I don't know how to deal with DS's aggression! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 01-04-2003, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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you all have been of help before, so here I am again asking for help.
My son is now 2, and off and on again he has been declaring his independence for the past 6 months, which is normal.
What I am alarmed at, and do not have a solution to yet, is the way that he protests. He REFUSES to get in the car seat, and unless I muster up all my physical strength to shove him in, it doesn't work. I've tried telling him that it is safe, I've tried games, songs, treats, etc. I even tried simply waiting until he was ready. This worked, but the time interval was getting longer and longer, (about 20 minutes in the car until he was *ready*) and I felt it was giving him the wrong message.
Another example, is that he REFUSES to get dressed and/or have his diaper changed. This usually results in yelling/fighting, I am ashamed to say. I had tried again using distraction, songs, poems, games, and on rare occasion they worked.
He protests verbally (NO!), and physically he fights -- pushes, falls to the ground and thrashes around, etc. even sometimes he hits. He is verbally very advanced for his age, so I'm not sure if this is about not being able to communicate.
One problem is that his father and I do not live together, and his father is more likely to use intimidation before distraction or games to get him to do anything, and so I think this may set the stage for when I have to deal with a challenge.
I know something has got to change, I have read Dr. Sears' Discipline Book, and Raising Your Spirited Child, but it seems that the children mentioned in these books respond to games, songs, routines, but my DS does not. He is a very passionate boy, and that means passionately happy, too.
I want to have his cooperation, but don't know what to do. I find myself dreading having to go anywear, knowing that I will have to somehow get him into the car, or get him changed, etc.
HELP! (is this just a 2 year old and he will "snap out of it"? Or is this setting up the stage for aggression as he gets older?)
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#2 of 3 Old 01-04-2003, 06:28 PM
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What you describe is not something that I would label as "aggression." Now, I may be wrong about that but I see aggression as lashing out when the situation is unwarranted. So I don't really know how to give advice about aggressive kids, I don't consider my child aggressive but she does have some of the same issues that your son does. I can only speak to that.

Anyway, sorry for the long introduction. I have this problem on occasion with my DD and it is normal and I'm sure she will outgrow it in time. I don't see it as setting any type of stage for further disaster, I see it as a normal way to exert independence and control.

I deal with it in a variety of ways, forcefulness being the absolute last resort and only used if there is a very good reason (like we're not home and she is refusing to get into the car, I do have to force her to do it because we obviously can't live in the parking lot!). I hate using force because I understand the root of the issue is that she wants to feel empowered and I want to empower her, not dominate her.

I have the "getting dressed" problem. What I have done to temper it is first I get DD dressed as soon as she wakes up in the morning. Next, I let her choose her clothes and pick which diaper she wants. I let her go clothing shopping with me so that she can pick things in the store and then she's excited to wear them. I have her "race" me by seeing if she can unzip her pjs before I can count to 10. If she absolutely refuses to get dressed, then we don't go out that morning.

Another thing that has helped: one morning DD wouldn't get dressed and I called my friend and told her that we wouldn't be able to meet her and her daughter for our playdate. The daughter asked to speak wtih my daughter (they are both 2.5) and she got on the phone and told Maddy to get dressed so they could play. It worked like a charm!

For diaper changes, as I mentioned I let her pick the diaper and I'll say to her "when do you think you'll be ready to have your diaper changed?" She'll usually say "three minutes" so we'll set the timer and do it in three minutes.

If you can figure out ways to empower the child, you will be able to solve the problem. If you simply overpower them, you will be in for a long, long battle. You have my sympathies because I truly have been through this (and still go through it on occasion).

Good luck!

Maddy Moo - 2.5
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#3 of 3 Old 01-05-2003, 02:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, for your suggestions.
I will try the timer -- he understands "when this, then that".
I guess I just feel so emotionally tired, too. I've memorized entire books of rhymes and songs (what mother hasn't?) to try to make the day "flow" and sometimes an entire week (or more?) will go by and I feel like I'm doing everything wrong.
This is in such contrast with what he was like as an infant. As long as he was in the sling, all was well with the world. He was so easy to read.
Again, thank you.
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