Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Behavior switch


Hopefully you can help me with this..
 My son is just over 2 years old, for the first few years of his life it was me, him and my husband in the same house. A few months ago we moved a few cities away and ever since then he has been a night mare.
  He has always been very good, a little wild, but would listen if asked to do something. He was even very good about time out, I would ask him to go sit and he would immediately go sit in his spot and be silent until told to get up.
  Now he refuses time out, he will full on ignore anything you say to him.. We will be in our yard and I will tell him to come back away from the street and he will look at me and continue walking.
 He was also potty trained and now will not go unless I force him to, although if we go out (to eat or to the grocery store) the second we walk in the door, he is yelling potty!! until my husband or myself takes him, but he never goes, we walk him to the bathroom and he refuses to sit on the toilet.
  What bothers me is that he knows he is doing wrong, he will throw a ball or some object in the house and will instantly turn to one of us and say "No, we dont do that" so he knows very good and well what he should and shouldn't do.
  I just do not understand why all of a sudden he is acting out so badly, I know the move had something to do with it but we have kept up his normal rules and schedule and everyday he will test us more and more and it is getting rather hard to deal with on a daily basis, but we dont like having him be introuble all day every day and we dont know what else to do with him.

Hi Amber,
The move may have something to do with it. However, it is more likely that he has just turned 2 and this is a normal phase of his development as he learns to push the boundaries and test authority. It happens at different times between ages 2 and 4.
It may also be that things that used to work with him like the time out etc need some tweaking and also look at discipline based on his personality.  
The important thing to do is to make a list of all the things he is doing at the moment that you don't like and then pick one or two at the most to focus on.  
You do not want to spend all day just seeing the bad things he is doing and pointing them out to him because that will lose it's effect and he won't listen at all. So if you just choose two behaviours to work on, they should take about a week to change, then you will have energy to deal with the other behaviours, one or two at a time.
Depending on his personality you may want to consider pointing out the positives when he does something you approve of, say 'I noticed you did ....... that was lovely to see or it made me happy".
Children learn quickly and as you pointed out he already knows that he is doing something he shouldn't be but he does it anyway.  
If you just ignore some things they may even go away on their own as it could be attention seeking behaviour too.  
You will need to be really specific about the disclipine you choose too, so make sure it fits in with the behaviour you want to change.  You could consider using reward systems too but then you are starting a trend or expectation system from him that will go on for a few years.

If you are interested in learning more about his personality and discipline strategies for a particular personality type/s please look at my blog or buy the preschooler personality kit at and I can organise to send you a kit via email.

Kind regards


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Eleanor Formaggio


I can answer questions where practical advice is sought in relation to behaviour issues of 2-10 year olds. I specifically look at the influence of personality in a child's behaviour and tailor advice to suit the individual child and parent. This is useful since not all children are the same. I can suggest techniques for tantrums, child aggression and sibling rivalry and adapting to change.


I am a counsellor and child behaviour consultant based in Sydney, Australia and mum to three boys ages 12,10 and 6. I have been involved in setting up and facilitating community support groups for new mothers and run parenting workshops so parents can better understand their children's behaviour. I have spent alot of time observing personality differences in children and understanding how these differences can be used to make parenting easier. I developed the Early Childhood Personality Rating Scale for identifying child personality types in children as young as two. I am the founder of Parent with Potential and developed the Prechooler Personality Kit and READ personality system for primary aged children. More info can be found at

Book: In this Present Moment: Quality Time Ideas for busy parents.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Applied Social Science (Counselling).

Past/Present Clients
Parents of 2-8 year olds. Mothers with Postnatal Depression or anxiety attending a support group or seeking individual counselling or advice in relation to their child's behaviour.

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