Disciplining Your Toddler on Big Days

Hi guys. Happy Halloween! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my poll about my daughter Molly today. She had a really really rough morning. Talking back, hitting, demanding things, screaming – for long periods of time, etc… It was honestly probably one of her worst days ever.  That might be shocking if you only know the fun Molly you see on social media! Rarely do I (or any parents) post the bad stuff. When your kid is acting up, the last thing you think to do is grab your phone! And even if you did, it’s not really something you want the world to see! And I get it. She’s two! I know she will have these days and I can handle that. I just don’t know what to do about it on big days like today – meaning it being Halloween.
Molly has been going through a phase of “needing” everything. We try to teach her the difference between “want” and “need” but she doesn’t get it just yet. “I need to watch Moana!” She’ll repeat it over and over and start crying until it turns into either a full blown meltdown, or until we give in and put the movie on. Can other parents relate? How do you handle that?


My other question, the one you may have seen on my Instagram, should we let her trick or treat tonight? Before you answer, I need to stress just how bad she was this morning. It got the point, after several hours, where I told her she was staying home. “No trick or treating for you!” I said. I really don’t want to reward bad behavior, but at the same time, we’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time! This would be her first year trick or treating and Kevin & I have really been excited about taking her. What would you do in my situation? As much as we’d love to take her, she needs to experience consequences to her actions right? I’m truly at a loss here.
I know I’m opening this up to a wide variety of responses, and probably some critiques, and I’m good with that right now. I want my blog to be a forum for moms (and dads) to speak openly and respectfully. So please… sound off! I try to blog about things I can give advice on but today I need all of YOUR advice! Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great Halloween!
And because I am always trying to see the light on the harder days, I’m grateful that this guy is super smiley today! This pic below is one of my faves 🙂


And I’ll link mine, Riley’s and Molly’s outfit details below the photos. I know we’re not exactly super stylish in them (this is more of my everyday look these days). Well, I should say that I’m not. Riley and Molly totally are! Plus my joggers are only $39 and just super comfy. I think they would make a great gift for someone with the holidays coming up. I always give pajamas as gifts during holidays. And I mean, how CUTE are Molly’s and Riley’s matching overalls?!?! Even though she had a challenging day I still love her to pieces (duh) and can appreciate how dang cute she is.

And for those who asked in my Instagram stories about the faux eucalyptus on my fireplace mantle, I’ll link that here as well since I bought it online. It just adds a little something extra to the top of the fireplace during the fall.

Luv you guys. xoxo

316 Thoughts

316 thoughts on “Disciplining Your Toddler on Big Days

  1. Did you tell Molly that she can’t go trick or treating if she doesn’t act well? Because if you said it, stick to your guns! But if you didn’t say that, I’d let her go but withhold the candy as a reward for good behavior! Hope this helps! Love- a foster, adoptive, and biological momma!

      1. Just express to her how you feel about today, and maybe say sorry you were rash saying there will be no trick or treating… and that you actually want to go and do that with her regardless what happened earlier…
        Everyone one of us had bad bad days, just accept her for who she was, in her worst, without really having to punish or reward, it was what it was
        Life is about spending time together, sometimes in worst moments and others in good, I think if you look at Halloween not as reward or punishment but as means to share time together and bond, be together, it’ll send a better life lesson than being good or bad, and that you love her in whatever state and that bad days don’t last, they’re for a moment

        1. Wow. This is incredible advice. And great outlook. I second it. And as much as I think discipline is needed for our kids, at times we give Grace too and just take a bad day for what it is- a one bad day. Plus our kids can learn “I’m sorry” I’m times like this as well when we set the example. “Mommy is sorry, I said something I didn’t mean.”
          Whatever you decide is best for your fam tho Ali!! Love this healthy discussion !

          1. This advice is spot on! Very well said. I am a mom of 3 and grandmother of 3!
            Don’t take Halloween away.
            We all have bad days.
            She is 2!!!

          2. Wonderful advice! The book “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn was life-changing for me and I really recommend it to anyone with toddlers or older children as it helps put everything in perspective and gives very concrete advice on how to approach struggles!

        2. Read Janet Lansbury. ❤️❤️ It helped me a ton with my 3 year olds challenging moments. Knowing this age kids are very impulsive and don’t want to make us upset or hit. She gave me some great phrases for when my son was hitting a lot.

          1. Agreed! Janet Landsbury’s has WONDERFUL advice for toddlers. Read her book and then listen to her (concise!) podcasts. At this age, she can’t control her emotions, actions, and impulses. I do not think this kind of punishment is fair or logical when taking this into account.

          2. I was also going to suggest Janet Lansbury. She helps explain a toddler’s behavior in a way that allows us as adults to better understand the why behind the actions and gives great phrases to use. She also talks about how punishment should always match the situation. In this example, trick-or-treating was unrelated to her actions earlier in the day and if you had taken it away she wouldn’t have connected the two. If you were out trick-or-treating and she was acting up then leaving early would match the situation. Glad you pose these types of questions and there is a place for parents to discuss with each other! Hope you all enjoyed your first Halloween trick-or-treating!

          3. Janet Lansbury is one of the best, and her advice is so helpful and calming, and has been transformative for our parenting style (our three boys are 4, 2, and 6 months). In the same family is Adele Faber’s work (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk). Some parts are outdated, but it helps give you words and strategies for those tough moments. Once you get into that genre of positive psychology, it’s hard to stop!

          4. I wouldn’t take Halloween because it only happens once a year. However, weekend activities would be curtailed with a babysitter and the rest of the family going out. You go to the market on weekends. Maybe take this away. Halloween means so much to a child! You and Kevin are wonderful parents. Don’t be afraid to discipline.

        3. I agree! She’s only two- they call it terrible twos for a reason! I don’t think she’s old enough for consequences yet- can she even comprehend that at such a young age? Also, she has a newborn in the house which can be frustrating for a little one too- I hope it makes you feel better to know that all of our 2 year olds acted the same way- it’s a phase. Oh and she’s too cute to punish 😉 good luck mama!

      2. If you told her she can’t go- I agree- stick to it. Two is difficult but she has to learn your word is your word. Maybe if she has two good days you can offer a small candy reward and say that good behavior gets rewarded. It’s so hard to follow through but it is worth it!! Stay strong Mama- you are doing amazing!

        1. Halloween is past now and I’m wondering what you did?
          I will also suggest that in the future, only take away privileges that affect her, not everyone around her. I also think at age 2, it needs to be something immediate, not in the future as she has no real concept of time. If x happened in the morning and you take away something that night, she’s not going to understand what she did or why.
          Only say what you truly will do. If you’re not willing to take away truck or treating or whatever, don’t say it….if you say it, you have to follow through. (Although i do think sometimes it’s ok to say you’re wrong, you made a mistake etc—kids need to know their parents are human too but don’t make a habit of it)
          If she’s doing, for example, 5 things that you want to change, focus on one or two at one time, not all 5. That’s too frustrating to her and ultimately, you.
          Parenting IS challenging and there are good days and bad. Give yourself grace—you’re learning too and just recognizing that you want something to be different shows that you’re a good mom!
          I know you’ve heard it before and will hear it again, but enjoy this time—it goes by in a blink and before you know it you will have grown kids and wish you could go back. Hang in there, you’ve got this!

      3. Ali toddlers do not remember or understand at this age especially over certain time period. Molly is probably forgotten all about your statement today. I’ve been a mom for 37 years and I can tell you that making a discipline happen in the moment is the best way. When it stretches too far out it has no reference and loses its power. Go trick-or-treating and enjoy your evening with your child. When she acts out again do something in the moment and she will understand that there is an immediate consequences for her actions. A long-term consequences at this age according to all Drs Has NO meaning. XO Sally

        1. I have to agree with Sally. Small children need “natural” consequences right after the behavior, otherwise when it’s hours later, they don’t make the connection between their behavior and not going trick or treating. Also, something that may help in those moments when she’s acting out is to try and mirror the emotion of what you think she’s feeling. Frustration, sadness, anger, fatigue… whatever it is. If you mirror that, it will help her understand her own feelings and possibly de-escalte the looming meltdown! As for sticking to your word, that is huge and you do need to follow through. She’s still young but get into the habit now so it’s easier when she’s a teenager! LOL! Good luck!

          1. I’m with Sally. ..your words took place hours ago. I’m a mom since 1984 and now a Gamma. I do agree to uphold your words, but…..at 2…….take her to a few homes, 2 pieces of candy, ha…and as she gets older I will stress the importance of what you say, goes! Tonite…have a bit of fun, the wind, the excitement, wanting Mom’s attention now with Riley, she’s human too. I’ll begin to ramble, as my dear g’son woke me at 4:30a.m. Have fun!

        2. I completely agree! Ages 2-4 are so tough bc the tantrums seem to come daily, but the only way to handle it is in the moment with an immediate and direct consequence. Children that age can’t remember and connect future consequences, which is also part of why they act so impulsively. I’ve been through this phase 3 times now, so I can speak from experience.

          Good luck.

        3. I completely agree with this. I have 4 and 2 year old boys and I strongly believe that the only form of discipline needs to happen immediately or it’s forgotten. I would try to make fun family memories tonight and if she has any problems throughout trick or treating you can deal with that then 🙂

          Takes a great mom to ask for advice, we’re in this together!!!

        4. Agree with this. She will not remember/be able to connect her behavior from the first part of the day with no trick or treating in the evening. I would still take her and have fun. Just no candy if not acting appropriately 😉 With my 2 year old, I try to redirect often. I do put him in time out as well for worse offenses. It seems to get the point across although not always perfectly. Discipline is tough at this age!

      4. New word in our house….consequences. It has helped us teach our little one you do this, that will happen. You dont listen, you dont get to play etc. Helps us stick to our guns…even on big days. She is making the choice, we just have to be the ones to implement. #toughlove Hang in there Mama, no matter what you choose, as long as you are good with it, thats all that matters xo

      5. Explaining to her as well as to why you did and say things. Even if we adults think they are too young to understand but we have to start somewhere. One thing I hated when I was being disciplined was I never knew what’s the reason for my punishment or time-outs. I was never told how they were feeling and which part of my behavior or actions upset them. I hated when they just say “because I said no”. Magda Gerber explains this really well that we can always explain things to our child even at such a young age. It’s also a practice for us to develop a habit of having an open communication with our child. They shouldn’t be treated as an extension of ourselves or expect them to just do as we say because “we say so” we need to respect them as much we want them to respect us too. I also agree with the concept of consequences. Eventually when my parents understood how I didn’t respond well to their own ways, they laid out the consequences of a bad action I may want to partake in. If I can live off the consequence after doing the act, then it was my choice. That stuck with me through out my life and helped me through my teenage years when temptation and rebellion are heightened. Children can learn this too if we explain them. Sticking to your word is good albeit difficult. The thing with children is that it’s easier for them to remember an act that satisfies them so if you give in to your word she’ll eventually learn how to manipulate that. I’ve taken care enough kids to say that. You’re doing great, Ali! Don’t worry much too about today. 💕💕💕💕

      6. I work with children and parents and one of the things I educate the parents on is the importance of being consistent and following through with their word. You want to teach your kids early on that when you say something they can trust you will follow thru. I also remind parents the importance of not threatening to take away something they are not emotionally ready to take away. You might of made a mistake to threaten to take away something you were not ready to take away. It’s ok this time to still take her trick or treating, however going forward, I would be mindful of what you threaten to take away. Some parents have made threats to not give their kids a birthday party or no presents for Christmas out of frustration which in reality is an impossible consequence if you’re not emotionally ready. You know yourself, and if you feel you can’t go through with it then you’re better of not saying it. If you wanted to keep your word there are still many ways to bond with Molly on Halloween. For instance, you can let her know since she wasn’t listening you’re only going to 10 houses instead of all night. You can say, no trick or treating outside but you can go trick or treating inside the house by hiding candy in each room and having her find it. You can still make it fun and special. It’s just a matter of being creative. Also, it sounded like you might of been a little unregulated hence the treat to take away Halloween. Totally normal but something you might want to be mindful of next time. You typically don’t want to give consequences while you’re upset because it can sometimes be harsher than you intended. It’s important you take a minute to calm down and get clarity and than give a logical consequence. I’m sure whatever you decide it will turn out just fine.

      7. I think telling her no trick or treating likely added fuel to the fire, especially if she’s aware of what it is and if you’ve been talking about it for a while and very exciting.

        I believe in natural consequences and not “discipline”. This is age appropriate behaviour and she’s trying to regulate all of the emotions she is experiencing and it comes out in bad choices sometimes.

        I also don’t believe in “time out” I think that emotion descriptions work really well in these situations “I know you’re very frustrated right now (today) lets blow some bubbles, let’s get your colouring books out, would you like to go grab a book and read quietly”

        Sometimes they just want to feel understood and need help understanding themselves what it is they’re feeling! Emotional regulation is so tough, so I don’t think threatening to take away something unrelated is appropriate!

        We all have different opinions and sometimes it’s trial and error!

        You’re doing great!

      8. Hi Ali I just wanted to say that I was waiting to see Molly on your post today and when I didn’t see her I was so disappointed. Just wanted to say happy to see Molly went trick o treating toda. my kids are grown up and I miss those days and actually said to a friend that I would take the tantrums and the not putting their costumes on just for another minute. As a mom you should never underestimate your instinct and so happy that she went and will have her candy today. They are young for a minute, and you would have regretted it if she didn’t go. Love you videos of your beautiful babies and family. 🧡🧡🎃🎃

      9. Give your self lots of grace. Parenting isn’t easy.
        She may have pick up the screaming and demanding from school and wants to try it out at home. 🙂

      10. 1-2-3 Magic worked wonders for us. I cannot recommend it enough. I was sleptical at first, but after reading the book with my husband we couldn’t wait to get started. We read the book on a Wednesday and decided our start date would be Saturday (we implemented Saturday so that we could have a full weekend at home alone to reinforce the method and then have our moms back it up during the work week). It has been such a wonderful experience for all of us, in so many ways. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do! My mom and I follow your posts and enjoy your site very much. 🙂

    1. I totally agree with this .. if you told her no trick or treating I’m a firm believer you’ve got to stick to it otherwise it’s just empty threats and they pick up on that sooo quickly.

    2. Totally agree with Megan. I’m a mother of a 15 & 19 year old. It may have been a while, but they were there once. 😉

    3. Agreeed! As hard as it is don’t say it if you don’t mean I have had times where I say things that are far to harsh but stick to them so they know I mean it. So hard, probably harder for mom then kid! Good luck!

    4. If you told her she wouldn’t go if she acted up then you need to stick to what you said. It is a hard decision to make especially when you yourself have been looking forward to them going. Last year my son got in trouble at school on Halloween and so I told him he couldn’t trick or treat. As a mom it was hard to take that away especially since he had been looking so forward to it and he’s getting older so he won’t have many more years to go. That being said I had to show him that he had to have consequences for his actions. It’s tough being a parent and knowing what is the right thing to do all the time.

    5. don’t beat yourself up over this… We all say things out of frustration we wish we didn’t. It is Halloween and you and Kevin will enjoy this more than anything. Take Molly and Riley trick-or-treating but explain to her that her behavior does have consequences. So the next time it happens you have already spelled it out for her. A time out. Sitting down or whatever but take her out and enjoy the night… Hope this helps ❤️

    6. I can’t remember where but I once heard advice that was “don’t take anything away that’s also a punishment to you because you’ll resent the child for the fact that you also ‘lost’ it” which I thought was a pretty solid point.

  2. Her behavior is age appropriate …. punishment for age appropriate behavior will not accomplish anything …. it needs to be a consequence in the moment and not threats for future consequences ….I taught preschool for 20 years and have raised two strong will kids that are now wonderful adults … all with attention to children’s age appropriate behavior !

    1. We did do timeouts. Multiple times. Thank you for this advice! I will continue to do in the moment discipline. And not for future things

      1. Totally agree! Age appropriate discipline. She is way too young to understand no trick or treat. Time out was sufficient for her age!

        1. I agree! She is two years old barely! Let her enjoy tonight! Tomorrow is a whole new day. Please remember we all have bad days, they do too!

      2. I agree age appropriate. Also I just learned when disciplining to say you will be in trouble so when it comes times you decided what the punishment is that way you don’t have empty threats. So the child known there will be punishments for there actions. Good luck momma!

      3. I agree with this! When you look back all you’re going to remember is that one year we didn’t go trick or treating instead of we spent family time together going trick or treating. I think looking at the bigger picture she is to young to understand what you are trying to do. But I totally love that you care about following through and care about having consequence With your actions. You’re doing a great job mama!

      4. You can definitely do future consequences for a 2 year old, such as, I would sometimes tell my toddlers that because of their actions, we would not read a book before bed that night, they would need to go right to bed. That definitely got their attention because it was one of their favorite things to do. You have to take something away that means something to them, or they won’t really have a punishment. I’m glad you took her trick or treating and I agree that the consequence for bad behavior can be later. Someone once told me, “never make a threat you can’t keep”. I have 14 grandchildren and have passed that advice on to my kids. I hear moms in Target sometimes saying to their little ones, “you’re never coming to Target with me again!” Haha, which we KNOW is an empty threat. I used to be a preschool teacher and I can tell you, even two year olds learn which are the empty threats real quick! You did the right thing, mama, and by not letting her have candy last night, you were still providing discipline for the bad behavior, and she WILL understand it.

    2. Definitely this! You could even make her wait until tomorrow to eat candy if she is naughty while trick or treating. At 2 she will respond more to an immediate consequence.

    3. Totally agree to the punishment in the moment! Taking away favorite toys for the rest of the day, etc..
      Id say just go trick or treating!

    4. Agree with this for a 2 year old. And I’m a firm believer that punishment/disciple should not punish you as well. As she gets older the consequences should impact her only as much as possible. So if you’re really looking forward to trick or treating you could say, no candy tonight or similar. You shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun just because she misbehaves! One I just used with my six year old on vacation is, we’re all headed to the pool but you’re going to have to sit on the side for 5 minutes before you can get in… Good luck and we’re in this together!

    5. 100% The consequence and firmness needs to be in the moment. Two year olds don’t understand future consequences and she probably doesn’t even remember that she acted poorly this morning. I’m a mother of a 3 year old and 5 year old and a pediatrician. I would take her trick or treating. And try to stick to immediate consequences and firmness at this age – not future ones.

  3. Ali-
    In my opinion you keep her home. She, and all kids, need to learn consequences of her actions and if we keep rewarding them or not enforcing it because it’s a special occasion that’s when they’ll learn to do it even more.
    She’s so young and consistency in discipline is key.
    She won’t miss the trick or treating as much as you and Kevin, which I know will be hard but you have so many more years to enjoy.
    Maybe seeing other kids go out the window too will reinforce it to her.
    Best of luck no matter your choice!

    1. I hear you Nell. I thought that was going to be the case ALL morning. But now I feel sooooo bad at the thought of not letting her go. And she just woke up from a nap and is being soooo sweet now. She knows she was bad this morning and is trying to make up for it.

      1. I think you should take her! I think you will regret it and we all have bad days. I know you already said no trick or treating but I would explain to her that her behavior was naughty this morning but you are now being good and I want to take you out. Explain to her that if she’s being naughty during trick or treating then no candy.

      2. Lots of times my toddler wakes from a nap the same way – contrite because she knows she wasn’t good.

        A consequence hours later doesn’t correlate to a child Molly’s age. It won’t have the desired effect. So I say go have fun! There’s no need to keep everyone home away from the fun, especially since it won’t compute for Molly why you’ve stayed home.

        In our house, we make our daughter say she’s sorry for her (specific) behavior, and ask us for forgiveness. We remind her of the expectation moving forward. Then we forgive her, give hugs, and move on. We all need grace sometimes!

      3. In my experience with 3 boys (6,3,7 months) is that around Halloween and Christmas there’s so much pent up excitement that they act all kinds of crazy. 🙂 my older boys were kicking their trick or treat buckets around the house earlier because they were ready to leave and tired of waiting. Like other moms I’m muddling my way through this parenting thing and trying to figure out what works for each child

  4. Ali,
    Please let her go trick or treating. I am a mom to 3 – 2 with special needs. They are older now.

    We all have bad days. Don’t you “reward” yourself with a glass of wine after a hard day? Young ones can have bad days too. It happens and invariably on holidays because it can be overwhelming and exciting and so much to process for children and adults alike. Talk with her about her behavior, but don’t lose the holiday. And taking her trick-or-treating isn’t rewarding bad behavior.

    Have fun!

    1. You using the wine to out this in perspective makes A LOT of sense. And you are so right. I shouldn’t keep this from her.

      1. I agree at her age let her go trick or treating but maybe with some consequence and reinforcing her bad behavior. I have done the exact same thing and moving forward you now know from all the advice that you dont threaten a consequence in advance but in the moment. I use to say “Lets see how your behavior is before we go trick or treating. Stuff like that, and it worked but I also had a talk with them after as to why their behavior was unacceptable. I think you are a good parent and it is all such a learning process. Stick to your guns with discipline though and it will be fine. It is usually harder on you than them.

    2. I agree with this so much!! Since this is her first real Halloween experience she may not even fully understand what’s she missing. As they get older taking away trick or treating makes sense in these situations because they know and understand their actions and the consequences. Unfortunately she won’t get it because her bad behavior was this morning and now she’s behaving like she normally would so it won’t make sense. If possible try to stick with immediate punishment at this age. I know it’s so tough! Hang in there. We all have rough days. Maybe she was just super tired and that nap reset her attitude.

    3. I definitely agree with this! I am a special education teacher, and have worked with preschoolers through the years. She is only 2, and probably won’t understand why she is missing trick or treating. It is very hard for kids that age to remember past events, so all consequences should be immediate. It does nothing to withhold something big like treat or treating unless she has been acting up during or before it. Since it happened earlier in the day, just trust that your discipline worked. Even though you said it, the likelihood that she will remember is low. You can also explain to her that you were upset when you said that, and that you appreciate how she changed her attitude, causing you to want to reward her! You’re doing great, and even though it’s hard, you are doing awesome!!

    4. Children need to learn forgiveness too. They need to learn that when they make mistakes, their parents can be angry, but that they will always forgive them. And I think if you talk to her about how her behavior hurt you, but that you forgive her and accept her apology, that will have a bigger and better impact than taking away Halloween. Kids get anxious and hyper on big days even if they can’t articulate it…everyone has bad days!

  5. Hey so sorry you had to go thought that today. It’s a hard call!! In my opinion, if you said no to trick or treating or whatever else the consequence is, you have to pull though!! Otherwise she’ll know she can take advantage. Bc today is different and you were all looking forward to it. Myb if she started to behave better or tell her if she listens for the rest of the day she can go. Let her understand that she needs to earn it but don’t just give in. In other situations, you should stick to what you said but in special circumstances you can try and turn the situation around. Hope this helps!

  6. I’m all for follow through and sticking to your word. If you specifically said she can’t trick-or-treat if she makes a bad choice or continues being bad, then you have to stick with that. Maybe she can still dress up and walk around, but I think it would be wise to explain that she doesn’t get to trick-or-treat and get candy. In the future, try smaller, more specific punishments (I hate that word) – it worked really well for us, because then as a parent when I threaten “I’ll cancel your birthday party if you do this” then I’m screwed if I actually have to cancel. Instead, something like “you won’t get cake at your party” or “you won’t be allowed to eat any candy on Halloween” might work better for her so you both can still participate in a different way and the point is made without completely ruining the day! Good luck!

    1. I know I was SO in the wrong for saying that. I sad it in frustration. Ugh. I’m not perfect. I think I might give in this one time. I learn a big lesson today and hopefully Molly will too when she realizes she doesn’t get to eat any of the candy tonight and has to wait until tomorrow per Kat’s suggestion below.

      1. Ali, you have no idea how many times I have told myself that I would never make empty threats (or promises either) to my 3yr old. But we are only human and in the moment it can sometimes slip. I feel like there are other ways to punish her sufficiently for her bad behaviour though other than taking away Halloween for her (and you and Kevin!)
        Some other parents made a good point to not let her have any treats though tonight because of her behaviour.

        Just go out and enjoy the fun!

      2. I say, now that she rested and in a better mood, you can give her opportunities to “earn in back”. Since, ultimately, you wish you hadn’t taken trick or treating away in the first place, and it is important for all family members to go. Explain to her that you are giving her a second chance and then make up some easily fulfillable requests for good/helpful/kind behaviors. That way everybody wins and she doesn’t think you just caved. 😘

      3. No judgement! I think she’s still so young and you have time to figure this all out… have grace with yourself!

      4. Don’t beat yourself up! And don’t think of it as giving in either! A two year old will respond best to age appropriate consequences in the moment for sure!!! It may have to be repetitive but that’s what two year olds need. I agree with everyone saying she won’t be able to understand what she did wrong to lose trick or treating.
        I do agree with following through with what you say but you absolutely live and learn.. one little oopsie/threat that you couldn’t follow through on won’t harm her!
        Enjoy your night! 🎃

      5. Ugh….parenting is tough on all of u s. Please don’t beat yourself up on making a quick decision. You are not the first mom to make an idle threat and certainly won’t be the last…..we all have been there and done that (and will probably do it again). I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. I agree with the mom above….during the holidays, or when there is a really big occasion, the kiddos sense it and they are as crazy as the animals get during a full moon! Thank God I love both the kiddos and the animals. Here’s hoping today is a better day! xoxo
        PS…I’m not in IG, so I cannot wait to see pictures of Molly and Riley dressed up!

  7. I would take her trick or treat it’s big day and especially if you guys were excited about it. What I would do? I would say we are doing trick or treating but you are not allowed to eat candies when we get home. Maybe if tomorrow you are nice and behave you can have some.
    You still do fun thing but there is still consequences. And yes it’s hard when they are just two and no knowing how to express their feelings right.
    Enjoy trick or treat and have great time with your family 🙂

    1. That is SUUUUCH a good idea! Thank you for this! Truly!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I think that is exactly what we will do.

      1. I am sp glad you took my advice! And I am not even a mom. Was taking care of two kids for over three years and I learned some things. I know it’s harder with your own kids. But each day is new learning.

        Mollie was super cute in her strawberry costume! Just precious.

        I am your huge fan since Bachelorette and I watched it back home in Croatia (now loving in USA) couple years after it aired in USA.
        You are so real and down to earth and I love love watching your stories, read your blog and go through your instagram posts.

        No one is perfect and you are doing great job raising two little sweethearts!

    2. This seriously is a good tip! Every suggestion from all the moms were good, but your advice is golden for Molly’s situation. It’s not too hot and not too cold!
      When I’m Googling parenting advice on any topic, this is the type of mom stuff I’m looking for! Lol very practical! I can see why Ali took your suggestion!

  8. You should definitely let her trick or treat. This happens once a year! However, after trick or treating if she keeps acting out, don’t let her have the candy. I feel that’s a better way to go about this situation because halloween is important for kids and parents to experience! However I understand you want to teach her the coseqeunces of her bad behavior, which is why I think not letting her have candy if she continues to act out would be a better option for just today. At the end of the day, you are her mom and you know what’s best for this situation. In fact I am only a nanny and a current student studying education, but with my years of experience I find myself to be somewhat knowledgeable. I hope my advice helps a little. Happy Halloween!! I hope everything works out. Molly is the sweetest, and I am sorry today has been a rough one. It’s always days like this where things get hectic!! You are a strong and beautiful mom, and I know you will figure out what’s best for Molly and your family 🙂

  9. I don’t have advice for today, but I myself am guilty of this. I threaten with things I don’t intend to follow through with. I will threaten no trick or treating when I know good and well we will go. Or not to take her to her grandparents when the trip is already planned. I do this all the time. Only say what you can 100% follow through with as punishment. I don’t know! Parenting a toddler is the hardest ever!

    1. So true Taryn. Even though I was soooo upset when I said it, I said it knowing I REALLY wanted to take her. Ugh. Not my finest moment.

  10. Since you’ve threatened not to go I’d make her do something to “make it right” as in we can go if you pick up your play area or simple tasks that she CAN do. And then I’d go and enjoy!

    1. Great idea! I will have her help feed Owen, get burps clothes for Riley and give him a bath! Great idea. Thank you!

    2. I agree with this. I would have my daughter (3 weeks younger than Molly) complete a chore or experience another consequence that was immediately after her behavior. I don’t really put her in “time out” but if she is having a really bad day, acting out or not listening or being violent, I will make her sit in a chair with no TV toys or books. I don’t start the timer until she stops crying or fussing. This usually gives her time to calm down and regroup (time for me too). She always calms down and apologizes for her behavior and it resets the day. I don’t think they can control their behavior enough to say “if you don’t stop now, you can’t do something in six hours”. She might just need extra love and support today!

  11. That is a tough one. I think you explain to Molly that her behavior was not good but because the family has all been looking forward to Halloween that you will go tonight but she will have whatever you and Kevin you decide on will be applied tomorrow

  12. I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from, and how frustrating it is to have a bad day with a 2 year old. I’m sure you punished her accordingly today and although tomorrow may be a new battle, I would still take her trick or treating. You won’t get this day back or a do over. Every day is a battle to teach your kids right and wrong. But i don’t think taking away trick or treating will teach her not to act out. (And ALL kids act out sometimes so don’t feel bad). I wouldn’t give up these memories but also….you’re the parent. And whatever you decide is what’s best I’m sure. And don’t worry about it, we’re all just figuring it out and doing our best to raise good kids. Good luck and Happy Halloween!

  13. Consistency is key with kids at this age. If you told her no trick or treating then I would stick to your word. Same with when she’s asking for Moana. Don’t give in and let her watch it because she won’t stop screaming. She will just learn that’s all she needs to do to get what she wants. But I would say that meltdowns at this age are not them acting out or being bad. They just dont know how to express what they are truly feeling and their brain is going crazy. So, instead of punishing them for this behavior, try to just ignore it. Nothing you say to them will make them feel better, so it’s better to say nothing at all while they’re in the moment. Let them ride it out and then when they’re calm, try to talk to them. I know it’s hard to do, I have a 2.5 year old going through the same thing. But we got this! Stay strong!

  14. First off I love watching your little family! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us in this online community of mamas!! I think you’re a fantastic mom and it’s so obvious how much you love your kiddos and want the best for them! Those rough days are so hard for us moms, constantly feeling like you have your disciplinary hat on when you want to be wearing the fun mom hat! I think when they’re as little as Molly is dealing with the bad choices when they happen is enough. When she gets to be a little older missing out on trick or treating may be totally the right move. My oldest had to miss out on a pumpkin patch visit once because in a moment of frustration I told him that if he didn’t make better choices he wasn’t going to get to go…and I had to follow through🙈 Consistency and follow through are super important but giving them grace sometimes is important too! And who knows? Trick or treating could be a nice reset for the day! Hang in there mama, you’ve got this!

  15. I’m not to that age yet in parenthood, but my gut says to give her a chance to apologize. That’s a good life lesson as well. That no matter how big or small the mistake is, apologizing is the best way to start down the path towards good again. Hopefully she will apologize for you! If not, my mommy heart would be so torn too! Good luck lady!

  16. Awww I totally feel you mama! My son is the exact same age as Molly (and my daughter is 3 weeks younger than Riley). And let me tell you I have days with my 2 year old that really send me reeling. It’s SO hard to strike a balance with discipline and knowing how to find a healthy balance. I actually find myself losing my cool far more often than I’d like to admit 😢 and I’m a super laid back person to begin with. But I also think maybe they’re a little too young to understand if we withhold certain activities like trick or treating. That’s probably still a relatively new thing for her so she may not totally be able to connect the dots if you discipline her by taking that away. But maybe I’m wrong? I guess it depends on the kid. Molly seems extremely mature for her age (more so than my son) so maybe she would understand if u take away trick or treating? But I totally feel you, and to be honest, be glad that this is the first time she’s been bad! That’s amazing to me!! Haha! My kiddo can be a real monster some days haha!

    1. I loose my cool more than I would like to admit too. It happens. I truly felt like a terrible parent at times until I spoke with my girlfriend who has kiddos a little older than me and she made me realize that it happens to EVERY parent. More often than ANYONE admits.

  17. Hi Ali! I think that she is too young to associate her behavior this morning to not being allowed to trick or treat. I remember hearing a minute of timeout for how old they are – so two minutes for a two year old! Now if you go out trick or treating and it’s melt-down central, then I think it’s time for bed and start new tomorrow. You never really know what’s going on with them at this age that causes them to act up this way. Give her the benefit of the doubt – and two year olds only need to trick or treat for a few houses anyway. Hope the day gets better – momming is hard!!!!!

  18. Molly will probably not correlate her bad behavior and you taking away trick or treating. I have a 2 1/2 yr old boy and he has been testing my patience these last few weeks of wanting, needing, and wanting his own independence of making his own choices. I would take away something that she is in direct contact, no Moana maybe?

    The tough days are far and in between, but they are very exhausting! You’re doing great!! She won’t remember any of this tomorrow. She probably doesn’t even remember how she acted this morning.

  19. I would let her go tonight, but discipline by maybe not letting her have any candy or take something away the following day. It’s a tricky situation (no pun intended) but since it’s Halloween, I feel like if you were to keep her home, you would regret it for the next year until she got the chance to go again. Either way, you’re doing a great job! I have a 3yo and often struggle with discipline..it’s no fun!

  20. Mama to three four and under right now, and I’ve learned that I can’t threaten consequences that I’m not willing to follow through on. If you told her you wouldn’t be going then you have to be willing not to go. But, she’s two and one time of not following through on a won’t be the end of the world—just be consistent in the future, and enjoy trick or treating tonight!

  21. Toddlers are tough and definitely know how to trigger frustration and anger. It’s awesome you are asking for help from your followers. Please consider reading or listening to No Bad Kids (Janet Lansbury) and Daniel Siegel’s “Whole Brain Child”and “No Drama Discipline.” Very compassionate, understanding and positive ways of seeing your child’s behaviors and how best to respond to continue to enhance self-esteem and happiness in our children.

    1. I wanted to second the recommendation of Janet Lansbury- I haven’t read her book but I’ve used her site as a great resource. Also ” Whole Brain Child”. I have a 2 year old myself and I understand how hard it is when they act out. Also while being consistent and following through with what you said is important, I also think it’s ok for you to say to Molly that you said something out of frustration & changed your mind.

  22. Children get extra excited on Holidays – they feel the energy and the excitement causes them to act up because they don’t know what to do with the energy. As a grandma, I say Never punish a child on a holiday by taking away the fun of that holiday. Punish another way.

    1. I agree. I have 14 grandkids and I see almost ALL of the little ones get hyped and overexcited on these days, which sometimes leads to not the best behavior. Punish with something else, but let her enjoy the trick or treating for sure.

  23. Oh sweet Mama! Aren’t we all trying to balance this parenting thing? Honestly, my best advice as a mom to four is to parent your children the best way you see fit. You know Molly better than we know her. You know what will help her understand that those actions aren’t ok. I used to think I could give tons of advice, but the longer I parent my four, the more I realize that I can’t. Each day they grow and change. One minute I feel like I’ve figured out what helps them obey and listen and the next day, or next month, it changes and what worked before doesn’t work now. You know what I mean? 🙂 (((Hugs))) you’ve got this! No matter what you decide, you’ve got at least one mama who’s got your back and understands the struggle of parenting.

  24. Hi!
    I think this is so hard because I understand the need to follow through with consequences but I would say take her.
    As a two year old the consequences are typically an “in the moment” thing anyway. She may not truly know why she is being punished by the time trick or treating rolls around.
    I think I would explain to her that we are going trick or treating because mommy and daddy were so excited to share this moment with you and not even mention the morning behavior.
    I dont think it will be a moment where she thinks she can get away with the behavior because you chose not to use trick or treating as a punishment.
    I feel like it would punish you more than her, which isnt really fair to you!
    Now if she acts up during your outing that may be a moment to bring her home… but that’s a big if!
    Good luck! no matter what choice you make itll be the right one for your family.

  25. I totally understand and have been through the exact same thing. However, if this is her first year trick-or-treating, it’s probably not going to be that big of a lesson for her. If she was 7 or so and knew what it meant, maybe, but to me, not taking a two year old trick or treating for her behavior this morning is kind of like rubbing a dog’s nose in its pee in the house hours after it’s happened. I think the more appropriate lesson would be firmly saying and sticking to the punishment of not letting her watch the movie/whatever she is yelling for in the moment it’s happening. That’s just how I feel! You’re her mother and know her best! Good wishes for a happy Halloween!

  26. Hi Ali!!! I have a 2 year old as well who is going through a similar stage. I definitely know how you feel as I get very frustrated with it to. My babe is the sweetest, but when she has a meltdown it can be the worst!! I honestly don’t know the best advice to give and am just sharing my opinion but I think you should still take Molly trick or treating. It’s a once a year thing that’s not going to come around again, you don’t want to miss these memories!! Maybe she just doesn’t get to actually eat any of the candy tonight or some other kind of punishment for her actions? I don’t know, such a hard decision!! I just know these times go by so fast and I would hate for there to be missed memories over some terrible two behavior! I wish you the best of luck and hope you can figure it out! Been following for awhile and your babes are the cutest, you’re an amazing mom and you’re doing an amazing job no matter what you decide! Good luck!!! Xoxo

  27. Two is TOUGH!! at this age they really don’t understand the difference between want and need, and they have a hard time controlling their emotions. She realizes when she doesn’t get something that she is upset and acts out the only way that feels right and natural to her and that’s normally in tantrum. Totally 1000000 percent normal!! She will soon learn other ways to react when she is upset. I would definitely remind her when she is upset after not getting something that she wants, that it is okay that she is upset but the answer is still no and try to redirect her. I think it’s important to always let them know that it’s okay to be upset. As far as tonight goes, I would let her go trick or treating! Kids are only young once, and this is the joy that will soon be taken away from her when she is older. But I would maybe take something away tomorrow and let her know why. Also the rewards system is great at this age! When she doesn’t do a tantrum reward it! Good luck! You’re doing an amazing job, this age is so tough!!!

  28. It sucks when kids act up on days that are supposed to be so fun!! Really is the worst! In the future, on big days I would make a punishment that isn’t related to the event because I really believe in follow through & it really works. Since you threatened no trick or treating u might have to back peddle a bit this time. Kids change moods so quick that I bet she will be super sweet tonight. If she acts crazy tomorrow you can just take all her candy away!

    Happy Halloween! Hope things turn around for the better this evening.

  29. Ah this is such a tricky situation!!! Maybe instead of taking trick or treating away from her , let her go , but don’t let her have any candy until tomorrow Because of her actions today … but if she is acting out still while your trick or treating then I would say to cut it short right then and there and take her home, or if she is still being really bad before you have left then maybe not go at all 🙁 you want them to experience it but I totally agree with you on not wanting to reward their bad behavior because then they will think they can always act however they want and still get whatever they want.. I’m not a mama yet , but I am a nanny to 4 boys, since they were all itty babies!! So I have for sure had my share of tricky moments like these and I know how frustrating they are. Whatever decision you make will be the right choice, because you know her the best out of anyone. Try not to stress to much mama , either choice you make will be the right / best one. And you are still an amazing mama no matter what!! XOXOX


  30. I would make the period of time out or loss to match her age. At 2 yrs. 2 to 4 hours. Then increase as she gets older. Someday when she is older she might have to miss a whole day. Hopefully not because she will remember consequences from the past. Also try to remind her (also an older thing) you expectations. Example tomorrow is a special day Halloween, I expect you to help me today etc. Idk my kids are grown but they are pretty awesome just having a bit of trouble with my youngest still. It’s pretty much all the way through raising. Best of luck!

  31. I would say she is still pretty young to fully understand that her bad behavior was the cause of her not trick or treating. Usually the best kind of consequences at that age would be something related to the bad behavior. Its so hard when they act up, but as a mom of two boys i’ve learnt the hard way to only threaten to take things away if i will absolutely follow through. I say take her trick or treating, its not rewarding the bad behavior the same way not taking her wouldnt be punishing the bad behavior. hope i made some sense! Youre an amazing mom 🙂

  32. If it was me- I’d let he trick or treat but withhold the candy. I wouldn’t want her to miss the experience but wouldn’t want to reward the behavior either. I get it, it sucks. On one hand she’s young enough that she probably won’t remember in the future that you didn’t let her go trick or treating so how bad could it be? I would say though- if you did tell her she couldn’t go if she kept acting out then to enforce your authority I wouldn’t let her go(I know that sounds bad but it’s the only way I could think to say it). Either way- whatever you decide she will survive, she will forgive you, she still will love you, and you will still be an amazing mom! You got this!

    1. I should state I meant don’t give her the candy tonight not withhold it forever 🤦🏻‍♀️😂 but give it to her tomorrow or whenever you feel is right.

  33. As a mom of 3 kids.. 2 girls and a boy I personally wouldn’t take a holiday away from her at a young age. You said it herself, she’s 2. What we don’t understand is that’s there are a lot of brain developments going on at that age and she may be overwhelmed and it comes out in ‘terrible twos’. I have also experienced that some days are a little harder with a sibling. Sure, my kids love their baby brother but when they are being filled with rules and regulations so to speak and their baby brother can do no wrong, it’s hard for them to process. It takes a lot of patience raising a toddler. My son (2) was just diagnosed with severe autism and there are things right now that we make allowances for and my older girls now 5 and 8 have some bad days because he will get away with a lot more. I know I went off of a tangent and I am sorry. In this case I would have a talk with Molly and give her the opportunity to have a better day. You will always wonder what memories would you have had if you did not let her go trick or treating but you will never regret letting her go and making these memories. It’s your sons first Halloween. You don’t want to look back and not have pictures and have this be the year that you skipped it. That’s how you will remember it. Sure, she might not remember, but you will. Hang in there mama. You’re doing an amazing job.

  34. Hi! I never comment but I have a son who’s Molly’s age (and a 4 week old) and he’s been acting out a TON today so I can totally relate and reading your blog made me feel so much better as I’ve been threatening the “no trick or treating” today as well and it hasn’t been working. (Insert face palm emoji). I got to thinking though, maybe this is the result of the excitement of the day. Like their little brains don’t quite know how to handle it all so they start having tantrums? No clue but I’m thinking that may be it.

    All that said, I’m still going to let him go. They’re two, I think the consequence has to be instant or they don’t understand why they don’t get to do something. Also, someone pass me the wine already?

  35. Hi! I know it’s a tough age (my daughter is 28 months) I asked my husband what he would do in your situation and we both agree that it’s a big punishment for her age. She’s not old enough to understand not going trick or treating. Especially if she’s never been (because how can you miss something you don’t have or haven’t done) Sure they understand, no more tv or no more of something they love/want. We also said that it’s a special day. I mean if it was Christmas and she was acting this way, would you not let her open gifts and not celebrate Christmas Day? It’s a really hard age but I think you all should enjoy yourselves, take the kids out and hopefully she have a better day tomorrow! They are only young for so long 😩 good luck!!! Keeping my fingers crossed that she’s the usually happy kid tomorrow!

  36. Ohh…that’s a hard one. I’m going to say since you’ve already said no, then you better stick to it. But on the other hand, she’s just having a hard day. When I have a hard day I sneak to the tub for soak. So….good luck! There is no right answer. Go with your gut.

  37. I have a 2yr old and discipline is a big challenge at this age because cognitively they don’t quite get reinforcements yet so negotiating generally doesn’t work (with my 5yr old it works amazing!)… 2yr olds emotions are so big and they don’t know how to manage them… Just like adults when we’re super emotional we need validation and distraction… I redirect a lot when tantrums come up “ I know you want this… what about we try this or did you see this over here?”
    This is what works for me 🙂
    I would still go trick or treating, I don’t think my 2yr old would make the connection that not getting something hours later is related to misbehaving earlier and thus is not really learning from it… this is just my two sense! Go have fun tonight and ease the stress of the day with some major cuteness and candy 🍭

  38. I think you should allow her to go! At 2 years old, I think it will be hard for her to correlate not being able to trick or treat due to bad behavior today. It might cause more anxiety and frustration (in the form of a tantrum) bc she doesn’t understand why she isn’t allowed to do something you’ve been talking about. Have you tried an age appropriate punishment immediately following the poor behavior? Time out for 2 mins (her age, 2) and then very clearly saying this is bad/we do this instead if we want something, etc. She’s also only 2 so as you know, there will just be days like this. You seem to be great parents (and people) and she’ll learn great behaviors from you as she grows. Ultimately, I think you guys will miss out on this experience too and should all go trick or treating together tonight!

  39. Hi Ali! I follow your blog every day and love your openness and honesty. I am not a mom yet, but I worked at a daycare for a long time and am now a 2nd grade teacher. I agree with you that she needs to know there are consequences for her actions, however, at 2 years old, I don’t know if she would fully understand that the reason she isn’t trick or treating is because of her behavior this morning. I think immediate consequences like time-out or taking away a toy work better at her age. Hopefully her behavior will improve throughout the day, and you can tell her she has been good so she gets to go trick or treating! Good luck! I love how much you care and whatever you decide, know you’re a great mom!

  40. I have a 2 1/2 year old, when she goes through these phases I never give in…until I get an apology. Once she apologizes we have a short discussion about respect and how being nice will get her rewarded (I know she probably has no idea what I’m talking about ha!). Once she has apologized and given me a hug and kiss I’ll usually let her have what it is she wanted. There have been times where she refuses to apologize and in those circumstances I’ll let her throw her fit and ignore it. I know how hard it is, but you got this and you’re doing an amazing job! You have to do what feels right for you. 😊

  41. Ali- I think you let her go trick or treating because I don’t necessarily think she will understand or remember in the future what she did wrong and what the consequence was as it isn’t an immediate consequence. For her age, I’d say you would need to give an immediate consequence to her actions so she associates the bad behavior with the consequence. Just my opinion. Motherhood is hard- and you’ll ultimately do the right thing for your family! Xoxo

  42. Unfortunately due to her behavior she would forgo trick or treating. It will be hard for you but considering her actions earlier no rewards today.

  43. Awww, so tough because you said she can’t go… but she’s so little and it’s time to create fun and special memories with your family! I have a daughter Molly’s age (and a 5 yo son) and I have to say I would take her regardless of her bad behavior today. She’s so young that she probably won’t even know what she’s missing by staying home, so the punishment won’t mean anything anyway. At their age, the punishment should be more immediate, because their little brains don’t make the correlation that they made bad choices hours earlier, so they’re missing out at night. If she were 4 or 5, then she’ll have been trick or treating a couple times and will know what she’s missing. There have been times I made threats to my son and didn’t want to stick to them for whatever reason, so I told him he could earn it back by making good choices. With Molly, it could just be by saying please a couple times or asking nicely for something. Good luck 🙂

  44. I think she should definitely learn there are consequences to her actions. But kids only have so many years to be kids and enjoy the childhood perspective of Halloween! Maybe you could come up with a way of making her experience the consequence right after the bad action. I’m all for taking things away, a few minutes in time out, not getting to watch Moana! But I think discipline Directly after the bad behavior is best for stressing what she’s doing is wrong! Don’t take trick or treating joys away from you, Kevin and molly! She’s only this age once! Do whatever you feel in your heart is best, you’re a great mom and either way your decision is from a place of love xoxo !

  45. Hi ali! I have never commented before, however I also told my two year old this morning that he was going to stay home for acting so awful. 😩 however, I’m going to take him anyway. 🙄 Honestly, if he were 4, like my other son, he would UNDERSTAND that by acting the way he did he wouldn’t get to go. He would be able to grasp the whole thing. But at 2, I just don’t think at two they would understand that because they acted out earlier they don’t get to go. Am i making any sense? 🤪 I feel like you want to take her! Do it! It’s her first year being “bigger” and it is so fun!! Maybe have a chat with her and tell her that even though she acted poorly, mama has a big heart and wants her to have fun. But that next time, it won’t happen. If she is bad tomorrow, discipline! But today… I’d let it slide. I think you would feel super guilty tomorrow having not let her go. 🤷🏻‍♀️ just my thoughts! But honestly go with what YOU think is best! 😘

  46. If you made it a specific consequence then you have to follow through. I did this once and was probably more disappointed than my kid that I had to follow through. Be careful about what you offer as a consequence.
    Parenting resume: I raised two polite, honest, kind kids to adulthood. Kids who are people I love to hang out with. One graduates from college in December and the other is an Eagle Scout headed to college.

  47. I think I’d still take her, but tell her it’s because you and Kevin have been looking forward to it and you’re not going to let her and her naughty behavior ruin it for YOU. Because truly, it’s not all about her and only her. One day there will be Riley to consider, too. And never forget you and Kevin’s needs, either. Ensure she understands how her behavior affects those around her. She’s only two so she probably won’t get it, but it’s a good opportunity. Keep a bit of a cold shoulder and don’t reward her with too many hugs and kisses while you’re out (haha – easier said than done).

  48. Hi Ali!

    I have never responded to a blog post before but I literally JUST read something about “the terrible twos” that really resonated with me. The gist was that they are just becoming more independent and don’t understand complex ideas/thoughts/emotions yet so they “act out” when they are told no due to sadness/anger/frustration, etc. My two year old little man tests me a lot but it truly helps me to remember that he isn’t “bad”, he is just having a rough time at that moment.

    You have to think… Molly is really good most of the time and should a “rough morning” dictate a punishment like keeping her from trick or treating— something that y’all have been talking about and getting excited about? I say let her go and enjoy!

    You will make the right decision, mama! This is just my opinion! 🙂 Hope this helps!

  49. Personally i know that’s a very tough situation but she’s only 2. You don’t wanna look back and be like we never took her out for trick or treating. I think you should take her out and also be firm that this type of behavior can’t repeat and that’s the only way I’ll take you out.

  50. I’d let her go but not eat the candy tonight or for a few days! You’ll look back on this year and be sad you don’t have a pic of her and what she wore! Either way it’s up to you 🙂

  51. We have had the same kind of day in our house with our almost 4 year old so I get how you feel!! It’s so hard to know what is right and how to handle their behavior sometimes- even when the punishment hurts us more sometimes. My suggestion would be if you told Molly she would not be able to trick or treat if she continued her behavior- follow through and don’t go. If it wasn’t something you told her would be a consequence then go. Either way, us moms have to stick together and you and Kevin will make the best decision for your family and Molly❤️ Good luck and Happy Halloween🎃

  52. Hi Ali! I have a 3.5 yr old and 1.5 yr old, so I definitely understand how those bad days go! Something that I read when my 3.5 year old was younger talked about making consequences equal to the behavior, but also to have the consequence happen as close to the incident as possible. This is partly because it helps connect the behavior to the punishment (or whatever terminology you want to use :)). If my kid is throwing toys, I give a warning and then the next time take the toy away for a period of time. If we are at the playground and my kid isn’t listening for whatever reason, we give a warning and then the next time we leave. This connects the two things. That being said, for Molly, she probably does have a concept of Halloween and trick or treating, but do you think she will actually understand that if she doesn’t get to go that it was because of her behavior before? I would probably say no. :-/ If it were me, I’d go. If she acts up while you are out and about, end it early to connect that because of her actions the fun has to stop. That’s just my opinion. Whatever you do, you are her parents and know her best and ultimately, this one day won’t derail all of your parenting successes, just because you “gave in” (this is something I have to remind myself on the daily!).

    Have a Happy Halloween, and go make some memories!

    Amanda 🙂

  53. Hi Ali!

    I’m not a mom- but I am a Kindergarten teacher who knows all about balancing teaching lessons/sticking to your word and letting them be little. My best advice would be give Molly the opportunity to reflect on some of her poor choices and make an apology if she wants to trick or treat. Even our youngest friends can surprise us with how they are about to think about what they can do better next time. My classroom has always had a focus around restorative practices- if someone hurts someone (with hands or words), they are coached through understanding and apologizing for the harm they caused so that they grow and learn from it. I would suggest that you take a moment to have little “family circle” and tell Molly the impact that her actions had on the rest of the family, and tell her that you would love to bring her trick or treating still if she is able to tell you some things she can do better tomorrow. 🙂

  54. Well first of all, you are doing great momma! We are in the process of raising a two year old as well, so I understand the struggle of the hard days. I don’t want to write you an extremely long paragraph because there are amazing books that can achieve that goal. I do want to simply say that the most powerful and effective tool that we have found with our daughter is consistent follow-through. Letting our yes’s be yes’s and no’s mean no’s. This is especially difficult when they have a lot of “feelings” (tantrums) after we give a no, however, we have watched how the tantrums have become less and less after we give a no, because she knows that we will not be moved by her emotional response. With that being said, I don’t think you should let her go tonight… I know it may sound harsh, but discipline is not always fun. Actually it’s never really fun, but we do it because we love them. I wouldn’t want Molly to think that what she did this morning was ok for her to do again. I feel that taking her treat or treating would communicate that. Now that doesn’t mean that she deserves a miserable night at home, it just means that bad choices have consequences. And not going is a consequence. Nevertheless, this is only my opinion, and I believe that you will know the right choice to make as Molly’s mother. Asking for help is a characteristic of a strong mom! Great job!

  55. Hi Ali,

    That’s a tough one, I believe if you already told her she can’t go you need to stick to your word. My daughter who is now an adult, would hound me until I gave in and on my part that was a huge mistake. Good luck, sometimes as momma’s we have to make difficult choices. XO

  56. I would let her go trick or treating. We as humans all have bad days whether we are 2, 7, 30 whatever it may be! 2 is a TERRIBLE age I have 4 kids and it only gets worse with talking back… sit her down and tell her what she’s doing is not ok but because mommy loves you and because I do think you can be a better girl then u were I will take you out to have fun! I wish u all the best I have a 2 year old right now too and it’s a day to day battle 😫 good luck momma 💞

  57. Parenting and discipline is so hard. I don’t have it figured out so good luck. All I would say is you only get so many Halloweens within them while they are little. Whatever you decide don’t beat yourself up.

  58. Hi Ali!

    I would talk to her about her behavior today. Then I would tell her she needs to do something to help you out because you didn’t have as much time to do things around the house because you had to deal with the meltdowns. Then have her do an age appropriate household task and tell her that if she does that she can “earn” trick or treating back!! Hope this helps.

  59. I would let her trick or treat as it’s a family event that you have been looking forward to, I remember when I did the same to my mum, (I was a little older) but she was a single parent and I still remember her reminding me that we were still going to the event or what ever it was but I was only allowed to do so much or my candy was withheld until I could show better behaviour. It’s hard with kids as you don’t know what they remember and what they don’t, so need to be careful if you allow her, will she remember this next time. I believe communication is key, it will get easier as she gets a little older. At the end of the day she is only a kid and I think that you should get to enjoy the Halloween holiday despite a bad day for molly Xx

  60. They call it the terrible 2s for a reason. They all do it and tantrums are a regular thing when my almost 3 year old doesn’t get her way. I think as long as she apologizes and somewhat gets that she was acting poorly this morning it’s ok to trick or treat. I don’t necessarily think they associate the morning with the afternoon. Just my opinion. And with want versus need. If you figure out a way to explain that one please share. Right now mine needs every toy she sees on a commercial and tells me to add to her Christmas list. Literally everything.

  61. I’m a mother of a two almost 2 1/2 year old. Some days are amazing others are challenging. I noticed you put up your Christmas tree and started decorating yesterday, maybe that change in the house triggered her. At this age it’s tough, when they have bad days we as parents have to ask ourselves is it me having little patience or expecting more than normal or are they just having a bad day. Think when you are crabby, you often want to be alone and have everything go your way,(watch tv, eat junk food, shopping often getting wants vs needs) maybe that was her today. If she is a “good” girl most of the time and this is just a fluke. I’d say take her trick or treating and end the day on a positive note never go to bed angry. If you choose not to go would you take your son and leave your daughter home with your husband? I’m not sure I could do that. No way is wrong and this event will not have lasting effects. Whatever you decide make sure you and your hubby agree. Tackle as a team.

  62. First of all, you seem like an amazing mom so no matter what you decide, it will all be fine! As Mom to an 11 yo girl, some of our most cherished memories are of trick or treating so I would say go. Also, I tend to think that consequences need to be almost immediate with a toddler. So instead of taking away an activity hours away, maybe just take away that favorite toy or no Moana watching, etc. I think it means more to give an immediate consequence at Molly’s age rather than a “later” consequence. As she gets older, taking away big activities will work as hard as it is to do so. But kudos to you for trying to do the right thing! Remember we have all been there….we all have our bad days—kids and parents alike! Whatever your decision, it will ALL BE FINE! Hang in there! You got this!

  63. I would keep her home but not for punishment because she’s not old enough to know what she will be missing out on. She could be tired, getting sick or may just some extra attention today. You can still make the evening special. You could tell her that if she’s a good listener and makes good choices you guys can make a special treat and watch a Halloween movie together.

    Also, make a big deal about when she is behaving well (I’m sure you probably already do this!). This will give her some positive attention.

    This is such a hard age but you’re doing great!

  64. Oh this whole parent thing is so tough! I would not take away trick or treating for sweet Molly! I know she is pushing the limits but this is a one time per year occasion and it should be special and exciting. I think that kids get so excited on special days that they tend to act worse, which is super stressful. I like to think of the big picture. One day you will look back at photos of her trick or treating for the first time and be so happy and give anything to go back and not remember her acting up. Just try to sit down, clear your head, reset your patience and tell her that this is a special day for everyone so you would love to have a good, special day with her. And when you get home, just have a big glass of wine after trick or treating – sounds like you deserve it!

  65. Molly is 2. She is completely acting her age. By now she probably forgot that you even said that she cant go trick or treating. I would with hold the candy and say something like “when you have a better day you can have some candy”. We all have our bad days and moments but it’s about showing our kids love and respect too. They are little humans and need us to show them how to be caring and forgiving.

  66. Definitely a tough call and you have to do what you think is best at the end of the day. And you should also know that whatever decision you make will be okay !!! I really do believe that because you are a great mom that loves her kids!!! Sometimes there is no right or wrong- it’s about what feels right to YOU.

    No matter what, i know you’ll make the decision that works best for your family!

    Thank you for always sharing ! Xoxox

  67. My best advice is to get loving you me kids on purpose by Danny silk. It’ll change your life- not even kidding!! He gives practical tools to use in every situation all the while empowering your children to really make their own choice and learn the power of choices. I’m not even kidding, when my husband and I finished the book it changed the way we have approached any big or small thing with our kids. Always giving them 2 options and following it through depending on what they choose. For example we use (per his advice) “Fun or room” A LOT! lol we will say it once, if they don’t respond we will slowly start walking towards them and say it again. If they still don’t choose we lovingly pick them up and bring them to their room. My oldest has learned now that sitting in her room with no one in their isn’t so fun so she will almost immediately respond with Fun and will almost immediately change her mood. It’s crazy to actually see their wheels turning in their minds like “what do I want?” Haha but I love it because it really teaches them that they are responsible for their own thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s extremely empowering for both parties! So in your case, at least today with mollies age I would say: “uh oh… it’s not nice to hit! Would you like to go to your room or have fun because this is the fun room?” If no answer than you repeat while walking towards her “fun or room?” You can also choose taking away something small that she loves for a certain amount of time if she continues but I can almost guarantee that if you did this enough times she’s likely to not repeat it haha. Hope that helps ya!

  68. Hi Ali,
    I always read your blogs but honestly this is the first time I’m commenting. I have a 3 year old and sometimes he drives me crazy too but honestly it’s just once a year the kids get to go trick or treat!! Dont stress to much about it go out have fun make memories worth cherishing!! They will only be young once 😉 whatever decision you end up making I wish you all the best😘

  69. Hi Ali. I’m a 38 yr old mom of two kids, a boy Riley, 18 and a girl, Chloe, 16. So I don’t have babies anymore. But I’ve dealt with all the things you’re going through now. Usually if I ever told or tell my kids specifically that one thing isn’t happening, then it doesn’t happen. (As you said to Molly, “you aren’t going trick or treating”) if I take the thing away, even if it makes me sad, I stick to it because I want them to know I mean what I’m saying and that I’m not gonna be the “threatening parent” that never follows through. But in your case, Molly is just 2, so I think there’s times you can bend your own rules. My kids have grew up knowing that no means no, and having receivied phrase and punishment, and they’ve turned out as great kids understating life isn’t always fair. And I tried doing these things from early on. But again, at 2, Molly probably isn’t thinking about what happened this morning anymore. She’s very smart, but I don’t think she’s wondering if mom and dad are gonna cave in. I feel like tonight is a big deal. For you and Kevin, Molly and Riley. It’s his first Halloween! He doesn’t care, but you as parents probably have looked forward to it. And Molly is just at the age of having the BEST time out and about. I feel like a pass is in order but just for today as the things to take into consideration are more than just today’s behavior. If you want to start the next really bad day with her by taking something big away, that would be a good start. Because with Little’s, you know there will be a next time. lol I have never rewarded bad behavior either, but don’t look at this like that’s what you’re doing. This is a family oriented night for fun, and this time maybe that’s the bigger picture? Just my two cents, I agree with whatever you do because they are your babies and you have to live with them haha!! And you’re a great mom so you’ll do what your heart says❤️ Happy Halloween🎃

  70. I think she’s too young to associate the discipline of missing out to the crimes committed 😀 Discipline for a toddler has to be directly associated with their disobedience and in a timely manner. If she were a pre teen, then yes.

  71. I’m a mother of a two almost 2 1/2 year old. Some days are amazing others are challenging. I noticed you put up your Christmas tree and started decorating yesterday, maybe that change in the house triggered her. At this age it’s tough, when they have bad days we as parents have to ask ourselves is it me having little patience or expecting more than normal or are they just having a bad day. Think when you are crabby, you often want to be alone and have everything go your way,(watch tv, eat junk food, shopping often getting wants vs needs) maybe that was her today. If she is a “good” girl most of the time and this is just a fluke. I’d say take her trick or treating and end the day on a positive note never go to bed angry. If you choose not to go would you take your son and leave your daughter home with your husband? I’m not sure I could do that. No way is wrong and this event will not have lasting effects. Whatever you decide make sure you and your hubby agree. Tackle as a team.

  72. I say let her go trick or treating, since it was this morning when she was acting up, punish in the moment for these little ones with time outs or no Moana movie. How has she been this afternoon? Here is an idea if she is naughty while trick or treating give her 1 warning and if she doesn’t behave that you WILL go home, if she does it again haul her butt home. I did that w my 2 year old at storytime last year one time and he now knows we sit down and listen at storytime. You’re doing a great job momma!

  73. As a mom of a 2.5 year old that can also be a total brat sometimes (it goes with the age), my advice is definitely let it go. We struggle with saying stuff like that too in the moment but you will regret it so much if you don’t go. And she’s already forgotten that you said that. She’s too young to really associate the two. But if she were older I’d say you have to stick to it. Have fun tonight!!! Post lots of pictures!!!!

  74. Teacher speaking:
    Hi Ali!! I love watching your posts and have followed you since your bachelorette days! Anyways, for problem behavior, all kids are able to learn and with how young Molly it is best to teach and set boundaries now. Long term she’ll learn more from losing Halloween then from getting it after she’s had poor behavior. Doesn’t mean you love her an less. Means you love her more 🙂 If you said no Halloween then there has to be no Halloween. Maybe she can earn candy tomorrow for turning it around or you can have a mock trick or treat at home tomorrow? Hope all these comments help some ❤️

  75. I am a super strict mom with my 5 year old. I completely understand what you’re going through. I am a stick to my guns type of mom expect when I say things out of anger. My 5 year old is an amazing kid and giving in every now and then is not terrible. What is your gut telling you? If you chose not to have this platform and had to handle the situation what would you do?

  76. I’m not a mom but I’m a teacher – if you’ve already told her you’re not going trick or treating and she understood it, you CANNOT give in. If you didn’t, I’d tell her she can go trick or treating but she doesn’t get any candy until she earns it. You can use a sticker chart – make a simple chart, one side what she needs to do and the other a sticker for it. After she’s earned enough stickers she can “earn” her candy back. This tells her that just because she’s going trick or treating, her bad behavior is not going unnoticed and she will have consequences for it. The candy will work as positive reinforcement for her good things. So it’s kinda double duty.

    Good luck!

  77. Halloween is a holiday, the same way Christmas is a holiday. I doubt you would “take away” Christmas morning if she was misbehaving the night before, so don’t take away her trick or treating. She seems really excited about Halloween, and this is her first “official” one, so I would let her go trick or treating. Also, she’s only two; she’s going to act out every now and again. And yes, while she should have consequences for her actions, I think she’s too young to fully comprehend why she wouldn’t be able to go trick or treating if you took that away.

  78. When my oldest daughter was turning 13 (she’ll be 20 next week), she was HORRIBLE to her dad and I the day of her sleepover birthday party. After hours of dealing with her, we finally told her that we were cancelling her birthday party. I made her sit at the table with me while I called all her friends parents to let them know the party was cancelled and why it was being cancelled. THAT WAS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE and it broke my heart that she wasn’t going to get a birthday party, but we couldn’t let her behavior slide as she was entering her teenage years and we had to let her know that we mean business! Don’t get me wrong, that didn’t make her teenage years a dream, but she knew she couldn’t push us very far without consequences.

    She is now a lovely young lady getting ready to exit her teenage years and I absolutely cherish the time we get to spend together when she is home from college.

  79. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling her that you were wrong or you changed your mind. It shows her that mommy and daddy make mistakes too.
    Or you can even reinforce the sweet post-nap behavior and tell her that she earned trick-or-treating back.

  80. She’s two and her concrete thinking isn’t anywhere near formed. It’s a holiday and she doesn’t have the ability to know that if she’s naughty at 10am it has consequences for 5pm. That’s just too long for how young she is. I would still take her. I also saw where a lot of people said if you told her she couldn’t go this morning you still shouldn’t take her. But again she’s two, she’s not 5 or 6. Their attention span is like a squirrel on NyQuil. I think if you don’t take her you may regret it. She’s only two once, take her and enjoy it! Don’t sweat the small things… I have a 16yr old and I sure wish I hadn’t when he was 2. ♥️

  81. I would check a few things first. 1. How much sleep did she get. 2. How much protein has she eaten. 3. Have their been any family/ day to day changes that could be upsetting her. 4. Check anything at school that could be different. I’ve discovered that my kids usually have melt downs if something is “out” in their normal routine. It is easy to use threats when mom is upset (we’ve all done it) but I would try to check the basics (sleep,food, changes) first before it starts getting out of of hand with the trantrum. After all those are checked, and she’s still upset – head outside and point out things for her to find. “Look at that tree” “look at that rock” etc. and do that to things outside. That will get her attention outward and away from being upset. Do that until she seems happy. When she’s Happy, calmly talk to her about how you would like her to behave and get her agreement to do better. You can also join her in looking around at the things outside to help you as a mom to keep calm too, when times get challanging. Hope this helps ♥️

  82. As someone who is going through very similar behavior w my slightly older 2 year old (which really kicked into high gear after our baby was born in July), let her go. I’ve been really reading the parenting books the last few weeks because we are STRUGGLING. It’s been too long since the behavior and she just can’t connect those things at this age. As many others said, it’s once a year and she’s so little still, really and truly the behavior is age appropriate (SOOOOOOOOOO FRUSTRATING, but age appropriate). Reading the Yes Brain right now and also recently finished No Bad Kids. I’m learning a lot!!! It’s so so so SO difficult not to react to these behaviors but they have some really good suggestions! Good luck! Enjoy the holiday!!!!!

  83. I’ve always found with my kids (now adults) they were super cranky if they were tired or hungry. So, when you said she woke up from her nap being so sweet, then she was probably just tired. I know that’s no excuse for her behavior and she does have to learn how to control her actions; however, that will all come in time with maturing. My advice would be the age appropriate consequences-time outs in the moment. Not now. Have a wonderful evening with your beautiful sweet family!!

  84. Hey Ali,

    This is a sticky situation you have here mostly when it’s Halloween. This might be harsh to say but I think when it comes to this situation. Molly need to know what she did was wrong and missing Halloween will teach her a lesson and to not mess with you.

  85. Hi Ali,

    Believe it or not you are not being a bad parent for not taking her to trick or treat. Sometimes you have to discipline in hard ways. I remember one year my husband punished by stepdaughter for lying to me and didn’t get to open her Christmas gifts on that day. Yes I know it sounds cruel and while it broke our hearts we taught her lesson. She is 22 years old now and actually remembers that time and understands why we did it. So stay strong and remember you are the parent!!

  86. I’m sorry about the rough day! Especially on a fun holiday. I would still allow her to trick or treat, but I wouldn’t let her have any candy—at least tonight. Talk to her beforehand about the candy so she understands her expectations. Phrase it in a positive way. “You won’t be able to have any candy tonight because of ‘x, y, and z,’ but you still get to dress up and trick or treat if you can act like a big girl.” While you’re out trick or treating, use positive reinforcement, and if needed, tell her she’ll have to go home if she’s repeating the behaviors from earlier. I hope she can turn it around and have a fun night! Much love to you all.

  87. Being raised by a strong independent single mother, she told me she learned early on to discipline me by understanding that if she said no, or used something as a threat for bad behavior she stuck to her guns. She tells me she learned early on to ensure what she was using as a consequence may not affect something she really wanted to do, such as using ‘We’re not going to the fair’ because as a single parent that would take her out of going to the fair which was something she also enjoyed. Now, as an adult, and as a mental health therapist who works with children, and with a bonus kid (stepdaughter, but I call her my bonus kid because I got her as a bonus for marrying her) I encourage all parents to monitor what they say for a consequence. Of course, Molly is only two, and won’t remember today, a month from now and that she did not get to, but my encouragement would be to monitor what you say, because eventually one day she will remember and learn what she can and cannot her away with. Hopefully that makes sense! Like in a year or two, when Riley is one or two, and Molly acts up (or vice versa) and a similar situation pops up you or Kevin may only take one trick or treating as a two parent household. Or come up with another consequence. But you’ve got this! I tell all parents there is no magic pill or wand, or a handbook. You do you! But definitely, I caution to provide consequences with things you can actually follow through on. And do what you feel is better for YOU and YOUR family! 🙋🏼‍♀️

  88. Hi ali,
    I have a 3 year old daughter that has plenty of those days as well. For the most part her tantrums, or attitude or bad behavior is very short lived. When she does act like this my husband and I put her on time out and if that doesnt do it then we start taking away things whether it’s going somewhere like her favorite place (her grandparents), or not letting her play with toys or watch TV. That’s usually around the time her attitude starts to change and she wants to change her attitude. Kids these days are alot smarter than we may think and they understand alot more than we think too. Let me ask you this, when you told her no trick or treating what was her reaction? If she was upset then I would talk to her and give her a chance to change her attitude. Hope this helps.

  89. I hate to say it but i am changing my vote. If you told her no multiple times you have to stick to your guns. Never threaten something you aren’t willing to follow up on because if you don’t follow through they won’t believe you. They are smart little tarts!

    And on the throwing fits I know it is crazy hard to not give in if not just for the peace and quiet because I had one like this. Don’t give in. Put her in her room, put her in timeout. Start now or regret it later. I had one (3 at the time) that wanted out of the cart at the store to look at a video. I made it clear she couldn’t buy a video. She agreed. I let her out. She grabbed the video and took off running. I snatched her up and took her home. No second chance. It helped to teach her I wasn’t messing around. From then on she rode in the cart. No negotiations.

  90. Ali,

    She is two, let it go. There will be plenty of other times that you can
    discipline her. She will not remember that you told her she could not go out earlier. Today is special, it’s only one night a year and how long can a two year old take outside, a couple of hours at the most.
    Now – about your comment about you guys giving in when she cries
    about the movie, don’t. I know it is easy for me to say because i am not the one dealing with two kids under two. But I never gave in to my kids. I just let them cry it out, if it took 10 minutes or two hours(at least when we were home). In my opinion, that is how they learn. Once my son was about Molly’s age and he started having a tantrum as we walked into Target. It got so bad he let
    himself fall to the floor and started kicking. He had never done anything like that before and i just stood there in shock. My husband was with us and just as quickly let himself fall to the floor and started imitating my son. I walked away quickly and hid, really watching from a distance. You should have seen my son. He
    looked at his dad and jumped up so fast. He was embarrassed by his dad’s beahvior, or so I think. He NEVER did that again. Another thing I always told my kids if they started crying, “it’s ok
    if you cry. You can cry as long as you like, you still are not going to …..”
    You are doing a great job. As long as you are motivated by love,
    it should be enough.
    I love seeing yours and Kevin’s posts. They make me smile and miss the days when my kids were babies.

  91. I have found with both my girls, but my one in particular with anxiety, that often big days like Halloween, birthdays, etc. can come with some less than desirable behavior. So much anticipation and excitement, and sometimes it comes out in weird ways. At this age, I would get on her level, acknowledge that mommies make mistakes, that you felt frustrated and said no trick or treating, but that maybe that was too harsh. I’m all for sticking to your word, but if you know you said something more out of anger or frustration, I think it’s okay to let kids see that you are a human too and make mistakes. Of course, the conversation would need to be geared to a toddler, but that’s what I would do. Being a mom is no easy task. Don’t beat yourself up over whatever decision you make! And I also believe that deep down you probably know what you want to do. Trust your gut and do that!

  92. Hi mama! I’m a long time behavior therapist and I do parent training as a loving for situations exactly like this! Let me just say girrrrrl 2 and 3 are a tough age. Tough tough tough. Based on that statement alone- pour yourself some wine! You are doing great and are better than days like this! My number one rule is always follow through on what you said. However, I also have a rule that the punishment at this age HAS to match the crime. It looks like you made a little mama blunder by putting a punishment on the table that doesn’t match the crime at her age. She won’t be able associate what happened this morning- no matter what a terror it was (and girly ive seen bad days and I totally believe you if you say you’ve been to hell and back)- with not going trick or treating. This will be more of a punishment to you and Kevin and your memories than it will be to Molly. The mom guilt will eat at you, and it’s not fun. I think it’s okay to pull an Elsa and just let it go, and in the future, take 3 big deep breaths before you put a punishment out there in the table so that you can make sure it’s something you and Kevin would follow through with. Just avoid threats that would majorly alter a big family experience, holiday or memory (eg. Santa’s not bringing you presents, were not going on the family trip, etc). Hugs to you!

  93. Trick or treat is a once-a-year opportunity. We all have bad days, children included. You have to do what you think is best as a mom but they are only little for a short time. You’d be punishing yourself by not soaking up the experience. Either way, stay confident in your choices. 🙂

  94. I swear it must be something in the air. Aaliyah (my two year old) is only a month younger than Molly. She been in a mood all week so far. The past two day she ha been fighting taking a Nap. I yelled at her yesterday and popped her leg. Do I ever feel so bad for that!! I lost it cause she didn’t want to nap or cause she was having a major meltdown all week far. Today it’s now day 3 no nap and she is already in that mood….
    Glad you posted about this. This week has been the hardest
    Really need help on how to discipline a toddler. My taking and time out is not working it seems.

  95. Go trick-or-treating, you’ll regret it later if you don’t. I agree with the other mom’s about punishing in the moment and make sure it’s related to what’s going on. Throwing toys, take them away. Screaming for a movie, no watching the movie, etc. Good luck, we’ve all been there or are currently going through it.

  96. Lesson learned for you, don’t threaten or offer something you don’t want to give or take away. I would try another consequence. This is a once a year day. My kids were misbehaving today too and I told them every time I have to get onto them is one candy for me.

  97. I say still take her. Halloween for me at least growing up was so memorable. I have a 4 Year old & I think I would regret not taking her over a day of misbehavior…

  98. Hi Ali!

    Just to give you a little background on myself, I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and I’m working on a Master’s in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. I have also worked as a Behavior Therapist for children with autism using applied behavior analysis and in my experience this method generalizes very well to all children.

    After reading your description of Molly’s behavior this morning I have 2 suggestions.

    1. You gave a specific example of Molly demanding Moana and upon not receiving it, her escalating to a tantrum. This is not a functional way to respond to “no” nor is it an appropriate way to ask for something. In my opinion I would have said no once, explained why and used a “planned ignore” after that. This means you purposefully ignore ALL behavior related to her trying to gain access to that specific thing (Moana). Ignore screaming, crying, begging, hitting, everything. At first the behavior will escalate because she will realize she is not getting a reaction from you but with time these behaviors will decrease and she will learn how to accept no for an answer and how to ask appropriately for something she wants.

    2. Second thing, you have to mean what you say and say what you mean and no back pedaling! Otherwise, your words are essentially meaningless. You said, “no trick or treating” so you need to stick with it no matter how difficult it may be. This doesn’t however mean she can’t participate in handing out candy but that’s something you can decide as a parent. No Halloween festivities at all or just no trick or treating?

    I am happy to expand on anything if you’d like. Best of luck, Ali!!

  99. Logical consequences are always way to go.. if she messed something up, has to clean it back before trick or treating, etc. apologizing to you after discussing why you are upset. Providing a pool of limited choices but still choices she can make ! No you cannot watch Moana but you can either color or play outside . Sticking with the word even if she throws a fit ! I think you’re wonderful and she is so dang smart

  100. As a mom of a two year old who threw some pretty big fits himself today, we dealt with it in the moment and moved on. It’s SO hard sometimes! I’m all about sticking to my guns when I say something and my husband and I have had MANY discussions about follow through when we talk about doing things, discipline or otherwise.

    Truthfully, it would probably be more punishment to you if you all kept her home tonight. I vote that you all forgive and forget, dress up, and enjoy the evening.

  101. At her age, consequences need to be immediate. By the late afternoon, she will not make the connection as to why she is being punished when it happened hours ago. I try really hard not to use special events/holidays as punishment. It’s so hard. I know. But I would not take her trick or treating away from her for the sheer fact that she will not make that connection at her young age and it will just probably cause another melt down bc she won’t udnerstand. I hope this makes some sense. It’s hard to put into words.

  102. Non -parent response!
    I 100%! agree with in the moment discipline & that she can go but no candy after. Only later on. You’re doing an amazzingggg job. No worries! Whatever you decide, know that all she’ll remember this year are pics you keep for her 😉😉💕💕

  103. Please don’t take a holiday from her or you guys! She’s too young to remember you needing to stick to your guns with a punishment you mentioned in the heat of the moment. But it’s a good lesson not to threat with the big stuff, but so easy to do!! Remember! It’s the photos you’ll look back on for the memories so get out and make some fun ones! You will all be just fine!!
    Tantrums are normal and age appropriate…and so is getting frustrated as the parent. Take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, and I’m sure the night will be so much fun! Tomorrow’s another day!! ♥️

  104. At the end of the day, she’s 2 and she’s acting her age. Taking away a holiday seems pretty harsh for a 2 year old. When my kids were that young, if they were acting terrible at the store and I told them they were going to get whatever consequence when we got home, by the time we got home they didn’t understand why they were being published. I agree with the in the moment consequences. Momming is so hard!

  105. Hi Ali,
    My 3 year old daughter has been horrible the past few days and I told her if she kept it up, she would miss out on trick or treating. Her behaviour didn’t improve so she missed out.
    I felt horrible for her, because I know how much she was looking forward to it. But they need to have consequences to their actions. Kids are smart too, if you start throwing out threats of punishments and not following through, she will learn that what you say when she is in trouble doesn’t mean very much.
    The tears and tantrums to get what she wants will ease off if you hold your ground. She’ll realise it doesn’t work. My 3 year goes through phases of trying to push us and see what she can get. You have to hold your ground otherwise it will get worse as they get older.

  106. For what it’s worth (and I may be late to the game) ive read a lot of research that suggests disciplining soon after the act—which I’m sure you do—meaning that young kids often don’t understand delayed consequences like we do. I try to keep that in mind with my kids. But I mess up ALL the time and do the same thing and give some big punishment in the moment 😬. You’re only human. It took me a while to realize that we can also apologize to our kids now that I’ve thought about it, it wasn’t the most reasonable consequence. It has created a great dialogue between us and the kids. And for them to see that we mess up too! But I know that Molly is little…this is just what works for us.

  107. I would stick to my guns. I have definitely been in your shoes, but I did always ask my kiddos how it made them feel, happy or sad? Of course they would say sad or not good. This helped in explaining how our bad choices led to us not feeling so great and those behaviors not happening again or not very often.
    It’s a tough choice, but you know your daughter best and I’m sure whatever decision you make you still are a stellar parent. 🙂
    Happy Halloween!

  108. Holidays of any type can get children hyped up. The anticipation of Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, etc can be overwhelming for them. They have all this energy and excitement and at times it comes out as not ideal behavior. I know it’s hard to stop, breathe, and think about what’s been happening for the last week or so leading up to Halloween. My opinion, is take her out and maybe only go for a short time. Or less houses. Limit candy intake tonight and try and keep her on her normal schedule/bedtime. It’s not good for anyone the next day staying up late. Haha. There is tired kids with a candy hangover. Haha. I’d still talk with her about her behavior and how it’s not ok to treat Mommy/Daddy/ Riley that way. Parenting is hard and a lot of guess work. Good luck Momma and Papa!

  109. This sounds familiar! My 4.5 year old had a lot of similar behaviours and is still double the work of the other two combined. I love the book by Deborah macnamara called Rest Play Grow. She talks a lot about developmental stages (eg- littles don’t make the consequence connection until later than we think they should- especially when they’re smart like molly is!) and how to survive and discipline through those stages. Very practical! My copy is worn out😏😊 as far as trick or treating- my guess is she isn’t quite there with fully understanding that no trick or treating is because of her awful behaviour hours before..so I say go. Enjoy your time and some positivity- heaven knows we need it some days! Good luck mama!

  110. Could she “earn back” the opportunity to trick or treat? As a teacher I understand the dilemma and there should be consequences, but giving her the chance to reflect and work towards something she wants will also teach her lessons. Also, it lets you off the hook for those frustrated declarations we all make.

    Good luck!

  111. I would still take her. You only get so many trick or treat years with the Little’s. If you already told her you were not taking her, I would sit down with her and have a small “age-appropriate” talk. So that you can at least acknowledge that you did say it and not just ignore that fact. Just explain to her that after her behavior you didn’t want to take her because bad behavior doesn’t result in doing fun things. However, if she is semi- understanding that she was not acting very nicely and that she can try and learn to be nicer and listen better that y’all can go for a little bit. This is what I would’ve done in the situation, but we are all just trying to do our best and do what we think is right!
    Happy Halloween

    Kim C.

  112. Hi Ali!

    In my humble opinion, I say let her go. It’s an evening all of you have been looking forward to 🙂 sometimes kids act up because they aren’t feeling well or going through some sort of growth spurt. Maybe she was just tired. The memories from tonight will last a lifetime. You guys should go and enjoy! Especially since it’s her first time.

  113. Have fun with the family.
    She kind of too young to understand consequences even though she is so verbal and smart.

  114. Hi, Well Ali because you told Molly her consequence for her behavior would be not going Trick or Treating you need to stick to your word. Oh I know it is hard but they truly do understand and she will start to know if you do not stick to your word. As far as the constant demands I have found time out works the best. Nip it in the bud as soon as she starts. It will be hard and you will have to put her back in time out a lot at first but it does work. Once you give in it is hard to stop. I feel ya mama. You are doing great.

  115. Ali, you and your husband are great parents and always remember that. Young parents today have different pressures than those of us who have children that are in their mid and late 20’s. But, as long as you do what you are comfortable with, it’s the right choice. Being a mom is the hardest job ever and comes with no training! You have to go with your gut and not second guess yourself. Be confident in your decisions because there is no right or wrong for the small stuff. I always went with my rule that my job was to be the best mom I knew to be and not their best friend. It seemed to work well along with always encouraging my kids to be honest with us, no matter what. That concept works really well as they get older. Your sweet kids will grow into fabulous little people until one day you are watching them at a middle school and high school function and wonder where the time went. Don’t get me started on college haha. It’s a fun, difficult adventure to raise a baby to an adult, but it’s the best job ever that you will do out of unconditional love and pride. Don’t sweat the small stuff (which took me way too long to learn) and enjoy every moment because you will miss their younger years more than I can tell you. I have a beautiful daughter who is 28 and a fabulous son who is 25 and truly feel like my husband and I did our job well. We had lots of challenges as any parents, but you take each day as it comes and it’s all good! And remember, perfection is a myth! Have a lovely holiday season and I hope Halloween was fun🎃😘

  116. I have 3 boys…8, 5 and 3. They are only going to be this age once. Her age is hard. She is trying to learn how to communicate her feelings in the correct way. Big things like Halloween don’t continue forever. I would let her go but give other punishments instead. She won’t understand it and it will also be rough for you and Kevin. Be careful in the future what you threaten because it’s important to follow through…but again…she’s only 2 and you are all learning still. You’re being a great Mom by asking these question. Short term punishments for her age are best. Keep up the good work. She’s an awesome kid.

  117. Keep in mind sometimes children have a hard time controlling emotions on important and exciting days. She’s still really young and learning to contain excitement and anticipation is a really difficult skill. I’m not a big believer in threatening a consequence and then letting it slide, but she’s young enough and if it’s just one time she won’t learn you don’t mean what you say. In the future you’ll have to follow through. I don’t make big things like that a consequence though. Toddlers and young children need immediate consequences. Time outs, lose a toy, lose a movie etc. I say you go, but go home IMMEDIATELY if she exhibits bad behavior. That will be a big learning moment. Good luck!

  118. Hi Molly!
    My thoughts are it’s more of a family outing/event, so make the memories, take the pictures but then not allow her to have any candy until tomorrow.
    Ugh, it’s tough momma! I have two girls who are 5 and 7 and have been there and am still there some days!
    You are doing an amazing job!

  119. So, I’m usually a follow through with what you say, and man sometimes it comes back to get us as parents. But maybe, since it is Halloween and a special day, and since she is doing better since her nap, you could point out out how much better her choices are right now and you’re rethinking the no trick or treating. She could do a simple chore or two to earn it back. I’m not sure if she’s old enough to do that because all kids are different. But go with your gut. You’re her mom and will ultimately know what’s best.

  120. Hi Ali, I’m a mom of a 2.5 year old and I can definitely relate to this frustrating and hair pulling behavior. But I have been doing a lot of reading and have really taken to Janet Lansbury, check her out of you have have, it’s all about respectful parenting and acknowledging what they feel, letting feel it, and then letting it go. But I find a lot of what she says so helpful.What your describing is what they do at this age, it’s their job to test us to the limit. Not to say let her hit you or her brother, but be there to stop her and say, I won’t let you hit. And if she continues, just hold her hand and let her you you’re here for her. She has so many emotions going on and such a lack of impulse control that she can’t help it sometimes. She doesn’t know what to do with a lot of what she’s dealing with, maybe her little brother is getting more attention and so she acts out. But she also relays on you to be there for her and stop her from hurting anyone. I’m not doing a great job explaining but check out https://www.janetlansbury.com/ she says it way better than I am now. Another thing is age appropriate consequences, I know our little ones understand a lot, but I think not letting her trick or treat is not so fair, that’s family time to treasure, and you only get so many with the kids till they are off with their friends. And I don’t children really understand a far away consequences like tonight, if she does something you feel she should be published for like a time out, it has to happen right away, not in a couple hours, as she won’t relate the two to each other. Anyway, I am in now way associated with Janet Lansbury but I truly find what she says helpful, and it helps me not take my little ones action personally. They love us, we are their world, but they aren’t able to control their impulses like we can, it takes time. Hope you’re Halloween gets better, hang it there!

  121. I am a mom of 3 grown children, youngest a college freshman. They are all good people and kind humans. I consider myself a successful Mom. In my opinion a day like Halloween comes once a year and she should go. She’s too young to equate this evenings punishment with her bad behavior this morning. I think it should be more of an overall behavior modification effort. I found bargaining was a very good tool at her age. Like, you can watch Moana when the timer goes off IF…. If she doesn’t follow through she doesn’t watch. After a few times she will realize you mean business. Warnings also work well but you have to follow through. They learn very quickly when you don’t. If you don’t stop… By the time I count to 5 then…. Choices also helped to curb battles. With my daughter I gave her 2 outfit choices each morning rather than battle her to wear what I chose each day. I think with girls it’s a bit of a battle for control also. Even at her young age. She’s smart and bright and spirited, just like my daughter. She will be a wonderful young lady, I promise.

  122. For me, I would still take her. She’s really young. I would just remind her that if she is being silly and not making good choices than you will go home and go to bed. If she acts out trick or treating end it right than and there and take her home and right to bed.

    Good luck Mamma! You’re doing great!

  123. She’s two! She doesn’t fully understand consequences at this point. So I personally would take her but withhold the candy as the consequence and keep explaining why. (Because she’s going to keep asking for it!) And my advice moving forward is if you say she can’t do/have something you must stick to it as over time she will learn you just shout things out but don’t mean them. But for this instance and given her age, go try and end the night on a good note! Happy Halloween!

  124. She is two for god sake. You’re punishing a toddler that doesn’t understand the consequences yet. Let her cool off and go have fun with your kids tonight.

  125. If you said no.. stick to your word. It’s painful but it’s important you put value to what you say. Alternately you can say you will allow her to go trick-or-treating but she cannot have any of her candy today because she misbehaved.

  126. Dear Ali,
    I know how much you love Molly and how you were looking forward to making Halloween fun for her but I agree that if you already told her that her bad behavior was not acceptable and that she could not go trick or treat you must keep your word. She will remember that her bad behavior has consequences. Be strong I know you can do it.

  127. I would say let her go trick or treating, but limit the amount of candy she is allowed to indulge in. Something such as letting her know she can only have 2 pieces of candy tonight, and if she is better tomorrow she can work her way back up. Make sure she knows she could have ate more if she behaved better, so she is aware her bad behavior still has consequences That way, she can still participate in the fun of Halloween and tomorrow (hopefully) she gets to experience the tummy ache!

  128. The 1/2 year mark is when kids are in dis-equilibrium, so it sounds like she’s developmentally right on track. There are so many reasons she may be acting up today, specifically, or it could just be she’s feeling that dis-equilibrium. I think understanding a child’s developmental stage made me a better parent. There is a great series of books by Louise Bates Ames and I would read them around our kids birthday to get me up to speed on what’s ahead developmentally for the next year. They were my life line to parenting sanity.

    No must mean no, or we condition our kids to throw a tantrum to get what they want, if we say no but then say yes after a tantrum. Say strong in the no, as it’s going to get a lot harder when you are dealing with a teenage power struggle. I would validate her feelings of disappointment or frustration about not being able to watch the movie she wants to watch. Let her cry and throw a temper tantrum. After she calms down, I would give her the choice of 2 things she might like to do. That way she feels in charge of what’s going to happen. I used to tell our kids “no means no and I won’t change my mind. If you persist, all that will happen, is that I will get mad and frustrated, as well”

    As far as Halloween activities, I would express to her that it’s been a tough day but in spite of that we are going to go trick or treating and try to make a shift in the day. Make consequences small and immediate for misbehavior. It’s hard for a 2 year old to understand her melt down in the morning is remotely related to events in the evening.

    Good luck! This parenting thing isn’t for wimps! Keep up all the hard work. All the hardwork you are doing will pay off when they are older and stakes are much higher. You’re doing a great job!

  129. Hi Ali! I have a two year old as well. I can honestly say that a) she doesn’t completely comprehend when I tell her she can’t do such and such if she continues to misbehave b)I truly don’t think she will understand why you’re not taking her trick or treating at this age and I don’t think she will quite compreheabd why she isn’t going

    I think around age 3/4 punishments such as this are necessary and they understand them more and learn from them but at two I don’t think it’s going to make a big impact

  130. Hi Ali, that is so tough! Sounds like you had an exhausting day. I think her behavior sounds pretty typical for her age. I’m a school psychologist and we know that behavioral principles are more effective than threats, kids at this age do not understand future consequences. They need in the moment time outs to refocus and the more attention you give to her behavior, the more she will do it, as hard as it is, it’s best to avoid it. The behavior may get worse initially to get your attention but if you stick with it, her behavior will go away.

    Hope that helps!

  131. I think you should still take her trick or treating. She is too young to understand the punishment. I think at 2 years old her punishment should happen at the time of her bad behavior. She won’t understand if it happens hours later. I say have a talk with her and tell her you were disappointed with her behavior and if she will be a good girl she can go. Maybe she just had a bad day? Maybe she’s not feeling well ? Maybe adjusting to having to share Mom and Dad? We all have bad days. I say go make family Halloween memories ! 🎃

  132. I think that you should take her out tonight. This is a fun holiday for the whole family and at her young age the consequences should be more immediate instead of a few hours later. Enjoy this time together as you will probably regret not having gone when she’s older and you don’t have pictures of a time when she was younger. If you choose to go have fun tonight!

  133. Hi!! I wanted to say more than just select a side. I say let it slide. I am a mobile crisis clinician for kids and usually the way I handle it when I go out for kids is in the moment they can only remember so far, so I say enjoy the memory with her, let her experience it and try again tomorrow! I think by showing her that a day can “turn around” and be fixed will be better than the message of bad choices lead to a bad day, leading to a continued bad night! Hope that helps, it’s such a struggle I am sure between not rewarding bad behavior and rewarding it. But I think as she gets older and can remember her actions more then taking away trick or treating would suffice 🙂 I think letting her go for the experience but letting her have the candy for positive behavior is a good way to go about it! as I am no mom (yet) I work with a lot of different behaviors at work everyday and sometimes struggling parents as well so hope this all helps from a mobile crisis clinician for kids to an awesome mama!!

  134. I work with SPED students and they have the mentality of a toddler. The Holidays are so rough for littles. Such excitement, and they don’t know how to handle all the little emotions. We don’t take anything from them on holidays because they really are doing the best they can with all the excitement and unknowns of what the day will hold. I would say take her and enjoy the moments with her!

  135. Since you told her she “couldn’t go trick or treating”, maybe you say y’all are starting late? Let her see some kids outside before you go and say “if you promise to be really good the rest of the night, I’ll let you go trick or treating.” That way she can feel the consequences by seeing the other kids, and you aren’t 100% going back on your word, but both you and Kevin and Molly all win in the end.

  136. Ali, please take Molly trick or treating. While I agree that consistency is important when it comes to discipline, this is also Halloween and family time that you will not get back. As a psychologist, I do not think that letting her go, even after telling her “no” this morning, is going to send her down the road of complete disobedience or ruin your chances of disciplining her in the future. She is only 2 and the consequence is not immediate for it to be effective. Now, if she was 16 years old and rebelling, it would be a different story 😉 At the end of the day, you have a beautiful family and you should enjoy your time with your children because this time is all too fleeting. Have a great time! And, remember to forgive yourself- we mamas are our own worst critics. You got this!!!

  137. Hi Ali! I also have a persistent 2.5 year old and it’s hard to deal with on certain days. First off, you’re doing a great job by wanting to figure out the best way to parent Molly:). Secondly, I agree that at this age, they really don’t get threats for the future. I would take her out but maybe only do a few places and give her treats the following day instead of this evening. It is so challenging parenting but she and Riley are so lucky to have you as their momma❤️

  138. As the Mom of 3 now grown college kids, I’ve seen it all. My two cents: Halloween is prob the number 1 day of bad behavior among kids! It’s prob the reason someone decided Santa is watching and you have to be good! The reason? Sugar sugar sugar! Before, during and after it’s all sugar. With some excitement and anxiety mixed in! I’m a firm believer that “Behavior is Communication”! When a normally well behaved kid starts acting out, she’s trying to tell you something. Don’t punish her! Figure out what she’s trying to tell you instead!
    PS my oldest when he was little would purposely act out to get a time out. When I figured out he just needed a break, we had peace in the land!

  139. As a mom you get the gift of “changing your mind”. Sometimes we make rules in the heat of the moment that we feel like we have to stick to but I think it’s also ok to say.. you know what? I changed my mind about tonight.
    She’s only 2 so I think at that age you try to redirect her anger and demands. Aknowledge that you get that she really wants to watch the show and it’s sad that she doesn’t get to right now. Maybe she can pick another activity.. or we can’t watch a show and I know that’s sad but I could read you a book, how about you go pick one out?
    She also has a new baby in the house and she’s not getting all the attention that she used to which in the long run is a good thing. It is a huge adjustment and it takes time.
    You are doing a great job! The fresh air will do you all some good so i say have a fun night!
    Mom of 3… teenagers 🤣😩🤣😩🤣

  140. Because of Molly’s age, she won’t understand the consequence that behaving negatively results in no trick-or-treating because the consequences are not immediate. For such young children, any praise or consequence needs to happen right away (e.g., a reward of a sticker right away).

    Consequences need to be natural and logical (e.g., if you hit mommy, I won’t play with you anymore because that hurts and makes me sad). The best way to increase the behaviours you want, are to be on the lookout for them and praise/reward immediately. Usually you see a big improvement using rewards as opposed to punishment/consequences. Be specific with expectations- instead of saying “no candy unless you behave” say, “if you do not hit mommy for the next 30 minutes, you will get a sticker”. Children as young as Molly are fine with verbal praise or small rewards like stickers. Let’s say she does hit again within that 30 minutes, you would use the consequence, but might say something like, “you almost made it the whole 30 minutes, I know you can do it”

    I really encourage you to read this book, it’s really a fantastic resource for parents and goes through so many amazing strategies and is very clear and easy to follow:

  141. Kids today are coddled. Molly is two years old which is really young to go out for trick and treating. If she is misbehaving it’s because she is simply a toddler and this is what toddlers do. Yes you are excited as parents to go out with your kids however keeping in mind she is only two and you have so many years ahead to enjoy this event with her. I see parents trying to force their children to grow up so quickly. Stay in and bed early. Will she really know the difference? Reward good behaviour with a treat when she is better. If you give in the years to come will be high maintenance. Children need structure and good discipline!

  142. 1. Consistency consistency.
    2. Never threaten something you’re not willing to follow through with (your word has to mean something).
    3. Mom and Dad must always win (outwill your toddler, even on your roughest days, it’ll pay dividends later)!

  143. Hi Ali! I haven’t read through all the comments so I’m not sure if I’m repeating what anyone has said. I know it was said in the moment but I always try to remember not to use what I don’t want to actually folllow through with as punishment. Especially Santa and presents because we all know they are going to end up getting presents! Haha

    I have a 2 and a half year old little boy and he can also go from having a horrible morning to being so sweet and I think it’s just important to deal with it at the exact moment it’s happening. After all she might not even remember her behaviour before her nap and not realise why she is actually not going trick or treating.

    I would definitely still take her and just say to her that you know she was having a really bad morning and mummy said she wasn’t going to take you trick or treating but you really want to go and have a happy night together and you hope that she will try to make you happy next time.

    Having a two year old is incredibly challenging and you also have a little baby! You are doing an amazing job. Trust what you think is right and go with it 😊

  144. I think you should definitely take her! That’s a memory you will lose and just remember the time she was bad… kids are wild and need to vent out! I’m a mom of 3 and believe me I have used that “I’m taking away!” a lot! It’s hard and when your in the moment and frustration takes over that’s what happens. Hopefully the day turns around and just take her Reese’s! Happy Halloween!

  145. Does she understand what trick-or-treating really is? Ask a neighbor if you can drop by tomorrow and “trick-or-treat” – since this is her first year, she won’t know the difference. That way you can stick to your word and she still gets to dress up. Good luck! The motto in our house is “one day at a time”. 🙂

  146. Hi Ali – I’m a mom of an almost 3 year old and she lost hearing this past year. We are (im)patiently waiting for cochlear implants that should hopefully get her to near normal hearing. I’d do anything to be able to communicate with her and explain things to her (or at least try and she know exactly what I’m saying even if she doesn’t like it). I get frustrated and upset mostly with myself but also that trick or treat means nothing to her because she can’t hear to really understand my explanation (I learned sign language and try lots of other things but somethings just don’t click). We have a son 2 weeks younger than Riley and I think all the time about how my experience will be different. But then I realized I’m just missing out on this Halloween with my daughter. I understand the importance of discipline. But, you get to have Halloween with your daughter on a day she was really emotional and a bit ugly at times. Some random day next week she will likely be the same and you’ll have ample opportunity to try discipline that day (you’ll also be prepared!). Take her trick or treating. If she has a hard time and throws fits, let her. Maybe a small goal should be please and thank you at every house? Life’s too short and too hard. Good luck momma. We are all doing the best we can. ❤️

  147. I’m not a Mom, but I am a behaviour therapist and parent “trainer”. “Behaviourally speaking”, you’re right you shouldnt reward her bad behaviour and parents should be careful not to threaten consequences that they don’t actually want to follow through on (easier said than done, I know).
    In the grand scheme of things, going trick-or-treating after a tough day is not going to reinforce her poor behaviour for the rest of her life, as long as you don’t establish this pattern every time she has a bad day.

    If going out tonight is important to you and Kevin, as a family, then go! Let the day go, and enjoy. BUT you should try to set Molly up with expectations before you go: tell her your expectations for her behaviour when you go out and what is allowed and not allowed. The beauty of this situation is you have some “currency” to use afterward… meaning if she is well behaved for the evening she can have some of the candy she gets, but if she continues to misbehave all evening..no candy and fun ends.

    Happy Halloween!! 🎃

  148. I’m with Sally. ..your words took place hours ago. I’m a mom since 1984 and now a Gamma. I do agree to uphold your words, but…..at 2…….take her to a few homes, 2 pieces of candy, ha…and as she gets older I will stress the importance of what you say, goes! Tonite…have a bit of fun, the wind, the excitement, wanting Mom’s attention now with Riley, she’s human too. I’ll begin to ramble, as my dear g’son woke me at 4:30a.m. Have fun!

  149. She’s 2… there are kids much older that can’t keep it together for big days. Sometimes they get so excited/worked up, they just don’t know how to channel it. Let her enjoy trick or treating but keep it to a minimum and explain what is expected in the future.

  150. I would absolutely let her go – it’s once a year! Just be careful in the future to only threaten things you don’t mind taking away, if that makes sense. Take away toys, tv, iPad, whatever else she enjoys that is a “point of pain” but not her best friend’s birthday party, or Halloween, that type of thing. It has to be a point of pain to matter (otherwise she won’t care less about losing it) but we ALL have rough days, hell, I just yelled at my husband after a crummy parent teacher conference. 😝🤔 enjoy trick or treating, can’t wait to see pics.

  151. I have 3 little babes and it was an adjustment for each and every one of them to have a new baby in the house. Molly may still be adjusting to her new life which involves sharing mommy and daddy with her baby brother. My Dad gave me the advise that family time should not be used as a punishment, and I agree. I say go enjoy Halloween and just know that her sweet 2 little year old self will probably have a lot of not so good days over the next couple of years. I feel like 4 is the sweet spot!! Good luck! Happy Halloween 👻

  152. I’ve definitely been in your situation and know how difficult it is to navigate, so hang in there! The fact that you are putting so much thought into how it is best to respond shows what a great parent you are! No one ever said it was easy!!!

    We all have our off days, kids included. I remember one time telling my kids, then 2 and 4, if they didn’t stop misbehaving on a shopping trip to Target, that I’d have to leave my cart there and leave without buying any of the things we’d already put in the cart. Well, they didn’t stop misbehaving, so I stuck to my word and turned the cart around and marching to the front door (whisper apologizing to the employees as I left). My kids were in shock. “Are you really going to leave it there? We’re sorry. But we don’t get to buy the toy?” To make it doubly painful, I took them back an hour later to put all the items back because it wasn’t fair to make the employees do it. VERY effective. I never had to do it again.

    That being said, Halloween is very special and it’s possible that part of Molly’s behavior was because of misdirected excitement about the day. Adrenaline is adrenaline is adrenaline and little ones don’t really know what to do with it… it’s why some of the biggest, best and most exciting days are filled with the worst behaviors! Take a trip to Disneyland or a line to sit on Santa’s lap and you’ll witness exactly what I’m talking about. 🙂

    While I’m a firm believer in consequences, I’m also a firm believer that we all make mistakes and all have our bad moments (parents too)! If my kids are generally well-behaved and have done something very out of character, rather than punishing outright, I try to understand what might be the reason and then give them an opportunity to prove themselves. If I were in your shoes, I might say something like, “I am so sad that you were so unkind today. I was so surprised that you were yelling and hitting because I know you know better than that. I also know that you’re normally a really sweet, kind girl and I love that about you. I want you to know that how you behaved was not okay and I expect better. I also want you to know that I believe in you. Tonight is Halloween and I am willing to give you one chance to prove that you can behave kindly. Do you think you can do that? We will take you to 5 (or 10 or 20) houses and if you behavior is okay, we will continue. If not, we will be coming home and you will go straight to bed. Do you think you can behave kindly?”

    I know you told Molly that she wouldn’t get to Trick or Treat and it IS important to stick to what we say, but it’s also important to acknowledge that parents aren’t perfect too. Many times I’ve had to walk back a threat or consequence because I overreacted in the heat of the moment. Consider these learning moments, too. Your child gets to see that YOU made a mistake and have learned to do better, too.

    I hope the rest of the evening goes well and that you can enjoy your time together as a family, no matter what you decide. These tough moments are the ones you’ll remember forever and look back on fondly once you get through them, I promise. My kids STILL talk about the time their mom was a total bad#$% and ditched the cart in Target. 🙂

    Happy Halloween!

    1. Totally agree about kids acting-out because of all of the excitement and build-up that they are unable to put into words. Also, it is helpful to think of consequences in terms of “discipline” or turning them in the direction you WANT them to go vs. punishment, which is just negative. I learned this from a very special co-worker (who was a mom) when we worked together as counselors of kids with behavior disorders. My 3 girl’s are grown now and I LOVE spending time with them. Remember, we ALL make mistakes & it’s a good thing to model “I’m sorry” for your kids. ❤️

  153. If you said she can’t go, I would recommend staying true to your statement. Even though you said it in the morning, you should stay true to your statement. It’s so hard, and you want to show some grace, but if today has been her hardest day, today should reap the hardest consequences. She’s at a stage that craves attention right when she’s having to share your attention with Riley. That is going to yield some tough days when she doesn’t want to share you so she acts in a way that demands your attention.

    I think, you could sit down with her tonight and talk to her about why you’re not going. And maybe suggest that if she has a good day tomorrow, you could go for a special treat in your costumes or something that would be a fun reward for good behavior.

    Good luck to you! Parenting isn’t easy! Give yourself some grace on tough moments. You are doing an amazing job!

  154. In the grand scheme the memory is important in this case. Especially since its Riley’s first Halloween and I don’t honestly know if she would understand the significance of not going enough to out weigh the loss of the special holiday memory for the whole family. I think let her go and just withhold the candy. But if she continues during trick or treat tell her if she doesn’t correct her behavior you’ll go home early. Hang in there Ali! You are an amazing Momma to two beautiful kids!

  155. I have 3 girls age 15, 13, and 9. Seems like most everyone agrees that if you said, no trick or treating, then stick to that. The main thing with disciplining is not the severity of a punishment, but the certainty. Have basic rules with expectations and if they break those, then (dicipline of your choice) happens. Don’t threaten with unrealistic punishments. I don’t give repeated warnings, count, threaten, etc. If you break a rule, something will follow. Molly is young, but she can understand that you are not ok with certain behaviors. 2 is a hard age….I remember it well. If you stay consistent and don’t give in, things will get better!!

  156. Consequences to bad behavior should be timely to the bad behavior. Taking away trick or treating later in the day for earlier incidents may be too late, and it may just make things worse for everyone. Also, it is a pretty harsh punishment; if she showed poor behavior and not listening, it’s probably too much of a consequence since she’s been waiting for Halloween for weeks and it only comes once a year. I’m sure she wasn’t being bad on purpose, she just needs to learn different ways to express her feelings and that she can’t always get what she wants immediately.

    Your gut will tell you what’s right, but if it were me, I would not tie the trick or treating to her earlier behavior; it’s not a reward for being good, it’s a family event and it’s ok to go. You will have lots of other chances to correct her I’m sure!

    You’re so sweet! Hang in there!! It does get easier!

  157. I personally think 2 is too young to remember or understand consequences. Immediate consequences (e.g. time out) are more effective at this age. And just thinking back to when my daughter was 2 (2 years ago), she didn’t even understand Halloween. If we didn’t go trick or treating at that age she wouldn’t have even known she was missing out on something.

  158. I’m usually for following through on consequences as a school teacher, but this time I’d let it slide. I have my own Molly who nearly 22 months & a 3 month old, and it’s been a big adjustment for my little Molly. Saying that though, if you go out trick-or-treating & her behaviours continue give her one warning & then pack her up & bring her home. They really are still babies. Sometimes, it is hard to remember that because they seem so grown up next to our new little ones. Make the memories tonight. Happy Halloween 🎃❤️

  159. I would tell her she owes you 5 minutes of trick or treating time. When that time passes, have a super short and to the point talk with her about the day, why she sat, and have her apologize. After, enjoy the night trick or treating. Happy Halloween!

  160. That’s a tough one! As someone who specializes on behavior in early childhood it’s very important to say what you mean and mean what you say. We’re all learning and make mistakes. In the future my advice would be to focus on immediate logical consequences and ones you can follow through on; avoid consequences that the child this age may not have until later in the day. The consequences should be consistent and immediate and most importantly something you can follow through on – for example this morning when molly was tantruming, time outs or tv/toys taken for a brief time would have probably been most effective. In a few years she will developmentally be at a place where she understands longer term consequences. It’s easy to react in the moment and respond “that’s it you’re never leaving the house” but you don’t mean that and your child sees you not following through and therefore makes the connection that you don’t follow through. Also it’s important for all caretakers (mommy, daddy, grandmas, nanny’s etc) to be on the same page about the consequences you line out for certain behaviors.
    You’re doing a good job mommy, this age is HARD! Just remember, immediate, consistent and follow through are most important!

  161. Hi Ali!
    I’m am elementary school teacher with a Masters degree in Child Psychology and a mom of an almost 2 year old.
    In terms of consequences, make them immediate and directly related to the initial behaviour. Think of what a natural consequence for a similar action in the “real world” e.g., she hits you, you are sad and hurt and don’t want to play with her for a minute or two. Consequences should be matched in terms of time to the child’s age approximately (2 years, 2 minutes). Then, love her, play as usual and resume regular activity.
    On a day like today where things seem largely off, try to figure out what is missing for her. Is she tired, bored, adjusting to change, getting sick, jealous, etc. and address the underlying issue. Toddlers don’t understand these issues, and while it is difficult the more we can figure them out and solve them on their behalf the happier everyone will be.
    You can try working with Molly to label her emotions. “You’re feeling frustrated because mommy is busy. I understand and I love you.”
    Finally, structure is key for kiddos, from now until she’s much older! You could try posting a visual schedule of what her day will look like and give her a choice between a few things at certain times so she feels she has some control over things. Of course, only provide choice when you are ok with any choice she makes. Rewarding the behaviours you want with a sticker chart or something else she can see may also help. And, keep transitions between activities/locations/etc. to a minimum on off days! You’re doing great and I think it’s wonderful how open you are and eager to learn. Molly and Riley are lucky kiddos!

  162. Hi! I’m not a mom, but I am a teacher so I understand behaviors and following through 🙂 since you told her no trick or treating, follow through with that. If you let her go, her mind might start to think, “I still went trick or treating last time, what else can I get away with?” It’s no fun, but important to always follow through.

    One year my parents took away Christmas (my siblings and I were not following directions for multiple days) and on Christmas morning there were no presents or anything. For the next couple of days we were on our best behavior and THEN our parents gave us presents- while reinforcing the positive behavior. I know that’s tricky on trick or treat night, but maybe letting some neighbors in on the plan in a couple days might help.

    You’re doing great- you can do it!!

  163. Two year olds only remember in the moment, is it worth missing the possibility of a better ending to the day. Love her through this phase, and know that her determination and knowledge of what she needs will be one of her best traits in the real world as a strong girl

  164. So, My children are grown (31 and 28) and there are still tidbits of memories that I hang onto because I still feel bad about making wrong decisions. I think you will regret not taking her more than she will even remember that she did not get to go, if she even remembers. Make the decision with your heart because after all, thats what matters ♡♡♡

  165. I just had a bad week last week with my 4 almost 5 year old. He rotates weekly from my house to his dads house and I know the transition is rough on him. We also parent and discipline differently. I’m very strict! You have to find balance. So for your case I would let her go but NO candy. And definitely explain and repeat to her before going that you are allowing her to go despite her behavior but no candy as a consequence. And if while out she acts up then you will take her home.
    She needs to see the compassion but also the consistency and seriousness of it all. She’s only 2 but still it sticks with them! “They” say by 5 kids can be set in their ways and I believe it to a certain extent.

    For me I spank, it’s the only thing that works for my hardheaded stubborn son lol timeouts or taking his iPad away doesn’t effect him the same. Gotta get em where it hurts so to speak 😉.
    You’re doing great momma and just stick to your guns.

  166. Ali,
    One could be gracious today, and go ahead and take her.
    …But-the real work has to begin with what you and Kevin decide to do when these behaviours manifest again.
    I am in no way saying you are a poor parent-but as a Mom myself I am well aware, and have been there before-in fact anyone who is a parent has been there before! There is no condemnation here!
    From one Mom to another (I have two daughters 20 and 18), you need to sit down and solidify your plan of action as to ‘what and how’ you will respond to these types of behaviours in the future. The investment you make by being proactive as a parent is essential, and above all this little girl and her brother will require this type of commitment to see them through. Trust me, this type of planning off the ice so to speak, will pay off in dividends!
    It is easy to fall into the category of ‘reactive’ parenting, just dealing with behaviours when they happen, as opposed to being a ‘proactive parent’, being aware of a behaviour-and having a plan as to how you are going to handle these behaviours before they show up again.
    Food for thought, a battle plan is never drawn up in the heat of the moment-it is drawn up in the time of peace, so that when the war comes there is already a contingency plan in place that assists to maintain a steady course-and a mission mindedness when everything is breaking loose! (An analogy, but I think it makes a point worth heeding😉)
    In this situation, reactive parenting is not having any plan as to how you will deal with these behaviours the next time. Reactive parenting is parenting out of frustration and desperation, often entails putting forth threats based on where you are at in that moment (which typically is: at the end of one’s rope🙃), and may lead to voicing consequences that never materialize in the end-often because you feel guilty because you as a parent did not manage yourself or your emotions as you know you should have! And then, one can end up second guessing what one said one would do in the heat of the moment…leaving a child wondering if Mom ever means what she says-and sometimes depending on what the behaviour is, the child may decide that sometimes it is worthwhile taking the risk and doing what they want…because they may just get away with it anyway.
    As a Mom we must always ask ourselves-‘am I prepared to follow through?’, because if you are not, they soon learn that you do not mean what you say.
    Sit down, get a notebook record the behaviours and come up with some realistic consequences for the behaviours, ones that you know that you can and will follow through on. When and if these behaviours occur again, you will feel so much more peace as to how, and as to what you will do-being guided by the plan…not your emotions, or your child’s behaviours. You will have an action plan of realistic, doable, and age appropriate consequences that you will know you CAN implement without any guilt, and you will be able to stand by the things that you say you will do as consequences teaching Molly that Mom says what she means and means what she says. Molly will be much more secure as well, seeing Mom prepared to guide her with a steady steadfast heart.
    Cheering for You From Here!!

  167. Hey there! I think you’ve already gotten lots of good advice but I just wanted to offer some encouragement. As a mom of a two and a half year old I totally get those days where you feel like pulling your hair out. I know we don’t see all the good and bad moments but I just wanted to let you know I think you’re doing a great job! The fact that you care so much just shows how great of a mom you are. Hang in there! This too shall pass.

  168. This is such a touchy subject. My friends tell me I’m way too harsh on my 3 year old – but let me tell you this. 1) let your yes be yes, and your no be no. STICK TO IT. One time is all she needs to realize you’ll cave to her cute face. Trust me – she’s a GIRL. She will use it against you! 2) be firm with her. I found that explaining stuff to my kid so he gets it works best. I HATE that as parents we say “he does this or that because he’s a toddler”. NO. S/he does it because s/he knows s/he can!!

    Ooo girl this is a rough one. Good luck!

  169. wow lots of posts here so if someone has already said this sorry. I think she is acting up for reasons she can’t control at two years old. So big consequences are probably too much for her age. Less important ones tied immediately to the behaviour would be better in my opinion. She’s probably going through a developmental growth spurt and With that can come some pretty unattractive behaviour. I have two adults now so looking in the rear view mirror try not to “go big or go home” at this stage. Sorry you guys had a rough day! It was prob rough for her too.

  170. As an early Childhood educator I agree with others who said taking away trick or treating for behaving badly during the day isn’t a logical consequence she will understand.

    As a mama it’s so tough! But I always try to remind myself that little ones are allowed to have bad days just like adults. Although they aren’t able to fully regulate their emotions, because it’s something that needs to be taught, so their bad days manifest in much different ways than an adults. Imagine if everytime you had a bad day or you were grumpy you received a huge punishment? Many adults would be punished CONSTANTLY.
    Also she is only 2, so she is still adjusting to having another baby in the house and not being the center of attention all the time. Some days (like today) this adjustment might show a lot more!

    Go trick or treating and spend time together as a family! She will never be 2 again!

  171. Mother of two here (13 & 4).
    I would agree of a couple of the above. At 2, the effect of a “punishment” should be short spanned. She may not understand a conscience like a. “Big day celebration” because she is little.
    Even though I hit No on the poll, what I wanted to say was this that I shared above.
    Just keep in mind to always stand by your word because you don’t want to send mixed messages

    Go share some family time if you are up for it

    You’re doing awesome!!!

  172. I didn’t read what everyone else has done but we had a similar experience with out 5 year old last year. She was not behaving in school. We tried many different things and when Halloween came, we told her if she did not behave in school she could go. She didn’t behave and so, as hard as it was, she didn’t go. We let her hand out candy and still have a Halloween that way but we wanted her to know that it’s not a given. The good news is Momma, my kids don’t remember being two so she won’t be able to bring it up later as an adult! 🙂

  173. The movie Inside Out reminded me that kids have feelings, emotions, and bad days. We expect kids to act perfect and when we tell them to stop crying that they should…of course within reason. As adults we have bad days and does anyone take things way from us. Also as adults we know how we should act and can regulate our feelings better than a 2 year old. I wouldn’t take trick or treating away, as that I don’t think she will understand. She’s not old enough to know what she’s missing. These are memeories that you want to have as a family. Also, some days their behavior takes a toll more on us because we are stressed out more. You are a great mama!!

  174. This is SO tough! I have a 2.5 year old and we had a very similar day!!! I do think that they feed off of the hype and excitement of days too…which makes it even harder! I had Cora sit down and breathe and calm down before we could get ready and go (turns out she was also just really hungry/tired) and then when she had a tantrum close to the end of trick or treating, we went home immediately! I felt like this was a clear boundary that she understood because we were right in the middle of it…where if I had said we don’t get to go before we actually went I think the punishment is too far from the actual behavior…make sense? Either way, you’re doing AWESOME! I hope you go and have fun 🙂

  175. I think you should take her! I think that when kids act out, the majority of the time it’s because there is a lot going on inside their tiny heads and they just don’t know how to process or handle it all. Maybe she’s tired, maybe she is confused about Halloween and excited at the same time, etc. I honestly think it would be too sad for her to see kids going trick or treating and coming to you door, and I think it would break not only her heart, but yours and Kevin’s as well. I think punishment in the moment is much more effective, and since it happened this morning , with kids that young (especially on holidays) you just have to breathe, let things go give her a hug and enjoy your night. I think you will regret it if you don’t go. Although you’ll have many more years to go, like many have said, I think it’s more important to live in the moment. Good luck ! Xoxo

  176. At her age, consequences need to be immediate. By the late afternoon, she will not make the connection as to why she is being punished when it happened hours ago. I try really hard not to use special events/holidays as punishment. It’s so hard. I know. But I would not take her trick or treating away from her for the sheer fact that she will not make that connection at her young age and it will just probably cause another melt down bc she won’t udnerstand. I hope this makes some sense. It’s hard to put into words. But also someone suggested not letting her have candy until tomorrow. She still won’t make the connection to that either. And may cause another melt down. Its just too late now to do anything other than what you have already done in the moment. Of course this is just all my advise. You have to do what feels right to you!!

  177. As an educational psychologist with a lot of experience with early childhood, I would suggest you take her out tonight. She is still too young to be able to connect that consequence to her behavior early in the day. With young children it is important that consequences happen immediately following the behavior and are some how related to it. (i.e. if she throws something on the ground she has to be the one that cleans up after herself.) It is very possible that the behavior is related to having a new sibling and not getting the amount of attention she is used to, a natural consequence then would be to ignore her bad behavior. Once she learns she can’t get your attention that way she will learn new ways to gain attention more appropriately. My biggest tip is to be more stubborn than your child! If she is throwing a tantrum just repeat things like “I hear you, but I can’t help you until you stop crying.” It May take a while but it will get better as she learns! One last trick, when asking her to do something, provide her options with how she is going to do it. For example, are you going to walk to the car or hop to the car? Making her feel like she has some control will likely make it easier for her to follow directions. I know this is a lot of information, I hope it helps!

  178. So many comments already, and I agree with what so many of them have already said, so I won’t repeat! All I’ll say is that I work in an elementary school & my job is focused on community + a bit of behavior (called Restorative Practice, not a great explanation. All I’ll say is that Halloween – and holidays in general – are really really tough on kids. That extra energy in the air, the excitement, etc – they pick up of it all, even if they don’t know how to handle it or self-regulate with all of that going on. So in part, know you’re not alone out there (our day was busssyyyy today)! And again, it’s all about understanding what happened, understanding who it impacts (you!!), fixing it/being accountable in the moment, and then going back to knowing that you always always love her. Good luck!! I know it’s super tough – you got it!!

  179. I hope this comment gets posted it seems mine never are posted as I am usually a devils advocate and offer what I feel is constructive “criticism”…I’m not sure you will make it this deep into the comments, but I hope you do! If you wish to stick to your guns and punish are you prepared to take away Christmas, Easter, birthdays and other special days and holidays because she is bad?! You should because taking away Halloween from her will set the precedent. She is TWO YEARS old I think you’re frankly being a bit extreme here! Are you an attachment parent? Discipline is important and is necessary but make it suit the occasion. Instead of totally shutting down Halloween put another consequence in place. What you think you are teaching her will be forgotten and she will just know and associate when she is bad she is so bad that she can’t be a kid like everyone else! It sends too strong of a message. Do you think you will agree with your choice of punishment when she is 18 years old and not your baby anymore?! Will you even remember what the fit was about and over? No guarantee you won’t and you will have regret and wish you did things differently. I speak with experience and I was a hard core mom. I was too hard on how I punished and robbed opportunities that I wish I could go back in time and give back to them. There is a time and place for discipline and consequence and there is always tmrw. And trust me this is going to be a whole new phase that will shock the pants off you! Terrible 2’s, threenager, and fu@k!ng 4’s. Ali it never ends🤦🏼‍♀️I hope you re think your decision and are able to salvage some kind of Halloween evening🎃she doesn’t need to trick or treat for hours give her a few houses for an experience!

  180. Hey! I’m a mama going through a similar period of time. My little one tantrums sometimes, and some days are worse than others. I don’t give into the crying or demanding and stick to my rules. The moment you don’t, they know next time to be that much worse. I just look away and wait. If there’s hitting I hold his arms down.

    I also expect him to be off somewhat every day, but sometimes they act up even more when they aren’t feeling well. Perhaps tired, sick, bored, wanting love or attention. It might be counter productive to some, but I take a pause from the day during his bad moods, and go somewhere quiet for mom and son time. It works almost every time. He wants to be loved and be included in things I do. It almost always turns it around. However, that’s just because I try not to just punish but replace or distract. I also try to reward positive behaviours as much as possible. That being said, every day is different and every kid is different.

    My guy really likes explanations and by the looks of Molly’s great language development (SLP here so I’m really impressed;)) she probably would like explanations too. They are just figuring out the world. Maybe it will help to give her some extra love on bad days, where possible. I know you have two!!!

    Lots of love. You’re a great mom! 🙂

  181. Whatever you opt to do, no empty threats. I have a daughter and son exactly to your ages. It’s such a TOUGH season. You are not alone. I’m learning to stay consistent is key, these toddlers little brains are going through so much growth and add a new sibling, ALL THE FEELS. Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and your little gal. We. Got. This!!!!

  182. Encourage positive behaviour. For example: “when you show mommy your good behaviour/actions, you can have a Halloween candy.” This promotes the behaviour you want to see rather then focusing on the negative! Also addressing how her behaviour made you feel and talking about how she was feeling that caused her bad behaviour (maybe she was over tired, frustrated about something etc.)

  183. As a mother to only one little girl I find out she gets her way more frequently. With that being I do have different ways to “punish” her. I say that loosely because I don’t physical smack her. Deep down you know what will work for your child. I wouldn’t ever take something like trick or treating away because that only comes around once a year and tomorrow when she is in a better mood, you’ll regret it. Face it. We even have our bad days where we should punish ourselves. Only normal for kiddos to have them too 🙂 I would say let her go and find a different form of punishment!

    1. Hi! Pediatric OT here and mom of 2. My favourite resources:
      The whole brain child book

      You did the right thing in taking her!
      My top tip to parents is to model, model, model. You can say, mommy was so upset when you were having unexpected behaviours this morning. Now your words and your body have calmed down and everyone is feeling better . I said I wouldn’t take you trick or treating. I made a mistake, we moved on, and I am happy we can go now.

      Or something like that 🙂
      It’s tough. But we need to have compassion for their immature brains AND ourselves.


  184. A lot of comments and don’t want to repeat anything previously said…so i’ll just say..this is a tough age, but what has worked for me is to have consequences to the behavior I don’t want to see already in place so that my little one knows what to expect (ex. Hitting leads to time out) and so that you avoid coming out with irrealistic and ‘in the moment’ consequences, provide consequences repeatedly and immediately so they understand the connection and lots and lots of praise for the bevahior you do want to continue to see…avoid using missing out on big events (holidays, birthdays) as consequence… hope this helps 🙂

  185. My daughter is 3 and while she is normally an angel, she has some big feelings days like Molly did. We do a couple time outs then, if she still isn’t calming down, we put her in her room and say she needs to have a few moments to herself and let her calm herself down. They have big feelings at this age that they don’t know how to process and we find our daughter needs the space to sort herself out. Once she is calming, I go in and snuggle her and we talk about whats going on. I give her reassurance and always end with I love you. Then we move on. If needed, repeat the process. On the days I get mad or lose it with her, which happens, I always apologize to her too. We stick firm with consequences but theyre always time appropriate -anything that is not immediate doesn’t work at this age. Wjat works for one kid won’t work for the next, you will figure it out as you go. You’re doing great mama, keep it up!

  186. There are a lot of great studies and books that talk about how time outs do not work especially for someone her age. They also talk about how rewards and punishments do not really work and the science behind it and what it does to a kids brain. It helps if you help them voice how they are feeling and acknowledge their feelings and then take s minute to sit and talk and explain better ways to handle the situation . Highly recommend checking out gentle parenting books!

  187. Hi! Having her go trick or treating isn’t rewarding bad behavior. It happened so much later in the day, that she will be unable to connect the two. However, natural consequences immediately following a negative or unwanted behavior will show and teach her overtime. Always focus on the positive, which as far as I can tell as a reader of your blog for some time, comes naturally to you. I truly believe you did the right thing! I’m not a Mom, but a School Psychologist, try not to be so hard on yourself! You guys are doing great!

  188. I was also in this mindset of needing to give a punishment until I learned a little more about behavior. I started following simplyonpurpose (Instagram), read, “Ignore it” (which is life changing), and “no bad kids.” If you go to simplyonpurpose Instagram she has some saved highlights that explain ignoring the behavior really well. I went from going crazy with two kids home all day not listening amd fightimg to them playing together all day. Essentially, we create the bad behaviors because kids do things (even if it’s subconscious) that we pay attention to. My son learned that when he attacked his sister I would fly in and punish, ect (negative attention turns to positive attention) and when I ignore things he does it stops in about a minute. When he does do something like hurt his sister, I go over to her instead and start reading a book. He calms down instantly and joins in and then later I talk to him and role play what we could have done differently.

  189. Janet Lansbury’s blog on respectful parenting has been a godsend to me re: how to handle toddler behavior. Basically, she talks about any acting out or seemingly illogical behavior is really a cry for help from an adult to help them figure out what to do, because toddlers get very overwhelmed by their emotions. I know you’ve had a lot of advice, but if you get around to reading this, check it out. I’m sure it will help. And for what it’s worth, you are a great mom- be kind to yourself! Love your blog.

  190. I’m regards to demanding watching Moana, we have set tv/screen time at our house so my boys know now not to ask for it and if they do we tell them when the next time is. If you don’t do set screen times and she is demanding watching a movie or show maybe tell her she has to clean up first and then she can watch Moana. Turn her demand into a motivator and she doesn’t get exactly what she wants when she wants it!

  191. Hey Ali, if no one has told you today I want to tell you that you are doing a wonderful job and you are a great mom. Molly is an adorable pouty strawberry. You got this!

  192. Follow simplyonpurpose on Instagram for parenting advice, she’s So amazing. Changed my perspective on so so much and helped me understand my little girl better.

  193. Not sure if you’ll get around to reading this with all the comments, but I wanted to say I’m so glad you took her trick or treating! I truly believe you would have regretted not taking her! And yes you made a mistake making the threat but you’ll remember that in the future and be more careful about that 🙂

    At molly’s Age, it won’t be effective to give far off consequences; doing things in the moment, she will get. So, sometimes simply not giving in what she is throwing a fit for (Moana or a snack or whatever ) is a victory. Do not give in to tantrums, but simply and calmly teach her the right way to ask and stick to what you said. If you give in, the harder you will make it on yourself and her :). Now, 3 of my 4 babies are less than 2 years apart and the newborn phase was just crazy with some extra screen time, extra snacks, whatever, survival mode, and then we had to pull back on that some haha but it worked out fine 🙂

    Last, it’s great to teach kids about consequences (it’s necessity! Not just great!) but some things we simply do out of love for our kids, not tied to behavior. And special holiday memories for me go up there. The little years are short and those memories are priceless. Now, if kids start acting a fool DURING trick or treating, cutting it short is an appropriate consequence.

    So good job deciding to take her; don’t regret it for a second 🙂

  194. I’m guilty of this. My 3 year old daughter was acting up and not participating in a class she wanted to sign up for. She was throwing a fit, screaming and crying-disaster. I told her if she didn’t act right and finish the class, she couldn’t go to the parade we planned on going to that night. She didn’t finish, and we didn’t go. But I feel so damn guilty. I will take her to every parade until she’s sick of them! She has mentioned that she doesn’t want to make us mad and kiss another parade. 😥😥😥They are only little for so long. It’s just so hard to get them to understand! Now, I’m going to have a drink while I cry about that stupid parade.

  195. Some ideas…How about talking to Molly about how to be kind to yourself when you’ve made a mistake. And/or what to do when you feel mad? Or, how to be patient when you don’t get what you want right away. Of course consequences are a good idea and strategies for the next time are too. I think modeling self-love is huge!

  196. Ali, there is a classic book out there about consequences and kids. It’s called Challenge: The Children by Rudolph Dreikurs. It was my Bible. It takes the stress away from you and outs ownership back on the child. Let me know if you read it! If Molly spent two hours being horrible, she owes you time. She chooses the choices to owe back the time she spent making everyone miserable. It really works.Good Luck!

  197. Despite how she may have acted today, be proud of how she handled not having candy while trick or treating. My two-year Old kept melting down if I didn’t open the piece of candy she received at each house. So, I have to say…she may have had a bad day, but to handle the “no candy” rule with such grace for a two year old…go Molly!!

  198. We all have days like these! This too shall pass! My biggest advice (or more so what I try 🤷🏼‍♀️) is distraction! Talk about it briefly (no we can’t watch Doc Mcstuffins all day long because xyz…) but then distract and get their brain thinking about something else they like, a fun memory, start doing something different… toddlers are fierce! You are doing a great job by loving on them and all will be well ❤️❤️❤️

  199. I say this with love: this parenting thing is going to get harder and harder and age appropriate expectations are key. I’d look into something like a parenting class, educational books or websites, etc to inform you a bit. Kids aren’t little adults and expecting them to act as if they are, and comprehend things as if they are sets you all up for failure. Instead, invest some time in learning about child development and you all will experience less frustration and more success.

  200. Hi Ali!

    I’ve been there and it’s tough! I know you have a ton of comments, and I don’t know if this was already said, but the best advice I’ve heard is to use natural consequences for behavior. For example, when my 3 year old is taking foreveeeer to brush his teeth, I tell him that we’re not going to have time to read two bedtime books, and then if he still dilly dallies, I take one (or both) books away and he goes straight to bed. Then he knows that there are direct consequences for his current behavior. Parenting can be so hard, especially when our kids are acting up and we feel completely clueless as to what to do! You’re doing a great job, Mama! We’re all in this together!

  201. Whole Brain Child is a great book. Maybe Hallmark’s Home and Family can have a child specialist guest who can talk about parenting techniques fot different age groups. Just make sure you’re working when they visit.☺

  202. In the moment when she “needs” to do something, try distracting her with something else. You can say, “we are not doing that now” and change the topic or distract her, leave the room…
    Good luck!
    Btw, in my opinion 3 year olds are harder than 2! That’s how it was with my twins!!

  203. Molly is 2, right? If so, this behavior is totally normal but not acceptable.
    First, Ali, let this be a learning experience for you. As parents, we cannot threaten things we are not willing to follow through with. Try to catch yourself next time. (I am working on this too.)
    Second, let Molly beg for movies all she wants. Try your hardest to not let it affect you. Get down on her level and tell her you hear her and then carry on with your day. KEEP YOUR COOL!!!
    Lastley, the hitting/biting stuff is most likely a phase. You will feel like nothing your trying is working, but it will eventually stop. Try the Positive Parenting method, “hands are for clapping/playing with toys/throwing balls. Hitting hurts my body and makes me feel sad, etc.
    You are doing a wonderful job. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.
    -Mom of 3 (4 and under.)

  204. Always hard…I found three to be harder than two, not to scare you, but wish my friends would have warned me! When I said it, they all agreed! A book I think is really good and highly recommend is “Positive Discipline: The First ThreeYears” authored by three women, which I’m blanking on their names. It was a great book!

    1. I agree with you, two is hard, but the threenager is MUCH worse. I have grown kids and don’t remember this so much with my own kids, although I did have MANY consequences for bad behavior, like time outs and removing things like story time before bed. But I have 14 grandkids and two of them currently are a threenager, both boys, and man-oh-man, their parents cannot wait for them to turn 4! They both have older kids so they know it smooths out, but that three year old stuff is real.

  205. I have a 5.5 yr old daughter. She has had one temper tantrum ever in her life. And i think that is because of my discipline . time outs are supposed to be given at 1 min per her age. 2 yrs =2 min etc. Things should be taken away from her that she enjoys and explain as to why . but trick or treating taken away!!! No. Save that for 7 yrs old.

  206. Honestly, holidays with toddlers are the best and the worst. We as parents are excited and have spent days/weeks planning…but for them (since they don’t fully understand time yet), they wake up to a very exciting and stimulating day. It can be a LOT. Both my 4 and 2 year olds were WAY off today, even though they’ve been looking forward to this all month! I try to keep this in mind around holidays to be a little softer with the kids, and just give them some extra space to process everything. You’re a great mom! Toddlers are TOUGH!

  207. It’s midnight on Halloween and wow! I am impressed with the wise words shared by so many! I am gathering from some of the last comments, that you did take her Trick or Treating, but did not allow her to eat any of her candy. I’m a retired Kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher with two grown sons. I’m in the camp of immediate consequences that fit the misbehavior, especially for a 2 yr. old. You certainly received plenty of terrific ideas, so I have no need to repeat any additional ideas. I love the suggestion one or two followers shared regarding writing down a list of misbehaviors and thinking about appropriate consequeces so you are not handing out irrational punishments that you really don’t want to follow through with for Molly, a have you and Kevin suffer, too! I think you are doing a terrific job of parenting and are so strong and brave to share your struggles and ask for advise! You rock, in my book!❤️ P.S. We are expecting our 1st grandchild next April—a girl—and we are soooo excited

  208. I’m not a mum, but have worked in childcare for a while and am currently nannying. It’s a tough age because they don’t often connect their bad behaviour with the punishment they then receive. I think time out only works for a while, and if they’re having a really bad day (like you described- hitting, talking back etc) than I take away things like a toy or not let them watch TV. I think talking to her is the best way for her to get some understanding of what she’s doing and why it’s not acceptable. I try to connect the bad behaviour to an emotion, like you hitting me is making me sad and it sometimes help them understand that they aren’t doing the right thing (it doesn’t always help, because sometimes they just don’t care lol) I’ve noticed most kids once they hit 3 become much more aware of punishments. Also stickers are a godsent in childcare, it really motivates one of my nannying children (he’s 3) to behave if I remind him about getting stickers. I think you did the right thing by taking her trick-or-treating, and the no candy suggestion is a great one!

  209. first of all, anyone with a toddler has been there! like every day. that age is the hardest…. they have a lot of emotions and opinions but can’t figure out how to express them. two things have really helped me: i’m raising a little human— she has all of our emotions and opinions but only one or two tools to express them (biting/yelling, tantrums). if I can remove my emotions and have empathy that she’s a shrunken human trying to figure it all out too, it helps. my second — and best advice — is to read Whole Brain Child (& the companion book No Drama Discipline). it is extremely enlightening, explains the neuroscience at each age, and helps you understand how to deal with them effectively. it has revolutionized how I “discipline”. cannot recommend it enough. the power of human connection changes us — and they build on that principle. my most effective parenting moments have been within their paradigm of thinking. anyways – good luck, take a deep breath, the season DOES get better. they don’t bite forever. def check out the book!!

  210. The hard thing AND the great thing is she is too young to make the connections of realizing you didn’t follow through. The other great thing and the hard thing is that misbehavior of any kind will not be a ONE AND DONE. She will give you LOTS of opportunities to have another go at it.

  211. Hey Ali! I know you’ve gotten a TON of feedback and I’m a little late to the party, but I wanted to add this.
    I was a nanny for little ones for 5 years, I’ve worked in classrooms for kids with behavior issues, now a mom of a two and four year old myself, and am now a therapist who works with kids, I have noticed that a lot of kids will act out when special events are coming up. I don’t know if it’s excitement, or trying to test their boundaries, but it’s almost like they’re trying to lose the special thing!

    We have a rule in our house that if I said you can do something, you can’t lose that. Obviously there are little exceptions like we don’t HAVE to go to the park if the behavior all morning was terrible, but for something like birthday parties or trick or treating, we just exclusively do other consequences. This way the adults don’t lose their minds in the process too!

    I’m so glad you took her. It’s hard to decide when to stick to what you said and when to let up. But I definitely agree with others who said it’s good to apologize and explain to her that you said something you didn’t mean. She might not totally get it at this age, but get into the habit of modeling humility and grace early so she always remembers and will start practicing it herself!
    She is such a sweetheart, and you and Kevin are doing an AMAZING job with her and Riley.

    Thank you so so much for your vulnerability. You make other mommas brave.

  212. Ugh Molly and my son are just months apart and oh boy have I seen this at home! And my son adds “now” on the ends of his commands! Talk about frustrating. I’m so guilty about threatening things and not following through (I’m a school teacher and that is a huge no no in classroom discipline) and it kills me when I do that! When they are 2 though, it’s so hard to justify taking a punishment away that is hours later from the offense because do they really remember what they did? But in that frustrating moment I say/threaten about anything!! I’ve been trying to be better about consequences right when it happens but gosh darn it is it hard!! I don’t think there is a right or wrong, and you were perfectly fine taking her trick or treating (especially because as bad as it sounds and probably not right, we as parents put a lot of effort into costumes) thanks always for your honesty!

  213. I don’t have any advice for you because I’m not a parent, but I had to comment just to say that last photo really sums it up! The looks on Riley’s and Owen’s faces while Molly face-plants into the sofa cushion, LOL. Good thing they are all so adorable, right?! I’m sending you thoughts of a glass of wine, a hot bath, and a night of good sleep!

  214. I don’t think she’s old enough to understand the connection between her behavior and not going trick or treating. I would address the behavior immediately so she makes the connection (kinda like they tell you how to house train dogs). Also Janet Lansbury has been super helpful for toddler discipline. Look up her blog, books, podcast. She’s an advocate for “respectful parenting” and her solutions make a lot of sense to me.

  215. I have noticed with my almost 3 year old that if I put too much pressure or talk about big days too much then he reacts badly. He had a Halloween party at school and I think that I talked it up too much because he had a huge tantrum when we got to the party. For actual Halloween I didn’t talk about it until it was time to go and he was great! It’s a lot to process for them at that age!

  216. Two year olds are truly in a league of their own. This is such a rough time for toddlers and parents. Children need to learn boundaries and the only way to do that is to have bad days. However, I believe you did the right thing by taking her! I would see more of a problem if your threats were empty day after day after day. Also, it sounds like you did some timeouts yesterday so you did work on establishing boundaries.

    Halloween is such a fun family holiday. By staying at home it would have taken away from everyone’s experience, including Riley’s. You did the right thing! The fact that you are looking for advice and solutions shows that your committed to teaching your children how to behave and have good character. You’re doing great!!!

    Mom of 3 boys…age 4, 2 and 3 months.

  217. Parenting is about finding the balance between lessons and grace. Truth is a lot of times there is zero balance. I say trust your gut Momma! Don’t hold yourself to the standard of being a perfect Momma. God built you with everything you need from what I see on Social you are a pretty amazing crazy busy momma! Keep going!

  218. Hi Ali!! I’m a fan and also mom of two kiddos. My eldest is almost exactly Molly’s age (born 7/4/2016!). I wanted to share something that has been a GAME CHANGER for us in parenting/dealing with misbehavior – following @simplyonpurpose on Instagram. Her “positive parenting” philosophy has really really worked for us. Start with her story highlight titled “junk.” I can not recommend her enough!!! Her positive attitude is amazing and her tips are super practical. Hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

  219. Please remember Molly is never bad. Her behavior may not be on point, but she is never bad. It is an awful message to send to her.
    She is two. She is learning. She will make mistakes and poor choices every day because she is two. This is what children do. It is your job to create a safe, nurturing environment. Talk to her, set reasonable consequences. Children often pick up the emotions of the parents. How have you been feeling and acting? Thag might shed more light on the situation also. Also trying to teach her needs versus wants is going to take years. It is not a concept any child will have learned in two years. It is not even developmentally appropriate to expect her to understand this. There is a great book What to Expect the Toddler Years. You might find it to be helpful.

  220. I see that many have already suggested janet lansbury. I’m currently reading no bad kids and it’s helped me tremendously with my 21 month old.

  221. As someone who is a mom to two kids under two and had many early childhood degrees and yeaaars of experience in the field….
    We as parents get frustrated and say things all the time we might not necessarily mean , including these big punishments to try to “ win” in the moment , however, a long term consequence to this effect is not understandable by children this age. In fact, many studies and theories show that most kids don’t even start to respond/grasp this idea of a time out until two anyways…a little off track but when my daughter or kids are having an EXTREME behavior day, I evaluate outside factors first …
    Are they over tired? Hungry? Not stimulated enough? Over stimulated? Was our routine different ? Getting molars? Going thru a big change like potty training?
    Most likely with this age it’s an item like this and since full control of feelings isn’t there yet , you see this extreme acting out ..

    Easier said than done though, right ???
    I know it’s after the fact, but I think you made the right decision letting her go. Correcting / redirecting a behavior at the time of incident is best at this age!

  222. Its a hard thing to determine when a “punishment” is needed and when it’s just a 2 year old being a 2 year old, not able to handle emotions like you can when you’re older. Heck, I’m 52, and still have 2 year old meltdowns! When she’s fussy, make sure she’s not hungry, give her a space to have her meltdown. I think sometimes we engage them too much and try to stop it instead of letting them get it out, but I don’t think the consequence should be so large such as taking away trick or treating.

  223. What I’ve found is that big days tend to generate big emotions that don’t always come out in the best way. Processing all the emotions of being excited, scared, nervous, etc while waiting all day for this big event can be a lot for a little person.

    PS morning birthday parties are awesome for little people.

  224. Hello, another mom and pediatrician over here. I’ve recommended reading 1-2-3 Magic to patients and my husband. Of course, there are many ways we can go about discipline, and this one has been especially effective. Good luck.

  225. I haven’t read all of the comments so I apologize if someone else has already suggested the same thing but I’ve found Ralphie Jacobs’ parenting advice (@simplyonpurpose on Instagram) to be really helpful. She teaches positive parenting (ways to avoid always saying no, yelling, etc.) and that we as parents cannot expect our toddlers to know how to act but must teach them how to act. As far as bad behavior, she discusses consequential and inconsequential behaviors. You make your own list of consequential behaviors (ones that will have consequences) but it should be very short and limited to behaviors that hurt the child or others or destroy property, etc. Everything else is inconsequential and even if it is annoying, you essentially “ignore” it. Not always ignoring but often redirecting or reframing it to get them to behave how you want them to behave or not giving it any attention.

  226. I’m a mama of 4 with varying personalities between them. Our parenting for all have been similar as far as consequences to actions. I feel even on the hard days that you want to just “give a pass” to that it’s best to stay consistent. My kids are far from perfect but it’s been instilled through being consistent that when mama and dada say something, well we mean business. Now there have been times where I’ve had to stick to my word and I go in the room and cry because I hate dishing out the punishment/consequences I’m sure just as much as they hate receiving it but my husband reminds me gently that it’s easier to be more strict while they’re young and then “loosen” up as they get older then to be “looser” as they’re young then try to stricken up as they get older.
    Either way everyone’s parenting style varies and that’s ok too but this is just how we do it trying to survive this thing called parenthood 😊

  227. I don’t like that you are labeling her as “bad” and “terrible”. She had an unmet need (either tired, hungry, overstimulated, jealous, etc) that resulted in her having a hard time. Toddlers are not miniature adults and they don’t have the tools to work through it like we would.

    Consequences need to be directly related to the behavior, otherwise it’s just a punishment. Taking away something completely different, scheduled to happen hours after the behavior happened, won’t stick with a toddler. She’d have no idea that they were connected.

    Consequences also need to be revealed in advance. You can’t just snap and say “Fine, I’m taking away XYZ!” It would sound something like “oh my, I can see you are very angry because you want to watch Moana and it’s not time to watch. It’s okay for you to be angry, but it’s not okay to hit me. In the future I’ll have to leave the room when you hit to make sure I stay safe.” And then next time leave the room. And on good days take time for training. She her what she can do when she’s angry (hit this pillow!) and give her the language to use “Mommy, I’m so mad right now because XYZ.” And role play those situations.

    I’m glad you let her go. It shouldn’t have been on the table to take away.

  228. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see this! Not happy for you (sorry mama!) but happy that I’m not alone. I literally had the exact same scenario yesterday and today my daughter hasn’t been acting much better. My daughter will be 2 on November 15th so close in age to Molly. The last two days have left me completely drained fighting tantrums and trying to “reason” with my toddler. I’m also pregnant with number 2 and just so exhausted. This parenting stuff is HARD. I don’t really have advice but I just wanted to say you aren’t alone! My daughter is a true sour patch kid. She can be the sweetest ever but she also has some serious meltdowns. I think it has something to do with her age and I’m truly just praying for more patience to get through this phase. I know the struggle because you don’t want to give into their demands. As parents our goal is to raise these tiny humans to be wonderful people. It feels like every decision we make can shape them into who they are (for better or worse). I decided to let my daughter trick or treat last night and have fun with her cousins despite her bad attitude yesterday. It’s a balancing act and maybe I made the wrong choice but I also never want to rob her of her childhood because she is a toddler and meltdowns are normal and healthy. Good luck and hugs to you mama, keep doing what you’re doing. I obviously don’t know you personally but I can see how much you care for your children so I know you are doing what you feel in your gut is best and sometimes that’s all we can do as parents! 😊

  229. My kids are now 20 and 17, and while I don’t remember the details of each Halloween (or other big holidays, for that matter!) I do remember that the anticipation and added stimulation that goes along with these holidays seem to make the behavior almost worse at those times…Molly is only 2…not long on this planet…and you all are learning these new routines, especially with a new baby as well. It’s hard!!! I did learn after awhile that it’s best not to knee-jerk a punishment, unless you truly intend to follow through, as I do believe that sends mixed messages. If parenting wasn’t hard on a daily basis, I don’t believe we’d be doing our job. Hang in there. You are awesome!

  230. Someone may have already mentioned this but I am unable to read through 300+ comments!! 😍 I highly suggest the book 1, 2, 3 Magic! I too have a toddler girl who is very strong willed. She responded to the books guidelines pretty quickly! I highly recommend! I too was lost on how to discipline and I was starting to not enjoy hanging with my girl!!

  231. Hey Ali! I’m not a Mom yet and I honestly have no idea what the “correct” answer to your question is. But I just wanted to tell you that you truly seem like such a great mom. I lost my sweet Momma a three months ago to cancer and it’s made me really reflect on how good of a Mom she was! She didn’t always do the right thing and I remember times when she clearly made decisions about me based on her just being tired, overwhelmed, and frankly annoyed. haha But I know for a fact that no one ever loved me like she did. I never questioned if I was loved or important or if I had someone in my corner. She was always going to be there and I think she still is somewhere loving me. So I hope this encourages you. The fact that you’re asking these questions and worrying about doing the right thing shows how much you love Molly. And she’s sooooo lucky to have you, even if you don’t do the perfect thing every time.

  232. Every parent learns that you need to come up with punishments that don’t punish you. I feel like this might have been the lesson you learned with the “no trick or treating”. I found myself many times asking myself while following up with a punishment (why did I think of this?). Every child will test and you have to stick to your punishments. However I would have changed my punishment in this case. The “no candy” sounds like a great solution. Age 2 they test and I found age 3 was the much harder age because not only do they say no but they will stick with it and are not easily distracted and it becomes their crusade. I am now in my 50’s and my kids are all in their 20’s. Honestly reading your post reminded me of so many times I made a mistake and had to self correct. I can also tell you that after all those years I realize that the little issues that seem big at the time won’t matter as long as you are loving, honest and work hard to do what’s best for your kids. Enjoy your kids and all the joy they give you. You are doing a great job. Molly had a bad day and that’s okay we all do. I hope you enjoyed the night. That’s what you will remember:)

  233. Hi Ali, I know I am late on this and I saw you guys went trick or treating (thanks time difference to Europe ha!) but I wanted to say that I can totally relate to this post and once again thank you for being so honest in sharing your parenthood journey with us.
    While I do believe that it is important we stand our ground with our children when we say something, I also understand it’s hard to do so sometimes and that mom guilt kicks in as well, especially when something big (like Halloween) is up.

    I have a 17 mo boy and sometimes I am really finding myself at a loss in terms of how to discipline him: I understand he’s really young but at the same time, he really does test me sometimes! I read somewhere that the current developmental leap he is into brings him to sort of test the waters, to see what he can/cannot get away with. He is most definitely doing that.. very often he’ll do things he is not supposed to, varying from touching dangerous things like power outlets or putting his hands in the trash (ewww) and I’ll tell him no once, twice, three times.. I’ll move him from there, only to turn and find him there again smiling and looking at me as if saying “what are you gonna do now, uh?”.

    We also seem to have discovered tantrums, so now everytime he is told NO or something is taken away from him (ie. if he takes the car keys or one of our phones or laptops, etc) he’ll go all riding and start screaming/crying like his life depends on it. He’ll also look for other things to catch and throw to the floor to display his frustration, I guess. We have so far managed to calm him down rather quickly by distracting him, but sometimes it doesn’t work and if you get close he just responds by “hitting” you and pushing you away..
    Sorry I am rambling on.. I guess I just wanted to say you’re not alone and thank you because with this post you made me realize that I AM NOT ALONE. I just have had a challenging few days and your story definitely helped me feel less lonely and a failure. Thank you Ali.

  234. Just saw your story. Hope Molly feels better soon! Ear infections are very painful!! Poor little kiddo!!
    Just wanted to reiterate my comment posted above. Behavior is communication! Molly was trying to tell you she wasn’t feeling well but didn’t understand her pain. We all get cranky when we’re coming down with something. Live and learn! Now you have a reference for next time! You’re a great mom!

  235. As a mom of 4, i have a few pointers.
    Don’t set limits you can’t enforce. No is No. Don’change it to yes, ever. No matter how much crying or screaming.
    She will learn that No means cry and scream until its yes.
    And when they behave badly, cry and don’t listen, they are tired. Back to bed they go. Children need 12-14 hrs a night or they are little monsters!
    I love your blog and Instgram.
    Going from 1 -2 children is very hard as you thought you were busy and tied down with 1! It gets easier! Enjoy and keep up the amazing social media!


  236. There are three books that a must read for you and your husband. The first book is The Happiest Toddler on The Block. The next book is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen, and the final book is The Whole-Brain Child. These books will help you so much with parenting now and in the future. Children under the age of seven don’t have the reversal of thought let alone understand future consequences. I’ve taught elementary school for twenty-six years and have raised two wonderful boys. You can do it.

Shop Ali's Feed

Click an image to shop