My toddler doesn't listen to a thing I say... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at my wits end with my DD. She is 21 months old and she is SO strong-willed. I am thrilled that she is a little person who knows what she wants, but she just completely ignores me. I don't know what to do anymore. My DH is out of town again so I have no help with her - he's been gone over 40 days since the end of May. Yesterday I needed to get a few things at CVS. She RAN away from me 3 times - like ran to the point that I had to drop my basket and sprint after her to catch her. She didn't even look back when I told her to stop. If I tried to carry her she screamed her head off. I am afraid she is going to run away from me in a situation where she will get hurt. This morning we were outside playing on her swingset. I needed to clean out her pool. I told her she could help, but not to play with the hose. She went right over to the hose and started swinging it around, getting us both wet. I picked her up, removed her from the situation, told her again not to play with the hose, and she went right back to it. This happened 5 times in a row. I finally gave up and quit cleaning the pool. This morning when I was trying to vacuum the bedroom she kept climbing in the baby swing. I'd love to just remove it from the room, but I have no where to put it and I have a baby coming soon - so it's there for a reason. Then she would stand exactly where I needed to vacuum and when I'd ask her to please move she wouldn't. She is so defiant. In her playroom, which for the most part is a really safe zone, she will climb up on the couch and dive head first off the side, assuming that I will catch her. She's fallen on her head twice now. She doesn't listen to me when I tell her not to. And I really can't remove the couch. I'm afraid she will get hurt. What am I doing wrong? She used to be so sweet and so much fun and now I feel like I am nothing but frustrated with her 24-7 and I don't want to feel that way

Mama to two wonderful DDs (10/06 and 09/08) and expecting a DS 1/1/11!
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#2 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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I know exactly what you're going through. I was there 4 months ago. I'm now dealing with the jealousy over the new baby. I'm really struggling with keeping my oldest from hurting the baby.

We have recently started doing time outs. It has turned the situations around 100%. DS doesn't listen any better, but it has worked for us.

It used to be that I would remove him from the situation (like where he is hitting the baby). He would go right back to what he was doing. Now he has to go sit on the landing of the step for about 30 seconds. After the time out he will come back into the living room and start some other activity. He has yet to go right back to whatever action it was that got him sent into time out in the first place.

This has only been going on a week. I tried this strategy before, but he wouldn't stay where I told him. He used to run away laughing. I don't know why, but he has decided to stay in the general vacinity of the stair landing now.

I'm not sure our technique will work for you, but you will find something that works for you eventually. Good luck!

mama to   broc1.gif DS 6/06 and banana.gif DS 4/08
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#3 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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Kids this age are defiant by nature. Rather than imposing limits create environments where there's nothing to be defiant about. When you go to the store either put her on your back or put her in a cart. I never let my 3-year-old down in a store. That's way too much temptation for a little kid. It's just setting them up for failure in my opinion.

In regards to the hose, what's the big deal? Is it worth making an issue out of it. Let her play with the hose and get everyone wet. Then turn the hose on her. It'll give you both a chance to laugh and play rather than turning it into a power struggle.

When you vacuum make the vacuum cleaner a space ship that's chasing her or something. Once again, make it a game rather than a power struggle.

As for jumping off the couch and falling on her head, that's just something she's going to have to learn on her own.

Life is beautiful when you stop giving your toddler reasons to defy you.
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#4 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The CVS didn't have carts - and I'm 32 weeks pregnant and don't have any safe means of wearing her at this point. My DH is out of town and I have no family here, so I couldn't leave her with someone else. FWIW, normally when we go to the store she sits in the cart quite well, but sometimes stores don't have carts... so then what do you do?

As for the hose, I needed to get something done and it involved using the hose. It was like 100 degrees here today. I can't play outside all day long. I just wanted to get the darn pool washed out and filled up so she could play in it tonight when it starts to cool off in the evening. I'm all for having fun with the hose most of the time, but I didn't want to spend all day outside and I didn't particularly want to be completely soaked at 8:30am. Maybe I'm just cranky today, but that's not always fun to me. I just wanted to get the chore done so that we could go inside and finish our other chores so that we could have some time to enjoy ourselves. I don't think it's completely unreasonable to think that she could understand an occasional boundary. Most of the time she is allowed to do whatever.

We do usually play games with the vacuum. DD actually loves to "help" vacuum. And I always let her. But today rather than helping she just wanted to stand in the way. WTH am I supposed to do then? Again, the chores have to get done and I don't have any help. Well, I have DD's help - which is sometimes less than helpful... but usually fun nonetheless.

Mama to two wonderful DDs (10/06 and 09/08) and expecting a DS 1/1/11!
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#5 of 17 Old 07-22-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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My husband doesn't go out of town, but I do spend a significant amount of time alone with ds all week until 8pm or so.

What's the big deal with the hose? Oh I dunno - maybe Mom's got a hundred and one chores that need to be done that day and hose play is just going to add more work to the list? At least that's how it goes around here some days, it can't all be playtime.

How about one of those monkey backpack/leash things when she may run away? May come in handy when you are juggling two kids (she says as she puts on her flame-proof suit).

My only other advice is to come up with "special" activities for her to amuse herself with while you get your chores done. Like playdoug or a small box of special objects she will enjoy. And I would also explain at her eye-level, what you need to do and why she needs to play by herself for a bit. Not that it will change things, but it's good to get it in their head.

Sorry this is so scattered -- typing fast.
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#6 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 01:08 AM
 
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Please keep the advise coming...I'm dealing with the same behaviour, just at an earlier (15 months) stage. My dd is VERY smart and understand so much for her age, but is so difficult. I don't put limits on her on a regular basis, but I feel the same way, sometimes you have no other choice. We have a huge issue with the grocery store-- she cries in the buggy, cries in the Maya Tie (on my back), cries when I carry her and immediately runs away (to be expected) when I put her down. In the car, she screams (not cries, just repeatedly screams) for toys (which I supply), and to get out. At home, if she doesn't have my undivited attention, she cries. We just started today trying to keep her in the maya tie when I am cleaning, cooking, etc. and she doesn't like that either. She just wants to be held in her mamas arms or sitting w/ me in the floor reading or playing. Most of the time that is fine, but I do have to accomplish things now and then!

Sorry for the vent...I know at her age here isn't much I can do but I feel like I'm going to lose my mind if something doesn't give. If someone knows the magic trick..please share!!
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#7 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 02:01 AM
 
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I want to second the suggestion you get one of those backpack leash things. At least then you will know she can't run off into the street/parking lot. You may still be frustrated but at least you'll know she's safe.

When DS was that age I found it helped to give him specific little jobs when I needed to get stuff done. If he was getting antsy at the store I'd tell him I needed him to help me by holding my shopping list or putting (non-breakable/squishable) things in the cart. I think at this age they are often frustrated because their minds are "bigger" than their bodies, so they feel a great deal of pride when they can accomplish a chore and help mom or dad.

I have to remind myself all the time that it works better if you tell them what they can do rather than what they can't.
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#8 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 09:32 AM
 
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does she still have a play pen or anything like that? I think if it got down to it and your vacuuming needed to get done and she just wouldnt comply i would let her hang out there for a bit with some fun special toys. not a time out just a containment field.
the hose... tough one. Maybe pick her up a watering can so she can play with water too while you get the pool cleaned?
and I have to say my son is a bolter and runs away from me A LOT. the backpack was great! I know not the most AP but whatever sometimes it's a safety issue. He has his freedom to do what he needs to within reason and I know he can't get away. sanity for all. YAY

Annemarie ~catholic mom of 8 -4 boys (19-16-10-7).Emma)2 girls (3 and 1)Someone new due in April too!An yes I Blog @ You Leave me breadless blog
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#9 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She can climb out of a playpen and out of a crib. Has been able to since 15 months.

I really, really hate the idea of a leash. Obviously, I would do it for her safety. But I still REALLY hate the idea.

We do the little tasks a lot. I give her my grocery list to hold at the store. Usually she is amenable to that kind of thing - but there are times where she just refuses to cooperate and then won't listen to me at all.

I think too that the biggest problem for me with her not listening is not the fact that she's not listening but the fact that it makes me VERY frustrated with her. I understand that she's young and learning and exploring her environment - I give her tons of freedom but sometimes I just need her to listen to me. And I guess I don't know how to convey that to her.

Mama to two wonderful DDs (10/06 and 09/08) and expecting a DS 1/1/11!
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#10 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MommytoHHH View Post

I think too that the biggest problem for me with her not listening is not the fact that she's not listening but the fact that it makes me VERY frustrated with her. I understand that she's young and learning and exploring her environment - I give her tons of freedom but sometimes I just need her to listen to me. And I guess I don't know how to convey that to her.
I may have come across snotty in my initial post to you but that wasn't my intent. I apologize for that. This was what I was attempting to address. The problem isn't that she refuses to listen, it's that you get frustrated. The only real solution is to change your reaction.

Kids this age don't listen. That's just one of the sad realities of life. I'm living it right along with you. I get frustrated along with you too. I've already lost my cool once this morning so now I'm hiding in my bedroom. The ONLY thing that I've found that truly works is changing MY expectations. Whenever my kid ticks me off I simply tell myself, "Get over it!"

There are lots of ways to discipline a 2-3 year old. Telling them what to do just isn't one of them. As much as I know that I still fight the battle every day.
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#11 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 11:40 AM
 
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I think too that the biggest problem for me with her not listening is not the fact that she's not listening but the fact that it makes me VERY frustrated with her. I understand that she's young and learning and exploring her environment - I give her tons of freedom but sometimes I just need her to listen to me. And I guess I don't know how to convey that to her.
I have to agree with grantskismom, I fear you're asking for the impossible. Some one-year-olds may follow directions much of the time, some may follow directions some of the time, but I think no one-year-old can be counted on to follow directions when you need her to.

At that age, I was a single SAHM and DD went literally everywhere with me 24/7 so I can relate. I used an Ergo daily; if that's not comfortable for you, I think a child harness is a great idea. There have been some insightful threads about the philosophical aspects of using them, if you searched maybe it would help to read some other perspectives.

The frustration is intense. Changing my expectations and looking at where DD is developmentally -- what things look like through her eyes -- and what I'd like to teach her in the big picture are the only things that help me battle the anger.
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#12 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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She can climb out of a playpen and out of a crib. Has been able to since 15 months.

I really, really hate the idea of a leash. Obviously, I would do it for her safety. But I still REALLY hate the idea.

We do the little tasks a lot. I give her my grocery list to hold at the store. Usually she is amenable to that kind of thing - but there are times where she just refuses to cooperate and then won't listen to me at all.

I think too that the biggest problem for me with her not listening is not the fact that she's not listening but the fact that it makes me VERY frustrated with her. I understand that she's young and learning and exploring her environment - I give her tons of freedom but sometimes I just need her to listen to me. And I guess I don't know how to convey that to her.
Today my son is driving me crazy, not listening to me at all. It is soooo frustrating. I've been ready to lose it all morning. When we are having one of these days where we are constantly at odds I will sit down and give him a big cuddle. It helps us reconnect and reminds me that he is my baby and not a demon from hell. And even though the defiance will sometimes start up right away, it does help me control my frustration with him to have a cuddle once in a while.

You sound like a great mom but a toddler would test the patience of a saint. So don't beat yourself up for feeling frustrated by your daughter's behavior.
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#13 of 17 Old 07-23-2008, 03:48 PM
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LOs this age have no impulse control. They haven't developed higher brain functions yet, so it's completely not their fault when they don't 'listen'. They understand what you want, they just can't resist temptation when it arises. So your DD isn't ignoring you.
My DD just started getting really difficult to shop with and eat at restaurants with at this age. Before 22 months it was easy, and got easier again at about 28 months. She's 32 months now and we haven't had to leave anywhere in over a month.
What works with my DD and shopping is to give her two choices, sit in the cart or hold onto the cart (help mommy push). When there isn't a cart, it helps having a two or three things for her to look at and carry. We've had special car seat and shopping toys(objects). If she can't do either thing I pick her up and leave. I sympathize with the screaming if it occurs, but I don't let it prevent me from picking her up and leaving. We have to come back later, but sometimes shopping is better than others (when she's well rested or has just eaten). Two things that have helped alot were to offer her a snack every time we shopped and have a favorite toy with us. If we're walking anywhere near a street or parking lot she has to hold my hand or I pick her up.
With chores, sometimes letting her participate works, other times it's just easier to do while she's sleeping. If trying to do something isn't working, like your cleaning the pool situation, I stop right away to avoid frustration.
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#14 of 17 Old 07-24-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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What am I doing wrong? She used to be so sweet and so much fun and now I feel like I am nothing but frustrated with her 24-7 and I don't want to feel that way
I think you've been given a lot of good advice her on what you could try. I just wanted to add my experience....at around 32 weeks pregnant I felt like I wanted to lose it with my DD (24 months at the time) on an hourly basis. Or more. It was probably my worst parenting time. I was tired, cranky, HUGE! I finally realized that #1 I should just let it go. That easy because, more importantly #2 I didn't want her to remember her last weeks alone with me to be like this! I wanted to focus on her and make her feel really special before her life was turned upside down. Forget vacuuming...if she won't move, then just forget it. Go get in the pool (that you didn't get cleaned) with her. You deserve that silly time and so does she.

I'm not judging, and not just spewing off words. I just went through what you're doing now. I just had to realize that the change would have to be in me.

Linzie~~wife to Eli 10.1.06, mama to Summer 5.06 and John 7.08
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#15 of 17 Old 07-24-2008, 02:02 AM
 
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I see a lot of good advice here for you. I can really relate to your situation, my dd was 21 mos old when ds was born. It's really important to find a way to get her to cooperate now, it will be harder once you've got a newborn travelling with you.

One thing that came to mind when I read about your trouble with the garden hose is that you told your dd not to play with it. With my dd, telling her "not to" do ANYTHING results in her doing exactly what I said not to do. Seriously. What I've learned to do is set her up with something she CAN do instead. So, in the OP's example, I would give dd a sponge or a scrubby to use or a bowl of water to play with next to me, whatever would be fun for her and acceptable to me as I scrubbed the pool. If she went for the hose, I'd have to stop what I was doing long enough to redirect her back into doing acceptable stuff. I'd try to avoid saying "Don't use the hose" and instead say "Here, dd, show me how to use this scubby thing."

It's really a matter of reframing the situation in your own mind. Stop thinking about what you don't want your kid to do and think about what you DO want her to do instead. Then find a way to make it fun for her to do something acceptable. Or think about whether it's worth the effort to redirect. If it's not, then learn to let it go.

In stores that have no carts, I wear my little guy and hold dd's hand the whole time. When it's time to pay or I find I need both hands for something, I have her hold onto my leg while I do it. It's not ideal but it's what works for us. Again, avoid saying "don't run off" but say "hold onto me" instead.

My dd was born : in May 2006 and my ds was born : in February 2008. : :
: We're on an extended tandem nursing adventure! :
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#16 of 17 Old 07-24-2008, 02:45 AM
 
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Please keep the advise coming mamas! I am dealing with a crazy 21 month old right now! I'm surprised my neighbors haven't called CPS b/c this boy SCREAMS for at least an hour everyday (not an hour straight but an hour combined) b/c he doesn't always get his way! I can't console him but I am working on the diversion approach....any other tips would be awesome!
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#17 of 17 Old 07-24-2008, 08:57 AM
 
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I know that it can be so frustrating when our children do not listen. My first is 4 now. At 1,2 and 3, she was an incredible listener. She was just a "rule follower" by nature. My mom would tell me how incredible she was and that I would not realize how easy she was until I had another child. Well....she was so right!!!!! My youngest is 25 months old now and we all say it is a good thing that she is so cute....LOL!!! It does not matter what I say, she does the opposite. It can be so challenging! My point in sharing about both of my children is that I do not want anyone to feel that their parenting is allowing or creating this behavior. I parent similarly (not exactly the same because they are different children) for both of my girls. Despite this, we have 2 completely opposite experiences. Some children are more independent, spirited, opinionated or whatever we want to call it. Either way, all of these things are phases and they will outgrow all of them and will learn what is expected of them. The only thing we can do now is to be consistent. There are things I allow my second child to do that I did not allow my first to do. This is because it is not worth the battle. I do pick my battles more carefully. It will get easier.

I do want to add, my first has decided to test her boundaries now...at age 4 (which I know is also normal). Personally, I am glad (although it is hard) that she is doing this because I always worried about her that she would get walked all over because she did not speak up for herself at all. We have worked on this alot over the past 2 years and now she is testing a lot too.

The phases our children go through change constantly. What bothers/challenges us today will be over in a couple of months and we will be on to something else. All we can do is take deep breaths and count to 1,000!!!
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