17 months and terrible twos?!! — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

17 months and terrible twos?!!

My daughter just turned 17 months and I feel like she's been in the "terrible twos" for months, with it spiking this month! We've just gotten past biting and now she's onto slapping and hitting, pulling hair, laughs when we say no, runs when shes doing/has something she isn't allowed to.. and let me add that she's got an extreme tolerance to pain, this child gets shots and doesn't even move or make a sound, so obviously popping her leg does not work, she just smiles and hugs me... Looking for any ideas on other ways to discipline(I wasn't really liking the popping anyway, the more I thought about it the more I questioned "how can I tell her it's not ok to hit when we do?".


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Re: 17 months and terrible twos?!!

  • Same with us, although DD is 21 months.  She thinks hitting is a big joke, even when we say "Daddy owie" and then he fake cries.  Actually, she thinks that is hilarious

    We do time-outs when she is screaming/crying/out of control, and we can't reason with her.  So maybe try that in response to hitting?   Tell her no, we don't hit, and then if she does it again, calmly say "Sorry you are choosing to continue this behaviour", and onto the naughty spot she goes.  I had a great link for a blog post about this (not mine), but I believe it's at home. 1 minute for every year of age...shoot, there were more details that I can't remember.

    I can pm the link from home if you'd like?

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  • Where do you put her in time out? I've read not to put them in their crib, and she can climb out of the playpen, the only other place I can think of that she can't "escape" would be the highchair but isn't that the same deal with the crib?
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  • We time out on the couch.  The rule is she isn't allowed to get off the couch until she chills out.  I have to keep sitting her down on the couch for the first little while but she eventually accepts it.  She might still scream and be mad but she sits there.  We save the time out for when she hits in anger or she throws herself on the floor in a tantrum. It takes about 2 minutes.  She usually cries for a bit and then she hugs me and then she goes to play.   Today it felt like she was in perpetual time out.   But most days we don't need to use it.  Most days she can be distracted by music or a redirect before we hit a full blown tantrum.
  • Ugh it's been tantrum city around here too. I usually try to ignore or redirect, but this morning I did a sort of time out. She stayed where I put here, but she screamed the whole time. I'm assuming that's normal....? Obviously, I don't have much advice. I feel your pain though!
    S- March 09 E- Feb 12 L- May 15

  • DS was in a major hitting phase about a month ago. Thankfully, it has passed, and he hasn't done it at all in the past couple of weeks. Some things that helped me:

    1) I tried to see things from my child's perspective...a 17 month old is exploring their surroundings, and testing reactions from people. They don't understand yet that another person hurts when they hit them. What they do understand is that if they hit another person, that person will say something/yell/make a weird face. Toddlers like to control their environment, so if they know that by hitting, mommy or daddy will make a weird face and talk loudly at them, they will keep doing it. When DS would hit me, I would say very calmly (which is hard at at times) "We don't hit." Then I would take his hand, and say "be gentle", while stroking his hand up and down my arm. This turned into me being able to just say "no hitting, be gentle", and DS would stroke my arm nicely without me having to show him how.

    2) You will probably have to repeat this process 100-200 times, but it really did work! The key is to not react, and show them appropriate ways to touch other people.

    3) Another thing that worked was to figure out WHY DS was hitting. It was usually towards the end of the day, when he was getting a little tired, and I was probably not paying as much attention to him. (Especially during my first trimester of this pregnancy). The first time he would hit (and after showing him how to be gentle), I would make sure that we started a calming activity together, which was usually reading books. This redirected his attention towards the activity, instead of him trying to "get" my attention by hitting me.



  • My son has been kind of nuts lately too. He doesn't ever hit, but bites. It's awful. I have noticed his behavior is like 10X worse when he's tired/hungry, and when he's overstimulated. He used to respond to crowds by being tearful and clingy....now he acts like he's possessed and just runs around screaming and throwing things. Anyway, I try to keep ahead of him and not let him get too overtired or hungry. Otherwise I use distraction. Never tried time outs. I do tell him firmly "NO biting. We do not bite. We use our mouths to kiss" when he bites but so far that isn't helping. Good luck! Sounds like a lot of us are in the same boat. It's challenging but I try really hard to keep my patience and like a PP said, try to see the world from his eyes. You don't want to be a pushover, but you have to keep their developmental capabilities in mind too.
  • My DD will be 22 months next week and she started the terrible 2 phase around 18 months.  However she really doesn't bite or kick or slap.  She's just very very sassy.  She will scream no no no no no.  The other day when dressing her I told her I was going to leave without her if she didn't let me put her shirt on and she said So very sassy.  Anyway my point is that's not to early to start the terrible twos.  I just really don't know how to tell you to deal with it because I'm stuck there to.  The word no means nothing to her.  I am trying time out but it hasn't been much of a success yet, she kind of thinks it's funny or something. 
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