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2 Year Old Discipline


aggressive 2 year old

What techniques work best for handling 2yr olds when they act out (hit, smack, push). Is saying "we do not hit" and putting him in timeout the best approach? We do this and he is still relentless

Gordonian Wisdom #8

“The reason 2 years old are so cute is because nobody would love them if they weren’t.”

see Gordonian Wisdom

Addressing an aggressive, pushy 2 year old will take:

(1) Consistent “Time outs”
(2) Teaching the concept of being Gentle
(3) Persistence

Time out

When you put your son in time out does he stay? If you are forced to stand over him or put him back in time out repetitively, “time out” will not work. If he gets out of time out, try buckling him in. When he first is sent to time out begin with him unrestrained. If he gets out of time out, restrain him with a belt in a chair or using a stroller with buckle as your “time out” spot.

After “time out” he needs to demonstrate he understands why he got in trouble and show a submissive attitude. This varies on the verbal ability of the two year old. A verbal 2 year old should be able to tell you why he was sent to time out, while other 2 year olds may only nod understanding. After discussing the reason for the time out, tell him you expect better. “I love you so much that I want to grow up to be a good boy. Good boys do not hit (or whatever offense). Go show me your best behavior”

for more see freaking out when corrected

Teaching “Gentle”

Young children often need to learn how to be “gentle” with others. Pets, stuffed animals, and baby dolls are a great way to learn how to be “soft” or “nice”. Try taking him to a petting zoo and teach him to hold and pet the animals in a gentle manner. Talk about being “nice”, “soft” or “gentle” when he sees a baby or animals. Read books about animals or babies and discuss the same topic. If he sees someone hurt another weather in person, on TV or in a book ask him questions. Should people hit others? Do you hurt other people?


Persistence is the key. You must be more persistent that he. Changes in his behavior will not happen quickly. Aggressive behavior often occurs in toddlers who are slower to talk. These children often have few ways to express their emotions and quickly become frustrated. If you are super frustrated with him, it is good parenting to send him to his room for 20 minutes to allow you to calm down. Given persistence, time, (many understanding friends) and improved verbal abilities he will learn appropriate behaviors.


Written April 2012 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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