My 2.5 year old in the past week has been extremely irritable, refusing to eat almost anything that isn’t Mac and cheese, and has reverted back to taking 2 naps a day. Tantrums and screaming are taking place almost all day long, no matter what disciplinary action we take (putting him in his room, standing in the corner, spanking, etc). Is it possible he is going through a growth spurt or is this bad behavior something we need to take more serious steps to stop?
You're describing "terrible two" behavior. It's "normal," but you need to nip it in the bud. In the first place, DO NOT CATER TO PICKY EATING OR YOU WILL STILL BE CATERING WHEN HE'S 16! Put in front of him the same foods everyone else is eating. If he refuses to eat, let him down and cover the food with plastic wrap and if he says he's hungry later, give it back to him. Don't worry. There is no record of a child this young starving themselves. As for tantrums, (a) cut his bedroom door in half, above the lock and (b) turn the lock around on the door to his room. When he throws a tantrum, tell him the Doctor said he has to scream in his room. Put him in there, calmly. If he comes out, put him back in and lock the door. Tell him it's his "screaming place" and he can come out when he stops. With this age child, this procedure, if you are consistent and calm, will take about three weeks to begin working. John