Need ideas on how I could have handled this differently - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 05-27-2003, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having problems with power struggles with my 2yo ds. Here's an example of what went wrong today:

My dad and stepmother came over to visit, so I was showing them some pictures of ds. Ds came over and wanted to see, so we were letting him look at the pictures and helping us flip through them. Fine. Then he started to get kind of rough with the pictures, bending them, etc, and wanted to have the whole stack. I tried to explain being gentle and all that, but he was not listening to me at all. I had the stack of pictures, and told him to hold on for a second and I would give him some pictures. I was trying to flip through the stack to find some bad ones that he could have to do with as he pleased. Well, he didn't give me a chance. He grabbed onto the whole stack of pictures and was trying to tug them out of my hands. I was holding on to them trying to explain that I was going to give him some pictures, but he was already starting to lose it. So there we are playing tug of war with the stack of pictures, and much to my dismay (I try so hard to never grab anything from him), I finally grab it out of his hands, flip through, and hand him some pictures. Too late, he is in full tantrum meltdown mode. I pick up all the rest of the pictures to put the away and he follows me screaming. And the tantrum went on for a full 10-15 minutes, until finally he calmed down enough that I could take him into the bedroom and he nursed for a long time.

I don't like how I handled it, but can't think of what else I could have done. I didn't know he was going to flip out about the pictures, I couldn't let him just fling them around and bend them, and I didn't get a chance to give him any of his own. Any ideas on how I could have handled this better?
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#2 of 11 Old 05-27-2003, 06:40 AM
 
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I think you handled it just fine. Its ok that he had some strong emotions around it.
You intended to give him the ones that didnt matter to you once you won the tug of war right?
Thats ok.

Perhaps its a question to thinking ahead as much as possible.
(eg. you know that once the photos come out, ds will want to be involved. You are ready for this so have old ones he can hold ready for him)
Thats the only thing I ndid when ds was this age, thinking ahead where and when possible.
You did just fine oceanbaby, dont worry!
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#3 of 11 Old 05-27-2003, 07:43 AM
 
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The recipe for piece is prediction. OK. You're going to do X, the sideline for DS will be x.


OK. So that didn't happen.

Here's what I would have done.

Given him 2 or 3 from the pile. Then another, and another, faster than he can manage. Drop some on the floor to give you some time. Point to them. While he's picking them up you have a breathing space to fan through the pictures. If he beats you to it, give him the top 1/3 and smuggle the rest away.

[Reality check]

These are "instant gratification pictures" right?

OK. Maybe you'll put them in the album.

Too bent? Get reprints.

[/Reality check]


a

The anti-Ezzo king
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#4 of 11 Old 05-27-2003, 09:09 AM
 
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Ocean, I think what you did was fine. It is really hard in the heat of the moment to know what could sidetrack it all. One thing I did with my kids after an episode like that was to make an actual photo album ( a real small 4x6 one) of the pics that wern't the best or duplicates or whatever. I just let them do what they want with it, even destory it (which they eventually did). I can't say that it solved the problem, but they had their own and could then choose for themselves how to keep care of it. Another thing is maybe when it is just you two, get out the pictures and see if you can get it to go more smoothly so that next time someone comes over it'll go much better.

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#5 of 11 Old 05-27-2003, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I plan on putting together an envelope of pictures just for him to do with as he pleases for the next time. Had I known this was a biggie for him, I would have had it ready.

Alexander - I like your idea of throwing some on the floor, but he had an iron grip on the entire stack so I couldn't get any out! Plus, we had just spent a whole lot of money getting them developed at the expensive, quality photo place, so dh would have flipped if I had let ds destroy them.

He has really starting tantruming a lot more lately, and I'm not really sure how to handle it all the time. I guess this is what they mean about the toddler years being tough.
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#6 of 11 Old 05-28-2003, 06:57 AM
 
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Oceanbaby - I think you handled things just fine. At times, a 2 year old is just going to tantrum about something he can't have. And I think it is good for children to learn that they do need to take other people's feelings into consideration as well.

The only thing I would suggest is maybe not so much explanation for a 2 year old? Keep it short a simple: 'Pictures are not for bending. Here is 'x' that you may bend'.

If he tantrums, acknowledge the frustration: 'You are upset because you couldn't play with the pictures'. Then I would just be there for him while he gets it out of his system.

My book suggestion of the moment: 'How To Talk So Children Will Listen...' by Faber and Mazlish. It has some really good ideas...and although it is aimed at parents of older children, I think, I've found that the ideas have begun to help with my two little ones (3.5 years and 2 years).
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#7 of 11 Old 05-28-2003, 10:43 AM
 
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I think you did okay too!

I agree that the short explanation is often better. I would probably said something to the effect of- "You can not ruin my things, I am going to keep them safe" Similar to the way I would respond if he was hurting his brother and my job is to keep him safe. This is an okay time to take something out of anothers hand.

Sometimes 2 year olds can be distracted by talking though. If you start with a very positive, what he wants statement that will surprise him (they seem to be looking for a fight sometimes: ) "You want some pictures? Do you like the pictures of Aunt Beth or the pictures of the dog?" and keep talking while you look through.

I also thinks this helps them feel understood. It might be clear to you that "Just a second, I'll get you some pictures" means that you know he wants the pictures, but when you start with putting them off that is all they hear. I think that many times a toddlers tantrums are just feeling misunderstood. So if you start with making him really felt understood- You want the pictures- sometimes that helps.

Of course you are not going to avoid all the tantrums, and that might not even be a good thing. Tantrums are a normal way for 2 year olds to express frustration.

I also think it helps to remember to keep my feeling seperate from his. Just because he is upset I don't have to be. I had to remove the pictures to keep them whole. I don't have to be upset that this makes him very angry. And not worry about what others think (which can be hard with family around), it seems like all of interactions are more important is someone is watching. I could have been the perfect GD mom during 35 altercations this morning at home, but the only time that I am upset about is the one time at the store when I wasn't quite as patient as I could have been, or even I did everything as well as I could, but they still break down.
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#8 of 11 Old 05-28-2003, 12:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alexander

[Reality check]

These are "instant gratification pictures" right?

OK. Maybe you'll put them in the album.

Too bent? Get reprints.

[/Reality check]


a
I TOTALLY disagree. Look what happened here. You set a very appropriate limit: You can't ruin expensive pictures. Then your child got frustrated and had a tantrum.

BUT, in just 10 minutes your child got over it and took comfort from you.

Look what he has learned. "I can be mad and frustrated but I will not perish. I do not need to have everything I want. I will get over it and will be happy again."

I don't believe in frustrating a child just to teach him a lesson. I do believe then when natural occurences and limits frustrate him, you should not stand on your head or empty your wallet to stop it. The most valuable thing a child can know is "I can go from being unhappy to happy, even if I didn't get exactly what I want."
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#9 of 11 Old 05-28-2003, 09:03 PM
 
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I also think it helps to remember to keep my feeling seperate from his. Just because he is upset I don't have to be. I had to remove the pictures to keep them whole. I don't have to be upset that this makes him very angry. And not worry about what others think
This is a really important distinction!

Well said
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#10 of 11 Old 05-29-2003, 06:52 PM
 
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Alexa... you are very wise......

Ocean... you did great....
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#11 of 11 Old 05-30-2003, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone. I just love this board! So many fantastic moms here with such great insight.
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