What to do when my 2 year old is blatantly defiant?


Behavior question: what is the appropriate response/ discipline (?) for 2 yo who blatantly defies, e.g. the water needs to stay in the tub. I say, "I know you're having fun, but it's dangerous" Kid looks at you and takes a big cup of water and throws it out of the tub. Or: "Please stop screaming, we're inside and we use our inside voice. Looks at you and screeches even louder then laughs. HELP ! I have many more examples.


Well it feels defiant, but it's actually her mastering your limit. Here's what I mean: children between 1-2.75 are amazing scientists, constantly proving and disproving hypotheses about their world and all the amazing things around them. They are also fascinated by cause and effect. Your response to her action creates curiosity and fascination so she repeats it just like she repeats books, tv shows, movies. They repeat until they master it. In this case her mastery is to follow your rule. So the task at hand is to respond exactly the same each time. To use the bath water example when she dumps the water outside, you pull her out of the tub. You can do it the first time or the second time, but make sure it's the same response. She will cry and tantrum, but her experiment will have a clear conclusion. When mommy says stop and I repeat what she told me to stop, then she pulls me from fun. Time outs and consequences are not as effective in this age group. Give it a go...