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#1 of 32 Old 09-15-2012, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd has recently started to scream when she doesn't get her way, which is often. She has very definite ideas about what she want and does not want to do, and will scream, bite, and cry as needed to get her way. She's too young to understand 'no' or 'wait' even though I do my best to distract her from the situation (or if possible, avoid the situation all together).

 

 

How do you deal with this? 


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#2 of 32 Old 09-15-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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Oh welcome to early toddlerhood, mama. The worst of it passed in a couple of months. The way I got through it was to try to remove most "no" items from her sight/reach around the house. I let her have most things unless they were downright dangerous. For instance she couldn't have a knife but I let her play with a spoon instead. She walked around with spatulas and emptied by bottom kitchen cabinets. She "helped" me fold laundry. I let her drink water out of my glass if she wanted to and I didn't fight her to sit in the high chair. We had a few picnics on the kitchen floor instead. I started to make our schedule really open and flexible as much as I could. If she wasn't ready to go, I didn't push it. I also got really conscientious about her naps since the tantrums were way worse if she was tired. I rolled with it and let her have her way as long it was safe to do so. In a few weeks she started mellowing out and now at 17 months she is getting good at following directions when it's important for safety. Her moodiness started at 13 months, as soon as she started walking by herself. In a nutshell, I advise you to pick your battles, roll with it and not get into too many power struggles. It will settle down in a few weeks. Good luck!
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#3 of 32 Old 09-15-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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I am right there with you both! *sigh* My 14 year old is in a padded room, aka the pack n' play, as we speak. I don't make a habit of it but from time to time, he seems to get totally overwhelmed, frustrated, super focused on trying to get to dangerous or delicate things, and starts to hurl himself headfirst into stuff. The floor particularly. I put him in the pack n' play and being a little confined, oddly enough, calms him. It's like he goes into sensory overload. This started for us when he started walking, too, about a month ago. 

 

I have also tried to minimize situations where I have to say "no!". He's got a few safe drawers in the kitchen to get into and that has been really good. He seems to be all about pushing limits right now! I am just trying to get through it sanity intact. 


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#4 of 32 Old 09-15-2012, 11:23 AM
 
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yup, normal! I agree with the pp - pick your battles, and try to remove as many "no" things from reach/sight as possible.  The other thing that I started doing (after reading an article on Mothering about getting the "angries out" i think it was called) was describing to my son what he was feeling.  "you are so MAD that mommy took that away, you really wanted that!" short and simple.  sometimes i would explain with a "that's dangerous" or "dirty", etc, but it seemed to help him work through things a little.  now when that happens it's easier for him to identify the emotions, which I will still help him do.  Once I identify the emotion I let him work out the anger for a minute, rather than feed into the tantrum, then he usually asks for a hug and it's over.  you just have to know that sometimes kids are noisy, and keep in mind that the tantrums are usually from feeling out of control or being overstimulated/tired.  try to let them have as much control over things as you can (which was something that was hard for me!), and try not to do things that you  know will be a battle when they are sleepy.  sometimes a tantrum just helps them hit the reset button, then they move on. 


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#5 of 32 Old 09-15-2012, 05:02 PM
 
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Ah yes, I forgot to mention what I do during tantrums - it sounds very much like BabySmurf's approach. I empathize and identify the emotion and provide a reason. Let's say I caught her with a battery, took it away and and now she is flipping out. I pick her up and say "I know you are feeling mad and frustrated that mommy took away the battery. It is very dangerous and you could get hurt". I try to settle her in my arms and usually it works. When she's very very upset I even offer to nurse her and that gets her calm in about ten seconds. As she's gotten older, the tantrums got fewer, shorter, and less severe. Nursing is the ace up my sleeve when she really needs it.
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#6 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 04:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I sure am glad to know that this is "normal" behavior. My dh is bewildered by what he thinks is dd's new 'bad habits' (screaming all the time). He's never been around babies and kids, though! It seems like being open and flexible is the thing to do. Whenever I think I've managed a situation well, she thinks of something new to do. I pretty much let her do whatever she likes as long as it's not dangerous. But sometimes it gets annoying for dh. She likes to bang stainless steel bowls everywhere and make loud sounds, rip up books, throw rice on the floor, etc. She screams when bathed, but wants to play at the outdoor tap when it's chilly out. When I read your dd mellowed at 17 months, I got very hopeful! :)

 

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Oh welcome to early toddlerhood, mama. The worst of it passed in a couple of months. The way I got through it was to try to remove most "no" items from her sight/reach around the house. I let her have most things unless they were downright dangerous. For instance she couldn't have a knife but I let her play with a spoon instead. She walked around with spatulas and emptied by bottom kitchen cabinets. She "helped" me fold laundry. I let her drink water out of my glass if she wanted to and I didn't fight her to sit in the high chair. We had a few picnics on the kitchen floor instead. I started to make our schedule really open and flexible as much as I could. If she wasn't ready to go, I didn't push it. I also got really conscientious about her naps since the tantrums were way worse if she was tired. I rolled with it and let her have her way as long it was safe to do so. In a few weeks she started mellowing out and now at 17 months she is getting good at following directions when it's important for safety. Her moodiness started at 13 months, as soon as she started walking by herself. In a nutshell, I advise you to pick your battles, roll with it and not get into too many power struggles. It will settle down in a few weeks. Good luck!

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#7 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You and me both!

 

When dd first started behaving like this, I was sooo tired. Now I think I'm adjusting. Hopefully managing things better, lol. 

 

The issue with dd is nothing works for long once she gets familiar with whatever it is I'm using to distract her. Keeps me on my toes!

 

 

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I have also tried to minimize situations where I have to say "no!". He's got a few safe drawers in the kitchen to get into and that has been really good. He seems to be all about pushing limits right now! I am just trying to get through it sanity intact. 


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#8 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is interesting... how old is your ds?

 

I don't explain much to dd, just a line or two usually as I would speak to someone in conversation, but I don't expect her to understand anything. She's 15 months old but seems delayed in language, and has yet to say her first coherent word (too many languages going on around her...). 

 

For example, dd really enjoys picking things up from the floor and putting them in her mouth, especially food she's throw on the floor. She won't eat from the plate, but loves to eat grains of rice from the floor. We've explained so many times over the last few months-- it's dirty, it's not what people do, etc, but she thinks it's fun and does it before we stop her. 

 

 

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yup, normal! I agree with the pp - pick your battles, and try to remove as many "no" things from reach/sight as possible.  The other thing that I started doing (after reading an article on Mothering about getting the "angries out" i think it was called) was describing to my son what he was feeling.  "you are so MAD that mommy took that away, you really wanted that!" short and simple.  sometimes i would explain with a "that's dangerous" or "dirty", etc, but it seemed to help him work through things a little.  now when that happens it's easier for him to identify the emotions, which I will still help him do.  Once I identify the emotion I let him work out the anger for a minute, rather than feed into the tantrum, then he usually asks for a hug and it's over.  you just have to know that sometimes kids are noisy, and keep in mind that the tantrums are usually from feeling out of control or being overstimulated/tired.  try to let them have as much control over things as you can (which was something that was hard for me!), and try not to do things that you  know will be a battle when they are sleepy.  sometimes a tantrum just helps them hit the reset button, then they move on. 


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#9 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 05:41 AM
 
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I sure am glad to know that this is "normal" behavior. My dh is bewildered by what he thinks is dd's new 'bad habits' (screaming all the time). He's never been around babies and kids, though!It seems like being open and flexible is the thing to do. Whenever I think I've managed a situation well, she thinks of something new to do. I pretty much let her do whatever she likes as long as it's not dangerous. But sometimes it gets annoying for dh. She likes to bang stainless steel bowls everywhere and make loud sounds, rip up books, throw rice on the floor, etc. She screams when bathed, but wants to play at the outdoor tap when it's chilly out. When I read your dd mellowed at 17 months, I got very hopeful! :)

 


Remember that these crazy moments are the stuff of good "when YOU were a baby..." stories.  It's something that you will look back and laugh at...now instead of letting myself get frustrated about things, i pull out the camera winky.gif  And yes, if you aren't used to being around kids, it can be pretty shocking. 


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#10 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is such a positive attitude! I am going to try harder to practice this :) 

 

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Remember that these crazy moments are the stuff of good "when YOU were a baby..." stories.  It's something that you will look back and laugh at...now instead of letting myself get frustrated about things, i pull out the camera winky.gif  And yes, if you aren't used to being around kids, it can be pretty shocking. 


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#11 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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My dd has recently started to scream when she doesn't get her way, which is often. She has very definite ideas about what she want and does not want to do, and will scream, bite, and cry as needed to get her way. She's too young to understand 'no' or 'wait' even though I do my best to distract her from the situation (or if possible, avoid the situation all together).


How do you deal with this? 

First off, your daughter is not too young to understand no. My 10 month old more than understands no. When he wants to play with the toilet paper and I say a firm no, he retracts his hand quickly and looks at me. Trust me, he ain't no genius. orngtongue.gif

Your daughter is very young, but not so young as to not comprehend cause and effect. What do you do when she screams and bites? If you pick her up and cuddle or do something else to try and "distract" ( trust me, she's not distracted. She still knows what she wants) than she learns that kind of behavior gets her attention. At this stage, any attention is good.

This is what I would do. This is just me. If my child screams because she doesn't get her way, too bad. Scream. Cry. Throw yourself down on the carpet. But I'm not going to give in, change my mind, or pay any attention to this kind of behavior. If responded to, it will contuine. If ignored, it will stop or a tactic switch will occur.

As for the biting, this needs to be nipped in the bud. My 2 year old like to bite, although he rarely does it anymore if at all. When this occurred, he got a swift spank on the back of the thigh. Kinda the same principle as when my baby likes to pull my earrings. Does he like shiny, dangly things? Who doesnt? orngtongue.gif. He gets a firm no. If he does it again (which he usually does) he gets a swift slap on the hand. He cries for 2 seconds and then doesn't do it again.

He has learned that if he pulls on those shiny things, something unpleasant, but not painful, will happen to him. His little baby mind is starting to understand, it's not worth it. That's what works for me. But I'm the kind of mom that would rather teach her kids no and teach them to listen (which takes a lot of patience and repition) than to hide everything so they can't "put themselves in that situation." everything is a learning tool

Good luck smile.gif

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#12 of 32 Old 09-16-2012, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Shanesmom,

 

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm learning how tough it is to simply ignore her screaming. (Sometimes I want to scream back...)

 

Yes, my daughter understands 'no' but not why. So she screams in protest. She knows when she's not supposed to do something. For example, before putting a rock in her mouth, she glances up at us first, as if to test us. 

 

I'm torn between giving her attention and ignoring her tantrums. I find I'm not consistent in my reaction. Sometimes I can easily ignore her and she will wear herself out screaming. My dh is not as patient, however, and sometimes he snaps at her to be quiet. Half the time, it's because the screaming is annoying that we give her attention to stop her. I cuddle and nurse her if she's crying from a fall or something, but not if she's screaming because I won't let her throw rice all over the floor. I still don't know how to stop her from doing things like that, because so far NO, DONT DO THAT hasn't changed a thing. 

 

The few times I've sort of slapped her hand or bum for something (can't remember what for now but I'd gotten angry), she found it so funny she wanted me to do it again.

 

I just find it difficult to keep saying no. She doesn't understand why we don't want her to draw on the walls and our clothes. So we either remove the markers or just be okay with it (got washable markers now and avoid nice clothes). Because she's able to reach up the table, we move everything up higher to where she can't reach. Otherwise, she will reach up and pull things on the shelves no matter how many times we say no. Maybe I'm not being firm enough when I say no?

 

Part of this may be her personality as well. She's a feisty, loud, and demanding child. It's neat for me to see this as I'm the complete opposite, and want my daughter to be strong and assertive. 

 

I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to handle this. This is my first experience with toddlers!

 

 

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First off, your daughter is not too young to understand no. My 10 month old more than understands no. When he wants to play with the toilet paper and I say a firm no, he retracts his hand quickly and looks at me. Trust me, he ain't no genius. orngtongue.gif
Your daughter is very young, but not so young as to not comprehend cause and effect. What do you do when she screams and bites? If you pick her up and cuddle or do something else to try and "distract" ( trust me, she's not distracted. She still knows what she wants) than she learns that kind of behavior gets her attention. At this stage, any attention is good.
This is what I would do. This is just me. If my child screams because she doesn't get her way, too bad. Scream. Cry. Throw yourself down on the carpet. But I'm not going to give in, change my mind, or pay any attention to this kind of behavior. If responded to, it will contuine. If ignored, it will stop or a tactic switch will occur.
As for the biting, this needs to be nipped in the bud. My 2 year old like to bite, although he rarely does it anymore if at all. When this occurred, he got a swift spank on the back of the thigh. Kinda the same principle as when my baby likes to pull my earrings. Does he like shiny, dangly things? Who doesnt? orngtongue.gif. He gets a firm no. If he does it again (which he usually does) he gets a swift slap on the hand. He cries for 2 seconds and then doesn't do it again.
He has learned that if he pulls on those shiny things, something unpleasant, but not painful, will happen to him. His little baby mind is starting to understand, it's not worth it. That's what works for me. But I'm the kind of mom that would rather teach her kids no and teach them to listen (which takes a lot of patience and repition) than to hide everything so they can't "put themselves in that situation." everything is a learning tool
Good luck smile.gif

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#13 of 32 Old 09-17-2012, 12:03 AM
 
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I use the shock factor and try to make the same tone as my son. Soon enough hes quieted down making weird little noises to see if I will copy those too. I am hoping this works forever.

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#14 of 32 Old 09-17-2012, 12:52 PM
 
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Hi Shanesmom,

Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm learning how tough it is to simply ignore her screaming. (Sometimes I want to scream back...)

Yes, my daughter understands 'no' but not why. So she screams in protest. She knows when she's not supposed to do something. For example, before putting a rock in her mouth, she glances up at us first, as if to test us. 

I'm torn between giving her attention and ignoring her tantrums. I find I'm not consistent in my reaction. Sometimes I can easily ignore her and she will wear herself out screaming. My dh is not as patient, however, and sometimes he snaps at her to be quiet. Half the time, it's because the screaming is annoying that we give her attention to stop her. I cuddle and nurse her if she's crying from a fall or something, but not if she's screaming because I won't let her throw rice all over the floor. I still don't know how to stop her from doing things like that, because so far NO, DONT DO THAT hasn't changed a thing. 

The few times I've sort of slapped her hand or bum for something (can't remember what for now but I'd gotten angry), she found it so funny she wanted me to do it again.

I just find it difficult to keep saying no. She doesn't understand why we don't want her to draw on the walls and our clothes. So we either remove the markers or just be okay with it (got washable markers now and avoid nice clothes). Because she's able to reach up the table, we move everything up higher to where she can't reach. Otherwise, she will reach up and pull things on the shelves no matter how many times we say no. Maybe I'm not being firm enough when I say no?

Part of this may be her personality as well. She's a feisty, loud, and demanding child. It's neat for me to see this as I'm the complete opposite, and want my daughter to be strong and assertive. 

I'm still trying to figure out the best ways to handle this. This is my first experience with toddlers!


You are so right mama, in saying that she is too young to understand why. But that simply doest matter. Your daughter is smarter than an dog right now, but we sure as heck wouldn't allow our dog to act the way our children do. Even if small kids cannot understand WHY they are do to something, they can STILL be trained and taught to do it. My 2 year old doesn't understand much of the things I ask, but he does them. Why? Because I asked.

WHY do I not allow Shane to play with the forks in the drawer? He doesn't u derstand, all he knows is not to grab them. Mama knows it's because he will throw them at his little brother. Shane will learn WHY in time; right now (for everyone's safety) he is just expected to listen. That being said, I always explain why to him and give him the chance to learn! smile.gif


You have a soft, kind, sweet heart Mama; and I feel your pain, but you know what toddlers do with soft hearts??? They twist and turn and contort them until they are wrapped around their little fingers. LOL!! I'm only half-kidding. Toughen up!! When she screams, don't give in. Don't cuddle. Be consistant!!!!!

You are not being mean, you are helping her. It would be mean to allow this to contuine. It will only grow and she will only grow stronger and more opinionated. Now I'm not saying you have to break her spirit. No, no no. But you and your husband are the ones raising her up. If you don't like her bahavior, change it.

I have seen mothers who love their children, but don't "like" them. Well......they only have themselves to blame.

I know it's hard. When my 2 year old wants to skip his nap to keep reading with me and he looks at me with big blue eyes and says "please?" over and over again, my heart bleeds for him. He is so presisious and sweet. But what's better? Teaching him that Mama's word only stands strong "some" or "most" of the time? Or teaching him to obey and repect what I say? I always choose the latter. (but he always gets extra cuddles when he wakes on those days:)

Good luck

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#15 of 32 Old 09-18-2012, 09:42 AM
 
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I dunno, I guess I have a different philosophy here, but I don't consider training my two year old like a dog to be a positive thing.  I want to help him being to navigate situations because he understands why something is right or wrong, and not have to look to me every time.  I want him to understand why climbing the dressers is dangerous so that he doesn't do it, even when my back is turned.  My son doesn't get that understanding from being trained.  In fact in the few situations I tried that, it backfired since he knew that I would spend time trying to get him away from something, so if he wanted my attention, he would go straight for that thing...or what he thought that thing was, which showed that he really didn't understand what the issue was.  Toddlers CAN understand "why", they just won't understand our explanations...because our reasoning comes from experience, and for them to understand, they need to learn from experience as well.  (within reason, obviously). 

 

I respect the PP's mentioning that you don't want to break your child's spirit, I just feel like if your child is surrounded by things that they aren't allowed to investigate, so are always being told "no", doesn't that sort of happen anyway?  i mean, it's your toddler's job to explore the world around them, and by telling them "no", they may feel ashamed or like they are "bad" for continually disappointing you. not to mention that it's not an enjoyable way to live for anyone. giving your children age appropriate toys to learn the lessons they need to apply to the world around them seems like a better fit, in my opinion.  DS knows that he shouldn't touch certain things I have on display because they might get broken.  He knows what broken means because I let him throw and break one of his toys...and he can and does apply that knowledge now. 

 

As for the tantrums, I don't understand the leap people make, that if you aren't completely ignoring your child when they tantrum that the child is being coddled.  I don't give in, I don't make compromises, "no" means "no".  That being said, I want my kid to learn how to regulate, not repress, his emotions.  To do that he needs to know what they are, and that they are valid.  again, kids don't have the wealth of experiences to know that what you just "did to them" is not a big deal...to them it is.  and to make them feel guilty or alone about having those very normal emotions, i think does an injustice.  And if my kid wants a hug when it's all over, so what? he gets to know that i am there for him.  remember we are talking about 1 and 2 year olds here.  will they at some point test you to see if those tantrums can get them something? of course, but if you are consistent in your reactions, they will learn that it won't, regardless of if you have validated that their desires are normal, but just not going to happen at this time. 

 

Yes, your 15 month old is on a rampage to learn how to exert control on the world around her, but you get to decide how to create the boundaries.  I think that we as adults can be quick to dole out restrictions or punishments because of our fear of loosing control.  Sometimes being in control is learning to let someone else take the reigns long enough for them to realize that they need your guidance.  Which in a toddler, doesn't take much.  usually.  Life is short, childhood is shorter.  I prefer a more lighthearted approach to things for sure, but if I can help my kid enjoy life's lessons, then I also live a more fulfilled life. 


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#16 of 32 Old 09-18-2012, 10:57 AM
 
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Babysmurf, you just summed up what I was going to say much more eloquently than I could have. I completely agree with everything you just said. I have dealt with DD's tantrums the same way since they started at 13 months because her screaming and crying is out of frustration and confusion and not out of malevolence. I soothe and I explain and I comfort. She gets lots more hugs, kisses and attention when she's cooperating and happy so she does not seek attention by pushing boundaries. She pushes boundaries to understand and to learn. Her tantrums are less frequent and severe now at 18 months and a lot of situations that caused a meltdown a couple of months ago are no big deal now. Her communication is also improving and she can be understood much more easily than before. She crosses the street holding my hand happily now which was a big battle only weeks ago. No means no but it's not arbitrary and she is respecting my neccessary boundaries more because there aren't so many of them. She used to want people's jewelry all the time. I found a super stretchy dress up necklace that looks like real pearls and she loves it - puts it on and wears it all the time. Now she looks at grandma's accessories, maybe touches them but doesn't pull on them or tantrum anymore.
I see so many families where a baby or young toddler is expected to fit seamlessly into the adults' lives. I may have been naive as a FTM but I never expected my life to be the same after baby. I'm happy to make changes and give up things I used to take for granted because to me that's part of being a parent. I can wear nice things or have a nicely decorated house once DD is older. In the meantime I will focus on meeting her needs including teaching her why some things are just absolutely "no" and have been since she could crawl.
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#17 of 32 Old 09-18-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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I think what would help you a LOT through this stage is to have a really good understanding of what life is like from her perspective.  A little empathy will go a long way towards making you a happy parent, and thereby making a happy home.

 

You're right that the anger from being told "no" is stemming from a lack of understanding *why* they can't have or do that thing they so desperately want.  But imagine for a moment how the situation looks from her perspective - toddlers live in the moment, they feel intensely.  In that moment, putting a rock in her mouth will seem to her like the most important thing in the world, from which she will derive ultimate pleasure.  It's an enviably simplistic, hedonistic state of being that they live in.  Now to be denied that pleasure, and to not be able to understand why!  That sure seems worthy of a tantrum, to me.  I imagine all of those moments where I have *just* sat down from doing housework while my son is sleeping, cup of hot tea in hand, ready to finally relax and enjoy some time to myself, only to hear him start to wake up the second my butt hits the sofa.  I am not ashamed to admit that I have cried in those situations!  I also imagine what it would be like if I reached for my secret chocolate stash, only to have my husband take it from my hand and say, "No."  I would RAGE on him - and that's what a child in the middle of a tantrum is going through, only in a pure, uninhibited, completely authentic manner.

 

Toddlers don't possess the verbal skills to express their emotions, and the result is an overflow of emotion that we see as a tantrum.  It isn't a bad thing.  It's annoying, it's embarrassing when it happens in public, it's frustrating because you probably don't see what the big deal is, but they are dealing with big, scary emotions and they need help to get through it.  They need your calm presence, and when the storm passes they need for you to help them process it, to teach them the verbal skills and coping strategies that will help them next time (for an older child, obviously not a 14 month old!).

 

Tantrums are real emotions; it isn't bad behavior.  It's developmentally normal, and I don't think children should be punished (and yes, I think that ignoring them is a punishment) for simply acting their age.  To assist your child through these rough moments doesn't teach her that tantrums get her attention, it teaches her that you will help her through the rough times.  Children who are empathized with are more likely to show empathy themselves.  

 

It's a real shame that so many people have such a negative view of children - that they are manipulative, coercive, trouble-seeking brats, and without proper discipline they will become horrible selfish monsters.  I have the opposite point of view - I think that trying to manipulate their behavior (through rewards and punishments) contributes to self-centeredness as adults (keeping in mind that young children are, by nature, self-centered); I think that modeling appropriate behavior is the most powerful parenting tool in your arsenal; I think that empathy and the golden rule will get you far; and I think that a lot of kids turn out well *in spite of* their upbringing, rather than because of it.  

 

OP, two books that you might find helpful to understand what's going on in your little one's brain are The Emotional Life of a Toddler and Unconditional Parenting.  Happy parenting, and welcome to toddlerhood!

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#18 of 32 Old 09-18-2012, 10:50 PM
 
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LOL!!!

Man, people really get offended and take personally the way other people parents. I wish we could all just express ourselves, share our ways of parenting and let the OP decide what she likes and doesn't. Instead, people say "it's a real shame" and put words into other people's mouths.

Think I'm going to stop posting in toddlers. Seems everyone thinks "their" way is the right way!

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Oh...if you were referring to me, I'm not offended and took nothing personally.  I do have a very different parenting philosophy, which I tried to express in my post.  I do think it's a shame that children, generally speaking, are seen as manipulative and bad by nature.  But there are as many different ways to parent as there are parents, and everyone has to figure out for themselves how they go about it.  

 

I'm sure you're familiar with MDC enough to know that corporal punishment is not condoned.  Perhaps that is why you haven't been finding much support on these threads.  I think in the Gentle Discipline section there is a long, enlightening thread titled "Why no spanking."

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I appreciate hearing your point of view in this, Shanesmom. It's something I consider when I really don't know what to do, and wonder if perhaps being strict and firm is the best way to go. 

 

My daughter is difficult to 'train'. I once took her to a playgroup when she was younger, and she completely rebelled against the instructor and the structured games. She would not climb the stairs at that moment because she saw no reason to, even though she can climb stairs just fine when it suits her. She was the only baby who would throw tantrums and refuse, and was considered the problem child. I didn't see any point in forcing her, but the instructor (and she has been doing this playgroup for 15 years) says I need to 'break' her early or else she'll have trouble in school. My mother says the same thing whenever she witnesses dd's defiance. Which is pretty often, lol. 

 

So I think the best way is to allow her to explore safely. I find it unfair to keep saying 'no' to her, it's not her fault the house is like this. I was raised to obey elders and authority, and while I turned out fine (for the most part!) and was always praised for obedience, I'm distant from my mother and do remember resenting her a lot while growing up. 

 

I do wonder if I can prevent the tantrums by changing the situation, or if that's just part of this stage, and she will scream no matter what I do?

 

 

 

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You are so right mama, in saying that she is too young to understand why. But that simply doest matter. Your daughter is smarter than an dog right now, but we sure as heck wouldn't allow our dog to act the way our children do. Even if small kids cannot understand WHY they are do to something, they can STILL be trained and taught to do it. My 2 year old doesn't understand much of the things I ask, but he does them. Why? Because I asked.
WHY do I not allow Shane to play with the forks in the drawer? He doesn't u derstand, all he knows is not to grab them. Mama knows it's because he will throw them at his little brother. Shane will learn WHY in time; right now (for everyone's safety) he is just expected to listen. That being said, I always explain why to him and give him the chance to learn! smile.gif
You have a soft, kind, sweet heart Mama; and I feel your pain, but you know what toddlers do with soft hearts??? They twist and turn and contort them until they are wrapped around their little fingers. LOL!! I'm only half-kidding. Toughen up!! When she screams, don't give in. Don't cuddle. Be consistant!!!!!
You are not being mean, you are helping her. It would be mean to allow this to contuine. It will only grow and she will only grow stronger and more opinionated. Now I'm not saying you have to break her spirit. No, no no. But you and your husband are the ones raising her up. If you don't like her bahavior, change it.
I have seen mothers who love their children, but don't "like" them. Well......they only have themselves to blame.
I know it's hard. When my 2 year old wants to skip his nap to keep reading with me and he looks at me with big blue eyes and says "please?" over and over again, my heart bleeds for him. He is so presisious and sweet. But what's better? Teaching him that Mama's word only stands strong "some" or "most" of the time? Or teaching him to obey and repect what I say? I always choose the latter. (but he always gets extra cuddles when he wakes on those days:)
Good luck

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#21 of 32 Old 09-19-2012, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Before having my dd, I thought I would be a tough disciplinarian and will be able to control undesirable behavior. But when watching dd grow and explore, I find it very hard to restrict just because it's convenient for me. For example, I don't want her to throw food on the floor because I don't want to clean it up. But there's nothing inherently bad in that, just part of her play and exploration. It's a constant battle these days. My husband also says we need to 'train' good behavior in her, but he's first to say that we can't restrict her and should allow her to explore as much as she wants and allow development.

 

We're both just taking each day as it comes now!

 

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Yes, your 15 month old is on a rampage to learn how to exert control on the world around her, but you get to decide how to create the boundaries.  I think that we as adults can be quick to dole out restrictions or punishments because of our fear of loosing control.  Sometimes being in control is learning to let someone else take the reigns long enough for them to realize that they need your guidance.  Which in a toddler, doesn't take much.  usually.  Life is short, childhood is shorter.  I prefer a more lighthearted approach to things for sure, but if I can help my kid enjoy life's lessons, then I also live a more fulfilled life. 


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#22 of 32 Old 09-19-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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Oh...if you were referring to me, I'm not offended and took nothing personally.  I do have a very different parenting philosophy, which I tried to express in my post.  I do think it's a shame that children, generally speaking, are seen as manipulative and bad by nature.  But there are as many different ways to parent as there are parents, and everyone has to figure out for themselves how they go about it.  

I'm sure you're familiar with MDC enough to know that corporal punishment is not condoned.  Perhaps that is why you haven't been finding much support on these threads.  I think in the Gentle Discipline section there is a long, enlightening thread titled "Why no spanking."

Glad I was wrong about people being offended. smile.gif

I'm not looking for support or approval of my spanking, nor do I encourage others to follow suit. Just sharing!! smile.gif

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I am learning now the magnitude of adjustment needed to raise a child! The other day she took a pen and put big scratches on my laptop, as well as a few dents on my phone. Luckily, they were secondhand, although in flawless condition. This made me think more about making our home more child-friendly, because I don't want her to be so limited due to us. But I wonder how it plays out when we go over to other people's houses. I know my family thinks I'm really spoiling her by not disciplining her (like spanking her when she throws food or breaks a cup).

 

 

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I see so many families where a baby or young toddler is expected to fit seamlessly into the adults' lives. I may have been naive as a FTM but I never expected my life to be the same after baby. I'm happy to make changes and give up things I used to take for granted because to me that's part of being a parent. I can wear nice things or have a nicely decorated house once DD is older. In the meantime I will focus on meeting her needs including teaching her why some things are just absolutely "no" and have been since she could crawl.

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Thanks, luckiest, for putting in perspective what it's like as a toddler. I really need to be reminded of that!

 

So many times it has happened that I've planned to do something in early mornings before she wakes up, but she wakes up and wants to nurse, and I felt so.... trapped. I totally understand that feeling.  

 

Doing things differently from the traditional way of parenting requires quite a lot of trust in gentle discipline, especially when your kid's behavior is not exactly stellar. 

 

Sometimes when I am harsh, I recognize it more of an outlet for my frustration. It doesn't work to discipline her, only makes her cry and go to her father. She doesn't associate it with the action. 

 

I'm so grateful for support from MDC. This situation is not something I can discuss easily with real life mothers. 


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#25 of 32 Old 09-19-2012, 10:58 PM
 
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It's interesting to read all the different perspectives for sure!!

See, I'm teaching my youngest to NOT throw food on the floor, not because I'll have to clean it up, but because what he does at home, he will do out in public or at a friends house. In my mind, good manners start at home.

I believe that toddlers are smarter than some people give them credit for. They are always watching and learning from the adults around them.

You say it doesn't work to discipline her because she runs to her father. In my mind, that is proof that it is working. (but only if your hubby backs you. If she runs to him and he cuddles her, it won't work.) the very fact that she goes to her father, means she knows she did something wrong.

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Before having my dd, I thought I would be a tough disciplinarian and will be able to control undesirable behavior. But when watching dd grow and explore, I find it very hard to restrict just because it's convenient for me. For example, I don't want her to throw food on the floor because I don't want to clean it up. But there's nothing inherently bad in that, just part of her play and exploration. It's a constant battle these days. My husband also says we need to 'train' good behavior in her, but he's first to say that we can't restrict her and should allow her to explore as much as she wants and allow development.

 

We're both just taking each day as it comes now!

 

 



I think a lot of people parent differently than they imagined they would - it's amazing the way instincts kick in! It's really interesting to think about all of the behaviors we want to create in our kids and why, and how we get it done.  I was a super spirited child, and out of love (and fear that I would kill myself!) my Mom did train me and "broke" me, and I became a much easier child to parent.  However, it changed me.  I was taught that I needed to obey, and I did that to a fault.  I ended up being raped because I always second guessed what I thought and did what I thought others wanted me to do, and because I thought that I needed to obey.  It took me a long time to find my self worth, and an even longer time to find my voice. 

 

It hit me when I took my first real psych class and learned about Pavlov and Miligram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment).  I decided that using Behaviorism is a harmful way to raise our kids.  Instead I use natural consequences; it teaches people to think for themselves and consider their actions, and it requires an understanding of the consequences of each action, both positive and negative. 

 

I agree with Shanesmom that good behavior starts in the home, and I believe that behavior is learned through modeling.  In terms of your DD throwing food on the floor, I wouldn't make a big deal of it.  What I did was say "Ooop! I guess you are all done! This is how you tell Mommy "all done" (and show him).  Now it's time to clean up!".  Then I would take him out of his seat and give him a napkin so that he would help me clean up the mess.  And explain "DS threw food on the floor, that makes a mess! Time to clean up the mess".  From this DS learned that if he wasn't done eating that he shouldn't throw his food on the floor, because he couldn't eat it.  He also learned that when he makes a mess, we clean it up.  And I never make a big deal of it because I don't want him to associate cleaning with being a negative thing.  Cleaning is just something we do...we make food, we clean up the dishes, we take out our toys to play, we put them away.  There are a thousand reasons we make messes during the day, and cleaning up is just part of the process.  If you start making a big deal out of it, so will she (i.e. when you ask her to clean up toys when she gets a little older).  I would do this at a friend's house too, or when we were out to eat.  It's a phase that EVERY child goes through.  Really! Do you know of any toddler that didn't throw their food at least once? So doesn't that make you think that there is something in particular that is going on in their heads that they are trying to figure out? The phase will end, sooner for some and later for others only to be replaced with a new fixation that will probably require cleaning up.  winky.gif

 

In terms of your DD running to your DH, she does know that she disappointed you but she isn't going to understand why.  Even if you say that it makes a mess and she figures out what a mess is, why is making a mess bad? What about this particular mess is so terrible? She will make a mess again, the same mess or a different mess, to test you to see if there is the same reaction.  Kids get perspective from experience in order to learn.  We all do. 

 

Another piece of advice, your DD is the PERFECT age to start helping around the house...that is about the age that my DS's brain all if a sudden recognized that things have a "place".  I kept fighting him when I was trying to clean up because he wanted attention and I was busy.  Then I realized that he wanted to help...so now he does help me do my chores and it makes it so much easier.  DS still puts things back the way they were when he was that age, which is really fascinating. 

 

I can totally relate to doing things differently than family, it can be really hard to defend what you do without insulting them.  I just say as little as possible about it, just "Oh, you do that? That's nice", or "that's just the way we do things" without further explanation.  I have found some friends who parent the same way, so that makes hanging out a little easier.  And at the very least I have support and we bounce ideas off of each other.  When you talk with your DH try replacing "training" with "modeling" and see where the conversations go...people really do learn from watching one another. 

 

HTH!


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Well said, Babysmurf!  I definitely parent differently than I thought I would.  Before having DS, I definitely subscribed to the "consistency is key" mantra, as well as, "Houseproof your baby, don't babyproof your house."  I thought as long as I was consistent in enforcing the rules that he would accept it and we would all be happy. 

 

What a fallacy!  I have seen some children who are generally pretty accepting of rules, even when they don't understand the "why."  You tell them no a few times, and they get it and occupy themselves in another way.  DS is NOT that child.  I quickly saw how unfair it was for him to be constantly in a state of frustration at not understanding why he shouldn't do or have something, and we concentrated on making our home as exploration-friendly as possible.  

 

I think that our children dictate our parenting more than we realize.  With a different baby, I might still be singing the "consistency" tune, not aware that it doesn't work for all, or even most, children.  

 

I completely agree with you on behaviorism - once I actually learned something about it and how rewards/punishments are interpreted by children, there's no way I could conscionably implement it.  Behavior manipulation with the reward/punishment system impedes moral development, promotes self-centeredness...and has become the basis of our culture's parenting knowledge!  Yikes!

 

I also agree that modeling is how behavior is learned, which is one of the biggest reasons why I won't ever use any corporal punishment.  I can't teach him not to hit other people when I hit him.  

 

Anyhow, back to OP - I think it's great that you recognize that when you're harsh you're acting out of anger and stress.  When DS is older, that can become grounds for some great conversations where you can apologize for an outburst and explain why you were wrong to lash out.  

 

It is SO TRUE that committing to gentle discipline requires faith and patience.  Children who are disciplined more harshly do tend to toe the line and obey and fit the mold of what our culture would deem as "good" children (i.e. - still and quiet).  Gentle discipline really asks you to look at a broader picture of development, rather than short-term obedience.  They payoff comes later down the road, when you have an older child who has a developed sense of empathy and morality, can use those skills to regulate their actions, are secure in their self-worth, are healthy skeptics, etc.  

 

I think one of the biggest pitfalls of how most people parent their toddlers is that they forget that in ten years they will need to deal with a second toddlerhood.  Toddlerhood and adolescence share lots of commonalities - the child is naturally inclined to do the opposite of what you say, is experimenting with their independence and individuality, are coming into their own.  But the whole reward/punishment thing won't work (at least as well) with a teenager.  They find ways around the punishments, sneak out, lie, and they're too big to spank.  All the things that used to work, suddenly don't.  The beautiful thing about non-punitive discipline and unconditional parenting styles is that they lay the groundwork for handling the bigger conflicts that are still to come.

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I think that our children dictate our parenting more than we realize.  With a different baby, I might still be singing the "consistency" tune, not aware that it doesn't work for all, or even most, children.  

 

yeahthat.gif  So important to keep in mind when comparing parenting styles and stories...even between siblings. :)


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BabySmurf,

 

Thank you for your reply; it's been great food for thought as of late, especially since her behavior has intensified these days. Well, I also work at home, and juggling both is taking a toll on me. Perhaps I wouldn't think of dd as 'difficult' if I didn't need to occupy myself with something else. The same goes with dh. We lose our patience not because of dd, but because of we are drained from work. I keep reminding myself of this as a way to keep my cool.

 

It's interesting that you mention this-- just last night, when I was making the bed, I noticed dd hovering around me and pulling on the sheets. Yes, she'd occasionally block my way and undo what I've done, but she just wants to be involved. It's very cute. When I'm swatting mosquitoes, she is as well. Constantly trying to see things from her perspective at those moments really help me.

 

 

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In terms of your DD running to your DH, she does know that she disappointed you but she isn't going to understand why.  Even if you say that it makes a mess and she figures out what a mess is, why is making a mess bad? What about this particular mess is so terrible? She will make a mess again, the same mess or a different mess, to test you to see if there is the same reaction.  Kids get perspective from experience in order to learn.  We all do. 

 

Another piece of advice, your DD is the PERFECT age to start helping around the house...that is about the age that my DS's brain all if a sudden recognized that things have a "place".  I kept fighting him when I was trying to clean up because he wanted attention and I was busy.  Then I realized that he wanted to help...so now he does help me do my chores and it makes it so much easier.  DS still puts things back the way they were when he was that age, which is really fascinating. 

 

 


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#30 of 32 Old 09-20-2012, 11:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I come from a traditional Chinese family, and it's all about obedience to authority. I was raised to behave, and I have memories of being too scared to cry for fear of being spanked (used to get hit for crying)! I find it against my instincts to parent like I was parented. However, life seems easier when you have 'obedient' children. 

 

I have never compared toddlerhood to adolescence (seems so far away!), but what you say makes a lot of sense. Especially about looking at the broader picture of development.

 

 

 

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It is SO TRUE that committing to gentle discipline requires faith and patience.  Children who are disciplined more harshly do tend to toe the line and obey and fit the mold of what our culture would deem as "good" children (i.e. - still and quiet).  Gentle discipline really asks you to look at a broader picture of development, rather than short-term obedience.  They payoff comes later down the road, when you have an older child who has a developed sense of empathy and morality, can use those skills to regulate their actions, are secure in their self-worth, are healthy skeptics, etc.  

 

I think one of the biggest pitfalls of how most people parent their toddlers is that they forget that in ten years they will need to deal with a second toddlerhood.  Toddlerhood and adolescence share lots of commonalities - the child is naturally inclined to do the opposite of what you say, is experimenting with their independence and individuality, are coming into their own.  But the whole reward/punishment thing won't work (at least as well) with a teenager.  They find ways around the punishments, sneak out, lie, and they're too big to spank.  All the things that used to work, suddenly don't.  The beautiful thing about non-punitive discipline and unconditional parenting styles is that they lay the groundwork for handling the bigger conflicts that are still to come.


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