Do You Have Child Behavior Problems ?

Your Questions Answered

Are you having child behavior problems with your toddler? If the Q & A on this page doesn't help you, read through the rest of the parenting advice area. Different topics can often shed fresh light on your own tricky situations.

My Daughter Is Having Child Behavior Problems

My 27 month old daughter is going through an extremely negative stage. She's perfectly happy and pleasant in a 1:1 situation but as soon as she's with more than one person she's really quite offensive in her words and her tone.

She says things like: 'Stop looking at me' 'You stop talking to me' 'You stop that' 'Don't touch me' 'That's yuck'. She is very verbal and uses lots of please, thank-you and sorry but I'd like to know how to deal with her when she's negative to us (mom, dad, g-ma, g-pa, peers).

We've tried ignoring, we've tried posing questions to her like, "What else could you say to mommy?" to which she responds "Please, stop talking to me please' or we say, "Remember your manners". Any suggestions?

You Are Not Alone

Child behavior problems like this one are very common. You are not alone!

My guess is that the rudeness in company is all about attention seeking. So many child behavior problems at this age happen because toddlers cannot express their needs in a straightforward way.

What she wants to say is: "I am incredibly unsure of myself right now - there are other people around. Am I still important to you?"...but because she has very few social skills and limited language it comes out all wrong.

I don't think a toddler - even a very verbal one - really understands phrases like "What else could you say to Mommy?" and "Remember your manners" (far too abstract). It is better to ask her closed questions with only 2 possible answers.

Your daughter is also probably trying out these phrases which she may have only recently heard. Don't assume she actually understands what she is saying to you. It's far more likely that she wanted to see the effect they had on you. She saw that they had an effect (she doesn't care that it's negative - attention is attention to a toddler).

So, what to do?

So, What Can You Do?

I would have another go with ignoring this behavior. I used to get ordered around in this way (with almost the same wording!) when my 2 -year-old son was doing his best impression of a mini dictator. I used to reply "Oh, that's nice dear" - the key is not to take it seriously. I can assure you that my son is now (at nearly 4) far more polite and shows real remorse when he does forget his manners.

There is only so much you can do to deal with child behavior problems at this age, which is characterized by a lack of logic and sense. Your daughter hasn't yet learned how to control her emotions, and her social skills are at the beginner's stage to say the least.

It may feel like the ignoring is not having an effect, but it may be the only available option. It could be a case of shrugging your shoulders and saying "It's a stage, it will pass".

If she is rude to other toddlers, you can say something like "We are kind" - but be brief, don't go on about it. Now give lots of attention to the other child, really make a fuss of them.

As for other adults, all you can do is explain what you are doing to address these child behavior problems and hopefully they will support you. You have enough to deal with, coping with your daughter's attitude - so put any disapproving glances/comments out of your mind.

Even if ignoring doesn't seem like it's a good response, I can assure you it is - even if you only feel the benefit when she is older.

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