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06 Aug 2008

2 year old - temper
I am a single parent of a 2 year old daughter. I work hard to provide for my child and give her a good life. I must admit that she is spoilt but I also discipline her, and many people has complemented me on her good manners. Her father and I are no longer in a relationship. We used live together but the relationship was very tumultous and we used to argue and fight everyday to the point where we decided to call it quits and I moved out. However I take blame for allowing my child to witness the arguments and also to see my crying all the child. I now realise that parents really can be so absent minded and we say that we do things in the best interest of our children but yet we subject them to adult behaviour. The problem which started about 2 months ago is that she is now showing signs of having a temper, and not normal 2 year old temper tantrums. She gets so angry to the point where she pulls at her own hair, and I cannot calm her down. Her father has a bad temper and a very short fuse. The only time she is okay and never shows any signs of the temper is when she is with her dad. He even doubted me at one stage until his mom confirmed her temper. It seems like she is lashing out on me for things that happened. Can this occur at her age. Her dad and I have put our differences aside and decided to work together to repair what we have initially caused, but I' m afraid that we have caused irreparable damage. I will be taking her to a child psychologist and her dad and I will be present. Could it be that she is angry at me and her father for uprooting her life? Is she old enough to understand these things at her age?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

I'm not sure how one spoils a child and "also" disciplines them. This usually means that you alternaively try to discipline them and then spoil them ( which usually encourages bad behaviours ).
Of course a child shrink could help assess the situation and advise on detailed managment of it. For yourself, analyze the situations in which she becomes so angry --- what do they have in common ? What are the temper spats ABOUT ? 2 seems a bit young for sophisticated thinking, but she may well, somehow, have come to associate you as responsible for the absence of her dad, and to resent that. Its not that she "understands" the situation but rather that she has some simplistic impression of what has happened. He should help by explaining in simple terms that there are good grown-up reasons for you two being apart, but that this is neither her fault nor yours.
You are both being mature and sensible in agreeing to work together for the sake of the child, and to see the child psychologist together. I very strongly doubt that any "damage" is irreversible or irreparable. Don't get guilty, as guilt tends to drive one into unhelpful responses.
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