you don't like. It usually takes weeks, or months, for a child that age to understand the consequences.

If you choose to use the time out, do it EVERY time in the exact same place each time. Don't knowledge him or his fits when he is in time out. He will probably scream and throw a tantrum and try to get up, but don't say anything and just put him back in time out. When the time is over (usually one minute per year of age) try and explain to him that what he did (biting, climbing, ect...) was wrong and if he does it again he will be back in time out. Consistency is really the key. The calmer you are when you are trying to get him to do what you want him to do, the calmer he will be. The more emotion you show, the more he will show.

Also, at 2, they need to be entertained quite a bit. They don't keep themselves occupied well so keeping their attention doing things will stop them from getting into other things.

I see you are from NY and I know it's very cold there, but have you tried a lot of physical activity? I know being cooped up in the house can make my son a little monster. :) They need plenty of time to run and jump and just be boys.

I hope some of these suggestions may work for you if you haven't already tried them.
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Avatar_m_tn
I will take your advice and have my Girlfriend try the TIMEOUT your way, obviously her way is not working. I have noticed she tends to get very upset and scream at him a lot, I will talk to her about her tone of voice, this may be a bit hard I have noticed that most people, not all, here in the North are just LOUD.... I am originally from Alabama and our culture and way of living is much different. I am NOT bashing the North, However my observation over the last 3 years has opened my eyes to a different way of living. I still call everyone Yes Sir and Yes Mam only to have people look at me funny.
Thanks !!!!!
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, I thought I had given some advice . . . I really did.  And I don't think I criticized you but instead was trying to help.  I'm sorry if you felt attacked.  

I have two kids, both boys.  One is more difficult than the other.  He has a developmental delay called sensory integration disorder.  This involves the nervous system and the way the brain processes things.  My son is smart----  those who didn't know any better when he was young thought he was just misbehaving.  The advice I gave you was based on that.  This child also has had a difficult life thus far.  Factoring in that this child has had a rough life makes the situation harder.  It has not been stable.  Please read above and see if anything is helpful.  I'm concerned that you glossed over every advice that was given from myself and others.  

Telling you to treat the boy with empathy and love and patience isn't because I'm knocking you and accusing you of otherwise-----  I am giving advice and that is it.  

Remaining calm will help and modeling behavior does help.  Again, not saying this isn't going on . . . but it is real advice.  We role play with my child all the time.  "Okay, you seem really mad.  let's use our words and figure it out"  Simple phrases like " no hitting" are the way to say to stop.  Long explanations and sentences are lost on a 2 year old.  Keep things simple.  Slowing down the process is important.  As he is getting mad, get down on his level and say----  it's okay buddy.  let me help you.  And then stay calm and try to help with whatever he is frustrated about.  Try to de escalate it before it blows up into a meltdown.  Watch for signs, know the triggers.  Giving choices can be very helpful-----  he will feel like he has some control.  When he is older, you can try stress thermometers.  He is still too young for that.  But when he is having a meltdown----  remember that he is feeling bad at that point and can't reason or stop himself.  He has to cool off.  

Also, there is a DIRECT link to physical activity and behavior.  Is there an indoor pool he can take swim lessons?  A gym he can kick a soccer ball in?  Put some pillows on the floor and let him crash into them.  Make a sandwhich with the pillows and him by having him lay on ground, put pillows on top one by one and gently press. (he'll love or hate this).  Jump on a mattress on the floor.  Do animal walks like crab, bear, snake, leap frog.  Provide him with as much physical activity as possible.  It is good for all kids but for some it is required.  I live in a snowy, cold area as well-----  but we do this stuff every single day.  We have to.

If a child has been neglected or abused or witnessed abuse, he will have struggles.  This child is showing signs of this.  Be patient as his life changes to a more stable and posative one.

I know you love his mother, but by your own words----  she has not done a great job thus far.  Why was he eating junk food?  Why didn't he have any educational things going on?  Why was her interaction with him so negative?  Okay . . . that is what I am saying.  Your girlfriend has some issues around parenting and it sounds as if you are now parenting this poor little boy AND her.  Whether you have a bad situation going on at home or not, being a mother is a job to be taken seriously.  Please don't get defensive for her sake.  Maybe she is learning now which would be wonderful.  But making excuses for her past does not help her.  Taking responsibility and fixing it is what changes things.  I'm a clinical psychologist and that is exactly what I would say to her in therapy.  It isn't being treating her without compassion as I'm sure she went through a rough patch . . . but she must own it.  She picked an inappropriate man and lived a life that was harmful to her child.  You heal from knowing your mistakes.  Do you think a parenting class would help her?  

Again, I applaud anyone that tries to help a child.  I think you may be this boy's only shot, to be honest.  Not to mention that his father sounds psychotic.  Are you all safe?  Are your boys safe?  Good for you to help here . . . I just hope that you haven't bit off too much to swallow.  Good luck
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13167_tn?1327197724
Brad, I'm sorry if I seem harsh.  I think your desire to help her,  and her son,  are admirable but this is a true uphill battle.  I don't know in the past if you've always been a "rescuer" in relationships,  but it's very difficult to come into a tragic crisis like this and fix everything up neat as a pin.  

If you're looking for very concrete ways to deal with a very active,  difficult child,  read Love and Logic.  You can find it in any book store.   The methods in that book are terrific - some of the examples of specifically what parents did with specific children are a little misguided.  The methods are good,  though.

For example,  when a child is screaming,  a parent can calmly say "I will only listen to calm quiet voices".  The child continues to scream,  say just one more time,    "I will only listen to quiet calm voices".  The first thing the child says that is remotely calm and quiet,  respond immediately and positively.  "Only people who are behaving can stay in this living room".  "Everyone  who has washed their hands can have a snack".  That sort of thing.  Not "You go wash your hands"  "You stop screaming".    The first thing with a tantruming out of control child is to avoid instances of clear confrontation between the parent and child,  if it isn't necessary.  

Also,  some children are very active and climb on stuff.  In those cases you may have to devise your own child safety locks because the ones on the market aren't as clever as children.    He should have places where he CAN climb,  including maybe setting up the ladder every once in a while and letting him climb on top and look around.


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13167_tn?1327197724
Yes,  what SpecialMom said.  We were typing at the same time.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Good advice rockrose-----  I say that to my 4 year old all the time.  And he WILL calm down and speak with a normal voice then.  That has really worked for me (didn't know about love and logic . . . and will now go find that!!!  Sounds like a good book).  
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for all of the advice I/We will start using the techniques you have offered and I will report back the results. I will make sure to purchase the books that have been suggested and WE will read them.
Thanks For The Positive Advice !!!!!!
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