please help with my 22mo son! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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some backstory: He has some severe gagging/vomiting problems. if he cries for more than a few minutes he gags and then throws up, has been this way since birth. if he laughs hysterically for more than a few minutes he gags and then throws up. again, since birth. so that's the backdrop.

now the discipline issue: he's started throwing tantrums lately and getting very upset over some things. here are a few examples:

1. if he drops something and it breaks (chalk, crayons, etc), he starts screaming crying because he's sad, not pissed...but he'll cry until he gets sick. ok this isn't so much a discipline thing, but just a sad thing.

2. he loves to draw. LOVES LOVES LOVES to draw. but lately he's taken to drawing on unacceptable surfaces. he's never done that before, really. like walls, furniture, etc. only with washable stuff so i'm not worried about the stuff being ruined, but the fact tha the does it when i REPEATEDLY tell him no. the obvious answer might be to remove the crayon/chalk, but he loves to draw SO much that it feels cruel to me. maybe i'm just a wimp. anyway, when i DO take it away he screams/cries until he throws up, basically.

3. this evening at dinner, he wanted to get down from his high chair and he started TRYING to vomit. he was making vomit noises and basically trying to force himself to throw up, saying "bucket bucket". he has now, obviously, made the connection that if he throws up we comfort him and take care of him and he's using it now. oy.

so...i don't want to just ignore him when he does throw up, and it breaks my heart when he does it especially because it's USUALLY not manipulative. it's a genuine esophogeal problem that he's had that he's now taking advantage of, as of tonight.

he has never really been a tantrummer (sp?) and he has never really been disobedient. or rather, he hasn't happened to come up with things to do until now that he wasn't allowed to. so when i try to tell him not to do something, he literally laughs at me. he just doesn't listen. this is only in the past two days....until then, he would be easily redirectable, etc.

so i want to nip this in the bud and i don't want him to learn that vomiting is a way to manipulate us, especially since sometimes it WILL be real and we might not know the difference, and we need to stay on top of his physical issues.

i'm sorry this was so long, but i'm really just at a loss here because he's just done a 180 in the past few days.

please give me some GD tips...i don't want to "spoil" him, but i am SUCH a softie with him that punishment just really sucks to me. anyway...i welcome any and all suggestions. Thank you!!
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#2 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 12:47 AM
 
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Hi. I am sorry you have all this vomitting to deal with....wow, that must be really hard for both you and ds.
I wanted to make a couple of comments. First, I agree w you that punishment sucks. It is possible to parent w/o being punitive OR permissive. Discipline DOES NOT equal punishment.
On the crayon thing, and other issues as well, try this: Instead of saying "Don't color on the wall," or whatever, adopt this phrase "we only color on paper." Whenever he starts coloring elsewhere, repeat the phrase, and set him up w paper. I keep saying this all over these boards, but it is really true that for me it works MUCH better to state what he can do as opposed to what he can't.
On the wanting to get down from the high chair and making himself puke...maybe next time you could just let him down when he wants down. If he is able to get his needs satisfied he won't have to resort to "manipulation."
I don't "give in" to tantrums, but I do try to let my ds do what he wants as much as I can, and so we have few tantrums. If it isn't dangerous or disrespectful of someone, he can do it. If he wants to do something dangerous or disrespectful, I try to figure out a way to let him do it without it being dangerous or disrespectful. For example, he wanted to climb on the kitchen table and jump off, which I couldn't allow, but instead of saying no, I said "Hey, wow, you want to jump off of stuff? Come in here with me....I have a great idea for a fun game" and I helped him to make a mountain of blankets and pillows and I sat and watched him jump off the bed onto the pillows until he had the jumping out of his system. Thereby inventing the new favorite game. When he feels like squirting someone w his watergun, he now knows the people to squirt are the plants. When he thought it was great fun to see how hard he could punch mama, I showed him how much fun it is to punch the pillows. ETC.
HTH and good luck.
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#3 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 01:00 AM
 
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I haven't experienced this, but I would try to make as little deal of the throwing up as possible since for your ds it's a fact of life. I would certainly try to prevent him from getting overly upset when possible, but when he does throw up I would say something like "That's too bad. Let's clean this up now" and try not to go overboard with sympathy.

I feel like that age is too young to understand if things are taken away for more than a few minutes. I would probably keep the markers and such out of reach but let him use them whenever he wants while I am supervising (hmm... I think I did do that, actually).

Personally, I would never keep a child confined unneccessarily in a highchair, my ds would have hated that, I would have hated that as a toddler. If he isn't eating, I would take him out. I know it's hard to get toddlers to hold still long enough to eat sometimes but you want to avoid getting into willpower battles over food.

Good Luck!

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#4 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ok, i LOVE your ideas about making an unacceptable behavior acceptable (the jumping, squirting, etc)...i'm definitely gonna incorporate that.

i should have said that i typically do let him out of his high chair when he wants to get out. LOL today, i didn't...maybe that's why he got all pissy, huh? LMAO it's funny how myopic you can be when you're tired and just wanna eat in peace.

and i usually do say "we draw on paper" and he's usually fine with that...today, guess what! i didn't say that! i was tired and annoyed at other stuff and i scolded him for drawing where he WAS drawing and DIDN'T get him any paper! wtf???

ugh. ok so this was really more about ME doing a total 180 than him, today. i can see that now.

but seriously, thank you for those ideas!!
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#5 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 01:35 AM
 
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ITA with mamamillie.

Also, wanted to point out that "manipulative behaviour" that seeks to get what they can't have/do only works if you backpeddle. So, if you said "you can't jump on the table" then he vomits and you say "okay, you can jump on the table" then you are obviously teaching him to use the vomiting. However, you say "to get attention"...now, why should he have to vomit to get attention? I always comfort my DD when she is upset, and I don't think that is something she feels she needs to manipulate me to get, kwim? Anyways, a minor point which I think you sort of addressed yourself in your last post.

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#6 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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he's never done the vomiting to get attention until tonight, which is why it was baffling. he doesn't usually need to ask for my attention bc he's basically always got it LOL...and i agree, that whenever he's upset i always comfort him...he's just getting more willful lately so i have to maintain the balance between constant comfort and gentle guidelines...but i think you're right that he can't manipulate me if i don't give in.
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#7 of 7 Old 02-10-2005, 01:45 PM
 
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"eat in peace" What's that?

I'm halfway through reading the Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, which I would recommend in general. At one point, he suggests practicing a breathing exercise with toddlers as a way of dealing with fear and upset. Essentially, the exercise is to take a few deep, slow breaths, play a rambunctious game like tickling, then take a few more relaxing breaths to end the game. He says this works best with 30+ month olds so your ds is still a bit young. Maybe this would be a useful thing to try.

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