At my wits' end... - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-27-2014, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 1/2 year twin girls are no longer the sweet, little angels they used to be. They have completely changed and I'm not sure how to handle it or what to do. I am not a yeller and I find that I have been yelling a lot, which I hate. I can't discipline them. I can't offer rewards that appeal to them. Nothing works to help with their behavior.

 

Many days, one of them will wake up screaming. She doesn't even have to have a trigger - just wakes up pissed off at the world. It sets the tone for the whole day in our household when somebody wakes up miserable and screaming and many days, we never seem to regain a happy composure all day long.

 

They fight with each other all day. Bickering, stealing toys, fighting over toys, hitting, pushing, calling names, etc. They yell at our dogs too. They say "NO!" to everything we say. If I put them in their room for a time out, they scream to the point that the neighbors must think I am abusive.

 

They also won't go to bed at night. Last night, I had to separate them at MIDNIGHT and sleep on the couch with one while the other one went to bed. Our home only has 2 rooms so we don't have the option of putting them in separate rooms. I think this is the biggest priority for us. I can deal with their moodiness during the day if it means at 7:30 they will quiet down and give me a break. I can NOT deal with chaos from 7am through midnight every night.

 

I don't know where to turn. I want my loveable children back.


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Old 02-27-2014, 11:34 AM
 
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I think it's just the age. You might check out the gentle discipline forum for more advice on this. I've seen a lot of threads about this age fairly recently. I don't have twins but let's just say I hear ya. You may have to set some new rules or routines for bed.

I recently read someone say they talked to their kid about the momentum bodies need to go to sleep, kind of like dim lights and a cool down period. Sometimes it works well for me to talk to my kid about how our bodies work and what they need to do. For example... now we need to turn down the lights so our bodies know it's time to go to bed soon. It makes it more like a rule based on nature snd that's just the way it is.

Good luck and I hope you get lots more responses. The 3 and a half attitude can be wicked.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:07 PM
 
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Hugs to you mama! That's a lot to deal with! 

Have you read any of Janet Lansbury's blog? 

Here's a link to some great articles on dealing with behavior http://www.janetlansbury.com/category/parenting/behavior/  It can take some time for you & the children to get used to a new way doing things so don't fret if you don't see the results you're looking for in the first day.


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Old 03-03-2014, 09:23 PM
 
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Sounds like they aren't resting well... My two year old went through a sleep regression and became cumulatively sleep deprived. He became a royal terror....absolutely horrible behavior. We purchased the No-cry sleep solution for toddlers by Pantley. The main thing we learned was to watch for tired signs and get him to sleep ASAP, which turned out to be earlier than we had been. We have always had a routine, so we just started it earlier in the night. He is getting an extra hour of sleep at night. He has changed dramatically. He used to wake up screaming, and now he has calmed down. He is much more agreeable during the day. I know now that whenever his behavior goes manic that it's nap-time or bed-time. 

 

Another thing I read was too be sure to provide balanced meals during the day that promote stable blood sugars.

 

Just what worked for us. You are awesome for managing twins! I don't know if I could do it. I hope things improve for you!


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Old 03-04-2014, 12:22 PM
 
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We've had great luck with time-out when our 3yo's behavior gets out of control. Sometimes a time-out will happen less than an hour after breakfast.

We have a "3 strikes and you're out" rule- We ask her to stop the inappropriate behavior. We will let her repeat the behavior once, and remind her again it is unacceptable. If it happens a third time, it is time-out. We stand her by the microwave, put 3 minutes on the timer, and let her have her tantrum. We ignore any and all requests, except for when she asks for a tissue to blow her nose. When the time-out is up, she is happy as a clam, and we spend about a minute or less discussing why her behavior was inappropriate, and what behavior is acceptable. She is very verbal, so we discuss the behavior in depth.

Just a month ago, we had to resort to time-out almost every day, at least once, sometimes as many as 3 in a day.

Suddenly, our little angel is back. Recently, we've only had to use time-out about once a week.

I noticed that the grandparents are far more permissive with the rowdy behavior. I'm not sure if your little ones spend much time outside the home, but I have noticed that time spent with grandparents or other toddlers to can bring out some of the worst behavior in my toddler, and many of my mommy friends agree.


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Old 03-06-2014, 02:03 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through so much. We often struggle with just one child but to have to deal with two? You are such a gem for surviving it and for trying to be a good mom at every turn. My kids gave me the same trouble but around when they were around 4. I think that at that age, they have so much pent up energy that they need to do something in order to be able to calm down and not be violent towards each other and badly behaved towards you. When my kids acted this way, we made sure to include walks and picnics into our routine. At least once or twice a week. I also made sure to spend quality time with them - doing an activity together. Like cooking or drawing. I usually download a few worksheets from an educational website or free printables/activity ideas from pinterest. The most important thing though is that you're not enabling their behavior by giving them what they want when they behave badly. Like salr said, there is a lot of help available in this forum about this issue.

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Old 03-06-2014, 09:56 AM
 
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Oh, good suggestion on the food. Mine needs snacks. When we had a bad few months of behavior we found that protein snacks helped.

I tried time outs and found they rarely worked. Maybe to show I was serious. And at that time just to avoid screaming and worse behavior (on my part!). But it definitely strained our connection. I think some kids just won't do time outs willingly. And if the only option is to hold them down against their will? I'm not sure if that's the best solution. And yeah, just returning them to the time out spot over and over happened more times than I can count. So... to each their own.
I also have had luck with special time. Time when one kid gets all the attention.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salr View Post


I also have had luck with special time. Time when one kid gets all the attention.



I had to chuckle at this one. I'm sure it works for some families. It's a friendly chuckle, no judgment!

My parents tried the "special time" with their large brood (no multiples, but a small army of kids). We resented the heck out of each other when another sibling got "special time" with mom or dad. They decided to abandon the special time before the youngest hit school age because it caused so much sibling rivalry. "But Sister got to go to ice cream with Dad. I just got to tag along with mom to run some errands." etc. They attempted special time once more when we were teens (yes, for a year, ALL of us kids were teens), at our urging, and imagine the pre-school age special-time drama amplified times 10.

I feel the need to clarify on time out. It is not about "holding a child against their will." It is about teaching her self-control. I'm an adult, and I still do my own self-imposed time-outs. For example, if my husband and I are getting into a heated discussion, I find it much more beneficial to say, "Hold on, let's chill for a second, remove ourselves from this situation for 5-10 minutes, collect our thoughts, and come back to this so we can discuss things calmly, rationally, and in a grown-up manner" than to let things escalate to a point where we say things that may be/ may be interpreted to be hurtful. By no means is she standing in the corner just to stand in the corner. It is made very clear that it's not about restraint, it is all about her learning to collect herself. She possesses the vocabulary and comprehension of language to understand that time-out is not punishment. It's "chill-out" time.

ToadJode, I wish you luck with your little ones. The terrible twos never happened with our little one. She decided to wait until age 3 to assert her autonomy and start having her wild and defiant moments. Just remind yourself, this too shall pass. Obviously, given the fact that you're taking the time to reach out to the mothering community, I feel safe in assuming you're an awesome, loving, involved parent, which is the best thing you can do for your little ones right now. :)


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Old 03-06-2014, 08:50 PM
 
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Preemieprincess, I may be chuckling at myself a few months or years from now! Like I said, I don't have twins, and I don't have a small army so maybe the special time idea isn't so helpful for everyone.

We talk a lot about cooling down to our taking a break. We do time ins sometimes. Age 3 is what's made me believe I've tried it all. Lol.
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