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2.5 year old difficult child

My son is 2.5 years old, and in the last few months has been very diffuclt. He will throw tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants, he will cry hysterically whenever I leave or his dad leaves the house. Bed time is a struggle as he keeps coming out and just repeats over and over again while crying, "I want mum/dad to stay with me". I can not get through to him when he is in that mood or calm him down. It is really driving me insane. The only time I get peace is when he is asleep, otherwise he is constantly misbehaving and pushing all limits. I keep getting told that it's the age/stage he is in, but I am finding it very hard to accept that and move on. Please help!!!!

Jane ...
Answer: It probably is due to his age and stage, which he will eventually grow out of as he learns more socially acceptable ways of getting what he wants. It always pays with toddlers to be consistent, fair and reasonable - even if they aren't returning the favour! Make sure he is well and his hearing and vision are fine and he's on track with all of his other milestones. Frustration can certainly fuelled by problems in any of these areas so starting with the basics will make a difference. Make sure he has routines, and a fairly consistent pattern to each day, toddlers love routines because it helps to boost their feelings of security and safety. If his behaviour is driving you insane then it's important that you have some emotional and practical support. Have you asked your family for some help? Considered an early parenting centre or programme so that you could pick up some skills in dealing effectively with his behaviour. Unfortunately, he's unlikely to mature out of this phase in the near future, toddlers aren't well known for their empathy when it comes to being reasonable with their parents and unless you nurture yourself and care well for youself then your likely to become exhausted by his behaviour. Try to "catch" him when hes' behaving well and offer him praise when you see him behaving well. This, more than any other strategy you implement will make the most positive difference to his behaviour.Check to see if a Triple P Parenting Course is run in your local community healthy centre, these can also be useful. Cheers Jane
Answered: 02 Feb 2013