Attachment Parenting for the Very Challenging Child - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 05-19-2011, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Ms. Arnall,

I don't have a great deal of time (typing while trying to nurse), so I'll just give a tiny bit of background and ask my question.  My 20 month old daughter is extremely challenging and we are trying to use gentle parenting techniques but do not seem to get anywhere with her.  It just seems that the more we try to be gentle and loving, the more she sees opportunities to test our resources and resourcefulness.  I'm very frustrated and my husband has completely given up.  I have to beg him to try to interact with her, especially when she's being difficult.  She is our 7th toddler and my first was a challenge, but no where near this level.  One quick example:  I was cleaning in a bedroom and had to stop 7 times to redirect her because she kept coming in the bedroom.  I needed to have the door open to shuttle things in and out and she kept running in like it was a game to get me to put her somewhere else.  We've tried being firm, we've tried ignoring the behaviors we don't like and praising the ones that we do, we've tried holding and loving her when she's frustrated (only to get the snot banged out of us when she thrashes).  I just don't remember my other children being at this level of activity and difficulty and would love some ideas on how to get her to behave a little better.  My husband isn't the only one in our family and friend's circle who is shunning her because she's just 'too much.'

Thank you,


Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#2 of 2 Old 05-19-2011, 02:09 PM
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Hi Jen:

Thanks for being the very first post in the new forums.  You are a very busy mom!  Since your toddler is one of the youngest, you probably realize that all babies are so different.  At 20 months old, she is very young and still does not have any self-control.  When her brain matures, the parts of the brain called the hippo-campus and limbic system govern self-control and allows her to stand back when you tell her, but this doesn't happen until she is about 4.  Every child's brain develops in its own timetable, so your other children may be different.  In fact, she might enjoy the game of you picking her up and moving her elsewhere and she comes back in the same way for more fun.  It's innocent fun for her and in no way is meant to be "naughty" or malicious.  Your job is to find a way to keep her engaged, entertained and out of the way.  In this case, it's easier to just childproof than to keep telling her over and over advice that she can't understand or control yet. This self-control is even harder for more spirited children that have a persistent quality in their temperament. I will try to attach a link to a pdf of Spirited Characteristics that may be representative of her temperament and how you can best support her. I hope this helps! Thanks so much for posting! smile.gif



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Judy Arnall, BA, CCFE, DTM, is a certified brain and child development specialist who advocates for non-punitive, neuro-biologically informed parenting and education practices.
She is the author of the print bestseller, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery, and the book,Parenting With Patience: Turn frustration into connection with 3 easy steps. She is currently authoring a new book titled: Unschooling To University: Relationships matter more than content in a world saturated with information to be released in 2018. She is the mom of 3 university graduates, 1 in university and 1 lovely teenager.

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