Dear Crabby, Can a Terrible Two Toddler be Locked Up?

Dear Crabby,

Do you think the jailer would lock up my “terrible two toddler,” No really … please?

Sincerely Kelsey


Dear Kelsey,

All parents go through this … and back in my time, many parents “locked up” their kids. Of course, those were different times. I know a couple that used to lock their kid in his room – the lock was on the outside of the door – so he wouldn’t bother them at night … they claimed “the crying would eventually stop.” That kid is now a teenager, has pink hair and wears a dress. I don’t think it has anything to do with gender issues, I think the kid was just so bored locked in his room that he created an artistic outreach.

Now, with your question about a jailer locking up your two-year-old, I think you have to ask the question, “What crime is this little person accused of … creating a mess? using crayons on the walls? throwing a temper tantrum? These are all normal for a kid that age and should peter out just before you send them off to college. But are they crimes?

No. I don’t think a jailer or police officer would lock up a kid for being a kid. More likely, they would lock up the parents for asking such a thing. Again, we’re in different times. I understand where you’re coming from though. Children at that age don’t have the experience or language skills to express their frustration with life (if they only knew how good they had it). So, as parents, you have to keep them safe while encouraging self-learning. Don’t ask open ended questions, instead give them two options, such as, Do you want a banana or an apple for your snack? Or, Do you want Mommy or Daddy to punish you? (that last one was always a fun one in the Crabby household).

However, if you find they need a “time out” in a secluded place to think about their actions. Don’t call the police, and don’t lock them up, put them in a safe and quiet place for certain time. After that time, tell the brat you love them and move on. Stay calm and consistent with all your disciplinary actions – or they will find your weakness and control you.

Have fun!

Dear Crabby


About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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