I'm about to lose it... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-12-2008, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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DD 2.5 (3 in april) has always been high needs and lots of work. She's very verbal, most people who speak to her don't beleive me when I tell them her age, they think she's at least 4. My issue is that she is constantly whining and screaming when she doesn't get what she wants and won't listen to me. DD just finished a half hour screaming/hitting tantrum because I told her she couldn't have a cookie. I tried to comfort her and empathize with her, I tried holding her, which only got me hit and kicked, I tried letting her work it out herself and tried to leave her but she just followed me.

I getting really frusterated (starting to yell at her and wanting to spank, wven though I know it's not the answer) with her because even the smallest thing becomes a power struggle. I guess I'm afraid I've spoiled her because nothing is ever good enough for her. She's become destuctive to property (most recently she dumped water on the labtop she was watching a movie on and when asked why she sais because she wanted to watch the movie on the big TV).

DD is a "good" child as long as she isn't upset by something.

I don't know what to do. Is this just a stage that she'll grow out of? how would you ladies handle this kind of behavior?

Any suggestions are welcome

Israel, mom to  DD, Ivy, 4-27-06 :and DS, Kai, 12-29-07 and DD, Lilith 2-1-10 and always remembering Alice fullterm stillborn 08/31/11 (unexplained placental abruption) 

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#2 of 4 Old 12-12-2008, 05:10 PM
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I had to reply, as my DD was born 2 days for yours.

Is she getting enough stimulation? I only ask because I observe more frustrated behavior, on the days we do less. Especially now, as the weather is cold and we're stuck inside.

Also, many people tell me the 1/2 ages are tough for some reason. I haven't noticed this, but I read it a lot.

We started a 2-day, morning only preschool which has helped with her tremendously. It's not for everyone, but it worked for us.
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#3 of 4 Old 12-13-2008, 12:37 PM
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Sounds like she's pushing boundaries/testing limits big time. That's so frustrating!

The natural consequence to dumping water on a laptop is that either the laptop gets fried and is pretty much broken and unusable, so no more laptop for her; or the laptop isn't ruined, just wet, in which case it needs to thoroughly dry out, so she can't use it while it's drying.

The logical consequences I'd employ if my kid did that (and we've got 3 laptops in this house--one for each of us, thanks to hand me downs--but we by no means take them for granted):

If my DS dumped water on a laptop, his laptop privileges would be revoked indefinitely. I'd also limit liquids/foods consumption to only in the kitchen/dining area (away from all electronics) and I'd explain why water and computers don't mix; then we'd brainstorm (to get DS involved in the process) other ways to accomplish the goal of watching the DVD on the big TV--all of which would be less destructive than pouring water on a computer.

Have you been consistent with enforcing consequences/limits? If she's tantruming for half an hour, she's either incredibly persistant by nature (quite possible), or she's learned that if she throws a long enough fit, she'll get her way.

If there are certain things you're dead set on, you need to tell her that. She needs to know that no amount of tantruming will change your mind on those very important issues. However, there are probably some issues that you feel aren't as important/set in stone...would you be willing to reevaluate your stance on those? If a certain issue keeps cropping up, maybe sit down with your DD when she's calm, and discuss it with her to see how she'd like you to handle it...and try to come to a mutually agreeable compromise. The hope is that if she feels you're willing to share some power on some issues, she'll be more willing to accept the limits on the absolutes.

Also, definitely step up the work with talking/reading/learning about emotions--what they are, how to recognize them (how they feel inside; how to spot expressions and body language cues), do lots of role playing so she gets lots of practice identifiying them. Also try to do more work with alternative ways to express her upsets--stomping, banging on pots and pans, drawing, putting on a puppet show to work through it, listening to music/dancing--so that she has more tools in her toolbox than crying and hitting.

Of course, my 3.5yo DS prefers to scream, and will only let me pick him up after the worst is over. So I'd start asking her before you try to pick her up, "Are you ready for me to pick you up?" And if she hits/kicks you after she says yes, put her right back down and get out of striking distance. It's okay if she follows you, but not okay for her to hit/kick. That's one of my iron clad rules, actually--but it took about a year for DS to stop trying to hit me--even though I was very consistent and offered lots of alternatives for him to express himself. Guess that means it's a phase, but you have a right to keep yourself safe from harm.

Good luck!
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#4 of 4 Old 12-13-2008, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Cativari View Post
I don't know what to do. Is this just a stage that she'll grow out of? how would you ladies handle this kind of behavior?
We handled that kind of behavior by avoiding power struggles at (nearly) all costs.

For things like cookies or other treats, either DD was allowed free access to them (and she learned to self-regulate pretty quickly... although there was one week where she had ice cream for breakfast every morning and I was getting nervous - but then she stopped asking for it and went back to healthy breakfasts) or they weren't kept in the house. Or, if we bought treats, we bought them in very small quantities so that if she did choose to eat all of them, it wasn't a really terrible thing.

For computers, DD did not have free access to computers until she was 3.5. Definitely no food or drink while using the computer. I think its clever that your DD found a way that she thought would work to get the big TV - she's really too young to understand what permanent damage means. If your DD wanted the big TV, I think its okay to let her watch it unless there is a really good reason why she can't, in which case redirecting her to another activity would probably be better than allowing a toddler access to the laptop.

There will be plenty of time when she's a bit older to start working on boundaries and respecting that some things are off limits. For the toddler years, it really works best to have a positive, "yes" environment, with very few, or none, off-limits things... Babyproof EVERYTHING. Toddlers have such limited control over their emotions and they are hard-wired developmentally to work on autonomy. It will be more useful to her to support that drive for autonomy than try to oppose it.
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