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#1 of 10 Old 05-28-2009, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS2 is driving me nuts. I just can't deal with this. He ignores everything I say. He goes into the pantry and takes things and sneaks upstairs with them (including both honey and syrup in the last few weeks). He stands with the fridge door open, wanting "something", but doesn't know what and won't close it. He climbs on the bookshelf and the filing cabinet. He throws things - randomly, at other things (think rocks at the glass patio door) and at people. He hits and kicks - not angrily, just "for fun". He grabs things he's told not to and runs off with them. He won't clean up after himself at all, unless it happens to strike him as funny to help....which is about 5 minutes a month, I think.
This is all day. It just never stops. I have no idea how to get him to listen. I can't keep up with him, and he causes so much havoc. Less than 36 hours ago, I was still vomiting and had diarrhea from a stomach bug...I'm still pouring sweat in my body's last steps at fighting off the bug (dh, ds1 and dd have also had it). I'm having trouble just staying awake...but I just had to chase him up the stairs to get one of dd's necklaces from him, because he was spinning it around and smashing it into things, and wouldn't stop.

It's all about what he thinks is funny. It doesn't matter if other people are crying, screaming, whatever, if he thinks something is funny. When I do get upset with him, he throws his arms around my neck and says, "I love you, mommy". Yes - I love him, too...but that doesn't change the fact that throwing things, breaking things, spilling things and hurting people are unacceptable.

Help. Any thoughts on getting through to this kid?

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#2 of 10 Old 05-28-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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I'm sorry you've been sick. Looking after little ones while that ill is not fun in the best of times, much less when you are so very pregnant too!!

I have a little ds2 who is around the same age as your ds2. At that age, you have to MAKE them listen, and they have to be 100% sure that you say what you mean, and mean what you say. Kids have to be able to predict the consequences of their behavior. If you tell him to do something, and he doesn't do it, you have to get up and MAKE him comply.

My ds2 was also my biggest mess maker. Lotion, dish soap, corn starch, cereal, anything he could dump out in play in, really. He would sneak them somewhere and I'd find the place totally destroyed in a matter of minutes. For quite a while, he just wasn't allowed to be in a different room than me. He's much better about it now, but still....if its quiet it means trouble!

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#3 of 10 Old 05-28-2009, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a little ds2 who is around the same age as your ds2. At that age, you have to MAKE them listen, and they have to be 100% sure that you say what you mean, and mean what you say. Kids have to be able to predict the consequences of their behavior. If you tell him to do something, and he doesn't do it, you have to get up and MAKE him comply.
I do that. But, he'll turn around and do the same thing asap, anyway.

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My ds2 was also my biggest mess maker. Lotion, dish soap, corn starch, cereal, anything he could dump out in play in, really. He would sneak them somewhere and I'd find the place totally destroyed in a matter of minutes. For quite a while, he just wasn't allowed to be in a different room than me.
I've tried that, but most of his major offenses of that nature have been when I'm in the bathroom. Right now, I also can't physically keep up with him. He grabbed the syrup out of the pantry right in front of me one day. I said "put that back" and he grinned at me...and ran for the other room. By the time I caught him, I had syrup all over the couch.

I guess that's part of it. What do I do after that? I usually end up yelling at him, out of sheer frustration (and crying, quite often, because the constant filthy messes are just demoralizing). But...I don't know what kind of consequence to put on something like that, and as long as he actually gets to drink the syrup - and pour it everywhere - I don't think he's making any connection between mom being mean/upset and the syrup/lotion/honey/milk...

I know part of the problem is my lack of energy. I've been completely exhausted this whole pregnancy - just wiped - and I can't physically keep up with him. But, I've also got two other kids. Sometimes, I need to be in the kitchen. I don't know how to handle it when I'm cooking something, and he takes off, yk? I can't just leave whatever it is to burn, and it's not very practical to take it off the heat every 30 seconds. Plus, keeping him in the kitchen with me is a cure worse than the disease - he gets into the fridge, climbs on the counter, pulls full measuring cups (stuff I've got waiting to add to a recipe) off the counter, etc.

Sometimes, I think I should duct tape him to the wall until he's six...

And, for all that, he's a real sweetie. I just wish he'd...stop...

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#4 of 10 Old 05-28-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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I totally understand. We're in the same DDC I believe. I have three kids currently, the oldest just about to turn 5. I know ALL about tired!

My ds2 a couple of weeks ago got JUST far enough away from me at church that he was sure I couldn't catch him, then RAN off to the playground. Naughty!! By the time I caught up with him I was TICKED, and I did the whole, "That was NOT ok. You do NOT run from Mom EVER EVER EVER EVER!!!! That is dangerous and it scares Mommy!!!" I wasn't yelling, but I was being ultra stern. He immediately started bawling. The consequence from that was that next time we were there he didn't get to get far enough away from me to run, and he had to hold my hand while walking around. If he can't obey, he can't have those kinds of freedoms. I simply can't have him taking off like that. In that situation, it wasn't dangerous. I knew everyone around there, knew he was safe, but in others it could've easily been. He needed to know that it was NEVER ok to do that.

In the case of the syrup I would've made him 1) Help clean it up 2) Put him in a time-out after and 3) Not let him have syrup on his waffles next time we had them.

I also would keep stuff like that up high somewhere that its not as easy to get to. My ds2 isn't allowed in the kitchen without me. He's only allowed in the bathroom if he's going potty, then its out. There are lots of areas that are off limits to him because he just cannot be trusted not to wreck something.

He's gotten a lot better because he doesn't like being my shadow all day long.

Is there one room in the house that is 'safe' for him, with nothing he can wreck or make a mess with? We have a toy room. ALL of their toys are in there, but no pens/markers/scissors/etc. When I absolutely have to, like when I'm mopping the floor and can't have them running through, slipping and falling, I will put the kids in there and shut the doors. They have to stay in there and play until the floor is dry or I'm done mopping and take them outside.

For the cooking situation, does he like to color? Paint? Use markers? I keep messy/fun stuff like this up and pull it down when I NEED a few minutes without kids underfoot. Its a special treat for them to be able to cut up some paper with kid scissors into a million little pieces, or watercolor all over a big cardboard box, or do playdoh at the table. Idle hands and all.

Try and keep him busy. If he's smiling, laughing, and disobeying anyway when you tell him to do or not do something, he obviously doesn't think you are going to do anything about it, or to him the consequences that you do impose is 'worth it'.

You have to find your kid's currency.

Nicole - Mom to FOUR healthy, happy, wild boys.
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#5 of 10 Old 05-28-2009, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally understand. We're in the same DDC I believe. I have three kids currently, the oldest just about to turn 5. I know ALL about tired!
I can't imagine.

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In the case of the syrup I would've made him 1) Help clean it up 2) Put him in a time-out after and 3) Not let him have syrup on his waffles next time we had them.
I haven't managed to get anywhere with making him help clean up. If he won't do it, he won't do it. It's frustrating, because I never thought I'd find myself unable to require something so basic...but he just won't do it.

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I also would keep stuff like that up high somewhere that its not as easy to get to.
I move stuff up all the time, but I only have one top pantry shelf. And, sometimes (less and less, thankfully), dh or ds1 uses something and puts it back on a lower shelf.

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He's gotten a lot better because he doesn't like being my shadow all day long.
Maybe I'll try this approach, although, as I said, having him in the kitchen with me is the worst. I won't be mobile at all for probably two weeks after the baby arrives, so I'd like to get some kind of handle on him now.

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Is there one room in the house that is 'safe' for him, with nothing he can wreck or make a mess with? We have a toy room. ALL of their toys are in there, but no pens/markers/scissors/etc. When I absolutely have to, like when I'm mopping the floor and can't have them running through, slipping and falling, I will put the kids in there and shut the doors. They have to stay in there and play until the floor is dry or I'm done mopping and take them outside.
We don't really have anything. His (and dd's) bedroom is the closest, but a) it's small, b) it's upstairs, so if I'm doing something downstairs, he could get out and into the bathroom or my bedroom, and c) he also has a habit of peeing on the carpet, so leaving him alone in that room isn't a great idea.

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For the cooking situation, does he like to color? Paint? Use markers?
No. He'll use markers for about 30 seconds, then he gets bored. He's not into that stuff at all. He might like to paint, but I can't supervise him adequately while I'm cooking and our dining area (no table in the kitchen) is carpeted.

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Try and keep him busy. If he's smiling, laughing, and disobeying anyway when you tell him to do or not do something, he obviously doesn't think you are going to do anything about it, or to him the consequences that you do impose is 'worth it'.
He doesn't care about the consequences at all. They upset him - sometimes, he'll cry his way through a whole time out or whatever - but they don't have any impact.

Trying to keep him busy is what I want to do, but he doesn't want to do anything. He wants to roughhouse (even if the people he's playing with don't want to), throw things, and watch movies. (I'm giving in on the movies way, way more than I like, just because he keeps out of trouble - but that's not good for him.) He, occasionally, wants to play with his trains, but usually, he just wants to rip up the tracks. He generally doesn't want to paint, colour, play with blocks/lego, etc. He doesn't even like being read to, most of the time (although that's not a "keep him busy while I'm doing something else" activity, anyway).

I'm feeling pretty inept...although dh doesn't find him any easier to deal with than I do, nor does he tend to get any better results.

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#6 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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I found the suggestions in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Youn...3570907&sr=8-1 to be very helpful.

It's a gentle approach and it's about choices. It really gets you to see the world through the kids' eyes.

I haven't had perfect luck with it. My 3.5 year old likes to play rough--with the dog and the baby. The dog is temporarily in foster care. I'm pulling my hair out about what to do with the baby. Mainly, if he starts getting rough I pick her up and move on. There's a parenting group that teaches parenting skills in town. I'll have to call them for more ideas on the rough play (I take him out as often as possible, but can't be out as often as he needs.) However, overall the book helped a lot.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#7 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 02:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe I'll take that from the library and look at it...and buy it if it seems to be on the right track.

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I haven't had perfect luck with it. My 3.5 year old likes to play rough--with the dog and the baby. The dog is temporarily in foster care. I'm pulling my hair out about what to do with the baby.
Yeah - that's about where I'm at with most things. Unfortunately, a lot of what he gets into is stuff I can't move anywhere. We're out of space...and decluttering with him around is almost impossible (esp. as it's difficult for me, anyway). Half the time, when I'm tired and should be resting on the couch, I'm sitting here at the keyboard, instead - to protect my belly and breasts from ds2! I'm honestly terrified of being home with him after another c-section.

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#8 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 03:00 AM
 
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Yeah - that's about where I'm at with most things. Unfortunately, a lot of what he gets into is stuff I can't move anywhere. We're out of space...and decluttering with him around is almost impossible (esp. as it's difficult for me, anyway). Half the time, when I'm tired and should be resting on the couch, I'm sitting here at the keyboard, instead - to protect my belly and breasts from ds2! I'm honestly terrified of being home with him after another c-section.
That sounds rough. Is it possible he is reacting to your decreased physical abilities?

I've been thinking about this thread since I posted. One of the things I've tried to do, which can be helpful, is to be more positive. I help him clean up his messes. This role models that families work together. Also, it beats running into a wall. "I'll clean up the blue, yellow, and green blocks. You pick up the red ones. We're helping each other. That's really great." I do the majority of the work, but I don't think he realizes it. All he knows is he is helping cleaning. AND since I started doing this, I've come in and found him cleaning up on his own sometimes.

I think too often it is easy to fall into the negative rewards. It starts a cycle that becomes problematic...they want attention so will do something "bad." We give them negative attention and don't feel like giving them positive attention. They crave attention so will do whatever it takes to get that attention...even bad stuff. And we get more annoyed so give less good attention so the do what they need to do to get negative attention...

I'm trying to figure out how to be more positive with the rough play. It helps that I've finally defined what it is...he's just trying to get out his yahoos like he would with a friend. Today we went in to get the baby who'd just woken up. She smiled at us and he screamed like a 3 year old boy. She got fussy I got pissed. So I took a breath and said, "Let's try that again, but let's be gentle when we greet her. You sit there and I'll show you how." He actually seemed into it. I leaned over the baby, smiled, and he swung a shoelace and hit her in the face causing her to cry and me to pick him up and take him to my husband in the other room. Not the best response on my part, but I was just pissed that she got hurt even though it was an accident. Still, I was pleased with myself that I thought to try and do a re-do. It's the creative responses like that which can be hard to think of, but which seem so much more effective.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#9 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 03:27 AM
 
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#10 of 10 Old 05-29-2009, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That sounds rough. Is it possible he is reacting to your decreased physical abilities?
I'm sure that's part of it. My fatigue level is affecting everybody in the house. Unfortunately, ds2, in particular (dd, to some extent, but not as much), is too young to grasp that sometimes, letting me rest is the best thing he could do for himself, as well as me. I can't keep running on empty all the time, but he doesn't understand that...and won't let me stop.

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I've been thinking about this thread since I posted. One of the things I've tried to do, which can be helpful, is to be more positive. I help him clean up his messes. This role models that families work together. Also, it beats running into a wall. "I'll clean up the blue, yellow, and green blocks. You pick up the red ones. We're helping each other. That's really great." I do the majority of the work, but I don't think he realizes it. All he knows is he is helping cleaning. AND since I started doing this, I've come in and found him cleaning up on his own sometimes.
This kind of thing works brilliantly with dd. It gets me nowhere with ds2. I've tried almost this exact thing, but with crayons. Halfway through, he decided that he didn't want to pick up the orange ones, he wanted to pick up the green ones...and he dumped the tin (we were almost done), so that he could start over. That's pretty standard. He simply loves to make messes. I know he doesn't see making a mess the same way that the rest of us see it. But, he still loves to makes messes and hates cleaning them up. I have to rent a carpet cleaner this coming week, to get the remnants of syrup out of my bedroom floor, too. I was going to do that this week, but we all got sick, so it didn't happen.

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I think too often it is easy to fall into the negative rewards. It starts a cycle that becomes problematic...they want attention so will do something "bad." We give them negative attention and don't feel like giving them positive attention. They crave attention so will do whatever it takes to get that attention...even bad stuff. And we get more annoyed so give less good attention so the do what they need to do to get negative attention...
Oh, I know it is. I start off every day with a renewed determination to be more positive. It doesn't generally last past lunch time. He's astonishingly good at pressing my buttons. Unfortunately, he also has a knack for hurting me accidentally, so sometimes, we'll be getting back on track after a rough morning or something, and he'll end up planting his knee hard in my pregnant belly, or squashing my (very tender) nipple under his hand or something...and that doesn't do great things for patience, either.

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I'm trying to figure out how to be more positive with the rough play. It helps that I've finally defined what it is...he's just trying to get out his yahoos like he would with a friend. Today we went in to get the baby who'd just woken up. She smiled at us and he screamed like a 3 year old boy. She got fussy I got pissed. So I took a breath and said, "Let's try that again, but let's be gentle when we greet her. You sit there and I'll show you how." He actually seemed into it. I leaned over the baby, smiled, and he swung a shoelace and hit her in the face causing her to cry...
Yeah - I can so see something like that with ds2. This boy is just...tiring. He needs a mom with more energy than I've got, is a big part of the problem. The whole situation feeds on itself. He does better if he gets outside more. But, he doesn't behave very well when we go out. I'm not up to dealing with, more often than not. So, if he's in a really uncooperative frame of mind in the morning (about 9/10 mornings), I generally just don't take him out, because I don't have the energy. So, he doesn't get out, and he gets worse, and I want to take him out even less, so we go out even less, and he gets worse, and I take him out less, and...yeah...terrific dynamic we've got going on. Early in the pregnancy, I'd tough it out, and usually find that outings weren't as bad as I was anticipating. Now, they're frequently worse, so it's hard to make myself do it.

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It's the creative responses like that which can be hard to think of, but which seem so much more effective.
I'm sure some of it's my fatigue, but I'm not finding that anything feels effective right now. Same old or brand new - nothing seems to help.

I'm just thankful that he and I have lovely snuggles every morning. It helps. Mind you, the first words out of his mouth this morning were, "my blanket is all wet at the bottom and it's not pee and it's not water". Umm...yeah...yeah, it is pee, actually. I'm so tired of pee. Everyone in the house is tired of pee...except ds2. He thinks pee is awesome.

*sigh*
And, now dd is crying, because ds2 broke a lasagna noodle. If I didn't already know what they'd do to the house, I'd go back to bed. I'm pretty sure it wasn't worth it to get up. We do have a homelearner's meetup today, and once we get there, ds2 will be great for a few hours. It's the only place where he actually consistently behaves well for any length of time.

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