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#1 of 34 Old 05-12-2011, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a high strung, control freak. A perfectionist. I have my issues. This I know. I struggle to better myself every day. Maybe kid stuff bothers me more than others. Maybe not, I just don't know.

My son is almost 4 and he is a special, special boy that really just impresses and amazes most people with his many wonderful qualities. I'm not blind to it. I love him dearly. I know how lucky we are to have a beautiful, healthy, bright little soul in our lives. But this whole year has been hell.

I'm tired and I don't have time to write much but I just feel like a total parenting failure. Every day I tell myself to parent with peace and love and patience but my son has a way of wearing that patience away sometimes within 30 seconds of his waking up. Like today, he began to cry and whine because I dared use the bathroom when he felt I shouldn't. This is crumple on the floor sobbing because mommy has to pee. Why?????? This leads to ignoring and procrastinating with getting dressed. Which today led to a flat out refusal, hands clamped over the mouth while kicking episode when it was time to brush teeth. After reasonable requests I lost it. So I screamed in his face. He finally opened his mouth so I could brush his teeth which he refuses to do on his own. Then mommy was the one crying. Cut to an hour later with another instance of him refusing to cooperate when I really really needed him to as I was ill in public while holding our baby girl and my having to physically wrestle with him to get him to do so. Cut to a battle with lunch...which is the same battle with every single meal.

I yell daily. I scream so loud sometimes my throat is sore. I hit pillows. I get so damn mad. Instead of spanking, i have put a hole in a wall. (this was after my son spit a mouthful of toothpaste foam in my face on purpose because he was mad about having to brush) And every night I pray to be better and every day I start my day promising to be better and then my son begins to challenge all day, every day and I fail. Every. Single. Day. I lose sleep worrying I'm creating this angry kid or doing damage or in general being a bad mom but I'm at a loss.

FYI he is an angel at school, an angel with relatives, an angel with our babysitter, and with my husband....me? I get hit, kicked, argued with, yelled at, etc etc. He is jeckyl and Hyde. Sweet, agreeable, and helpful and mature beyond his years and then it's like flipping a switch and acts like I've described. I go from feeling immense love and pride and affection to anger and loathing.

I'm posting this because today was a really bad day. One of the worst behavior days we've ever had. I'm frazzled. I'm emotionally spent. I love my little son so much. He can be nothing short of miraculous at times, but then there are the other times. I hate feeling angry with him. I feel sick inside for feeling as angry as I did today. I am hoping tomorrow is a better day.

I'm rambling.

I will face tomorrow and try yet again.
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#2 of 34 Old 05-12-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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I hope tomorrow is a better day.

 

Would you like ideas? Or do you just want to vent so you can do better tomorrow?

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#3 of 34 Old 05-12-2011, 08:52 PM
 
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I have gone through cycles too where everyday starts with a prayer that I will be the perfect GD parent for the day, and every day has ended with the realization that I failed yet again. Only superwoman could be GD every waking moment with the type of constantly challenging situations you describe! You are not a GD failure- you are only human. Also, you seem to be doing something right if your son acts so wonderfully with everyone else- he is obviously not being influenced by your frustration as much as you think he is. 

 

I just realized that my very sensitive 4 (almost 5) yr old need me to pick him up and cuddle, validate with words in the middle of his crazy, irrational temper tantrums. Just throwing that out there in case he lets you pick him up and do the same. It really calms me down to be able to help him calm down.

 

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#4 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ideas!!
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#5 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 03:49 AM
 
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In our house, we're dealing with some PTSD which has my DH quicker to anger. One HUGE thing that has helped calm him down and get him to not be quite so frustrated (and less likely to yell) is working out. He does P90X, and it relieves so much of his stress that he's able to be more calm and have more patience when DS1 gets to him. I know there are gyms that you can join for $10 a month that also have sitting services - you could relieve the stress he's causing & get some you time. If financially, it's not doable, try starting a long walk, you can do together (& burn some of his energy too!).

Maybe if you can relax and dump some of your stress, it'll help your son's behavior from snowballing if he doesn't get a reaction from you. Just a thought.

It sounds like he's testing his limits with the one person he knows he can act that way around (my niece does the exact same with my sister & is an angel to everyone else, and we all believe it's because she knows she's safe with her mom - she'll always love her). I agree with dandelionkid, clearly you're doing something right if he knows how to behave with everyone else.

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#6 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 04:32 AM
 
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I have a 5yo who can destroy my determination to be calm and patient and loving within 2 seconds too.  I sympathise but i don't have many ideas since i'm obviously not doing it right anyway.

 

An illustration of the things i get:

 

Last month, payday, we went

Bowling

Out to lunch

Swimming

For ice cream

out to dinner

home for 1 hour playing one on one in the garden while the baby slept, then bath, teeth, stories, bed.

 

At bedtime i was told how unfair it is that no-one ever plays with DD or does anything with her and how she's bored and there's nothing to do in our family.  

 

Last night i asked her in a supermarket to please let go of the trolley.  She let go for 2 seconds then held on again.  I asked her to let go.  She let go and then got ahold and pulled the trolley to one side.  I asked her sternly to let go.  She let go then got another hold and dragged it into a display.  I growled at her to LET GO NOW and picked up the display.  She told me "you don't tell ME what to do" and walked backwards, while telling me off for telling her to be careful and watch where she was going over her cheek outburst, into a giant metal pillar and banged her head.  At which point she started wailing she'd broken her skull and when i knelt to hug her she headbutted me then told me *I* had made it worse.

 

It does NOT inspire greater efforts, because actually, i'm out of resources at this point.  Just clinging on and hoping at some point this will be a phase which passes.

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#7 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So this morning I decided to let today be a new dawn of kind parenting. When DS woke up I cuddled him in bed and we had a talk about how both us behaved badly yesterday and today we would start anew. I said after breakfast we would make " be nice" flowers. Flowers with little reminders to talk nicely, no yelling, kind words, and good listening.

Breakfast went smoothly. Then it was time to get readye to go outside. DS only had a short sleeve shirt on and it was chilly still so I said please go put on your red fleece that is laid out for you on mommy's bed.

No

You may now go put on your fleece.

I'm not going outside.

We are going outside, you may put on your fleece now.

No.

You may go put on your fleece now.

NO

You may go put on your fleece now. This is my last warning.

NOOOO

You have a choice. Either go out on your fleece now or I wil come and move your body up the stairs and put it on for you. What is your choice?

NOOOOO

I am now going to bring you upstairs.

So I went to pick up his hand to bring him upstairs and this of course became me dragging a kicking screaming flailing kid up the stairs, across the floor. I then said if he didt calm down and put on his fleece I would have to hold his body until he calmed down. More flailing and running and thrashing and so i kneeled down and held his arms to his side. He resisted so much that I swear he has bruises now. All the while I said I will let you go when you are calm. I did not yell. But it didn't feel good or productive either. When he calmed I attempted to puot his fleece over his head and he again began physically fighting me. So I held him again until he was calm. FYI this is a strong kid. It took effort. When his fleece was finally on he was crying I was confused and frustrated.

I didn't yell but is this progress? I feel just a as lousy for having to be so physically firm with him.

Oh and the the poster who mentioned exercise, I am very active. Walk, pilates, and I ride daily.
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#8 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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You are describing power struggles. Your son is telling you he feels like he does not have any power. First, think about how many directives you give him in a day -- you must put on your sweater, you must brush your teeth, etc. Yes, these are things that they must do, but you can impose natural or logical consequences. If he does not put on the sweater, he gets cold (you bring it with you), if he does not brush his teeth, he may not eat crackers or fruit. Try to be respectful and relay these consequences in advance (for logical consequences, like teeth example).

 

What has been helping us with our 3.5 year old a TON has been to re-examine the way we request things and spend a lot of time giving positive power. Instead of, "it's time to get dressed," ask, "would you like to wear your blue pants or brown pants?" "Would you like to brush your teeth now or after the story?" Now, I remember there was a time when the questions thing did not work, and the answer was always no or neither, but lately it has been working, and I think it's because of the positive power. Whenever I have to do anything, I am getting him involved, letting him do as much as possible. If we are planting seeds, we have him do as much as possible. We ask him to make scrambled eggs, let him put the toothpaste on and brush his own teeth as much as possible before the final parent sweep, have him feed the animals, etc. He feels empowered as he is able to complete tasks, and then gives us less power struggles with other issues as long as we are careful not to pose things in a way that he can say no to. Oh, and it's not a choice to say, you do it or I'll do it for you -- that just makes a power struggle.

 

Not to say we don't have tantrums, we still have tons, but I think we are getting to the point where they are hunger or tired-related, rather than power related. We've only just started this approach, but it is helpful. Check out "Redirecting Children's Behavior" or "Positive Parenting". I feel blessed to have moved beyond the point of exasperation with my son -- I have felt the way you described in the past, and have had many of the same battles. I started with the 1-2-3 Magic approach, and this seemed to earn us some respect with our son, and let him know we meant business. It also meant no more losing control and having adult temper tantrums. Now I feel even better prepared with the positive parenting approach.


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#9 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 07:12 AM
 
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Choose your battles. If he gets cold he will eventually put his fleece on. Or maybe he doesn't feel as cold as you in the same weather. Next time just give him a choice- it's cool outside do you want your fleece? No - ok why don't you/I grab it in case you change your mind? 

Let go of the power struggles and try to give-in a bit more as long as it's not hurting anyone.

Oh- the toothbrush thing- someone here gave me great advice when kids don't want to brush- works every-time! Pretend there is something odd in their teeth, like a bug or elephant or whatever and act really overexcited "oh no i see a ____. We need to brush it out!! Then as you are brushing tell him that it came out and pick a new one. Playful parenting sometimes really does require less energy than the alternative. (Have you checked out that book yet?) And if my kids are in really really bad moods and refuse- what's one night without brushing? Try again in the morning.

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#10 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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My son is three next week and is deep in the "I do it myself" stage. I was getting so exasperated because everything was taking HOURS and involving anger and tears. Some things I have been doing lately that have helped a ton.

 

1. I allow him to choose what to wear within choices I set up before hand. One of our issues was that he has LOTS of different kinds of underwear and will get very upset because he can't seem to make that final decision on which pair to wear. So now every morning I set out three pairs for him to choose from.

 

2. I organized his clothing drawer into outfits rather then shorts/pants in one drawer and shirts and socks in the other. This way, he can choose exactly what he wants to wear. Everything is already together and he feels really empowered that he picked out his whole outfit.

 

3. I now put him in sweaters and coats that zip or button so he can do the up and over. This entails laying his coat or sweater on the ground in front of him upside down. He can lean over, put his arms into each sleeve, flip it over his head, and voila-he got his own coat on. It is seriously so awesome and has eliminated coat battles.

 

4. Every morning is the exact same routine. We get up, we cuddle, we use the potty, we get dressed, we brush our teeth, we go downstairs and he picks out his vitamin, I get my medicine, and we go out the door. Picking out his vitamin while I get my medicine is the high point of the morning and never ever happens until all the necessary things are done. I highly suggest making something he really likes to do be the end result of getting ready each morning.

 

5. Finally I decided I needed to pick my hill to die on battles and let the rest go. Wearing the red fleece? Not my hill to die on. I would have brought it with me in case he changed his mind. I would never leave the fleece behind to prove a point (one of my friends does this and I hate it). Getting cold was the consequence and luckily Mama brought the fleece in case you changed your mind. I try to turn the battles into instances where I can show him kindness and empathy even though internally I am gritting my teeth.

 

I also realize that even though we have a pretty good routine sometimes it isn't enough. I yell and I get mad. I am human. I always try to think about how I will handle that situation in the future-how can I do a better job the next day? And I apologize for yelling and we move on.

 

I realize this seems all about my son, but I found by giving him lots of choices within the safe framework I have set up has lessened all our battles tremendously. It has bled over into other areas of difficulty.

 

 

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#11 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 08:18 AM
 
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People talk about "the terrible twos", but I thought 2 was a breeze compared to 3!

 

It is definitely the age of independence. More and more he wants to do things for himself, but is still limited by his physical abilities and your schedule.

 

There are a couple of things we did that helped. First, lay out your expectations, and do your best to be consistent. For example, tell him in the morning that you have to be somewhere at 11:00 - it's your responsibility to be on time for the appointment, and it's his responsibility to be ready to go on time. Talk about what he'll wear, what toys he might bring with him - and as others suggested, give him choices whenever possible. Make it clear what is a choice for him and what is not.

 

Being consistent is the key - but it doesn't sound like you're one to give in. My twins threw tantrums at this age too, but eventually they learned that no amount of kicking and screaming was going to change my mind, and they stopped wasting the effort. I am completely open to negotiation if it happens before the tantrum.

 

You mentioned that he's terrific at school, and sometimes horrible at home. That is perfectly normal, and not at all uncommon. Look at it this way - if you worked at a job dealing with hostile customers all day, you might experience a lot of frustration during that time, but you'd put on a happy face and do what you needed to do. When you get home, you might dump on your DH, or snap at someone, or just say "I have had a rotten day - just leave me alone!" We feel comfortable letting loose on our loved ones, because they will still love us even when we're cranky. Kids often do this - the stress of dealing with kids and teachers and rules and sharing at school - even though they're having a lot of fun - can be too much, and they have an emotional outburst when they get home. Trust me, this is something that gets better!

 

Someone else suggested that this is a power struggle - that's spot on. The older he gets and the more independent he becomes, the less you need to make decisions for him - for example, it won't kill a 3-yr-old to go out without a jacket, but you can bring it along if he gets cold. I'm not sure what kind of struggles you have at mealtime, but you might have to take a close look at what sets him off, and try to change that dynamic (I can't say much more without more details from you).

 

Sometimes you DO have to pick up a toddler and carry him off in public. I wouldn't spend a lot of time arguing with him about it - if you need to go right away and he won't cooperate, all you can do is pick him up. The trick is for you to remain calm, no matter how wild he might be. Tell him that you understand that he wants to stay where he is, but you really need to go now.

 

It sounds to me like you desparately need some alone time! Can your DH stay home with the kids occasionally so you can get out alone? Go to the library, coffee shop, take a long bubble bath - I think a little "me" time would help (it can't hurt!).

 

Hang in there - it does get easier!


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#12 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Breakfast went smoothly. Then it was time to get readye to go outside. DS only had a short sleeve shirt on and it was chilly still so I said please go put on your red fleece that is laid out for you on mommy's bed.>>>>>

 

Unless it was freezing outside let him go.  If he gets cold he'll know where his fleece is, my kids are often warmer than me in cool weather.


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#13 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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Sometimes I say I am not going to fight today.  And I just give in, and take that day to just regroup and enjoy the peace.  So, with that in mind your day would have gone like this:

 

 

Then it was time to get readye to go outside. DS only had a short sleeve shirt on and it was chilly still so I said "please go put on your red fleece that is laid out for you on mommy's bed."

"No"

"Really, no jacket? Ok, let's go."

 

I'd probably grab a jacket or a sweater for him and after 5 minutes outside my DD would probably ask for it.  Or, she'd be running around so much that she'd be hot anyway.  Or we'd be really cold so we'd turn around and go back in.  But unless I had something specific that NEEDED to be done outside, I wouldn't be choosing a jacket as a power struggle to ruin my day.

 

Also, I am a broken record, but you might want to read The Explosive Child.  It's really good as far as teaching parents how to compromise without feeling like they're being walked over.  And it helped me understand that my DD is just not likely to wake up one day and be a biddable child who will do as I ask or come out of time out with a better attitude.  Even when she was only 4 and 5 she wanted to have a say in what was going, and frankly, our days did not get better til I started respecting her opinions more and worrying about my mythical authority less. winky.gif

 

Hope this helps and that things get better soon.  Summer is coming! Then we can forget about jackets and fight about sunscreen. 

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#14 of 34 Old 05-13-2011, 04:19 PM
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I also think your DS is feeling powerless. With the jacket issue, I let my DD decide whether the wear one or not, unless there's lots of snow or it's under 20 degrees. Here's a good book, "Kids, Parents and Power Struggles: Winning For a Lifetime" by Mary Kurcinka. I found it at our library. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Parents-Power-Struggles-Lifetime/dp/0060930438#reader_0060930438 .

 

I find that with my 5 year old DD the more freedom she has the more co operative and ready to respond positively  requests she is. It sounds like your relationship has gotten very confrontational. You make demands and your DS refuses, then you force him to comply against his will. Try making requests and let your DS choose to not wear a jacket.  We have 2 family rules. One is be safe and the other is treat each other with respect.  Dragging a child up the stairs and forcing them to put on a jacket against their will is not respectful. When our DC are babies we make all the choices as the grow they are able to make more and more choices. The transition can be difficult for us, but we have to trust in our DC's ability to learn how to make good choices.  Unless it's a safety issue physically forcing someone to do something is controlling and will undermine trust and co operation. Suggesting, coaching, discussing why something is a good or bad choice is much better for a parent child relationship than demanding and making the child do things.

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#15 of 34 Old 05-15-2011, 10:50 PM
 
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There's a lot of great advice in here!  We use a lot of choices too, and sometimes it's the phrasing that get things done.  "Are you going to brush your teeth before or after you use the potty?"  "Are you going to wear your jacket or carry your jacket?"  "Do you want to leave in 5 minutes or in 10 minutes?"  Regardless of his choices, they are all things that *I* want done.  I chose the choices, but he gets a sense of control by telling me how or when.

 

When I started doing this with my son (he turned 4 in March), it took a few times before he realized he was doing everything I wanted him to do.  At this point, he either expects options or just knows what to do without me asking. Of course, he'll try to slip in option #3 (I always only give 2 options), to which I respond (non-threateningly), "Oh, your options are wear your jacket or carry your jacket.  I'll decide for you in 10 seconds if you're not sure what you want to do."  If I decide for him, and he's not satisfied with my decision, I get down eye-to-eye and tell him, "That's a shame.  I wanted you to choose.  Next time you can choose quicker."  This can come off as sarcastic if not done properly, and I highly recommend not saying it at all if it can't be said with genuine empathy.

 

For me, this is based on some of what I got out of the Love & Logic series.  I haven't read the books; I've taken the class.  It's been wonderful, and I highly recommend it.  Something I recall from another parenting class I've attended (I'm kind of hooked on them Sheepish.gif), is that when we start changing our behavior toward our kids, it may get worse before it gets better.  Kids feel confident they know how to get certain responses from their parents.  When their parents don't react the way they expect, it can actually be unsettling for them.  This is a good thing though because it means we're getting through.  They will want to test new boundaries, but stay consistent and don't give up!  Good luck!

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#16 of 34 Old 05-16-2011, 12:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post

You have a choice. Either go out on your fleece now or I wil come and move your body up the stairs and put it on for you. What is your choice?
 

 

They really can be frustrating. It sounds like he's fighting for power. He has little control except when he fights you then he sees his control over you by causing you to yell etc. Maybe try giving him choices like "which jacket do you want? if you don't pick one, mommy will pick one." I did this with my daughter and it helped her make the choice I wanted which was putting on appropriate clothes but she had control over which item of clothing.

 

Another thing I repeat daily in my head "you wanna die on this hill?" meaning pick your battles. Let them win sometimes.

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#17 of 34 Old 05-16-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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Oh yeah, power struggles. That's the big thing for this age.

My advice is to avoid all power struggles that aren't really really important. That means let him have his way unless there is serious risk of injury or something otherwise. The jacket? Let him go without it and if he gets cold he'll either get it or remember next time. Or you could grab the jacket and bring it with you in case he gets cold. But it's not worth it to force him to wear a jacket. For two reasons - the more he has to fight for autonomy, the more important autonomy will become to himand the more he'll want to fight and the more things he'll fight over; and he likes power struggles more than you do so he's willing to put more into them. Just let stuff go that isn't super important. For the super important stuff, he might tantrum, but just go ahead and do it and explain that it's a safety issue and don't take the tantrum personally.
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#18 of 34 Old 05-16-2011, 12:56 PM
 
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I agree with the others. Give him choices and let him realize what the consequences are. I also recommend Love and Logic or 1-2-3 Magiic. This is a tough age, go easy on yourself. You don't have to be perfect.


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#19 of 34 Old 05-19-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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I totally understand where you're coming from.  The whole within 30 seconds of waking up thing especially -- my DS1 starts doing things to get on our nerves from the first moment he wakes up.  I also sympathize with yelling so loud your throat is sore -- I don't admit it to many people, but I do this at least once a week.  I have thrown things too.  I'm not proud of it but no one has pushed my buttons like this ever in my life.  I had no idea that I had such limited patience until my son turned 3, and since then, oh lord.  You are not alone!  You've gotten some good suggestions here but I know the fleece thing was just an example and some things are not negotiable (like tooth brushing).  Hang in there!


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#20 of 34 Old 05-23-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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First, you are not a failure, you are a parent and loving mother who, like the rest of us, get mad at their children. It happens. I also thought that the 2's were a piece of cake and now that my daughter is almost 5 there have been a lot of new struggles. She too is very bright and, I think, sometimes a little too smart for her own good! Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet or not and before I state my idea I have to say that I agree with "oaktreemama" as far as giving choices and including them in the choices so they feel they have some control as well. I'll also say that I am a very big advocate of attachment/natural parenting (obviously we are on mothering;) and also studying to be a nutrition consultant.

Which brings me to my question... what is your child eating daily? I ask because you said the mornings go well but after he eats is when the fits start. I noticed this with my daughter along with other symptoms and it turns out she is allergic to wheat and possibly all gluten (we are still experimenting with this). I am wondering if he may have an allergy or sensitivity of some type.

I'm willing to help if you think this may be an issue, if you would like it. I am not going to write a lot more because you have already received some great advise, just let me know if I can help in that department.

Good Luck and remember that it will get better;)

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#21 of 34 Old 05-23-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post

I have a 5yo who can destroy my determination to be calm and patient and loving within 2 seconds too.  I sympathise but i don't have many ideas since i'm obviously not doing it right anyway.

 

An illustration of the things i get:

 

Last month, payday, we went

Bowling

Out to lunch

Swimming

For ice cream

out to dinner

home for 1 hour playing one on one in the garden while the baby slept, then bath, teeth, stories, bed.

 

At bedtime i was told how unfair it is that no-one ever plays with DD or does anything with her and how she's bored and there's nothing to do in our family.  

 

Last night i asked her in a supermarket to please let go of the trolley.  She let go for 2 seconds then held on again.  I asked her to let go.  She let go and then got ahold and pulled the trolley to one side.  I asked her sternly to let go.  She let go then got another hold and dragged it into a display.  I growled at her to LET GO NOW and picked up the display.  She told me "you don't tell ME what to do" and walked backwards, while telling me off for telling her to be careful and watch where she was going over her cheek outburst, into a giant metal pillar and banged her head.  At which point she started wailing she'd broken her skull and when i knelt to hug her she headbutted me then told me *I* had made it worse.

 

It does NOT inspire greater efforts, because actually, i'm out of resources at this point.  Just clinging on and hoping at some point this will be a phase which passes.


No solutions, but I am wondering if anyone has any ideas for issues like these.  My son turned 4 in March and does pretty much this type of thing REGULARLY.  Just today, we were in the grocery store and he grabbed a display that was on wheels and I asked him politely to stop pulling on it and he let go for a second, then pulled it again, and I asked him again to stop pulling.  He let go once more for a second and then suddenly STOOD on the edge of it and nearly toppled the whole thing over on him.  I realize that the ideal thing at this point would be to walk away and do the grocery shopping at another time, but it is not always possible.  Sometimes we just need to have food in the house and I need him to actually listen to what I am asking.  I have NO idea how to help this to happen though.

 

Also, my son will do the same sort of "you made me hurt myself" thing.  He will somehow get hurt, especially if he is doing something that I asked him not to, and will then scream "YOU MADE THAT HAPPEN AND NOW IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT AND YOU THINK IT IS FUNNY!!" Or something close to that.  It takes everything in me to ask him if he is ok, or if there is any way I can help him, or to even assess the injury so I know if he truly needs help, or just comfort.  I literally just want to walk away at that point and say "Well then, deal with it yourself".  I have NO idea how to handle this one.

 

I am so interested in this thread and all of the great suggestions so far, I will definitely be following closely!

 


Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#22 of 34 Old 05-23-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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I do some of the same, if it makes you feel better. I have thrown my 18 months old son on the bed and left the room. I yell daily or nearly daily. Often times in stead of yelling I will whisper very angrily, usually "shut up, shut up, shut up". I beat myself up for it too. When I get very angry I walk around the house throwing things to slamming doors, but this is less often... The only thing that really works is clenching my teeth for milder cases. Speaking firmly but without yelling (though I am sure the anger still comes through, it is a big improvement) works better than yelling because it doesn't scare him. If he is doing an obnoxious behavior, I give him one try with a gentle correction like "Food doesn't belong on the floor, if you don't want it put it here" or whatever, the next one is "We do not throw food on the floor. If you throw any more I will get your out of her chair and you are done eating." This works because he never throws food until he is full, so I am not using hunger as a punishment or anything. If it is very bad, like he gets worse after the second warning, I will do time out, as much for my sake as his, because it makes me angry when I know he understands what I am asking. This is another thing I dislike but it is better than the alternative, which is yelling and being annoyed and angry. In you case I recommend this, as it gives you a break from the situation.

 

Have you tried something like, letting him run the show for a few days? If he doesn't want to brush his teeth, let him go. If he throws tantrums at meals, don't make him eat. He will get hungry eventually. Maybe giving him some control will calm him and then you can slowly add in reasonable requests, in a gentle way. I have tried this with kids I babysit and it usually works to calm them.

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#23 of 34 Old 05-25-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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Someone else mentioned it, but I just wanted to reinforce the effectiveness of Playful Parenting. That book has been a revelation for me, and absolutely changed my relationship with my daughter. The older she gets, the better it "works". And I know when you are angry and frustrated and want things done in a timely manner is the LAST time you want to start putting on funny voices, or talking to toys or falling on the floor, but seriously, play is kid language, and it is so worthwhile to learn it. 

 

Playing, and particularly the type of buffoonery that makes an adult seem incompetent, is tonic for power struggles. Kids feel so powerless so they push in any way they can, but if you are acting silly and like you don't know what you're doing, they feel like they have the power by showing you they can do it. Try putting his red fleece on his feet, or on you, and see if he doesn't try and show you how to get it on right (though it's important to try this before any struggles start, because kids can dig in their heels about everything, even play once that wall has started to go up.)

 

Power struggles can also be a cry for attention, and playing is the best time-in as far as a kid is concerned. Some kids have very big cups to fill (like my daughter) but any extra special play attention really helps. Just think about all the extra time you spend with your son trying to diffuse a situation, and try to spend that same amount of time preemptively doing things together. And play his games. Let him decide what to do, who you will be. Let him boss you around, it will help him work through his power issues. 

 

And I know this is part of what you are struggling with, but my daughter has a finely tuned antennae to my moods. The sadder/angrier/more annoyed I am, the more she fights me, acts out, bites, kicks and screams. So it's worthwhile to work on your own feelings too, because the happier and more peaceful you are (genuinely, not just what you show to him, because he will be able to tell), the happier and more peaceful he will be. This is an indication of how much you are doing right in your relationship because it shows how attached and connected the two of you are. Have you tried meditation? It really helps with all the letting go that you have to do as a parent.

 

Oh, and one more book recommendation - have you read Raising Your Spirited Child? So useful, even if you haven't previously considered your son spirited. 


Crafty, play-at-home mama to spirited 4 yo DD and zany 1 yo DS, living in an ecovillage in beautiful British Columbia. 
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#24 of 34 Old 05-28-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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  Are YOU getting enough sleep?  Is he?  Are you getting enough breaks from each other?  Do you exercise?

 

YOUR behavior is what I end up doing when I am tired and burnt out.  ITA with the other people's advice about power struggles, etc.


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#25 of 34 Old 05-28-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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I feel ya. I'm a yeller, too, and I hate it. It's gotten better since I started following advice similar to all you've gotten here: Playful parenting is the best under stress. If you can be wild and silly to get your frustrated energy out, it will help your LO giggle and feel happy instead of stressed b/c you're yelling. Someone has to break the cycle of tension, and chances are, it's not going to be the kid in most situations. My biggest problem is being conscious of that before things get ugly.

 

Playing a lot, asking for lots of help, even if it's just opening or closing a door (making a game of doing it gently helps here), throughout the day will help with the big picture of power issues b/c he'll be feeling empowered by helping mommy so much with those things. Ask him to "help" you pick up toys, sort the laundry, clean up a room (your room might be more fun than his own), feed the dog, etc. Sometimes it backfires and I end up more frustrated, like when he dumps the bowl of dog food on the floor, but overall it works. Ask him to choose between things you want him to do. Do you want to put on your shirt first or your shorts? Which shoes do you want? Which jacket should we take, in case you get cold? Not, "You HAVE to wear shoes/jacket/etc." Well, shoes to get outside, but when you're still in the bedroom with him naked, that is not the time for that fight. wait til you're all ready to go, then have the argument about the shoes. The jacket, I don't argue about at all. If he wants to be cold, that's his problem. I have enough other issues to fight with him about (going potty BEFORE he has an accident, for example), so he can win the jacket issue.

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#26 of 34 Old 06-02-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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I totally understand where you're coming from.  The whole within 30 seconds of waking up thing especially -- my DS1 starts doing things to get on our nerves from the first moment he wakes up.  I also sympathize with yelling so loud your throat is sore -- I don't admit it to many people, but I do this at least once a week.  I have thrown things too.  I'm not proud of it but no one has pushed my buttons like this ever in my life.  I had no idea that I had such limited patience until my son turned 3, and since then, oh lord.  You are not alone!  You've gotten some good suggestions here but I know the fleece thing was just an example and some things are not negotiable (like tooth brushing).  Hang in there!


OMG this is so me!  i understand 100%.  I am reading up on this thread and others because i feel like a terrible parent lately.  The lack of sleep (7 mo old) has really got me too, which makes things a billion times worse.  just wanted to let you know i can commiserate!

 

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#27 of 34 Old 06-05-2011, 10:00 PM
 
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AE is much like this, but she is the opposite, when it's just her and I, at home or out and about, she is pretty well behaved, but whenever someone else she knows is around, she will whine. I spoke of this to her Waldorf teacher and she told me I need to be firm and take control, which has definitely helped a lot.

 

Personally, my main issue is that i tend to ignore AE when she whines because it's very easy for me to zone out and relax whenever chaos is going on. But I myself have noticed be consistent, following through and being the authority is what works best, all while being a good example. It's taken me 2 years to find this balance and i'm glad i discovered Waldorf, because it has really centered me.


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#28 of 34 Old 06-06-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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you know, i'm right there with you. dd is almost 4. today put me over the edge (hence the reason i'm here and not in bed, or doing homework, both of which desperately need to be done). i'm tired of the "read this book" or "try this method," and i'm especially tired of the playful parenting advice - it doesn't work for us, and it leaves me feeling humiliated, embarassed, frustrated, and dd still isn't cooperating. i feel like she has zero respect for authority, and i realize that's an adult concept that is ridiculous to expect from a child, but i literally cannot understand why she won't acknowledge that i'm even there. i never would have questioned nor ignored my mother, and she was not a rough parent (ie: no spanking, calm and cool, ran a daycare in our home for 20 some years). "high-needs" makes me want to vomit, i'm tired of all of these labels we place on it - i just want to know what to DO! today we were at the store and she was climbing on the racks and an employee asked her to stop, and i grabbed her by the arm after you know, asking her to stop, telling her to stop, threatening to take away x y or z, and so on. no response. the climbing continued. we left. she's great at school (sometimes refuses to clean up, but responded well when her teacher told me about it and i told her about the teacher-story), great for her dad (we coparent, and have been separated since she was 1 doing weekdays here weekends there), great for my mom....but i am entirely humiliated, frustrated, and more than anything else, exhausted. i go back and forth between questioning my own parenting and questioning my child's brain. UGH. i suppose i'm glad i'm not alone, but i'm feeling totally helpless.


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#29 of 34 Old 06-07-2011, 03:01 AM
 
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you know, i'm right there with you. dd is almost 4. today put me over the edge (hence the reason i'm here and not in bed, or doing homework, both of which desperately need to be done). i'm tired of the "read this book" or "try this method," and i'm especially tired of the playful parenting advice - it doesn't work for us, and it leaves me feeling humiliated, embarassed, frustrated, and dd still isn't cooperating. i feel like she has zero respect for authority, and i realize that's an adult concept that is ridiculous to expect from a child, but i literally cannot understand why she won't acknowledge that i'm even there. i never would have questioned nor ignored my mother, and she was not a rough parent (ie: no spanking, calm and cool, ran a daycare in our home for 20 some years). "high-needs" makes me want to vomit, i'm tired of all of these labels we place on it - i just want to know what to DO! today we were at the store and she was climbing on the racks and an employee asked her to stop, and i grabbed her by the arm after you know, asking her to stop, telling her to stop, threatening to take away x y or z, and so on. no response. the climbing continued. we left. she's great at school (sometimes refuses to clean up, but responded well when her teacher told me about it and i told her about the teacher-story), great for her dad (we coparent, and have been separated since she was 1 doing weekdays here weekends there), great for my mom....but i am entirely humiliated, frustrated, and more than anything else, exhausted. i go back and forth between questioning my own parenting and questioning my child's brain. UGH. i suppose i'm glad i'm not alone, but i'm feeling totally helpless.

 

My kid is that way too.  Hang on, it is better now she's 5 than it was at 3.  In the store can you put her in the trolley or in an ergo/meitai?  The only way i could shop when DD was 3 was to physically hold onto her at all times, or she too would run off/climb/do craziness.  For her the consequence had to LITERALLY be "you don't do this or i will physically prevent you from doing it" or she couldn't/wouldn't stop.  I'm so sorry you feel helpless.  It isn't you, it isn't your DD's brain.  Once there was a thread asking "describe your LO in one sentence" and i had to say "would make a good adult".  Some of the strongest, most independent, happiest, sanest people were a nightmare to parent simply because of those strengths.  I tell myself every day that my DD might be really hard to "control" right now, but i really don't want her to be easy to "control" in 10 or 20 years from now.  You're doing a great job, she is not your yardstick (a wise woman recently wrote!).  Hold on in there.
 

 

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#30 of 34 Old 06-07-2011, 03:13 AM
 
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@GoBecGo: I feel you. She's almost 4, and at just over 40 lbs is hard to physically carry, which in turn makes me feel a little terrible. I'm a pretty small person, and I hate that I can't just swing her over my shoulder and say enough is enough. Is there a thread/group for small parents? :)

 

You're right - we can't measure them based on adult standards, ie: yard stick example. And she will be a great adult, and I want to give her the tools to be a great adult. I feel like we're always on the verge of peace, of solving this disaster zone, and then it all crumbles again, and I can't shake the idea that there must be SOMETHING that will click....so I hold out for that, and on other days, I think it's just hopeless and I wait for when she turns 8. :)

 

Thanks for the advice. I see in your signature you're coparenting with your older child - would love to know more about it, if you want to PM sometime.


(sort of) single mama to one hearts.gif7/21/07. student, breastfeeding advocate, writer 

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