Discipline &a strong willed 2.5 yr old

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Discipline &a strong willed 2.5 yr old
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 10:57pm
Hello! Katie is a strong willed and smart 2.5 year old. Mommy and Katie are at odds these days.

Today, it was an hour tantrum over GOING outside. I insited it was time, got her dressed, she wanted no part of it. I brought her out. Well, after 40 minutes of SCREAMING bloody murder (the neighbors came out) I brought her in, telling her we'd be going back out after she had a drink and cleaned up.

Well, it didn't improve. In fact, Katie hit me a few times and got me in the face once. I put her in her room for a "time out", set the timer for 2 minutes and calmly explained why she was being punished. We did this about 4 times. In between each time in her room, she'd come out and screech and hit me.

I tried to remain calm through it all, explaining very simply that there was no hitting, and she'd continue to get a time out if she hit. I finally got her settled down with distraction (looking at birthday pix). Which I had tried earlier to no avail.

SO - what does one do when one's lovely daughter becomes Scary Girl from Another Planet?

I was really at my wits end here today. Yes, she may have been tired, but this can't all be explained by that. This hitting is relatively new too.

Later in the day, she apologized for hitting me and promised not to do it again. We even shook on it.

Any ideas how to handle this in the future? Tips on stopping hitting?

How not to run screaming down the street after an hour of tantrums and shreiking?

Any input appreciated!!!

~Michelle, Mom to the Amazing Katie with a split personality today

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 12:14am
Yikes Michelle,

I have a two strong willed children and one terrible tantrummer. I think the first thing to do is establish that she is absolutely not going to hit you. Tell her very firmly that she is absolutely not allowed to hit and if she does, then...(think up a very harsh punishment.)Keep consistent about her punishments for screaming and non-cooperation and she will eventually get the picture that it won't work on Mommy. It always helps if we talk about the "rules" when things are calm and I can remind my kids how things will be. It sounds like she is just testing you to see what the limits are. Be firm and she will learn her boundaries.

I totally know how you feel. It is NOT easy dealing with a strong willed child-but I am a strong willed Mom and I WILL get my way!



P.S. I have always heard that the smarter a child is the more they are going to be testy. I don't know if that is true or not but if it is then I have a couple of geniouses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-26-2004
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:07pm
Hi. Oh boy can I relate to the strong-willed child. I have one (my 5-year-old dd), and a tantrum thrower (my 3-year-old ds). My oldest two never behaved badly in public and basically did what I told them to(as much as humanly possible during the toddler years).

I was shocked when along came my last two and WOWY! But, I never gave in to that behavior. I set FIRM, and I mean VERY FIRM, discipline for that and stuck to it every time I encountered this type of behavior. Afterwards, or before we went anywhere, we discussed how children are to behave and what would happen with inappropriate behavior. If the behavior happened, the discipline that we previously discussed happened.

The tantrums at home I set them in their beds or in the corner, and then when things got calmer, we went back to whatever they were supposed to be doing. I kept doing that even if the tantrum occurred again. I never gave in because I, too, am extremely strong willed (I think that's where they get it).

I tell myself that I am glad my children are strong-willed. If I can route their wills into good behavior and self-discipline, then they will be very successful in life and get what they want out of life.

I too have heard that truly strong-willed children are smart. So, hopefully one of my children will solve world hunger or fix the Middle East problems one of these days. LOL


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 3:47pm
Oh boy... My daughter is 4 and we're just starting to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. From my own understanding and my own experience, tantrums in the two's are more about misunderstanding and communication. The tantrums in the threes are more about controlling emotions and discovering (and asserting) autonomy.

Both the people who answered are correct. Consistency when dealing with the tantrum itself and to talk about it after the tantrum is over and everyone is calm. There are no magic pills, nothing works overnight.

Some little things that I have learned: Don't threaten what you aren't willing to follow through with (ie threatening to sell child to gypsies doesn't work. I tried it.) Do try to suggest PROPER ways to deal with anger, as I mentioned in another thread, my dh read that kids are so often told what not to do, but not what they can do in a tantrum. If you plan on using the "ignoring" route (I tried it, and had success with it), don't make eye contact..don't let them smell the fear! LOL And finally, as my dear friend Lisa once told me - don't take it day to day. Take it minute by minute.

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 6:53pm
Oh wow, and yes, I know exactly what you are going thru, too! Both of my boys were completely the same way! Funny, Kellianne is so easy-going! She's nothing at all like they were! LOL I think God decided I'd had my fair share and gave me a break!

I think the ladies here did a terrific job in offering advice and I totally agree with them! One other thing that helped me cope was a book called "The Strong Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson. I don't know where your ideals, etc., lie, so I will tell you that this book comes from a Christian standpoint. I found it very useful with lots of good advice. Just my 2 cents!

Lots of hugs as you go thru this trying time!

Avatar for momtokd
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 11:00pm
Thanks for all of your ideas and suggestions! We actually had a breakthrough today. Katie did not want to join me for dinner tonight. I gave her options, none of which she liked of course. She then stormed over to me....I looked her in the eye and firmly stated - There is no hitting allowed, even when you're frustrated. She stopped and did not hit me. I had to remind her one more time during this episode and viola! it worked.

Later, while we were coloring, I praised her for not hitting me and we talked about frustration and being upset. Whew, what a night.

So far, so good, but...it is minute to minute!!! A woman on our block just had her 7th child - wow, I know I'm not cut out for that, but I'd like her to bottle her patience!

Thanks again for all of your ideas, I really do appreciate them.

My mom always wished I would have a daughter just like me....hmmmmm, what did that mean?

Michelle, Katie's Mom.