My 2 year old throws a tantrum every time I try to get her to talk?

So, my 2 year old doesn't talk much but she KNOWS how to talk. Whenever she wants something she'd motion towards it or make a gesture, but whenever I try to prompt her to use her words like "up" "cup" "food" "more", she throws a full on  tantrum. Face to floor, kicking, screaming, sometimes hitting.

My fiancé & I have tried every trick in the book. We'd ignore her whenever she throws her tantrum but she seems to like that. Like, we'd catch her smiling to herself once we leave the room & she'd go about her day as if she wasn't screaming Bloody Mary a second ago.

We always respond in calm voices. There's been times we would sit & talk to her in our calm voices while she screaming for a full 10 mins & no improvement.

This behavior comes around with just about every milestone we had to cross with her. When we were teaching her to feed herself with her spoon, it took mooonths because it would always end with a tantrum. 

Whenever we try to teach her ANYTHING it always end with a tantrum

When we put her in daycare this behavior didn't change much, but other social skills did improve. But then COVID hit and just about all the caregivers at her daycare got COVID (I wish I was joking).

So, she's not in daycare anymore & her father & I both work from home & she does see other kids her age but not as often as she used to.

I know her behavior is just an act of defiance but how can we change it? I'm so tired of her throwing a tantrum every time we ask her to use words she knows how to say.

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    My daughter would tend to go straight to crying or whining for something instead of just asking.  I would look at her and say "I don't know what you want - use your words."  (especially when I knew that she knew the words for what she wanted).

    If she wouldn't say what she wanted - she didn't get it.  

    If you eventually give the child what they want even though they haven't done the required form of communication to get it - it only teaches them that tantrums will get them what they want without needing to do the right thing.

    It is sometimes hard to know which tantrums to ignore and which tantrums to respond to.  The main thing is to not give the child what they was trying to get that caused the tantrum.  They have to do the right thing before getting what they want.  

    When teaching new things to a young child - remember that their attention span is about five minutes - literally.  If they aren't getting it - don't push - help them and then work on it again later.  This may be why teaching ends in tantrums.  If you are going beyond her attention span - then she has had enough and the tantrum is her way to get you to stop.  (which may be why she smiles sometimes when you leave and ignore her tantrum - and then she acts like it didn't even happen)

    One last thing.  Be careful with the tone of your voice.  Think very carefully about how YOU sound when you are talking to her.  I know you said you keep a calm voice - and that is great.  But - is your calm voice also "pleading" or is it "FIRM."  Think about it for a minute.  If you heard someone talking in the tone you use - would you think that they are pleading with the child to change what they are doing or would you think - wow - that mom means business.  NEVER - NEVER sound like you are pleading.  You do not need to raise your voice to sound firm.  You don't need to yell to sound firm.  But your tone of voice and the way you say your words can't have a pleading tone or the child will know that they are winning.  

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