Defiant toddler's last weapon: spitting. What to do?
Our two-year-old has been going through some rough patches where everything is "no" and "not like" and yet things she does not want or like cause her to have hysterical, purple-faced, foot-stomping melt downs. There has also been some losing of temper on both sides, and our ever so clever child has always found a new way to break the rules. But when she starts to really misbehave, she hits us or spits. Granted, this weekend we also took her pacifier away, so we have been rather mean, but for the most part she does not miss it that much, and this spitting thing seems unrelated. Especially the spitting is her last resource, something she can do when every other mischief is not available. She did a bit of spitting earlier, but we thought she got over that when we were ignoring it. I guess we stopped ignoring it and now it's her weapon.
Ideas what would work? Should we ignore it again? Just employ time outs consistently? Talk about our emotions?
Our same-aged child is not spitting at the moment, but everything else applies. Anything that seems to be purely for acting-out / attention-getting I've been lumping in the "ignore" bucket - where my "ignore" may take the form of:
- I try not to get angry or upset because that's letting her get a reaction. I sometimes take time to settle myself, tell myself a joke or something (because really most 2-year-old behavior can easily be transformed to either funny or cute with a different lens on - even spitting and turning blue)
- I tell her where or how she can do said activity (Kicking? That's for balls! Spitting? That's for toothpaste! Shouting? That's outside! Tantrum-ing? That she can do in her room, with the door closed if she really wants to make noise.) I may physically start her doing that okay activity.
- If someone else has been physically hurt or some damage was done, I talk about it and direct her attention to what happened. If another person's involved, I'll ask her to observe their emotion and apologize.
I'd love to hear others' ideas, and what's working for you, Katja!