I'm the father of a toddler boy. As the title says, his behavior is very poor. If something doesn't go his way, it devolves into pushing, screaming, tantrums and the like. I say wait a minute and if he doesn't get what he wants right away, it's pretty much a disaster. Honestly, this really sucks.

We live in a small condo and don't have much space. We have a large walk-in closet that I'm thinking of using as a timeout area. The question is, how? Should I close him in there for 15 minutes as punishment? There is ample light and the place has enough space for me to lay there fully stretched out.

How have you done this? What worked for you?


Ultimately, I want to teach him to be more patient and understanding that what he's doing is bad and harmful. And yes, I want him to stop doing these things.

  • 1
    Be incredibly calm yourself. Many children are incredibly good at picking up the mood of adults around them. Mar 3, 2018 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


If you really want him to stop doing these things, consider giving him more attention. (sorry, nobody said being a parent is easy)

Especially at that age they'll do anything that gets them attention. And it doesn't matter if it's positive or negative. Of crying makes you angry, you shout at him that's attention so he'll cry even more next time. If kicking and throwing things gets your attention that's what he will do.

Now if playing nice and quietly gets him all the attention he wants, Then he'll play nice and quietly. If while playing he starts to kick, scream or throw tantrums then just walk away. and ignore him. That way he'll learn that being nice is the only way to get your attention.

As for punishment, a minute for each year really is the max that you should even remotely consider. (so if he's 2, then 2 minutes). But my experience is that it's guaranteed to make his behaviour only worse unless you first give him a path to get more positive feedback.

  • Thanks, that changes my perspective on how to deal with this. He craves attention, but give it to him under the right circumstances.
    – gp443
    Mar 3, 2018 at 4:09

I answered to tantrums by not responding at all. Kind of like glancing at them and saying - what's this all about? casually, no screaming, then going back to whatever I was up to. I started this as young as I can recall, even before it looked like they sort of understood me. My girls never throw tantrums now and theyre still very young. When they were calm I would simply tell them throwing a fit does nothing and that would be the end of my speech. Simple was better.

It's different for everyone, but if you're lucky and this is like a recent development then there's probably still time to change both your behavior and your child's.

I firmly believe caving into the tantrum will only teach them that they can throw a fit to get what they want.

Also, side note, time out has never worked for me. We tried maybe twice and both times it seemed like it was just confusing to them. We maintained a relatively calm environment in general and managed to avoid tantrums from becoming a reality.

  • 1
    Not sure your first sentence makes sense. Batavia is saying to give them attention except when they have a tantrum. Which is pretty much what you are saying.
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 3, 2018 at 19:03
  • I guess I can see that but to me it doesn't read that way. I'll edit it anyhow
    – Kai Qing
    Mar 5, 2018 at 4:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .