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SO OVERWHELMED, NEED KIND ADVICE PLEASE... 20 MONTH OLD...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

My son was so easy for me to handle when he was an infant. Sure I had times when he cried, or wanted to nurse 24/7 which was annoying sometimes. but besides that he was so easy to take care of,,,now he is the biggest pain. I don't know what to do with him, dont get me wrong; I love him and I am happy for him, I am just feeling like I am the reason he is doing theses things. like im not  being strict enough, even though I dont believe in BEING a  strick parent. i'm afraid to upset the balance of dicipline and learning and love and all that. he thinks everything is a game. he loves anything with buttons, the remote, the phone, the dvd and vcr player, the satelite, the computer (which we had to redo because he messed it up.) but i am constantly telling him not to do that, and encouraging him to do other things, play with something else, and he always goes right back to what he was doing. and when he knows hes going to be in trouble, he will run and throw what ever he has. he get into everything, the desk, nail polish, makeup, and i put it up and lock it and he learns to climb. and he loves to run outside and i cant always catch him, thank goodness we dont live that close to the road, i can usually get to him before he gets off the porch, its just the fact that he is constantly doing these things as if to pressure me and see how much i can stand, which is alot thankgoodness for living with my mom and grandma, but of course these things also bother them occasionally. non of us ever feel like hurting him or anythings just we our overwhelmed. im concerned that it is my fault that he is like this, what do i say to get him to stop, i say no or dont and he loves it. like i said its like a game...And going to bed dont get me started, he goes to bed when ever he likes and wakes up when ever he like, i try to put him on a schedule and he fights me,,,constantly...he has a really high spirit, that i also dont want to crush...i just dont know how to correct him and to go to bed and wake up on a schedule, or even what schedule is right for him,,,please someone give me some KIND advice, i AM so overwhelmed. PS HE IS 20 MONTHS OLD...

post #2 of 22

Both my daughters, espeically number 1, love to get into things.  My almost 5 year old still in always looking for something to get into.  The only real advice I have is to be super diligent about putting anything you don't want him to get into up and out of the way.  DH and I had to find new spots for many things.  My makeup goes into my dresser drawer everyday... otherwise someone gets into it.  I also set up things FOR the girls to get into.  I have lots of old makeup bags and I will put things in them for them to find and explore.

 

I also find it helps to keep them as occupied as possible.  The more I do structured activities with them the less likely they are to get into trouble.  Lots of outside time, colouring, playing blocks with them etc. seems to help.  

 

The other thing... if you don't want your son to play with your makeup I would just take it away right away and say "no".  With DD1 I was so scared to use the word no, or to stop her from exploring... but in hindsight I needed to set more boundaries.  With DD2 I will say "no" and then take her to something else she can play with.  

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 22

It sounds like your LO is a great curious little kid. I'd do what PP suggested, keep as much as you can up out of his reach, and give more structured play. I'd also try to collect some items he can play with, maybe go to the thrift store and try to find an old keyboard or other items with buttons he can press and explore, maybe an old cd player that is okay for him to destroy, but that he can open and close to his hearts content, if you have any old cell phones he can play with, I'm sure he'd love that. Anything that is similar to what he's drawn to of yours. Just make sure there are no loose parts on anything, and supervise him when he's playing with his special toys.

 

Don't be afraid to set some boundaries, his laughing is likely not meant to push your buttons. He's probably just delighted with the world and himself and how clever he is at everything. On top of that one of his strongest desires is to be like you, and do the things you do. If you remain calm, be firm, say no, continue trying to distract him with other things, and being consistent, you can get through it. Also depending on his personality, it might help to take a minute and explore with him, whatever it is he's getting into. If it's makeup, show him how mommy uses it, let him try it with some old makeup just for him. If it's a computer, show him how you type, and give him his keyboard to practice with.

 

Hang in there.

post #4 of 22

I hate to say it but this sounds totally normal to me.  Kids are naturally curious, and a 20 month old would definitely find all of these things absolutely irresistible.  And a 20-month old is a toddler, and toddlers are notorious for not listening to you because they're so busy!  And the running away thing is normal too. 

 

What helps me maintain sanity is to control the environment instead of the kid (I put the things I don't want my son getting into out sight/out of reach).  Then I don't have to spend all my time telling him he can't have things.  If he manages to get a hold of something questionable, I just confiscate it and say "sorry, you can't have that" and give him something he can have instead (redirect).  It definitely beats having to say "no" all day long. 

 

It's also good to have acceptable alternatives.  If he likes phones and remotes, buy him a used one at the thrift store that he can play with to his heart's content.  Or get toy versions of these things.

 

I think of toddlerhood as being a small test-drive of the teenage years (albeit with vastly reduced verbal skills and a stronger interest in sexuality).  I teach adolescents, and sometimes their behavior reminds me of toddlers so much that it makes me laugh out loud some days.  Toddlers are basically trying to figure out what the boundaries are, and unfortunately they seem to prefer the field-testing mode, so they spend hours experimenting and testing your reactions.  As far as toddlers are concerned, everything is funny, and it's all a huge game.

 

As far as the scheduling goes, you basically just have to decide how important each piece is to you, and go from there.  If going to bed by a certain time is important, then you'll have to think about what will get your child there and do it together consistently day in and day out.  No matter what you decide, it's all in the implementation.  If certain things are part of the routine, they happen predictably, and that consistency is key.  Of course being a toddler, your son is going to want to fight you on these things, but if you do them consistently and non-emotionally, it will work out eventually.  You're going to get resistance, crying, and blowouts from time to time, but if you remain calm and have a sense of humor when things aren't going well while insisting on what's important to you, you'll get it eventually, and in a way where nobody has to be "broken down".  There's a certain power in inevitability.  These kinds of things build on themselves over time.     

 

 

post #5 of 22

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sageowl View Post

What helps me maintain sanity is to control the environment instead of the kid (I put the things I don't want my son getting into out sight/out of reach).  Then I don't have to spend all my time telling him he can't have things.  If he manages to get a hold of something questionable, I just confiscate it and say "sorry, you can't have that" and give him something he can have instead (redirect).  It definitely beats having to say "no" all day long.

 

Yes yes yes to the above! I posted recently in another thread about how DD would go and take every single one of my DVD's off of my shelf and throw them in a big pile. I figured out that I was spending upwards of two hours putting them all back again several times a day. It was making me sooo frustrated. Finally I just *snapped* -- Why don't I just put them in a closing dvd cabinet? Just that one action made my days so much better. Rather than fighting DD's impulse to get into everything, I just started finding ways to only let her get into things that were okay for her to get into. I cleared out the bottom two shelves of my bookcases and put some of her things there. I moved a tall shelf next to the tv and put the satellite receiver and dvd player up where she couldn't reach. I started leaving the remote in a high up place. I literally just asked myself every time I would get upset about DD getting into something if there was a way to fix the problem of her getting into it... not fixing her wanting to get into it. Changing that mindset really made everything so much easier. It was a pain at first because who wants to re-arrange their whole house, but the payoff was totally totally worth it. I had more time for FUN with DD, and spent less time saying NO.

post #6 of 22
Toddlers are exhausting!

I will echo the advice to baby proof better.

But also, I highly recommend the book (also available in audiobook) Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. It has saved our lives! It's full of so many helpful suggestions. I really think its the best parenting book I've read.

He thinks everything is a hilarious game--well, go along with that and play the game! When he starts getting into something, say to him, "Oh, I don't care so much about that stuff...here, give it to me just cause I'd better put it away...but, DS, I'm warning you! If you touch that teddy bear, you're going to be in BIG trouble! Guess what's the first thing he'll do. wink1.gif When he picks up the teddy bear, make a huge show of being outraged and mad, chase him around the house and pretend like you can't catch him, and fake-cry about needing the teddy bear back.

Toddlers have a huge need to feel powerful. Acting crazy and doing anything and everything that gets a rise out of you is a way to feel powerful. If you can give him that feeling in a harmless, playful way, it'll satisfy that need while keeping him out of trouble. He is a good boy, he's just testing limits and trying to find autonomy.
post #7 of 22
P.S. About the bedtime issue--instate a bedtime routine! When my DS was that age we made a poster with pictures of each step of the routine and hung it on his wall. After we did each step it was his job to tell us what was next. It went: brush teeth, put on diaper, put on pajamas, read 3 books, lights out, num nums, go to sleep. It didn't always work 100% but it made a huge improvement for everyone. He was much more agreeable when we said "let's do the bedtime chart!" Again, it's because he had more power over the situation. HE told us which step to do next. It's all about making everything fun and making him an active participant instead of just being expected to follow orders. Elizabeth Pantley' No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers is great. Hope that helps!
post #8 of 22
Everything the PPs already said. I just wanted to stress that we find it much easier if things are out of *sight* not just out of reach. Otherwise there is a lot of frustration and whining for things. Once it's out of sight it's hardly ever an issue.
post #9 of 22
I echo what others have said.. he's normal. They are meant to be busy and have a death wish at that age. Baby proof better. Put some door knob covers on rooms you don't want him in. Take him outside more. Keep a very regular evening routine for a few weeks until he settles down some. And get some help or hang out with other moms so you don't feel so frantic with him.
post #10 of 22

I've also been getting frustrated with my toddler of late (he's close to 2 1/2).  But I've found a bit of comfort after reading about how toddlers brains develop.  Now I feel like I have a better understanding about why my son does what he does.  Part of it is that he is testing to see where the limits are and if they will be enforced.  But part of it is that he simply doesn't yet have the capacity to control his impulses; the part of the brain that controls this hasn't fully developed yet.  So I've found myself observing him a little more closely and I can sometimes see these different processes at work.  Sometimes it is really clear to me that he is testing limits intentionally.  And at these points, I can sometimes get him to calm down and stop by calling him on it.  I calmly ask him "Are you trying to figure out where the limit is?"  Often, he'll reply "yes" and then will stop the testing (for the time being).  At other times I can tell that it isn't that he is intentionally testing a limit it is just that he actually can't stop himself.  He feels compelled to do something and can't stop himself from doing it.  While there are things I can do to help him voice his feelings and understand potential consequences, I can't necessarily make him stop what he is doing.  So it is important in this sort of situation to keep him safe if there are big risks involved.  I found this blog post helpful.  Parenting a toddler is very hard work!  There aren't any silver bullets, but I've found that getting a better understanding about what is going on helps me to cope better.  

post #11 of 22
Toddlerhood was soooooooo hard with my son! I didn't do a great job with the frustration, honestly, but one little thing that I just happened to stumble upon worked really well. Whenever he had something like my phone or something breakable I'd say, "oh THANKyou for bringing that to me!!" and gush and smile. More often then not he'd give it to me. Then it got to the point that he just started bringing me my phone, etc because it was routine for him and he's get huge positive feedback. It didn't solve everything but it helped. Hang in there! He will be an amazing, curious, delightful kid in not too long:)
post #12 of 22

Right there with you mama! Your little one sounds very similar to my son (24 months.) He loves getting into everything--especially things that are off limits--and he's out the door the second he has a chance. All the pp offered great advice, just wanted to commiserate and let you know that you're not alone--toddlerhood has turned my world (and our house) upside down!! One thing I found helps is to have pretend off limit things, just out of reach. It helps keep my son from trying to get at the real off-limits stuff, which only makes him frustrated and whiny--and makes me crazy! For example, in the bathroom, we have a baby lock on the cabinets and all my makeup/cosmetics are behind the mirror. But I also have a basket of safe "grown up" things for my son to play with when I'm trying to get ready in the morning. The basket only comes down at certain times, so it feels special, and seems to satisfy my son's need to get into off-limits things. 

 

Hang in there--toddlerhood can only last so long!!

post #13 of 22

Just wanted to let you know you pretty much exactly described my son. He is 20 months also! Every little thing is also a game and a huge battle. The most annoying one is when hes in his play yard, and when I go to pick him up he laughs and drops to the bottom and I have to wrestle his big heavy but out. He does this for meal times, time to go out the door, every thing, even if I know hes really hungry, or wants to go bye bye lol. There was a point where I was at my wits end, and decided to look in on my self instead of being so frustrated with him.

 

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
"

 

You can change your self and the way you react to situations, and try to control your emotions, you cant change his high spirited nature bouncy.gif Since Ive been making a conscientious effort to not get stressed in a situation, or frustrated I have noticed a huge difference in his behavior. Baby's pick up on all of your emotions, and moods, and it will effect theirs. This has also allowed me to think of different positive ways to deal with the daily behavior struggles.

 

I agree with all about baby proofing more. We got rid of the stereo in the front room, have a lock on the hall way door, and fence in the kitchen hallway. We really have nothing out that he shouldn't be playing with. Id rather have no music in the front room then be chasing him constantly saying no and taking things...its just not worth it. He can freely play in the living room and dining room that's it. He gos into the bathroom and the bedrooms with me but not alone. We even velcroed our huge heavy dangerous lamps to the tables!!!! Yes velcro lol. The only thing left for temptation really is the TV buttons, and climbing and hitting the lamp shades.

I would suggest possibly thinking into time outs. We give him a warning, then sit him in a chair for 1minute, "ready to play?"..."yes" then we tell him why he is there again, hugs, kiss, back to play. 90% of the time when I ask him if hes ready to play he will point to what ever he was not listening about and say "no no" thumb.gif And pick your battles, pick maybe one or two important or dangerous things and have time outs just for that.

 

I agree with zenquaker if he has some thing he shouldn't I ask him in a happy upbeat voice "oh! can you bring that to mommy?" or "can you put that away big boy?" He will do one of those things most of the time. And try to use other words and phrases instead of no as much as you can "that's not ok" "we do not touch the TV" etc.

 

Routine and bed time are soooo important. We just recently switched to a earlier more consistent schedule, and Ive noticed a change in his behavior. 7am I wake him, breakfast asap. Sometimes a snack in between. 11:30am lunch. 12pm nap until about 2:30pm. Snack as soon as he wakes. Dinner 6pm, I try to have him in bed by 7pm. Books and milk every night before we lay him down.

 

I hope I didn't ramble too much blahblah.gif Good luck mamma! Your not alone!


Edited by devinsmommy26 - 5/2/12 at 7:08pm
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by nannymama View Post

and when he knows hes going to be in trouble, he will run and throw what ever he has.

ROTFLMAO.gifOmg my son does the same thing!

Just wanted to let you know you pretty much exactly described my son. He is 20 months also! Every little thing is also a game and a huge battle. The most annoying one is when hes in his play yard, and when I go to pick him up he laughs and drops to the bottom and I have to wrestle his big heavy but out. He does this for meal times, time to go out the door, every thing, even if I know hes really hungry, or wants to go bye bye lol. There was a point where I was at my wits end, and decided to look in on my self instead of being so frustrated with him.

 

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
"

 

You can change your self and the way you react to situations, and try to control your emotions, you cant change his high spirited nature bouncy.gif Since Ive been making a conscientious effort to not get stressed in a situation, or frustrated I have noticed a huge difference in his behavior. Baby's pick up on all of your emotions, and moods, and it will effect theirs. This has also allowed me to think of different positive ways to deal with the daily behavior struggles.

 

I agree with all about baby proofing more. We got rid of the stereo in the front room, have a lock on the hall way door, and fence in the kitchen hallway. We really have nothing out that he shouldn't be playing with. Id rather have no music in the front room then be chasing him constantly saying no and taking things...its just not worth it. He can freely play in the living room and dining room that's it. He gos into the bathroom and the bedrooms with me but not alone. We even velcroed our huge heavy dangerous lamps to the tables!!!! Yes velcro lol. The only thing left for temptation really is the TV buttons, and climbing and hitting the lamp shades.

I would suggest possibly thinking into time outs. We give him a warning, then sit him in a chair for 1minute, "ready to play?"..."yes" then we tell him why he is there again, hugs, kiss, back to play. 90% of the time when I ask him if hes ready to play he will point to what ever he was not listening about and say "no no" thumb.gif And pick your battles, pick maybe one or two important or dangerous things and have time outs just for that.

 

I agree with zenquaker if he has some thing he shouldn't I ask him in a happy upbeat voice "oh! can you bring that to mommy?" or "can you put that away big boy?" He will do one of those things most of the time. And try to use other words and phrases instead of no as much as you can "that's not ok" "we do not touch the TV" etc.

 

Routine and bed time are soooo important. We just recently switched to a earlier more consistent schedule, and Ive noticed a change in his behavior. 7am I wake him, breakfast asap. Sometimes a snack in between. 11:30am lunch. 12pm nap until about 2:30pm. Snack as soon as he wakes. Dinner 6pm, I try to have him in bed by 7pm. Books and milk every night before we lay him down.

 

I hope I didn't ramble too much blahblah.gif Good luck mamma! Your not alone!

post #15 of 22

When i had 3 toddlers at home, i made our living room into a preschool play room for them...much less frustrating for me AND them.  They could take out whatever they wanted, it was their space, and they learned how to keep it clean as well.   Once in a while, i'd take the toddler out to stay in the kitchen with me for a while, and he'd play with pots n pans, he had a drawer that was his, and i didn't have a problem.  Yes, making the environment suitable for a toddler will help make all the difference in the world in your frustration level.   You will find yourself more at ease, and less stressed out..also the age between 1 and 2 is the most dangerous as they don't really grasp many concepts yet--ie:, electric outlets can electrocute, toilet danger-drowning, wires, putting objects in mouth-choking,  or anything else unsafe by adult standards. 

post #16 of 22

Regarding bed time: my toddler was like yours.  From the time she was born up to 3 years old, she absolutely had her own ideas about when to go to bed.  I tried a routine like everyone suggested, and she did not do well at all.  We tried bath before bed and even that was a fight.  She just didn't want to take a bath everyday.  Forcing bath time would make her hate bath even more.  If she was not ready to go to bed, she just wouldn't settle enough.  However, when she was ready, she would let us know, and would fall asleep within 10 minutes, no fights, no resisting.  I basically gave up having a routine and just followed her lead.  Because I am a SAHM, I could afford to be flexible with my time, albeit this kind of schedule made for one tired Mama. 

 

Mornings were the same way.  She absolutely would not wake up no matter how hard I tried.  We missed many activity days because she would not get up in time. 

 

Often times, she went to bed around midnight and beyond, and woke up around 10am or later.  This was true even as an infant.  My relatives joked that she was a late-night baby.  At one point, we were worried because she was the only kid I know who did this.  I later concluded that she would probably adjust on her own because she was so clear about when she was ready to go to bed and would tell us so.  The only thing I did was to help her go to bed early on days I knew she was overtired.  

 

Now, at 3.5 years old, she goes to bed anywhere between 7:30 to 9pm and wakes up at 7:30am.  She usually sleeps only 10 hours a night and no nap.  She is the kind of a kid who doesn't need as much sleep.  She rarely has tantrums at night, even after being up for 14 hours straight.  She had more tantrums when we forced a bed time routine/bed time. We now have a very loose routine in which brushing teeth happens after changing diaper and into pajamas...that sort of thing.

 

Best of luck to you.  Parenting a toddler truly is exhausting. hug2.gif

post #17 of 22

My DD does all these things- plays with my phone, the tv remote, climbs up and sits on our printer, pulls down all the DVDs and books off the shelf. Maybe it's because she's number 5 but I have gotten to the point where none of these things bothers me. I only stop her from doing something if it's dangerous. We simply say "stop" because it's usually an action we want her to stop. Of course she tells us to stop too :) So baby proof your house and make sure that he has plenty to do, everyone gets grumpy when they are bored.

post #18 of 22

I agree with so much of the pp's advice- also enjoyed Playful Parenting, and definitely agree that controlling the space is less frustrating for you and your toddler than trying to control your toddler. At the end of the day, he is another human. You really can't control another human's actions, only your own. (I mean, yes, you are bigger and can pin him down and wrestle and win, but I am talking about not being physically coercive- I don't want my son to think that "might is right", so we don't interact with him that way).  He wants to do what you are doing, and each behavior of yours is modelling behavior for him.

Recently it had become impossible to keep my son from playing with my iphone or wanting to play with my iphone ALLTHETIME. I realized that I was spending too much time fiddling with it. I stopped carrying it around with me, and just leave it plugged in now except when we are out. He doesnt see me use it much anymore and has stopped begging to use it all the time.

Also, it was helpful for me when my son started walking and also starting wanting to make his own choices about what to do, to just let him make those choices. If he wants to play in the tub five times a day, ok. Why not? Play here or somewhere else, it might as well be here. If he wants to play with something dangerous or breakable, or with some beyond-my-capicity-to-clean-mess-potential, then I would say, we can't to that, but we CAN do this: and offer a similar but not so breakable/dangerous/messy alternative, like pushing the buttons on an old remote, jumping on the bed instead of off the couch, playing with water in the tub instead of the kitchen, going outside to play with sand instead of flour, that kind of stuff. Once you try to see it from his perspective, to be on his side in his quest for learning, it is easier for both of you and generally fun for both of you too. He is always trying to learn something! He's working on stuff all the time! We don't always see too easily what it might be, but just try to pick up on the theme and find a safe, acceptable way for him to keep working on it! Trust that whatever he is getting into is useful for his development in some way. And make sure the behavior you are modelling is behavior you want him to copy.

post #19 of 22

WHat helped me at this age was to convert one of the lowest kitchen drawes into the toy drawer,  a fridge magnet electronic toy (like that leap frog abc one), and then for his 2yo birthday, a toy kitchen that we put in the dining area/next to the real kitchen. Plenty of close places to direct him when I was busy in the kitchen. He loved the car keys, so we got him play keys. Don't have an iphone, so that's not a problems...but we did get him a play flip phone by B. (they are at target) and he loved it.

post #20 of 22

My nephew does pretty much everything you described. It's the beginning of the terrible twos.
He likes pulling my mom's antique books off the shelves, stealing toys from his sister, opening kitchen cupboards...pretty much everything we don't let him do. We don't spank him or anything like that. He has a little chair that he loves sitting in, but if he gets in trouble it turns into his timeout chair. He has to sit there until he stops crying, and then we ask him if he's ready to say sorry to whoever he hurt or put him in timeout. If he starts crying and throwing a tantrum again, he has to stay in the chair. If he just looks at us, smiles, or starts getting out of his chair he has to go hug, kiss, and say I love you (he can't talk real well yet) to the person who he upset. If he gets up before he's allowed to, then he has to go back to his chair until he sits there.
It usually lasts less than 5 minutes, and he usually doesn't go back to it for awhile...meaning about an hour or two, unless he gets in trouble for that one a lot. The other thing we do is look at him sternly and tell him "Bryson Lee...No." And he'll glare, but generally stop.

Hope this gives you an idea. smile.gif

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