intense toddler + intense mama = major fireworks - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-11-2010, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I need some coping suggestions. My 1.5 YO is VERY intense, high needs, and extremely strong-willed. The type of kid who throws tantrums from birth, about anything that disturbs him in the slightest. I am fairly intense myself and don't have a whole lot of patience, and I am at my wits' end with him. We had two huge screaming melt-downs today when I tried to change his diaper. I've been sort of lazily encouraging him to use the potty more (we sometimes EC), and while he LOVES sitting on the potty and wants to do constantly, he rarely pees on the potty. Sometimes I just don't feel like bothering with the potty, especially after the 3rd time in 5 minutes he's insisted on potty'ing. So he throws huge fits when I'm trying to get his diaper back on, and let me tell you it is extremely difficult to get any article of clothing on a wildly thrashing baby, let alone a cloth diaper that needs snappi-ing!

I am really at the point of seriously considering going back to work so I can hire someone else to take care of him. We are not good for each other. I cannot deal with all the screaming and tantrums, and when I over-react it makes everything worse. DH doesn't get it at all, but of course, DS doesn't act this way with him and he can't understand why I have such problems with him. We'll have a new baby in a few months and I am truly afraid to think about what will happen then. I don't see DS getting any easier to live with, and I cannot even imagine how I will survive if this one turns out to be the same type of kid.

I could really use some suggestions on how to calm toddler intensity without losing my cool. The only thing that's helped somewhat is sitting him in a corner when the screaming really gets out of control...he absolutely hates it and screams bloody murder for 5 minutes or so, then calms down (I tell him he can get down when he stops screaming). Today I was able to get him to stop screaming once by telling him he was going to sit in the corner if he didn't stop, and he did stop after a minute. Not sure how often that's going to be effective though, especially once he gets to the point of completely losing it.
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#2 of 3 Old 07-11-2010, 01:34 AM
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Can he communicate with you? At that age, the thing that helped to gradually reduce the screaming and tantrums was the slowly increasing tantrums. Micah started picking up sign language at around 14 months, and it exploded at around 18 months. He was always very high needs, very "fussy", but at 12 months was when the tantrums started and it was usually because he it was the only way he could express himself. As he began to add words and signs to his vocabulary, it slowly decreased...

With the diapers, I started letting Micah go diaper-free for short periods of times at around that age to avoid the "diaper wars". It actually worked out for the better because it allowed him the opportunity to use the potty when he was comfortable doing so. I kept a potty in the room we were playing in and if he acted like he needed to go (or started to go), I would quickly place him on the potty. He got the hang of it right at 24 months, so we transitioned to underwear.

Can you give examples of times that he is extremely intense and what happened beforehand?

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's book about spirited children REALLY helped me to see my son's intensity (among other attributes not always seen in a positive light) in a different way. If you haven't heard of it or read it, I would suggest checking your local library to see if they have a copy you could pick up. It really helped me to relax a little bit, which was good because we were feeding each others negative emotions (she talks about that too).

Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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#3 of 3 Old 07-11-2010, 11:11 PM
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I have a very similar kid so I totally know how you feel! And mine is cutting a tooth & extra screamy the last few days

Things that help me & DS:

-Get lots of breaks from each other when DH is home... and that means either you or DS should be out of the house or at least not within earshot of each other.

-Spend a lot of time out & about -- I find DS is way calmer when we're at the playground or the library so we spend 80% of our day out of the house.

-Make the tough things fun or funny... so diaper changes, you can sing a silly song or give him his favorite toy or turn on some music first... and also involve him as much as possible -- let him pick out the diaper, 'wipe' himself (you might have to follow up), wash his hands afterward... We have battles with things like DS giving up the keys or his toothbrush & instead of asking him to give them back to me, I ask him to put them in their spots, and that makes a HUGE difference in his willingness to cooperate.

-Get together with other moms & their kids -- not only can you occasionally vent your frustrations, but it can give you perspective and help you appreciate your DS's uniqueness.

-See if you can find triggers for the intense behavior -- he might be getting overtired or over hungry, or maybe just over stimulated... or he could be under stimulated/bored. Mine has trouble with transitions so I try to anticipate that & make it easier on him.

Some of that might sound like obvious things but I always forget the 'obvious' when we're in the heat of the moment!!

ETA: You said he's not like that with your DH? My DS is really fussy with DH, much more than when he's with me, so I often give DH pointers... so maybe you could observe DH or ask him for tips, there could be just a few small changes that will help DS be calmer with you.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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