Give Us Any Chance, We'll Take It

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Categories Behavior, Parenting Twins, Toddlers

It seems that my two-year-olds have decided to live by the lyrics from the old Laverne & Shirley theme song. Give them any chance, they’ll take it. Give them any rule, they’ll break it. Thankfully it’s not (yet) all day everyday, but there are moments when I’d swear I was in the presence of wild monkeys and not the two little darlings who amused themselves so nicely just a month or so ago. The climbing and jumping on furniture, the playing with light switches, toilet seats and trash bin lids, the tantruming insistence that every task be done “all by myself”, and the laugh in my face response to any reprimands are all enough to drive me out of my mind.

And they totally feed off one another. It used to be that if one was being a bit naughty, the other one was a perfect angel. But those days are gone. Why would anyone want to quietly read books when instead you could join your sister/brother in overturning a book bin and then use it to stand on to reach the light switch and flick the lights off and on a thousand times?

I’m attempting to seek help within the pages of 1-2-3 Magic and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids will Talk, but so far, acquiring the books is as far as I’ve gotten. I realize that impulse control will not be setting in anytime soon, so I just need some more tips regarding what a parent can do when toddler misbehavior is on the rise. I’ve already removed certain items not suitable for toddler hands, talked about (and modeled) appropriate uses for the furniture, used natural consequences when possible, and done my best to redirect my kids to more appropriate activities. Perhaps we’re just into the new reality of life with two two-year-olds have have to ride through this phase until the next one comes.

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9 thoughts on “Give Us Any Chance, We'll Take It”

  1. Oh my goodness. I could have written this post word for word. My girls will be 2 in Sept and the past 2-3 weeks or so, they’ve transformed! They’re climbing, jumping, fighting, etc… I can’t wait to read other comments. Everyone keeps telling me “This too shall pass” and I know it will, but it’s a HARD phase. Hang in there, mama!
    amy o recently posted Ohhhhh… precious!My Profile

  2. I’m with Amy. My b/g will be 2 in Sept, too. And they are constantly testing. I am just staying the course…I fight the battles that are important, and let the other stuff go. I trust this is a phase.

    I use the Supernanny trick of getting down at eye level a lot and telling them what I expect. They get two warnings, then they face consequences. It’s constant, but it’s working. Some of the time. For now. Some days are better than others. We do timeouts, take away, and ignore a lot of temper tantrums.

    I take deep breaths and recite my mantra, “it won’t always be like this…” (and that applies to the good stuff too, sadly.)

  3. I have fraternal b/g who are 2.5. They get the same way, but thankfully it’s still only one at a time for the most part. The 1-2-3 Magic method works very well with my daughter most of the time, but not so much with my son. He tends to keep doing it all the way until we get to ‘3’. But after he takes his punishment he usually acts better.

  4. I do roughly the same thing that Tracy does: First I tell them to stop the behavior and point out its negative effect (“Don’t hit your sister. We don’t hit — hitting hurts. When you hit, it hurts Eloise and makes her cry.”). When it happens again, I tell them more succinctly that if they don’t stop, they’re getting such and such a consequence. (“We don’t hit. If you hit again, you’re getting a one-minute time-out.”) Third time, they get the consequence with a reminder that I told them that such and such a behavior would get such and such a consequence. I try to be really consistent with that structure of warnings. So far they are responding pretty well…but we’re still a couple months away from 2!

    Of course I try to do lots of distraction and redirection to things they can goof around with (and sometimes I make myself stop and decide whether it’s really a bad thing for them to be engaging in the behavior or whether I’m just being uptight!) so that I don’t spend ALL DAY doling out consequences with ever-decreasing effectiveness.

    Good luck! I think we all need it.
    Rachel recently posted Month 20My Profile

  5. Oh, I am SO here too. My girls turned 2 this month. This is a difficult phase but it does pass. I remember it well with my older daughter. This is the same thing just twice as much :) ARGH!!!!

    My only suggestion (because you all said it already so well above) is be consistent. Always have the same response. Keep directions simple, keep consequences simple and related to the behavior. And remember – you ARE going to repeat the same phrases over and over and over and…
    Accept that you are a broken record, take lots of deep breaths and yes, this too shall pass. Then we get to raise twin 3 year-olds :)

  6. You are in the trenches of a very tough stage. I just got through it with my boys, who just turned 3. Now they are calming down just a bit and aren’t seeking as much danger and craziness as they did between ages of 18 mos- 30 mos. For a few months I felt like I was really just “herding” wild monkeys or something! Just ride it out and know you will make it through to the 3’s!!

  7. Behavior-wise, I truly believe that you reap at 3 what you sow at 2. It is so worth it to figure out a behavior strategy now, without delay, so by the time they get to the wily, button-pushing threes, you’ve already got a great system going. 123 Magic is fantastic for this, although there are plenty of options out there. However, unlike many phases before, the button pushing, defiance and fighting won’t go away on their own—at least I don’t believe they will—not without a pretty strong strategy from mom & dad. On the upside, if you get a great system going, they can be very responsive.

  8. This definitely describes where I am at with my b/g twins. They will be 3 in February. My husband is gone all week and I feel like I want to run away. He comes home and his guilt gets the better of him for being absent, and he doesn’t remain consistent with 1,2,3 Magic strategies…I am so frustrated right now. I know that I need to be more consistent too which maybe will help through this rotten phase…monkeys is a good way to describe them….

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