Normal or am I being to lenient?

My 2.5 year old has started whining/crying frequently. It’s not a specific time of day sometimes in the morning, even after a good night of sleep, sometimes afternoon. It seems like for no reason. She is very verbal- when I ask her what is wrong she just cries more and harder. While I plan on homeschooling her- in addition to at home “tot school” LOW- reading, basic math very limited - right now she goes to a Spanish immersion school two days a week for three hours. It’s more of a playgroup in Spanish (which I don’t speak- only DH so I want her to get lots of exposure). She keeps coming home with tales of Mis-deeds. Yesterday she told me she pushed her teacher. Shocked - I called the school not only was that not true the other stories of not sharing and taking things from others was not true. She is well behaved at school, shares and helps clean up the toys.

Her little sister (1 next week) is now very active and into everything her sister does. So sharing at home has been an issue. But overall I think she is doing well with her sister.

But this crying/whining seems out of control. I’ve tried talking to her about using her nice voice. I’ve tried not responding, but I usually break down because she seems so upset.

She is also getting into the “no” to everything stage and talking back. I’ve tried time-outs but I don’t feel that is effective. I’ve tried giving up privileges ( I let her play ipad 15-20 mins of educational games a few days a week- which she hasn’t done in weeks because of not listening. I try to give her two options if we are doing things. But that doesn’t always work. Sometime I feel like I’m negotiating - I know I shouldn’t but trying to care her and her sister who has chronic health issues and super needy- is very challenging.

What should I do? What am I doing wrong? Sometimes I feel like I’m raising a brat. It’s hard because my husband works long hours - so it’s often all me.

Thank you for any advice you can provide.

(((Hugs))) I suspect that her sister’s health issues could be exacerbating a fairly normal 2 yo stage. Maybe it’s her way of trying to get more attention, or maybe she sees it works sometimes (you said you feel like sometimes you negotiate)–kids are notorious gamblers & will whine even if it only works occasionally!

I would try to be purposeful in giving her positive attention during the day (and if you feel you do give her needy sister more attention–see if there’s any way to even that a bit). At the same time, I would try your best NOT to respond when she whines–especially since she’s so verbal. For example, when she does this:

I’d matter-of-factly say, “When you are ready to use your words, come find me.”

When she tells tales of dastardly deeds she “does” at school, I would respond nonchalantly again. I have a memory that when I was 3, one time I told my mom I got to hold the flag at nursery school. She responded so enthusiastically, I started telling her that I got to hold the flag every day, LOL! I just wanted that feedback. Some kids like negative feedback if it’s enthusiastic–another part of what makes me suspect she is competing with her sister for any attention she can get (not that you aren’t giving her attention, but that in her mind, she perceives a need for more, and her tales get that for her).

Maybe you can make her your special helper with her sister–are there little things she could help you carry, or small ways she could be involved in her care? Or a helper in the kitchen (tearing up the lettuce for a salad, putting out spoons or napkins for the dinner table, wiping cupboard doors…)

Try to create ways she can be positively involved and get feedback for doing positive things.

When I started homeschooling my oldest, I found it helped if I gave my youngest some snuggle time with a story first each day.

See what you can do to get to the root of her behavior and direct her towards more positive actions and attitudes.

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Two and a half is a very whiny stage. I think you just have to keep not allowing it, and she will grow out of it. My standard response is: "I am sorry, but I do not speak whine. When you are ready to speak respectfully to Mommy I will be happy to listen."
For the times it continues, I will usually send them to another room until the whining is done.
I have also found that this is an age where we have to really discuss the difference between reality and imagination. Maybe she wanted to push her teacher, so she told you she did. Mine have a really difficult time telling the difference between what “really” happened and what happened in their own mind.