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Parenting Issues Message Board

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It really sounds like you have tried everything. My daughter is 2 also, and engages in most of the activities that you mentioned, and spanking has helped a lot. My pediatrician recommended that I spank in a very structured manner, not just in the heat of the moment. My daughter was extremely defiant, starting at about 14 months, doing things specifically that I told her not to do. The last straw was when she got into turning the TV set off and on (it is really old and on it's last leg, and I just knew that she was going to tear it up by turning it off and on 10,000 times a day, besides the fact that it is annoying!). I scolded her and as I was popping her hand, she reached around me with her other hand and kept hitting the on/off button! That was it for me.

Our doctor recommended a strategy for spanking that seems to work. You mentioned that you have tried spanking, but the way my doc suggested is a little different from regular spanking. When my daughter misbehaves, I usually warn her that what she is doing will lead to a spanking on the next incident ("If you do -whatever- again, I will spank your bottom."). Sometimes if I have told her repeatedly in the past (like with the TV) I will not do this warning, but most of the I do. When she invariably repeats the activity, I pick her up, take her to her room, or a bathroom, the car, or other private place, remove her diaper and pop her two or three times on her bare bottom. Then as I put her back together, I explain to her that every time she doesn't mind me, I will have to spank her bottom, and then give her some love. Then, we return to the scene of the crime, where I make her help me put whatever she tore up back together, or if it can't be salvaged, we go to the trash can together and throw it away, and I tell her that it makes me sad to have throw -whatever- away. At first, it seemed like I spanked her 20 times a day, but lately, I only spank her once or twice a week now, if that. She minds me better in general and has not destroyed as much of our house as she used to.

The real test came a few weeks ago at my parents house. Their answering machine is in a location that is eye-level to my daughter, and she is always messing with the buttons. My mother has refused to let me discipline my daughter in her house, which I went along with (out of respect for my parents) until the last visit. My daughter went totally out of control, and would not stop pushing the answering machine buttons. I implemented the spanking strategy, over my mother's intense objections, and my daughter did not touch the answering machine again for the rest of our several hour visit.

This has worked for me, but I have had to be very consistent in implementing it, even when I was almost too tired, or didn't feel like having to drag my daughter out of the grocery store to the car, and then back in, or whatever. You might want to give it a try. I felt like I was at my wit's end about 7 or 8 months ago, with a 15 month old running the house, and this method of discipline has allowed me and my husband to regain control of our home. For the first few weeks, you may be spanking a whole lot, but as you regain control of the situation, you shouldn't have to spank so much.

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