Anytime I'm in a grocery store, church etc. It's only my 2.5YO toddler that is acting up. Frankly there isn't a darn thing I can do to stop him. Once he makes up his mind that he is going to be angry that's it. Being 8 months pregnant the past few days have been sheer hell. He continuously pushes my buttons for no other reason then he can. It's so frusturating I do everything for him meet any needs. It's as if he just walks all over me. I never rest during the day it's nonstop if I do try to sit down he is pulling my finger to get up. Yes I can just ignore the behavior but unfortunately he inherited my sheer stubborness. He can go on for an hour. I spend just as much time as giving in as I do redirecting him. I find that when he just keeps pushing and pushing and pushing I snap. Yesterday we were walking to the car and suddenly he decided that he wanted to throw a tantrum. It escalated to the car while trying to strap him in he was fighting me. By the time I got back in the car after taking a few breaths to calm down. I snapped at him he asked for a cookie and I yelled "your not getting a F'in cookie!" He cried and screamed the entire way home. Now today on and off pushing buttons. He wanted to bring his cup of chocolate milk into the master bedroom. I said no since we have carpeting and tried to redirect him into the kitchen. He threw the cup on the ground milk splattered everywhere. At that moment thought didn't enter my mind I slapped him hard on the face and his shoulder. It's not the first time that has happened. I feel terrible and completely out of control. Why does it feel like I'm the only one with a terrible 2.5year old???
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Feeling out of controlpost #1 of 103/23/13 at 4:19pmThread Starterpost #2 of 103/25/13 at 9:09am
I feel your frustration and exhaustion. Although I'm not pregnant, I have a 28 month old and he is similar...I can assure you, that you are not the only one with a willful and assertive 2.5 year old. But it just feels that way when you are in public, exhausted and trying to contain yet another meltdown.
I am also having similar difficulties with having aggressive thoughts and I am concerned that I may hit my son. I have decided to seek out counselling because I have a family history of abuse, so I know it's a red flag for me.
"It's so frusturating I do everything for him meet any needs.". Yesssss I have exactly the same feelings. The other day, I realised that I didn't have to be the perfect mom - that it's OK if I'm not playing with my son 24/7. And although I avoid tv during the day, the other day I realised that a little bit of cheesy morning show tv would help me feel better. So I told my DS that mama was making a cup of coffee, and was going to watch some tv. He then actually chilled out a a little bit.
Are there any activities you can do that you give you both some quiet time?
For example, sometimes I will go for a drive with DS, and then I go through the Dunkin Donuts drive through and get a decaf coffee or iced coffee. It's a little thing but it feels like a treat for me, it gives me half an hour "off" parenting duty.
Also I like to pop DS in the stroller and take a walk. At least we are both calm and the fresh air is good for both of us -granted you are 8 months pregnant, but maybe just a short walk somewhere flat would help....or sometimes when the weather is bad, we do the same thing but in our local mall. It sounds funny, but I find just the cheesy elevator music and bright lights and attractive window displays help lift my mood.post #3 of 103/25/13 at 12:02pm
oh, take a breath mom. He's testing where those boundaries are. Next time he goes off in a store just pick him up and take him home. When he asks where the milk is tell him it's still at the store because he made it too difficult to shop. Cookies are there, too.
Just shut the car door and let him go. When he realizes he isn't going anywhere, he'll think about getting in that car seat. He's male - they act first and think later. I used to just pull over when they got going and wait until someone asked why we were stopped. Car doesn't go until everyone is seated and strapped in. Moving beats sitting on the side of the road, even to a 3 year old.
You just have to make it clear his behavior isn't going to get him anything - even a negative response. He's testing you for dominance. It's amazing how many 3 year olds think they can drive. Goes for cars, too.
You're not a bad mother, just stressed.post #4 of 103/27/13 at 3:50pm
I like what Redmom said about telling the kid you are doing something else for a minute, and going from there. It seems like some lucky kids who have mom available 24/7 from birth do start feeling entitled to it and somehow do not realize that you have needs too. My little one is just entering the "difficult" phase (17m) so I am on the lookout for techniques and ideas to ease some of it and encourage more autonomy (I also used to work with toddlers, and yeah, there's a lot of emotion in those little bodies!). I mean redirection is great for many situations, but I think regularly giving them space and asking them to give you a little space can do a lot too, and maybe give them confidence that they don't need you every minute -- obviously this does not apply to a child in distress etc or one who is actually asking for something reasonable in a reasonable way.
Now I have an example, and this may be a fluke with my very small sample, but I've noticed one of the moms I know who has the calmest kid (2.5yo) will routinely tell her when we're talking and she interrupts that mommy is having a conversation and can you go play for a while and let us talk (the kids are playing right nearby, we know they're ok). It's for things like when the kid wants to show her something, tell her something, etc (asking for cookies might qualify too), but not for an urgent need which gets a prompt response (e.g. potty, hurt, hungry, thirsty, hug) and she is learning to respect other people's right to do something else besides cater to her (for a toddler, this is revolutionary!). Maybe this is just a naturally easygoing kid, but I've started doing this a little with my sometimes-intense daughter, and she seems to get it already, to an extent. I started telling her when she whines that it hurts my ears and then I can't concentrate to help her, but that I'm happy to help her if she tells me what she wants, and I tell her when she's following me around and stopping me from getting things done that she can go find a book and wait for me. It's very surprising but it seems to be having an effect. I know, I know, we'll see how things are next year, but I am feeling encouraged.
Hang in there, and don't be afraid to tell your son when he's making things difficult for you - if he's testing and looking for boundaries, he needs to find them, firm and predictable!post #5 of 103/31/13 at 10:43amI found that having a firm, non-violent consequence as a "go-to" helps me handle the moments when I'm tempted to scream or hit. For example, "if you don't stop doing XYZ right now you're going in time out." or even "I told you not to do XYZ but you did so now you're going in time out." It really helps to have a plan for how to deal with bad behavior. It will give you some psychological peace.
I'm not saying you need to do time outs. You just need to pick something nonviolent and do it consistently. Eventually it will work. It just needs to be consistent.post #6 of 104/1/13 at 12:09amViolence and abuse is not a solution or a way to help your son or help yourself. You sound like you are very overwhelmed- that should not be taken out on your son. Try and take some time for yourself- even 5 minutes or arrange for some time when you can have some alone time to relax so you can be less stressed and better able to cope particularly considering you have a second child coming soon. This new addition to your family will bring more changes for your son so you will need to be able to positively deal with his behaviours in a non violent non abusive way. Try to stay strong for your self and your children.post #7 of 104/1/13 at 2:20pm
Oh boy, do I know that fire that can run through your veins! But hitting can't be the solution. You do need to make sure that you get some time for yourself. Right now. Just having a little bit of time for YOU can bring so much perspective to the situation. Being pregnant makes things so much more intense too - I am also just hitting the 8 month mark with a two and a half year old. He is also testing boundaries and the *best* way to avoid those power struggles is to give some power back to him. You are still the parent and need to control the situation, but giving him a choice helps him have a feeling of control over the situation and himself, and that is so desperately what he is trying to figure out. (So if I say "Okay DS it's time for bed!" He automatically says "NO!!!", but if I say "Okay, it's time for bed, would you rather brush your teeth first or pick out jammies first?" he gets that feeling of control without compromising the fact that it's bed time. If he still says no, I say "okay, Mommy is going to pick out jammies/brush teeth then" and he will always respond with "No, MY brush teeth!!" and will usually beat me to the bathroom).
When I am stressed all I want is for DS to just DO what I need him to, but that's really unrealistic for a 2.5 year old. They are going through a lot and it takes time for them to transition between what they are doing and what you need to do. So I try to give warnings. (In 5 min we need to leave to go to the store) Sometimes he still doesn't want to go and I need to give him an ultimatum which will typically result in a tantrum (usually he is hungry or tired, so having remedies for those things is good, or even planning to avoid doing things at those times is better). I hold him close for the tantrum or wait until he asks for a hug, validate his feelings about not wanting to do whatever it is that we need to do, and remind him that sometimes we need to do them anyway and then he is usually ready to move on. But again, choices, choices, choices and making sure that you are validating their feelings makes the biggest difference in the world. You don't need to compromise on what you need to do, but the more you push the harder he will push back. You've gotta find a way to avoid that power struggle.
I use this site as a resource and it has helped me tremendously. (http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/toddlers)
Also, when I do melt down in front of my toddler I try to explain what I am feeling - I am empathetic to him and he has learned to be empathetic to me. (Now when he sees I'm upset, he asks me to nurse because he thinks it makes me feel better.) Your two and a half year old isn't trying to destroy you (although it can most definitely feel that way at times), he is just being 2 and a half.
Hugs!!post #8 of 104/2/13 at 4:52pmMan, did I need to read this today. We are at the same stage and even though DS is in Montessori school during the day ... the nights and weekends are just miserable. Mama, if you are a terrible mama, I am too. I too have slapped my son. I felt so terrible about it. I don't want to be that parent. I posted here awhile ago about it. I know you don't want to hurt your child and neither do I. We aren't alone. I've taken to locking one of us in a room, regardless of his destructive tendencies and increased screaming when I do so. And I no longer wait until I'm seeing red to do it either. I see it as the first step in me finding a different way to react.
This post is kind of incoherent, I just wanted to tell you that you aren't the only one before I go home to my "second job".post #9 of 104/2/13 at 6:37pmQuote:Originally Posted by neonalee
Man, did I need to read this today. We are at the same stage and even though DS is in Montessori school during the day ... the nights and weekends are just miserable. Mama, if you are a terrible mama, I am too. I too have slapped my son. I felt so terrible about it. I don't want to be that parent. I posted here awhile ago about it. I know you don't want to hurt your child and neither do I. We aren't alone. I've taken to locking one of us in a room, regardless of his destructive tendencies and increased screaming when I do so. And I no longer wait until I'm seeing red to do it either. I see it as the first step in me finding a different way to react.
This post is kind of incoherent, I just wanted to tell you that you aren't the only one before I go home to my "second job".
Giving yourself a time-out IS very helpful, but I agree with neonalee that it has to happen earlier than you think. Once my annoyance/anger with my daughter escalates, the only thing I can really do is plop her in front of a show for a looooong time, and even then the rest of the day is usually pretty bad. I also second the idea of having a list of "emergency" activities that give you some semblance of rest during the day. A walk, a coffee break, a trip to Grandma's house, a nature walk... I think most kids have a few activities that make them need us less. My very intense/needy daughter is totally calm and independent in the bathtub. I can sit and read a book, or even get some kitchen prep done (lucky enough to have a counter right next to the bathroom door) while she plays in the tub or the shower.
Also, just remember that there are good and bad phases, and they don't last forever. My DD was DREADFUL from 2 years 9 months to 2 years 11 months. And then she just snapped out of it. That two month period was hard, but over time I started to learn more about this new version of my daughter, and I developed better tools for dealing with it. Nowadays when she "regresses," it seems easier somehow. I'm less inclined to scream at her. I think I've learned to separate her behavior from my emotions a little bit better. That's not to say she doesn't still drive me nuts, but I think there is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.post #10 of 104/3/13 at 2:40pm
I have enjoyed reading what all you moms posted in response!
I, too, have a toddler and am pregnant with #2. It gets really hard when #1 is being demanding and you are trying to just get through the day. Mine has become very demanding suddenly, even though I am home with her all day and give her lots of love and time and attention. Yesterday she was clinging to me and crying like I was about to abandon her, when all I was trying to do was finish washing one last load of dishes so I could take her out for a walk. It didn't happen!
I think DD senses change, senses that she is being replaced (she isn't in my book, but she may be feeling that way or scared of it). I am learning as I go along but here are some humble suggestions for re-orienting yourself and giving yourself some mental and emotional strength during this very trying time:
--when you go to bed at night, or when you wake up, reconnect to your higher purpose and higher intention of why you have/ are expanding a family
--pray for the extra strength/ mental clarity to deal with your child's age challenges
--envision yourself at your most stressed, then envision yourself being your highest self, your strongest, calmest, etc
--let the extra activities and drains on your energy go (the house isn't perfectly clean the food isn't home-made, etc)
--try to get in bed earlier (for me, I don't get enough rest and it screws me up the next day when I need that extra energy!)
--make sure your toddler has a good activity planned for each day that will engage and use up energy...which I know can be hard, since some can go on and on and on
--find a great children's book with a main character who looks like your child, modeling good behavior or getting ready for a sibling. Mine LOVES Shirley Hughes' The Nursery Collection!
I think many of us were spanked at some point growing up, so hopefully, once or twice won't be mentally scarring and emotionally damaging. But if it becomes a habit of release on your part, it probably isn't a great thing for your child, which you already know and are posting here for support so you can avoid that reflexive behavior. I hope these suggestions help you regain peace and some control, and prevent resorting to less desirable behavior. Hang in there!
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