General chatter - Moms who experienced/experiencing toddler age...?

06-24-2008, 01:55 AM
My DD just turned 2.5 yrs old and there is one thing she worries me. When she's told not to do something or something like that, (for example, not to pick her nose) she gets very frustrated and shows it by either hitting herself, pulling her hair really hard, or biting her hand and grunts very loud. This scares me and feel like it's my fault because I had a very stressful pregnancy and feel like I caused this. I asked her daycare teacher and she said that her step-son does that too. He's little bit older than my DD. She said this is "normal" for their age because they haven't full learned how to communicate yet and this is one of the way to show their emotion. I'm still worried, though... I try to talk to her when she does it, but sometimes it's hard to get her attention because she's grunting and so into "hurting" herself. Do you ladies have any suggestions or advice? Is it really normal and just a phase...?

Thank you!

06-24-2008, 03:47 AM
Hi! I teach special education pre-k, and I wouldn't freak out too much. Your kiddo's teacher sounds about right. I don't know many 2 year olds that respond well to "talks", but I don't know your little girl and it may work for her. Plus, the talking about about feelings and what are nice/not nice things to do will help her vocabulary. May I suggest redirection? Try diverting her attention to something else, like a book, coloring, music, letting her help you with chores,etc. Maybe some other way of expressing her irritation--like saying certain "angry" words. (My mom says when I was little and got mad, I'd stomp around the house and say "dot dot dot" over and over, lol)
Kids that young do sometimes have a hard time expressing what is bothering them, and 2 year olds are infamous for trying to assert their independence.
How well does your daughter talk? Does she have a pretty good vocabulary who just happens to grunt when she's mad? Does she leave bruises/bite marks on herself? Does she ever try to hurt others?
Sorry for all the questions, lol! As you can tell, little ones interest me. I'm currently working on my Master's in Early Childhood Education with a Focus on Children With Disabilities.
Good luck!

06-24-2008, 03:59 AM
when you tell her do not to do something try distracting her with something else before she starts the personal attack..

Many kids do it.. it justb a form of frustration and if you make a big deal out of it you are giving them the attention they want by doing it and will keep doing it since you attention is reward.. ignore it or distract her from doing it .. it is a communication thing.. at that age they want the world to be theres for the stomping lol.. dont worry too much.. its just one of those crappy stages

06-24-2008, 04:48 AM
Normal, normal, normal. I was a human development major, and this was something covered in several classes...toddlers without full ability to express themselves vocally will often take that frustration out physically. I've seen estimates that up to 20% of kids do this at one point or another. It's developmentally appropriate for them to do so, and the body is self-protecting, so it is very unlikely she'll be able to do any damage to herself at all..the pain will stop her before an injury will.

If she always requires some sort of pain to be soothed, or if she does one thing repetitively and does not interact with you at all, you might take her into a pediatrician for evaluation, but otherwise, this is a completely normal developmental stage. It's a more alarming (for the parent to watch) version of thumb-sucking...both are self-soothing behaviors that help kids get out feelings they don't have the words to express.

Stressful pregnancy has nothing to do with it! You can read more, from Dr. and the folks at BabyZone, here:,1511,1769,00.html

06-24-2008, 07:26 AM
I am a mom of 3 adult children,however I run an inhome daycare and have for the past 20yrs. I currently keep 3 children all age 2. What your seeing is 2 its hard to communicate your feelings and this is her way. I would try to not draw to much attention to the behavior because they will often do things just for the attention. I would try getting her attention elsewhere like a book or a tv show. Has she tried coloring when she is angry?? Who knows you might have real artist on your hands!!
This post got my attention when you said biting her hand. My brother who is now 45 use to do it almost daily..even in his teen years. I think it just became a habit with him.
good luck and let us know how it going with her.
Oh one more thing...enjoy every minute with her...they grow up to fast!! My youngest just graduated from high school :O(.

06-24-2008, 08:30 AM
Mom of two boys (8 and 5) -- just chiming in with the rest -- normal, normal, normal :)

At that age (and a few past that :dizzy:) kids think they are the center of the universe and the world revolves around them :D. So, you won't allow her to do what she wanted, she has already figured out what she can do to get your attention/upset you and something that may sooth her as well. Just remember to ignore/redirect and you'll be fine!! Ten years from now you'll laugh about this -- really!! :hug:

06-24-2008, 09:58 AM
It's normal.....I have 3 kids and all 3 have done it (my 23 month old is starting...blah). I just ignore them when they start doing it. It seems to be where they are frustrated and upset that they can't communicate then it turns into an attention getter if they see you react to it.

When my first started to do it I freaked out and thought something was wrong with him too :)

06-24-2008, 05:11 PM
Thanks for your advice. Now I know what to do with her when she does it again. She loves, loves, and loves books, so I will be using them from now on.

Chickybird, to answer your questions- She's very good with her vocabulary and have no problem communicating with us usually. She repeats what we say and adopts to what she wants to say in no time, either. It's just when she's upset that she grunts. She doesn't bite herself or hit herself hard enough to leave marks or bruises on her. She also doesn't hurt others. She never gets into a fight with kids at the daycare. :)

Again, thanks for your inputs and advices.

06-25-2008, 12:24 AM
She sounds like a very verbal, engaging little girl:) I'm glad this thread is here. It's nice to get tips from so many awesome parents/caregivers! Good luck!

06-25-2008, 09:42 AM
My daughter would throw a temper tantrum (throw herself down, kick and scream)... that's when I would tell her when she calms down to come and talk with me - then walk out of the room. She would see she wasn't getting the attention, then would calm down within a couple of minutes then come and talk.

My son was different - he would bang his head, scratch himself, pinch his cheeks etc He's 6 and still does the self abuse thing but very rarely now. He's learning now that instead of hurting himself, he's better off coming to talk to me and we could work things out like a big boy. He's now able to express his feelings more verbally.