need advice from parents of "spirited" children - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 03:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As we all know raising spirited kids is very challenging.
I'm reading all sorts of books and even attending a parenting workshop, but....when it comes down to the real life nitty gritty i feel like i'm going to lose my mind or patience or both!!!

How do you all do it? My ds is almost a year only and already his little "spirit" went into overdrive in the past month. He is super active, knows what he wants and then shrieks if he doesn't get it. I think i'm losing my hearing from all the shrieking.

Physically, i don't know if i can keep up-i'm so worn out, Mentally, i'm starting to have a melt down from all the demands.

How did you survive? and what did you do when your dc was demanding and insistent?

THanks for any support. I sure do need it.
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#2 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 10:15 AM
 
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I sure know how you're feeling, although the answers are different for everyone. I think that age is very challenging-it did get better for us as her communication and reasoning abilities developed with her age (she's 3.) She was very similar to your son at one, and now she is more reasonable when she can't have her way in every circumstance. Something we've done that's been successful has been to offer her choices and let her make decisions.

Something that always got me through was thinking how we were chosen to be her parents because we wouldn't break her spirit. And that things would get easier as she got older-which has been true so far. Good luck!
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#3 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 11:21 AM
 
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Have found that it takes a while to find what are DS#1's "sore spots" that bring out particularly ... unique ... behaviors. And now that he's 5 I've only just begun to figure them out and learn to deal with them. Seeing my younger two dealing/behaving so differently has helped clarify things for me, too. Sorry if that's not a helpful response ...

Anyway, I just remember the mantra: He's doing the best that he can with the tools that he has. And repeat it to myself over&over&over&over again.

It helps keep me ... calm ... :LOL
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#4 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 12:36 PM
 
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I found that making sure she was well-rested and well-fed helped me avoid situations where she would lose it and tried to time outings, etc. for her "good times." As far as the shrieking would it help to offer some similar substitute when there is something he can't have/do? "This is not for you, but you can have this"? I also did my best to arrange my house so there were very few "no's." I gated off the pantry, which is where the cat box, fridge, washer, cleaning supplies, etc. were. In the kitchen the cabinets in her reach contained tupperware, pots and pans, etc. I spent a lot of time putting tupperware away! LOL I kept the bathroom door shut, another gated room had the bookshelves, computer, sewing machine. The TV/VCR were up on a shelf she couldn't reach. Everything down where she could reach was something she could have. That just left outlets and for some reason they never interested her. Does that help at all?

SMC to Sophia, age 15, and Eleanor, age 9, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!

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#5 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jingwen
My ds is almost a year only and already his little "spirit" went into overdrive in the past month. He is super active, knows what he wants and then shrieks if he doesn't get it. I think i'm losing my hearing from all the shrieking.

Yup, that's my bean, too. And the thing that works the best for her almost all of the time is to arrange her world so that when she knows what she wants (ie: she sees it!), she can have it! End of shrieking.

That means that anything you don't want your ds to have has to be out of sight out of mind. All our nicely framed pictures have been put away, all knickknacks replaced with toys, all books, pens, scissors, etc. kept way up high and out of sight. The kitchen cabinets have been rearranged so that all bottom cupboards and drawers contain things that she can touch, like canned goods, plastic containers, bakeware, pots, wooden spoons, etc. We went to a garage sale and got her a phone (a real one - she wants nothing to do with toy ones) and an old computer keyboard that she just loves to wham on, which sure saves my computer. Rooms that are off limits need to be locked and the doors kept shut. Gates tend to infuriate my dd - because she can still SEE stuff. Perhaps your ds has a different trigger, and gates will work fine.

Maybe some people will tell you that you shouldn't rearrange your whole entire life just because your ds wants what he wants and has little ability to cope with not getting things, but this is only a stage. It will all pass, and plus, who wants to listen to all that shrieking? I'd rather live in a house that looks like a playroom and not have to worry. And my dd is a happy little camper, most of the time.

Hope you find a solution that works for you.
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#6 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!

Believe it or not i have made my house a "yes" home. He is allowed to touch almost everything. He's shrieking because he is bored with the stuff at his level wants you to pick him up so he can explore things at the adult level.

He learned that adults are great forms of transportation. While we are holding him, he points to an item he sees at the adult level and wants us to bring him to it so he can play. So guess what he is pointing out? yup! the knife rack, the stove, the hot toaster oven, or outside when it is freezing rain. Even the best distractions don't work. He shrieks when i say, "not for baby, this is for baby" LOL!:

I try to talk to him calmly like, " i know you wanted to play with the knifes and your mad that i won't let you. But it's dangerous, you can play with this though." but while he is shrieking or throwing a tantrum he's not hearing me. Kwim?
So should i tell him after he throws the tantrum? any suggestions?

Any creative ideas on how you tell your spirited little ones "no" or "not for baby?". I've tried words like, "hot", "dirty", "dangerous". But he really only responds to "hot" because i let him feel how warm the toaster oven is and he knows now. But other things like knives and the freezing rain....what can i do?

Quote:
He's doing the best that he can with the tools that he has
and
Quote:
Something that always got me through was thinking how we were chosen to be her parents because we wouldn't break her spirit. And that things would get easier as she got older-which has been true so far
Those are great! I'll think of them while i'm dealing with the shrieking and see if it could help with the paradigm shift.

Thanks again, whew! i feel better already.
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#7 of 9 Old 04-15-2003, 11:57 PM
 
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How much do you get out and about? It sounds to me like your little guy is tres intelligent and needs a change of scenery.

My ds, 15 months, sounds much like yours. He'd be content if I carried him around all day letting him see and touch all the pretty and interesting things that are out of his reach.

I don't have many mommy friends IRL, but one day we visited my cousin and her three girls. You'd have thought we entered the pearly gates of heaven. Ds didn't fuss or whine all day. He didn't have time. He was so busy taking in all the new things/toys at their house. It was literally amazing.

Since that day, I try to come up with something to do or somewhere to go every day that will provide him with things he's never seen before. That has seemed to help the longing for new things. Of course it's alot easier now that it's so nice outside.

Otherwise, it sounds like you're on the right track.

lisa

~lisa~mama to 3 boys (1/02, 5/04, 12/06)
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#8 of 9 Old 04-16-2003, 10:15 PM
 
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I'm not sure I have anything original to add, but I do have lots of

My dd is eighteen months, (today!) and she is extremely spirited. She seems to be going through an even more tantrum-prone phase than ever. Yesterday, she literally threw herself out of the cart in the grocery store because she couldn't be out of the cart pushing it. (Thank goodness she was okay!) Sometimes, I think that tantrums and unhappiness are unevitable in spirited kids, and that it's not our job to cater to them to the point of removing all tantrums. Does that make sense? I mean, if I were to avoid her tantrums today, I would have had to let her run across the parking lot by herself, run around the house with a knife, and ride in the car without veing in a carseat. We try very hard to be "yes" oriented, and as someone else said, we spend time outside the house everyday. Even if we go outside and let her run around with the dog, it helps burn off her seemingly endless energy.

The thing that I remember thinking when she was a baby was that it seemed like she was a five-year-old trapped in a baby's body. She wanted so much to be able to walk, talk and communicate! In some ways, this age is just as hard, because she's starting to understand how the world works, and yet, she doesn't have complete control over her surroundings. I think she'll always be an intense person, I just hope that our style of parenting is steering her in the right way.

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#9 of 9 Old 04-17-2003, 01:27 AM
 
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Stacymom, ITA!! I thought the same with dd1, a 5 yo trapped in a baby's body. Jingwen, sounds like you are on the right track. Are there more things you could help him explore, like the toaster oven?

SMC to Sophia, age 15, and Eleanor, age 9, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!

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