I have a highly verbal, insanely stubborn 27 month old DD, and a 5 month old DD. I work F/T from home (but will be going back to the office in March). My DH works F/T out of the house. My kids are in daycare because I do phone work and couldn't possibly have them home with me while I worked. So in essence, I'm stretched so thin you can see through me and I'm at my wits end, seeking help from those of you who have been through this before.
My 2 year old is driving me to think I should never have had kids because I am doing her a disservice with how I react to her headstrong ways. I am madly in love with her and would die for this child in a hot second but I have no patience in which to direct her out of the tantrum she is throwing AT ALL TIMES. I know that this is just her showing her frustration and not knowing exactly how to express her feelings, but when this happens - while I'm trying to get work done, trying to care for the baby, trying to cook, clean, do laundry, shower, pee, SLEEP... I lose my mind if she doesn't take to the "calm" mommy tactics within about 2 minutes. She is learning to expect me to be yelling at her and threatening her (with time outs, no Santa, and other ridiculousness like that which I shouldn't be threatening with) and I SOOOOO want to stop it but I always end up losing my mind and it all goes to hell with every other instance of her tantrums.
This kid refuses to do anything that's even remotely related to just everyday living, like eating, bathing, sleeping, getting dressed, etc. I'm at my wits end with how to get her to comply to any of it. I cant just let her go unbathed, unfed, naked and awake for 3 days at a time. If I could I would have taken that route already...lol. But it just has to stop and I don't know how to do it. She's even physical towards her dad when he tries to change her diaper or get her changed. With me she doesn't really get too far with the physical stuff because I'll restrain whatever limb she's trying to whack or kick me with. He just lets her fly all over the place.
But this is so seriously damaging her with our reactions, damaging me and my emotional state... but I don't know how else to do it. Please, please, please... someone out there guide me towards some good resources on how to deal with strong willed kids and help me get through the next few years of this without me loading up some serious baggage on my kid for her to have to deal with later in life.
And thank you for not judging me. I'm here begging for help. I know I'm doing it wrong... I want to do it right but don't know how... :(
Hugs, mama. It sounds like you're struggling both with her strong feelings and with yours. It seems like you wish she wouldn't get so upset about things, and neither would you, but you don't have control over how either of you feel.
It might help to work at creating a safe space for emotions in your home, acknowledging and respecting that your daughter feels that way may help her find a productive solution to her feelings, and acknowledging and respecting your own feelings may empower you in the same way. If you accept that you are hurt, annoyed, stressed, or mad, you can make a better decision about how to deal with it instead of compounding the problem by getting upset with yourself for feeling that way.
My second suggestion is to try to give her as much control over her own body as possible. You may have to make the decision at times to overpower her for her own health and safety, but, try to keep those times to a minimum. If she doesn't want to eat, leave food where she can get it when she wants. If she doesn't want to bathe, does she really need a bath every day? If she doesn't want to put clothes on, could she run around naked for a bit first? Don't worry about turning up the heat. Offer her some clothes if she's cold. What can you do to minimize power struggles?
Finally, think before you speak, and then follow through. If she wants something or does not want to do something, work on pausing for a moment, and decide where your boundaries are. Is it negotiable? Can she have her way? Can it be a conditional yes? ("Yes, when we get home" instead of "not right now") Or does it have to be a certain way? Say what you mean and mean what you say. Kids have a hard time when "no" turns to "yes" if they yell louder. It makes them learn to yell louder. Interestingly enough, the same goes for parents. Sometimes, we yell louder because we've learned that we get our way more when we do. Not that it means we should yell, just to help us understand what is happening.
I hope that helps. Hugs to you.