I am new to this board. Ive just started coming here and reading threads and can see Im nto alone when it comes to needing some guidance! Thank God because sometimes it feels as if Im the only mom out there that is struggling (ridiculous I know, but thats how it feels at times).
Ok so here is my struggle. I have a beautiful, kind, loving 4.5 year old DS and a 6 month old baby girl. DS is in preschool 5 mornings a week and at the daycare lady's house in the afternoon and the baby is in daycare all day since i went back to work on 8/6.
Prior to DD's birth, we had the usual issues with DS. From about 3.5 on , his behavior has gotten to be more of a challenge. He has alot of energy but is capable of sitting still and watching tv or playing quietly if he chooses. We had te occasioanl tantrums that would happen when he didn't get his way. The worse if the not listening however. I will ask him to do something and he would just ignore me. Or he would do something dangerous like walk towards to road and I would ask him to stay away and he will do the opposite. I know that alot of this is normal limit testing. All of this has gottent o be 100% times worse since the birth of our DD. I know it's about getting attention, I know why it's happening (I think), I just don't know the best way to handle it. Ive tried trying to shape the positibe behavior and reinforce that. Ive tried natural consequences and Ive tried punishment in the forms of losing priveledges (ie no tv, no reading before bed, no you wont be able to do xyz like we planned). I always feel terrible using punishment or bribery for lack of a better term (ie if you do xyz you will earn something you want) but it seems to be the ONLY things that work and even then its always as a last resort because Ive tried other more positive things and have theynot had the desired effect.
Here is an example.
Often he wants to run ahead of myself or DH when we pick him up from school. We have told him for safety reasons that he must hold our hand in the parking lot. He will just laugh at this and run off. This is not ok. I cannot allow a natural consequence if it's dangerous. Ive tried explaining to him why this is how it has to be. He doesn;t care why - if he doesnt want to do something he won't.
Ill ask him to clean up his toys, take his vitamins, get ready for bed....whatever it is he will just ignore me or DH like he doesn't even hear us (I know he does). When he is well behaved and when he does listen we make it a point to let him know how great it is. This positive reinforcement doesnt seem to have any effect. Most of the time the only thing that works is I will ask him nicely to do something, he won't, Ill ask again nicely, he won't again. I will tell him im going to count to three and if xyz doesn't happen than there will be a certain consequence. I usually get to 2 and he then does it. Sometimes he doesn't and I follow through with the consequence and he has a hissy fit, but it's not like he learns from this and makes a different choice the next time.
I feel like I suck at parenting him and DH and I are frustrated. I know its hard for him to have a sister now and not be the center of attention and he gets alone time with both DH and myself.
Any suggestions? Ill try ANYTHING!!!!!