Do I just power through this, or is there something I can do? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2.5 yo ds is in a nasty little phase right now. When he is tired or frustrated, rather than allowing me to do something for him that would alleviate his discomfort, he stiffens his body (to make it hard for me to move him without picking him up) and screeches. You know, that should only be heard outside or preferably, ONLY if you are being murdered screech?

Example: last night he tried to come get in our bed. He is a HORRID bed companion, so we are doing our best to take him back to his own bed each time he tries (this can be hard when you are tired and just want to go back to sleep, kwim?). Anyway, when I tried to lead him back to his bed, he flipped out and did what I described above. I picked him up and realized he had gone poop (we had a deviation to our schedule last night, making it hard for him to go to sleep. He is almost potty trained, and does not generally poop in his diaper anymore, so this was unusual). I realized I needed to change him, and FINALLY got him to stop flailing his legs so I could do so. He fell back asleep as soon as I got the diaper on.

The way that I respond to these episodes is this: I tell him that the voice he is using is inappropriate (at which time, he generally repeats "NO!" or whatever he is screeching in a non-screechy yell, which is better and slightly funny, since it means he understands what I am saying and is willing to comply) and then firmly but gently do whatever I need to do to remedy the situation (change the diaper, remove him from the top of the armchair that he has climbed onto via his rocking horse, etc).

My question is this: do I just need to power through this phase with a smile plastered on my face (while thinking "Darn it, kid! This is for your own good! Stop fighting me!") or is there anything I can do to make this phase end more quickly?
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#2 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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I'd look at what could potentially be causing/triggering this action and see if you can't address it proactively to help alleviate whatever's distressing him.

For instance:

Is he dealing with a milestone (speech/growth, etc.)?
Can he clearly communicate with you?
If not, have you tried teaching him sign language?
Is there something going on physically? (My immediate thought was tummy issues)
Has anything in his diet changed?
Routine changes?
Sleep pattern/needs changing?

Also...

Does he have what you consider an appropriate way to express his frustrations? Since you're telling him the current way isn't appropriate, then what can he do instead that would be? I'm not knocking you or anything -- I agree that some tones/behaviors aren't acceptable, BUT I think you have to offer toddlers an alternative that IS acceptable, otherwise they learn to bottle things up, and that's not a healthy habit, IME.

Some parents have a "stomping rug" where their little one can stomp out frustrations. Some have games they play, etc., whatever works for your little one. Some (like us) focus on using sign language so she can clearly express what's going on. Since our toddler's not terribly verbal, using ASL has been a HUGE help. And her tantrums typically dissolve in seconds. But it takes speaking softly (so she'll stop yelling to listen) and helping her calm by redirecting her focus briefly (like going through the ABCs or something rote) so she can stop being upset long enough to be more able to focus in order to tell us what's going on.

I think just trying to solve the problem for them isn't always the best thing, since at this age they want to be able to solve things themselves! So offering help and trying to be proactive might work better? I wish I could be more helpful. But for me, looking at potential causes never hurts. Sometimes it's as simple as needing to change one little thing in the daily routine. Sometimes it's more complicated.

And if you can't identify what might be causing this change in his behavior, then it may just be a phase and you'll have to let it run its course. Try to empower him and let him be involved in fixing whatever's distresing him if you can though. I think part of the frustration at that age comes from not being able to fix things themselves, you know? So if Mama is always doing it for him then that might add to the sense of helplessness? I don't know. I hope others here can offer you more help.

Good luck Mama.

SAHM to Guinevere (04/05/06) and Eowyn (02/13/09)
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#3 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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I've noticed that my DD calms down a lot if I tell her very clearly - and if she's already upset, more than once - what she wants. (This is regardless of whether she's going to get what she wants or not).

e.g. "You want the giraffe!" (that had been dropped on the floor of the car and I can't get it quite that moment.

or "You're ready for night-night!" (when I'm trying to change her diaper to get her ready for her nap).

It's not absolutely foolproof but it has definitely helped many times. I think she's often more concerned about being UNDERSTOOD than actually getting what she wants, and she'll go beserk if she thinks I'm not understanding her (because she doesn't know how else to solve that).

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#4 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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I agree and like the suggestions above...but I will also add and recommend perhaps a bach remedie? You can get batches made for you! My son has a terrible patience and frustration issue, then I discovered bach remedies! They certainly help!

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#5 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for these replies.

He can communicate clearly, and honestly, the only thing I want to stop is the screeching! He can continue to yell (oh, and we had to put the kibosh on hitting, as well, for obvious reasons). He is more than welcome to stomp about, to shout (for now...as he gets older we'll channel that into more appropriate vents), to tell me he doesn't like it or doesn't like me or whatever. Just not that screeching because 1) it's insanely loud, and 2) when I hear kids I do that, I always think it's an emergency but since most kids use that screeching pretty often it's almost like crying wolf, if that makes sense. If I can get him to knock off the screeching then if he is in REAL trouble I will know to come charging to him.

Also, I think part of it is that he is frustrated that I am able to physically move him. As a toddler, he wants to be autonomous, but obviously isn't quite ready to be a fully independent little person. I try really hard to respect that by getting him to come with me on his terms, but if we have to leave somewhere, I've let him know we are leaving and he is still buckling in his seat, I'm forced to physically get him in his seat or else wait till he is ready. I know some parents would say to take the second option, but I'll be honest and say that I don't see myself patiently waiting until my toddler is ready to leave, nor do I believe that he is in a position to make the decisions about when and where to go. So, to sum I do TRY to respect his physical boundaries and such and I think that sometimes these tantrums are set off when I am not able to respect those boundaries he wishes to have. In that respect, I suppose I'll just have to get through that, since we will always have places we need to be and things we need to do. FTR, I always give him notice before we leave someplace (I will say 5 minutes till we leave, 3...., 2...., 1.... and this doesn't correspond to 5 minutes, but more like fifteen) and I do my best to structure things so that if we are leaving somewhere fun we are going someplace else that is fun (i.e. we will go to the library first and then to the grocery store...he likes both places). However, when we go home I hit a wall. I try to appeal to his love of our animals, but can the kitties compare to the park? No.

I don't know if it's something physical. Lately, he has taken to telling us when his tummy hurts (which usually means he's about to run to the potty to poop) or when it's grumbly (how cute is THAT??) which means he's hungry (he'll say tummy grumbly grumbly grumbly....I just want to eat him up when he does that....and give him ANYTHING in the world to eat....I don't let HIM know that, though! ). I think he would be able to tell us if something hurt. He also tells us if he has a bug bite or gets hurt, so he understands the concept.

Let's see, what else...maybe there's a growth spurt about to happen? It seems to me that whenever I perceive things as difficult, something suddenly happens, like he gets bigger or all of a sudden has a bunch of new words. So maybe he's about to have a big milestone. In which case I suppose I'll just have to be patient (I don't WANNA! )

Thanks again, mamas!

Any experiences, tips, insights you can share would be helpful.

And I oughta break out the rescue remedy! He likes taking medicine (we do mostly homeopathics, and sugar is yummy, right?)...
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#6 of 7 Old 10-10-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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Gee, Petersmama, it sounds to me like you are doin great! Have you read the sticky about tantrums? it is excellent! i wish i'd heard that when mine was two. BTW, he's 20 now. Woo hoo, they survive!!
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#7 of 7 Old 10-11-2007, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laoxinat View Post
Gee, Petersmama, it sounds to me like you are doin great! Have you read the sticky about tantrums? it is excellent! i wish i'd heard that when mine was two. BTW, he's 20 now. Woo hoo, they survive!!
laoxinat
Awww, thanks!!! :

I think I shall go read that sticky right now!
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