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Defiant 2 yr old.
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raye23 posted:
My 2 1/2 year old daughter is beyond defiant. We don't know what to do with her anymore. Recently I looked up tips on how to discipline her and ended up on an ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) page. She seems to have a majority of the symptoms. As we watch her, the more we are noticing it. I'm aware that she may be too young to be diagnosed, but what she does goes way beyond "terrible twos".

I also have a 4 year old son, who is a normal 4 yr old boy. My daughter is mean to him, she rips things out of his hands, bites and hits him for no apparent reason, and screams at the top of her lungs at nothing. She also has a bad habit of slamming doors on him or anyone else she sees trying to come in or out. My son's been incredibly patient with her, although he has his moments when he can't take it anymore. She bites and hits herself if we tell her no or ask her to do something. She ignores us when we tell her anything. She gets this awful look on her face (we call it her mean face) when she's about to do something bad or she doesn't get her way.

Don't get me wrong, she's incredibly smart and when she does behave, she's an amazing, sweet little girl. Unfortunately, those moments seem to be disappearing altogether. She has gotten increasingly worse over the last several months.

She'll hit me, her dad, my parents or my son if she doesn't get her way. She even torments our dogs when she's upset. She will look right at us while we tell her to stop doing something or ask her to put her toys away, make a nasty face and do whatever she wants instead.

Sometimes when she makes her mean face, I swear she is trying to hurt the people around her. The other day my dad was standing between his car and it's open door, she started to push it towards him. We caught her, told her not to do that because she'd hurt grandpa and moved her away. She then put on that evil little face, and did it again.

I don't know what to do anymore. We've tried talking to her, time-outs, and even spanking her when she continues to do something she knows not to do. We've put soap in her mouth when she bites. Nothing seems to be working, which led me to searching for tips online. Now I'm here. We've even been trying to follow the parenting guidelines for children who have ODD just to see if that will work.

At first, I thought she was just a stubborn 2 year old. Now I'm starting to wonder if something else is going on to make her act like this. I need help, because nothing we do works and I feel horrible, but I have to just leave the room because I can't be around her sometimes. I love her so much and it hurts to feel like this.

Anyone have any advice? Thanks so much.
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melvol1 responded:
Hi there, This definitely does seem to be a little bit more than the typical two year old bad behavior. I teach second grade and have also taught kindergarten and have seen many cases of ODD. Most children (that I know of) were not diagnosed until they reached school age, however, my suggestion would be to set up an appointment with your pediatrician. He may be able to help you and also refer you to a psychologist if needed. Does your DD attend daycare? Could she have experienced something that is triggering this kind of behavior or lashing out? I wish i had more help for you.
 
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raye23 responded:
She is actually my step-daughter, but her biological mom is not allowed to see her and I've been raising her. Her biological mom (or egg donor as I like to call her) had her the first 6 months of her life, and I just found out recently that she kept her in a playpen all day, everyday. When my fiancee took her, she couldn't even crawl. I taught her to walk and worked with her on talking instead of grunting. She's my baby, blood or not.

Unfortunately, when she was in daycare, the lady who ran it didn't speak english very well and I think all she did was feed her and change her. I have a feeling there wasn't much stucture for her. Also unfortunately, while she and her dad lived with his parents, his family didn't treat her very well. We got her out of that environment, and into an extremely loving one with my parents and brother. We have been trying to break the bad habits she learned at my fiancee's family's house, but it's only gotten worse.

We currently don't have insurance, but will shortly, and we do plan on getting her into a doctor to find out what is going on. In the mean time, we're slowly losing our minds and paitence. Thanks for the advice.
 
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peachyga responded:
I'm no MD or expert in early childhood education, but I agree with pp it does seem like more than just terrible two's going on here. I'm not sure exactlly what kind of environment she grew up in earlier in life except from what you described, but to me it seems like that has a lot to do with her acting up. Unfortunately she was deprived of nurturing when she was a newborn/infant. Her alternate (daycare) doesn't sound any better, neither does the other household. I'd definitely make an appointment with a pediatrician, or look in the yellow pages and find Early Intervention in your state. Most state has free children's healthcare, and Early Intervention is eitehr ran by the state or the local school district and is free. They can come and evaluate her and hopefully come up with some suggestions. I do think this is beyond just reading up on things. I hope y'all will get some good intervention/assistance for her sake as well as yours. GL
 
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peachteach1 responded:
I do agree with PP. I would suggest you keep a log of things she does, what you do in response, and her reaction/actions to your response. I highly agree with seeing your pedi as an initial step, but I would ask to be referred to a child pschyiatrist as oppsed to a pshychologist as the first has the ability to prescribe medicine if she were to need it.

I serve on a team at school where we meet with teachers and parents on such issues and this is the advice we would give. Good luck to all of you. {{{{{HUGS}}}
 
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raye23 responded:
Thanks for the advice everyone.

We do plan on taking her to a doctor as soon as possible, as well as asking for a referral to a child psychiatrist. Although, I'm trying not to jump the gun on this, so I've been watching her emotions and actions even more carefully before we take her. Also trying different approaches to how we handle her acting out.

I know that a lot of this has to do with the environment of her earlier childhood, but was hoping we could undo it. I don't expect it to change quickly, but this is very stressful and tiring.

The log is a great idea, I'm starting it today. Thanks again.
 
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jstjtyjs responded:
Although it does seem to be more then the terrible 2's, I would say that her first experiences in life are probably why she's acting like this. I mean, can you blame her? I understand it's a lot of work for you now, but if you're consistent and stern with her, I think you'll eventually get to see a difference.

I was also thinking maybe she has some sort of attachment disorder..... it can cause behavioral issues and would make sense considering her early experiences with life. Here is a tiny bit of what I found about it:

RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Such a failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse, abrupt separation from caregivers between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child's communicative efforts.

Maybe you should look up more information on that. Like the PP's said - Early Intervention will be a HUGE help to you and you don't need to wait until you have insurance to call because it's free. You should DEFINITELY schedule an evaluation!

In the mean time, hang in there. Maybe instead of trying to talk to her about her behavior, and time outs and such, you should pick her up after she does something bold, give a simple, "We don't bite. Not nice." (or whatever the behavior) and put her in her CRIB where she can be alone and not hurt herself. Try NOT giving her attention when she acts out. And make a HUGE deal when she does something good! A HUGE deal... everytime!!!!!! How long has she been in your care? Remember - she had a tough start to life and this is not her fault. I know it's easy to get frustrated, but it will take alot of time and patience to undo what has been done to her. The fact that she was neglected, has been in numerous different homes with numerous different care givers...... of course she's going to have her problems. But like you said - she's a smart, sweet, amazing little girl and it'll take her time to adjust, but I think that with the right home with parents who adore her and care about her well-being (which you obviously do) she'll be okay.
 
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raye23 responded:
jstjtyjs - Thanks for the tip about RAD. I'm looking into that. We're keeping our chins up as much as possible.

Also checking into the Early Intervention like everyone has suggested.

I appreciate all the advice and support while I try to get to the bottom of this and work on making her life, as well as ours, better. This has really been helping me, personally, deal with the stress. I hope all of you and your families stay well.
 
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bodoba responded:
I'm dealing with Early intervention with my Dd, just a warning, you have to apply for medicaid if you go through with it. My husband and I have severe childhood abuse issues and it sounds like she's coping from the trauma. My only advice is stuff you have most likely already tried, lots of structure, time-outs, distract mean face with a hug offer or let her know when she's upset she can have a free hug.

You sound like quite a trooper for taking care of her and keep it up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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peachyga responded:
I think it depends on the state you live in re: Early Intervention...we have insurance but we were offered EI when DS was having some delay in walking and speaking...they didn't say anything about having to apply for medicaid...we live in GA
 
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curleysue1968 responded:
I thought EI was free and offered by the state to anyone?
 
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jstjtyjs responded:
I know that it is free, but I think they "try " to get money if they can. When we had my son speech evaluated, they took our insurance info and basically said that they submit a claim and get money if they can, but if not, it does not affect your services. Most insurances don't pay for it, but my guess is that medicaid probably does. So, that's probably why PP had to apply for it. But if you have no insurance, applying for Medicaid is a good idea anyway!
 
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TheraKids responded:
I am not sure where you live, but contacting your regional Early Intervention Program may help. They usually offer a full developmental evaluation and potential services through the child's 3rd birthday. I am also experiencing similar issues with my 2 year-old who I am adopting from foster care. Alot of the behavior is related to attachment issues. Hope this helps.
 
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Stephensmom1214 responded:
And regarding what PP said, we also get EI services, and we've never had to apply for Medicaid, or had insurance claims submitted. Don't even worry about that.
 
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mother_wife replied to raye23's response:
I know this is a very old posting, and I would like to know if your little girl is doing any better. I would also like to have the 'egg donors' address. Is she in jail for child abuse? Good luck to you, and thank you on behalf of mother's everywhere for stepping up and loving this child the way she deserves to be.


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