Hi. I am a first time mom in desperate need of some good parenting advice. DS will be 3 in July, and we are encountering some pretty challenging behaviors. Here's a bit of background. I have been a stay at home mom since DS was born. DS has always been a very active, spirited child. I have always been a very attentive mommy, always making sure DS's needs are met, sometimes to the point where DH calls me obsessive. I don't try to be obsessive, I just love my son so much, I want the best of the best for him at all times. We live in a loving home, DH and I get along well, no violence, swearing, fighting, only love and encouragement.
I started noticing these challenging behaviors around age 2, but they are definitely progressing and getting out of hand. Some of the behaviors are things like refusing to hold my hand while taking walks in our neighborhood to the point of throwing himself on the road in protest, yelling loudly every time I get on the phone or anytime any adults are engaging in conversation, randomly running around grabbing things off shelves/out of drawers just to toss things around or rip things up, hurling his toys across the room when I am making us a meal, writing on walls when I am not looking , saying things he knows are not allowed....like 'shut up' or 'be quiet' (not even in a conversation, just to get a reaction out of me), banging his utensils off the kitchen table all the while looking straight at me to see what I am going to do about it, yelling loudly during mealtime prayers so no one can hear the prayer, whacking me with sticks at the playground, deliberately throwing rocks in the general direction of my head when we are outside, protesting every decision I make during our daily routine....whether it's getting dressed, using the potty, going upstairs, going downstairs, you name it, if I say let's do it, he has to protest, running away from me in every public place, refusing to sit in shopping carts, demanding that I do things 'NOW MOMMY', oh and mealtimes....I don't even want to touch the nightmares that mealtimes have become.... and this is all in one day. But the pattern repeats itself all day every day.
He was just at our church's vacation bible study last week for 5 days, and this week, all these behaviors seem to be even more intensified. But even before that, it's just all the time, and I am so tired. I do time outs, I take toys away when he starts tossing them across the room, try to talk rationally with him as to why these behaviors are not acceptable, try to engage him in activities (but they always seem to end in some kind of destructiveness), but none of these things seem to help, send him to his bedroom for alone time. From an outsider's point of view, he probably looks like a spoiled little brat.
It's not like he lacks attention. Like I said, most people would say he is probably spoiled, maybe I have created this environment in my home unbeknownst to me by trying too hard to provide him with his wants/needs. But I always thought the more love and patience you show a child, the better behaved they should be. This doesn't seem to be the case here.
DH and I are at our wits ends. Some extended family members have already made comments about us that we 'don't have control over our kid' and we should just send him off to preschool already, and it's just breaking my heart. DH has on a few occasions stated that he feels DS has taken over our household, not in a good way. He has even compared DS to a little dictator, as DS is very demanding with both of us.
I love my little guy so much, and I see the good in him on many occasions, so I know this isn't 'who he is'.....I know there is hope for him. I know he is 3 yo, and the age alone could explain alot of the pushing of limits, but how, as a parent, do you stay loving and patient? How do you handle these behaviors calmly and rationally? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? How long does this last. Is this normal/abnormal? How do you handle it when everyone else seems to have a handle on their child and you are always the one that seems frazzled and discombobulated all the time?
We have baby #2 due in November, and if something doesn't change here, I may need to call nanny 911 in.
Sorry so long! Had to vent.