When disciplined 2 year old throw things
08/07/2007 at 09:07 AM

My grandson throws things when he is told "no" or doesn't get his way about something.   Unfortunately, his parents are not on the same page for parenting.  He's also into throwing tantrums, will throw his food, plate, etc.  I've always used the "three strikes" theory.  After trying alternative discipline, and when he was about to throw his entire plate, I very gently slapped his hand.  He put the plate down, cried, but then came over and sat on my lap when let out of the highchair.  I'd love for part of this site to be dedicated to the predicaments of Grandparents of grandchildren who are not disciplined by their parents.  My six year old Grand-daughter has blown the light tap on my Grandson's hand into a major "beating".  It was no such thing, but exaggeration runs rampant with my Grand-daughter.  So, how would you (or your child's grandparents) handle the recurring throwing tantrums?

Hey Debi,


The way I would handle a child getting ready to throw their plate would be to take the plate away and tell them that dinner was over.  I am not a big believer in a slap on the hand or anywhere else.  I think that spanking or giving a slap on the hand just teaches children that big people can hit little people.  I do not think it is abuse, I just think it isn't a very affective parenting tool.  I think that natural consequences are a much better tool.  When kids grow up their bosses won't spank them or hit them when they don't act the way they are suppose to---so the lesson just isn't there for me.


What does everyone else think?






Problem is that he has done this many times in the past, and he knew what he was doing is wrong.  True, bosses don't spank their employees, but they also don't keep employees who throw temper tantrums or throw things.  Myself, and all my siblings, were raised with respect for our elders (no matter who: parents, aunts/uncles, teachers)  so IF we crossed the line of acceptable behavior we got a swat.  Needless to say, that line wasn't crossed very often.  And, none of us hit "little people" as a result of our seldom, but necessary under the circumstances, swat.  I can see that discipline is lacking in many families, just observe children in stores. 


Hey Debi


I agree with you that discipline is lacking in many families but discipline and spanking are not the same thing.  You can have plenty of discipline with not one swat and you can have very little discipline with many swats. 


I just think that spanking is not very effective---my daughter wasn't spanked and she was reared with respect for her elders and she still has respect for herself and others.  You missed my point about hitting little people---I am saying that a grown-up is the big person and a child is the little person.  I still think that all spanking teaches a child is that big people (adults) can hit little people (children).  My daughter gets punished if she crosses the line of acceptable behavior but not with a swat. 







For temper tantrums I would put the child in another room if possible and close the door behind you. Children throw them because they have an audience to show off to and putting them in another room will let them think about what they did and that no one is going to listen to that.


I agree with "hostmarti" on taking the plate away from him and to be consistent about it. Tell him exactly what your going to do and then act on it.


Debi, Debi, Debi…

People are going to start calling you "Swatting Debi", not because you swat, but, for the intensity of your defense of "swatting". I am sorry your grand daughter was miffed when the "swatting" tradition, you claim did not hurt you or your siblings, lead you to "swat" your grandchild. You should not let her reaction elicit a response from you - the adult.

Thanks to Marti for the comment supporting my ideas as stated in the “Spanking” post about how kids learn from the consequences of their actions, rather than from the actions like swatting and spanking. In the accomplishment of real parental goals, relative to spanking, the alternatives are as good or more effective and have the benefit of allowing children to develop internal values like control, integrity, and others.

I don’t believe all kids raised with physical punishment are bad or inferior: the sum of a person is more complicated. I do believe parenting is hard enough without instilling the potential to address problems with violence. Debi, if you think you don’t do that, what exactly were you trying to accomplish by hitting you grandson? He sees your physical control over him, as demonstrated by your ability to hit him for punishment. I understand you believe you are teaching him to obey, and you are. He will obey you when you are there to punish him. He questions is, will he follow the rules when you aren’t?

You should be helping him learn to internalize the behaviors, and develop his own controls. I have never seen a child do something wrong, then seek support from a parent who spanks them for failed behavior.

I assume you are a great person, and a loving grand mother, and I hope you will speak to your grandson's mother with wisdom and patience in order to have peace and agreement in your family.

DaMoKi Bob



Until there is more discipline in their household we will not babysit.  Timeouts are a joke, I have a nephew who is great proof of that.....I have talked with a CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONAL and showed her what is said on this website.  She said that there is no absolute method for raising children, what works for one will not work for another.  But she said there are no cases of long-lasting mental trauma from a GENTLE swat.  You are also saying "spanking",  that is quite different from a swat.  A spanking is a repeated, usually hard, hitting.  As my husband has said, the GENTLE swat wouldn't even have stunned a fly.  It was the shock of my grandson not getting away with his horrible behavior that was the most traumatic for him.  And, as far as my grand-daughter, she's become quite the drama queen and exaggerator.........which is why she's experiencing almost daily problems when interacting with others in school or other social settings.  And, yes, when all else fails I believe a GENTLE SWAT becomes necessary.  BTW, no problems the following day, not a bit of temper tantrum......



There are a few things I am convinced of after reading your comments in this and other posts:

1) You believe you are right, and no matter how many times others (and there have been lots) gently tell you hitting in any manner to discipline a child, be it spank or swat, is not the last choice, it is no choice, and you simply ignore it, dispute it, or  make excuses and blame members of your family.

2) You are not engaged in this posting and other postings to seek advice, but, to verify your thinking and support your position, while vilifying those who disagree. In fact, I wonder why you are still posting since you went to, as described by you, a 'child development professional' with all of our bad advice. Why even bother? Unless you just want to try to prove us wrong(?) and yourself right.

3) Regarding your family, you are not telling the whole story. No matter how thin you slice it, there are still two sides. But, to you there is only one... yours. Family relationships are virtually never one sided, and it is generally not a right or wrong issue (like physical violence is).

Do you have a problem with your family? Apparently. Why did you feel the need to throw your Nephew under the bus? I also believe not sitting until their household agrees with your concepts is a great idea.

I am going to make one last attempt to offer advice, "You cannot teach someone something they think they already know." If you don't understand and accept that, I give up.

DaMoKi Bob


Hi Marti-
I agree about taking the plate away and saying dinner is over....but what if they didn't eat enough? I always face the dilemma of taking the plate away and then worrying that my child didn't eat enough?  How do you handle that situation?


Hey jsf,


I wouldn't worry about that, if they were that hungry they wouldn't be throwing their plates, they would be eating their food.  I don't think it would take many times of taking the plate away before that behavior would stop.






Hi there-
Not to harp on the subject.....so do you keep your child sitting at the table until everyone is finished or do you let them down?  I just feel like she wants to get down and play, so then she is winning in that case????  When we have taken her plate away, she doesn't even seem to care!



Spanking definitely teaches children that big people can hit little people when little people anger or displease them.  It also teaches disrespect and fear.  Research shows that children who are disciplined with spanking rather than through positive discipline, including natural consequences and teaching alternative behavior, are actually more rather than less compliant.

What also needs to be mentioned is that this child is 2 years old.  Two year olds do not know right from wrong, and throwing things and tantruming are normal toddler behaviors.  Prevention is a big word here, along with providing natural consequences, ignoring tantruming, and teaching alternative, appropriate behaviors.


Don't worry about it!  Unless a child has a diagnoses eating disorder, children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full.  If the child is two, he or she may throw food or a plate "just to see what happens."  It's a toddler stage.  I'd replace the food initially, and stop the child's hand when he or she is about to throw something, saying, "Don't throw, eat your _____."  If the child continued after a couple of attempts, I'd assume the child was not hungry and remove the plate and food, saying "Dinner is over."   The child may be hungry later on, and can be given a snack before bedtime or midafternoon, as would probably be the case anyway.  But don't worry about a child not eating enough at every meal. 


Debi, people do get absolutely nuts about physical discipline.  The body was designed so that the brain chooses to avoid pain, but the brain also does not learn as well when anxiety about pain is present.

And, there is a difference between what you did, which was probably more like tapping the part of the body that was involved in mis-behavior, and slapping, hitting, or spanking. 

I do believe in spanking (and I can take the heat), but I follow these guidelines.

1.  The child has to be capable of walking.

2.  The child has to be one that I am legally responsible for rearing. (that means my child, adopted or bio, not step or grand)

3.  The offense has to be one that puts someone in danger of harm.

4.  I am not angry.

If the situation meets all 4 of these guidelines, then I will consider spanking as an attention getter, but spanking itself really doesn't teach. 

And I repeat, Debi, what you did was a very mild attention-getting device.

As for the drama queen--I would send her a lovely note that says how sorry I am that I won't be seeing her at whatever upcoming fun function I am planning for the rest of the grandkids.  But then, I'm a bit of a snot, myself


I just read over things again.  I have a theory about tantrums, too.  But I don't think it applies very well to Debi's situation, because it sounds like the parents have been teaching the poor little tyke that throwing tantrums is the best way to get what you want or need. 

I would greet the little feller with a lot of enthusiasm, make sure he's fed, hydrated, rested, and been to the bathroom, then I'd tell him if he needs something, we have a new game.   I am a genie.   He has to come up close,  say very softly, "Grandma, I would like a drink, please.  ABRACADABRA"  (notice there are two magic words in a row) if he wants a drink.  "Grandma, I need to go potty, please, ABRACADABRA" if he needs to go potty.  He can say ABRACADABRA loud, but the rest must be in a quiet, quiet voice.  "Grandma, it is my turn to play with the robot and Julie won't share, please,  ABRACADABRA."   Then, if his request is reasonable, grant it. 

I think humor and play help a lot with relationships with Grandchildren.  I also think most tantrums happen because of what I call Kool-Aid deficiency, the child is dehydrated or has low blood sugar or is tired.


Last nite I took a stuffed toy away from my grandson after he was teasing a puppy with it and lifting the puppy off the ground while it had the toy in its mouth. After I took the toy, he picked up at toy metal car and threw it right at my head. I slapped his arm with my fingertips and told him not to throw things. He went crying over to his grandmother on the mother's side of the family who was also there. I left the house with the mother angry at me.
The bottom line, children need discipline. If he were in my care all the time, I would patiently talk to him which his mother and others do not do. They let him be wild. I left the house telling them that throwing dangerous objects is completely unacceptable behavior. Talking and time outs are best. My parents would slap my hand for things like this. In any case, children need some kind of consequence.


Debi - Even if you do not have the same philosophy as me and the others about hitting people, your daughter does. If you "swatted" your children that was your choice to make, but you can't make that choice for your daughter; it's not your right. We can argue all day whether GENTLY SWATTING is right or wrong, but it boils down to - You are not the mother of this child and you should respect the parents method of discipline -


There needs to be consistency. All parties need to be on the same page when disciplining this child or you will continue to have problems. I personally don't see a problem w/ a gentle swat on the hand in a more serious situation, but I wldn't make a habit of it. I do agree, though, that you need to respect the parents' wishes when it comes to disciplining their child. Times have changed, and there are new methods that prove to be effective if administed properly. I think that when a child acts out, whether it be w/ tamtrums, throwing objects, whatever, they are looking for attention. You have to remain firm and let the child know that no means no. There's no giving in. If your grandchild is a thrower, take things away to prevent a harmful situation from occuring. Also, try to distract you grandchild w/ things of interest. If eating is the problem, take the food away right away. Don't push the issue. Your grandchild won't starve. If you want a happier child, ease up a little, and pick your battles. Try to make this a rewarding time focusing on the positive things and less on the negative things. Hope this helps.


Jim, please tell us how you disciplined your children.


Nice tactic Jim. That just shows you know only your one sided opinion based on something you read on a parenting website. Your opinions are based on articles and anger rather than personal experience as a parent. Good luck with everything.


Jim, so sorry that the truth hurts.


Jim, you yourself are attacking parents every time you post. It seems we are all guity of bad parenting except you. But of course, you have no experience of being a parent. Don't give us all the same label as your parents!