Hi everyone, I'm a mom to a 3yo and 4-mo-old. My ODD seemed to adjust pretty well once her baby sister was born, but the last month or two she's really been rebelling, resisting everything, being aggressive towards the baby, rejecting our love and positive reinforcement, basically just going through a tough time. Plus, her sleep has been messed up, which affects daytime behavior, which affects sleep....it's been a blast!
Anyway, I've really been working hard on maintaining my own cool, and being sure to be as positive and loving as possible, even when she's literally pushing me away, because I know that's what she needs deep down. It's hard, though!
So, we were recently at the park, and she was running around and around in the sunlight, flapping her arms like a "butterfly" and basically embodying everything that is beautiful, sweet and joyous about childhood. It is an image that I want to burn into my head forever!
So lately, when I go to bed and when I wake up, I recall this precious image of what I consider to be her true identity - a joyful child who is both loving and open to love. Now, when she does have those frightful tantrumy moments, I can recall this image. It's much easier to love that child than one that is throwing things, yelling, etc, kwim? Anyway, it seems to be working. She's been more cooperative and peaceful, and I've definitely been more calm and able to deal with any struggles in a gentle way (which is probably why she's been better, too).
Maybe this will be helpful to someone else, too - whatever age your child is, and whatever challenges you're facing - try to picture your "true" child (and I don't mean a "perfect" kid who never does anything wrong, but a child who is open to your love and gentle suggestions). Take care!
Thanks for this.
(From a mother of another boundary testing 3 yr old.)
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful advice. I have been having a tough time with my 3 yo after the arrival of her baby sister. I do my best to keep my cool and maintain my zen throughout the multiple tantrums each day but by the evening I am pretty burned out.
My 3 yo loves to dance and often graces us with beautiful freestyle dance sessions. I will try to think of these images of her dancing when we are having difficult times during the day. Thanks again!
This is wonderful! It is so important for us to see our children as whole people. When they start behaving in ways that trigger our anger it is so easy to forget those wonderful parts of themselves and focus on the "problems."
Next time DD1 snatches a toy away from her baby sister, I will think about her wrapping up her toys for me and saying "Happy Birthday Mommy!" Because while she can be very greedy and possessive, she is also capable of great generosity!