I am going to cross post this in toddlers as I am unsure where to post.
Please bare with me, the following is long.
I am asking for help.
Our family has recently experienced a major shift in our universe and I am seeking advice from experienced parents.
I welcome any and all recommendations on resources, books, etc. Tell me if I am crazy, lazy, unreasonable, whatever, I can take it.
DH – 42, Me – 37, DS – nearly 3 years old.
DH and I work outside the home, DS in a great daycare (soon to be moving to pre-school) about seven hours a day. Evenings and weekends are total family time.
DH and I have essentially no kid experience aside from our own. No nieces, nephews, or relationships with the children of close friends, etc. Our own childhoods are not something we want for our son so we try very hard NOT to take after our parents.
DS is the best thing that we have done in our lives, the light of our life, we love him so much we can’t put it into word and this brings me to my concern.
I think we may be raising a spoiled brat. This might be dramatic but we have recently gotten a major life slap in the face.
DS from birth to 2.5 years
Infant time was a joy and it just seemed to get better as DS got older. This sounds sickeningly sweet as I type it but really, it was like a honeymoon after a terrible TTC period, three early term loss and a really awful pregnancy.
We have always been active and DS entered into the family and away we went as three instead of two.
His school reports have been good, no problems there. Seems to be at an appropriate place in life for his age – plays well with others, is polite, communicates well, etc.
Family and observers always complimented us on how well DS behaved. We beamed like the proud parents we are and didn’t seem the storm coming.
All of a sudden, although I am sure it was gradual, our happy go lucky little boy who listened to his mommy and daddy, picked up his toys, tried whatever I put on his plate, etc. has morphed into a whiny, tamper tantrum throwing, blond whirling dervish and we are shell-shocked.
I know that kids go thru stages of development and recent behaviors are not the end of the world but we are at a loss what to do.
Problem is we don’t know how to deal with it.
We want to learn how to parent in a way that we don’t loss it (tempers, our sanity, etc.) our selves while trying to teach DS.
One example – Pre-whirling dervish DS would want to take 15 animals (or any toy) along to the store. I could say no, you must chose one turtle (or whatever) and everyone else stays home. After a moment of thought, he would chose one and away we would go.
Fast forward to present day and the mere thought of not being able to take all 15 animals (or whatever) plus another 5 to the store (or where ever) results in a full blown meltdown and a tantrum that can easily last 20 to 30 minutes.
In this example, DH throws up his hands in frustration and hauls all 20 animals to the store. I get totally spun up and frustrated, which doesn’t help the situation. This gets both DH and DS on edge and an unpleasant situation gets worse.
We both noticed that DS can tell when we get frustrated and works it, so to speak.
Example – DS trying to not sit in his car seat. He used to love his seat. No amount of “please get in your seat, you must get in your seat before we can go visit Nana, you need to sit in your seat to stay safe, on and on” matters. He sits there and smiles, knowing he is misbehaving, or so it seems. The moment either of us tries to lift him into his seat, the tantrum starts.
Not that resisting the car seat makes him a brat, it is just one of many examples of struggles we never had before. If I ask him to pick up his toys when we are done playing, he yells NO at me and runs away. I will walk him back to the area repeatedly and try to engage him in helping me but it doesn’t work. Frustrating because I hear about how he happily engages in this behavior at daycare.
Mealtime is another problem. Before he would sit with us and eat for a reasonable period of time.. Now he throws food on the floor, gets down from the table and runs around (30 seconds after his first bite), acts like the Cookie Monster by rubbing food in his face.
Problem is we don’t know where to begin in terms of shaping good behavior as DS grows and develops. We want to him grow up to be a happy (meaning in the sense of being emotionall mature, confident, and the like) functioning adult.
Maybe I am putting to much emphasis on the current situation but we can see parenting patterns developing in ourselves that we don’t necessarily like.
There is no looking to DH side of the family for help/examples/guidance. I have an aunt on my side that is a great role model in many ways but her child rearing life was so completely different than how I live, it is nearly impossible for me to follow her examples.
Our friends either have parenting styles that we definitely don’t want to emulate or their kids are much older and the parents themselves wished they would have done things differently.
So lay it on me – where do I start? I love to read so book suggestions are very welcome. We would certainly be willing to go to classes or parenting groups but I don’t think we are anywhere close to a crisis situation.
We are just clueless and looking for direction. Thanks for reading/listening.
Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have