Power struggles with a 2 year old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 06-05-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I am engaging in an on-going power struggle with my 2 year old. I am losing--losing to her, losing my cool...things feel a little out of control. I have been telling my mom things lately like, "I don't think I was meant to parent a tolddler" and "This isn't fun any more".

I have become very AP-minded and am working hard on Gentle discipline, but come from a "when I say jump you ask how high" background. I have zero control over my daughter. She repeatedly runs out of bed (sometimes 15 times) before I join her. I think I spend abut three hours a day getting her down for a nap and for bed. She is hurting her three month old brother. She is acting...up? Out? Like a healthy intelligent and highly spirited two year old?

I am so stressed. I hate feeling so angry and hearing myself threatening her. I would guess most is normal behavior for a two year old. But there are times--when I am trying to nurse and rock her brother, when I need a little time alone at night, that I really do need her to listen, to do what I am asking. Is it a lost cause?

(FWIW, I am under quite a bit of stress. I acknowledge that. A couple of years in a disastrous marriage, then to find out when I was 8 months pregnant with DS that hubby had a previous wife (which I knew about) that he was still married to (certainly did not know about). Lots of legal garbage, I am now single, and the DA starts court proceedings prosecuting him for bigamy starting next week. Is this the root of all my impatience and ugliness? I never thought I would act/think/argue like I have been...

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#2 of 11 Old 06-06-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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It sounds as if you are going through quite a bit right now. I'm sure your DD is picking up on your stress. I only have one child so I can't talk to you from experience. But I can suggest a few things.

First, you need to be a little easier on yourself. Forgive yourself and move on. At 2 your DD should understand emotions and if you feel yourself getting upset, verbalize what you are feeling to your DD and yourself and try to refocus. Sometimes just a hug can do wonders to reconnect.

I've read on other posts that having something special for the older child to do or look at while feedng the younger one does wonders. Special things just for that time. If you do TV, a special show or DVD, if you don't do TV maybe special fun music that will keep her involved. My DD is 2 also and she has just gotten into puzzles and lacing cards. Could you have a special box or basket with activities like this that you could get out for her while tending to the baby?

At night time, does your DD have her own bed? I couldn't tell. Are you open to a family bed. It might help if you're all together, it might give her a better sense of security in this hard transitional time. Even if she falls asleep with you in your bed and then you get up after she's asleep it might give you that much needed alone time but give her the comfort she needs. I think if she is getting out of bed that many times until you stay with her, her need is that she wants you to stay with her.

Can you make bedtime a more calmer experience for everyone by some sort of relaxing routine? Could you do this while the baby was sleeping or maybe in a swing? We are a music loving family so we use music for everything. But maybe some calming music and maybe even a massage before bed with lavendar lotion. My DD loves rubbing DH and my back. You could take turns and both benefit from the massage and it would be a great connecting time that might sooth her enough to be able to fall asleep faster and rest better.

Just some ideas. I do hope things get better for you!

Married to my soul mate and totally devoted to DD (6/08) and enjoying our 2 cats and many fish. Wishing for a "green" house in the country where we can raise more children!
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#3 of 11 Old 06-06-2010, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I have started explaining that mommy is feeling tired or upset and we hug, which helps in the moment but not 30 minutes later! Overall I am sure I just need to work on how I deal with stress, it just feels so related to how I am responding to my two year old and her ....actions/business/etc...

We all sleep together. We are living in a loft apartment that has no separate rooms, so there is no way to keep her in the bed area. It is in a sectioned off area with a curtain so there is a defined sleeping space, but she just gets up and runs off. usually when I am trying to get the baby down, then I have to get her back to bed, he wakes up, she runs away again....and I overheat. She has never been good at falling asleep with someone there--they seem to be a distraction that keeps her awake. It might be that she doesn't need a nap all the time now (although I need her to!) and that she just isn't tired enough when it is bedtime.

The massage and dual-relaxing time sounds good. I think I get so busy and caught up in getting everything done that I forget to wind down. It would help her too. Thanks for the ideas....I am sure it would all help with my home-life stress as well as the legal marriage ending stress too.

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#4 of 11 Old 06-06-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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Is there a time period of night where the littlest one will go down easily for a long while? Could you just extend your 2 year olds bedtime until after he is down...maybe even on the couch or some different location than the bed you all will share (just for a few hours!) so that you and your 2 year old could lay in bed together and read or something until she's down?

I only have one child, but at 18 months, we still have ridiculous trouble with nap times and bedtimes, and I know that is the most stressful part for me as a parent. I can only imagine how hard it must be with two and a single mother!

Good luck Mama!

My baby is a TODDLER?!!! 12-28-08       toddler.giffamilybed1.gifnovaxnocirc.gifblogging.jpg
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#5 of 11 Old 06-10-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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Hi, just wanted to let you know that I could have written many parts of your posting. I have a 2 1/2 yr. old DS who is also...um...spirited. He challenges everything that I ask him to do. I constantly find myself threatening or attempting to bribe him and it often ends up in stand-offs that can go on for an hour or more. He is incredibly stubborn and I am more layed back so maybe that is where some of the difficulty comes from? I don't necessarily have any solutions because I am also struggling with the same things(and also have a new baby in the house) and am hoping that this phase will pass soon. Sometimes I also worry that it is something that i have done or I have made him act this way, because I do occasionally loose my cool with him and yell and always feel so terrible about it afterwards. But I think it is just a personality thing, and as time passes and they understand more about the world and what they can and cannot control, I think...hope...it will get better!
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#6 of 11 Old 06-13-2010, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. It is good to not feel alone....

Single HB mama to 2!
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#7 of 11 Old 06-14-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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Don't be too hard on yourself! Parenting little people can be so tough on the best of days; being under additional stress just makes things rougher. I'm sorry!

Could it be that your toddler is still adjusting to having a new sibling? My 28mo has been really testing limits and boundaries since his brother was born last month. A friend sent me these links that really helped put things in perspective:

http://www.naturalparenting.com.au/f...s-the-baby.cfm

http://www.pregnancy.org/question/at...ost-4-year-old

And if you feel like your relationship with your toddler is out of balance, it might be helpful to read/watch some Gordon Neufeld on right relationships. It's all about restoring the balance of power with our children so they feel safe and cared for. The DVD set is prohibitively expensive, I think, but you can get it through most libraries. Our local branch of Attachment Parenting International hosted weekly viewings and they have been SO amazing. Here's a synposis/blurb:

Quote:
When
children succeed in taking the lead, they become increasingly difficult to
parent and to teach. We, the adults responsible for them, become depleted,
and no matter how much we do for our children, it never seems to satisfy.
When children take charge, they are also robbed of the conditions they need
to mature and realize their full potential. The solution lies not in
parenting tips and techniques but in clearly understanding where we have
gone off track and then restoring the relationship to its proper context.
And here's a link to the DVDs:

http://www.gordonneufeld.com/booksvideos.php (It's the Power to Parent series, just scroll a teeny bit)

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#8 of 11 Old 06-14-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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is your daughter getting enough time outside plus physical exercise? That can really help make sleep go more smoothly.
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#9 of 11 Old 06-19-2010, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I read the links and wonder if I have been minimizing the effect the baby has had on her. With no other parent here she doesn't get the one on one time she deserves.

We haven't been getting outside enough. I have been lazy about packing us up and heading to the park--but we could wander out with nothing (I tend to pack a massive diaper bag to do anything!).

I think these ideas will help--and I hope as I deal with my feelings about my ex that my overall stress level will go down and I will be better equiped to deal with life here.

Thanks!

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#10 of 11 Old 06-19-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Have you heard of the book "Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Dr. Karp? It's the second in a series, the first being "Happiest Baby on the Block." His methods are incredibly gentle, yet amazingly effective. They worked wonders for my little one. My DD is 10 months old and not yet a toddler, but I had so much success with the first book that I've already started reading the second.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your wee one!

Happily married to the love of my life and proud AP, cosleeping, breastfeeding, unschooling, babywearing mommy to The Great Zozilla
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#11 of 11 Old 06-19-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by To-Fu View Post
Don't be too hard on yourself! Parenting little people can be so tough on the best of days; being under additional stress just makes things rougher. I'm sorry!

Could it be that your toddler is still adjusting to having a new sibling? My 28mo has been really testing limits and boundaries since his brother was born last month. A friend sent me these links that really helped put things in perspective:

http://www.naturalparenting.com.au/f...s-the-baby.cfm

http://www.pregnancy.org/question/at...ost-4-year-old

And if you feel like your relationship with your toddler is out of balance, it might be helpful to read/watch some Gordon Neufeld on right relationships.



And here's a link to the DVDs:

http://www.gordonneufeld.com/booksvideos.php (It's the Power to Parent series, just scroll a teeny bit)
I cannot say enough about Gordon Neufeld!!!!!!!

I've watched Hold on to your kids, but I find it better for older children.

Maybe the power to parent series would be more helpful...

Mom to Ds1 (8 1/2) Ds2 (6) Dd (2 1/2)!!!!
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