Temper Tantrums & Crying - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 11-21-2002, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need help. My dd is 4 and throws multi temper tantrums or cries about everything every day. This starts when she wakes up and continues until she goes to sleep at night. She might cry about or throw a temper tantrum :
*not knowing what to have for breakfast (she can't decided from the 3 choices I gave her - too overwhelming I guess
*being told to leave her little brother alone - she treats him like a rag doll
*wanting to play computer games instead of eating dinner
* not wanting to brush her teeth
*not being able to play with certain toys
*not being able to play at bedtime
and the list goes on and on and on
I have tried everything from listening to her, to punishing her, to tough love, to tender love. I don't know where to go now. Last night she cried for 45 minutes because I got her ready for bed, then I sent her to bush her teeth and told her I was going to get ready for bed. She had a fit becuase she wanted to race and see who could get ready for bed first and she was already for bed. I suggested she see if she could brush her teeth before I was done and that was not good enough. I offered to undress her and she could start over and that wasn't good enough, etc. Then she wanted to sleep in my bed and watch TV. I told her no TV, but she could sleep in bed with me and that was another 15 minutes of hysterics. I finally hugged her and she fell asleep in my bed.
I also told her last night that if she cries or wines about anything she is not going to get it and if she continues to cry she is going to her room becuase I am not listening to it.
My DH is no help, becuase he is never home - always at work!!

All suggestions are welcome. Please don't tell me it's a faze - LET IT END. Thanks.
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#2 of 18 Old 11-21-2002, 07:12 PM
 
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First of all, here's a for you!

Oh boy, I have a 3.5 yo ds who has similar fits. Perhaps not as frequently, but I'd say maybe 3x/day on average. Many more on bad days, of course. Generally, they tend to be about control issues (this morning, we were having pancakes and I emptied the last few drops of syrup *on* a pancake bite rather than next to it - that resulted in a good 15 minute tantrum). He also does his share of whining. I will ask him to ask me nicely, tell him that I won't listen to that voice, etc, but I can't say that it's getting any better than it was months and months ago.

He can get pretty upset while playing with other children. He has the usual sharing issues, but they seem to be magnified emotionally, if that makes sense. He attends preschool 3 mornings/week, and it seems like he tends to either have great or very challenging days (though he loves going to school - I wouldn't keep him there if he didn't want to go). His teachers are really supportive, and we're all working on helping him to express his feelings through words rather than pushing other kids, etc, when things don't go his way.

I know these are all normal toddler/preschooler issues we all contend with, but I think my ds falls into the "spirited" category. He can seem tough and aggressive, and he's very social, but he's also extremely sensitive and can fall apart over things so easily.

I, too, have trouble knowing how to handle him. Did you read the article on tantrums in the most recent Mothering magazine? It basically advocated accepting and encouraging the strong emotions associated with tantrums, because children really need to express them rather than squelch them (hope that's an accurate synopsis!). Of course, validating feelings and giving children words to express them ("that's really disappointing" or whatever) is another hallmark gentle discipling technique.

That article and other books have been helpful to read, but I still find myself puzzled about what to do in some specific situations. If ds freaks out because he wanted to (insert one: open the door, unbuckle his brother's carseat, walk into the room first, push the start button on the microwave, move the stepstool over to the sink himself, etc, etc, etc!), should I always let him "re-do" the action to stave off a tantrum? Usually I do, but at times it's just not possible or practical to do so. Last night, he said he didn't want to help me make mac & cheese (Annie's brand, don't worry! ), but then when I poured the cheese packet in myself, he started wailing and went on and on about wanting to start over and make a new box. I offered a few choices (he could pour the milk in, stir it all up, put a little honey on the carrots, etc), but eventually I just get tired of listening to such fits! My dh has even more trouble than I do (*usually* I can stay cool) and will end up depositing his crying/screaming son in his room, sometimes none too gently. Sometimes he even shuts the door - I hate that! Obviously, we have some marital issues we're still working out concerning our discipline methods, but that's another post.

Sorry I keep getting off track - I guess this post is just a vent of my own! I wish I could be of more help, but at least know you're not alone. I do find that ds is often in a better and more cooperative mood when I spend more time one-on-one with him (ie, really playing together, not just "I clean the kitchen while you play with refrigerator magnets" or whatever). I sometimes find that I am too "down" on him (this has happened especially since ds#2 arrived), and when I realize it I really step up the positive and affirmative support. I do find that it makes a difference with his behavior - like the good vibes sort of cushion him emotionally somehow. Also, talking about "finding solutions to problems" and that sort of thing can sometimes be helpful (yesterday he forgot his coloring book at the vet, started freaking out, and when I suggested we try to think of a solution he asked nicely if we could go back and get it. OK, so it wasn't his first impulse, but I feel like I've planted a seed, at least).

Good luck! I hope you get some good responses; I'll be interested to read more thoughts!
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#3 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 12:13 AM
 
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When my 3yo DD goes through tantrum phases, I keep the choices limited and the boundaries firm. When she does this, it just seems to be a phase of inner turmoil and there's not a lot I can do, KWIM? I try to remain calm and I try to give her choices within reason, but too much explaining just seems to drive her crazier. When she completely loses it, I say sympathetically, "I can see you're upset. I'm sorry you feel so badly" and just sort of go on with my business.
If she's following me around screaming and being obnoxious, then it's time to go upstairs to bed, be alone, cry, punch pillows, cuddle her animals, read a book by herself, whatever. It seems to make it worse often when I try to talk to her. She often just needs to be alone. If it's totally out of control, I carry her to bed, wrap a soft comforter around her, hug her lightly and usually she regains control pretty quick. Then she reads by herself for a little while and comes downstairs remarkably composed!
If the tantrums are frequently in response to wanting to watch TV or play after bedtime or that sort of thing, make sure you are not negotiating too much on important things. Whenever I slip and start to give in here there and everywhere, my DD seems to realize the opportunity to push to see how far she can get, and that usually means a tantrum.
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#4 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 12:48 AM
 
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BECCABOO

I think we are living the same life, right down to the 2 dss and the intolerant dh...
I really want to write more because I need some tips on this stuff too but I am just tooo tired tonight to think.

It does help to know there are others going through this and not just me being a bad parent.

peace
jackie
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#5 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 02:30 AM
 
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You sound like a really good mom.

I read all of the above, and liked it all. I have an interesting perspective in that I am a mom to an only child (so far), a 3 year old, so most of you have that factor of another baby in the mix, playing on your guilt, exhaustion, etc. Let me just tell you that even though I DO devote all my attention (when I'm not cleaning, cooking, talking etc.), we are in the same boat exactly. I laughed when I read all the examples of tantrum-causing incidences, because they are the same as mine. You have to admit, it is funny, when you're not involved. Of course it's not funny when it happens to me

I too am in the midst of being confused. Tantrums are tantrums, and epecially after reading that article mentioned above in my latest issue of Mothering, they are a piece of cake. Whining is also a breeze, because "Mommy doesn't respond to that". But what is not so cut and dry is the issue of control, that little game that is going on at all times from daybreak to sleep. I've had some great conversations with my friends, and I've read a bit. There's lot's I'm not sure of, but mostly it's about me, and how to handle it right EVERY time. What I do know is:

1. This is totally normal behavior.
2. Once I accept this, I have the power to either let it run it's natural course of 1-5 minutes or I can extend it indefinitely.
3. She is struggling with her desire to control as much as possible and her need for limits, and can't do this maturely.
4. If I am shaky on "no" or any limit, if I am inconsistant, I am asking for big trouble in the form of her loss of respect for me and my limits and continued, extended power struggles.

Number 4 is the problem!! Pick your battles? What does that MEAN? My great friend, who has a 5 year old, reflected back to this time with her son. First, she impressed the need for me to have private mommy time so that I can recharge and come back refreshed and full of energy. Don't we all agree that when we are the most tired and "done", it's the absolute worst with our kids' tantrums? I for one have to admit that I am Supermom at dealing with her control freakouts and tantrums when I'm fresh and happy and READY. I'm mentally "on", and I have patience. Then she told me about the time she offered her 3 year old eggs, cereal or french toast for breakfast and he said "NO! I WANT PANCAKES!", and she told him no, he had the choice between the three. As he proceeded to throw a major freakout fit, she reminded him that he had the power to choose between the three offers or no food until lunch. Zac didn't eat breakfast that day and it never happened again (over meal choices) She did what she said, and that is so important. She repeatedly told me to put the power back on them, their choices, which I already knew but guess I forget sometimes. Because the ONE time you make the pancakes, you are in for it, sister.

She had one other good idea. A stamp book. Every day your kid is good all day, through every incident they make the positive choices, they are rewarded with a stamp for their book. You can say, "You have the choice between ........ If you're nice, you get a stamp today" or "You dont' get your stamp today." They collect up 10 stamps, and they get something positive, such as a matchbox car or whatever. The thing I like about this is, the reward is a stamp, resembling good behavior. It's a reason, the right reason, for them to strive for good behavior. As opposed to "if your good, you can have dessert" daily stuff. I like a special something that sybolizes good behavior, that once they accomplish 10 days of, they can choose a special reward in exchange.

I feel for you all. I'm just taking it one day at a time, one incident at a time. The more kids you have, I would imagine the more resilient you are to this normal behavior, and the less attention you give it results in what it is truly meant to be - something they must go through independently that will fizzle out on it's own.

Stay cool, and I will try to do the same.
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#6 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 02:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Because the ONE time you make the pancakes, you are in for it, sister.
Quote:
Whenever I slip and start to give in here there and everywhere, my DD seems to realize the opportunity to push to see how far she can get, and that usually means a tantrum.
Quote:
Generally, they tend to be about control issues
Ayup, ayup, and ayup.

The ladies have gone without meals a few times, too, because of fit-throwing about the choices (or lack of choices, in their eyes, apparently). They get their glass of milk, and get down.

The point is, truly, to pick your battles, and stay consistent, as Bluedragonfly said. It's all about power, and testing the boundaries. If the boundaries are firm, it gives the child a needed sense of stability even while they're throwing a fit about the boundaries, lol. That said, the ladies still dig their heels in, and the Squirmer (5yo a week ago) still seems surprised by the "go to your room" she (calmly) receives from me when she's throwing a fit. It's not a punishment, per se. I do it to give her a chance to calm down, and it works - plus, I don't have to have the screaming going on right in my ear, lol. Be consistent. Do NOT give in "just this once" to move things along. Believe me when I say, you will regret it, because it's a long hard road back from "just this once."

I'd say it's going to be a rough couple of weeks, with you standing firm on EVERYTHING, and her struggling to figure it out. Once she gets it, though, I'd be surprised if it doesn't get better. My suggestion would be to go to an extreme on firmness - no negotiation about anything, which is not to say no choices, but bring it down to an A or B choice - more than 2 is too many, and there doesn't need to be a choice about everything. Kids need someone in authority; they're not ready to make decisions about everything, and I think it scares them. I also would recommend a program called "1-2-3-Magic", which did wonders for us. Less yelling from me, fewer tantrums from the ladies. I checked the video out from our public library.
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#7 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 03:58 AM
 
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LOL -- you moms are great.

My 3.5 year ds is going through some of this too, but mostly at night when it's time for bed. He sleeps with me (I'm single) and has since birth. Lately, he goes off when it's time to go to bed. I can relate it to something occasionally, but mostly it seems sort of hard to predict. I can get him all ready for bed, we read a story, I turn out the light, and then he starts bouncing around or wanting to talk to me about something -- like telling me a "joke" as he puts it. He rolls, he rearranges the pillows, he sings, he fidgets -- anything but try to relax and go to sleep. I talk to him, offer to rub his back, let him nurse a minute (he's almost weaned), try to do a relaxation exercise with him, anything, and he goes and goes, like the Energizer bunny. So sometimes I have to leave because I can't take it. On those occasions, he sometimes falls asleep then on his own, other times he cries and continually comes out of the room. It's one of our biggest issues.

I wonder sometimes if it's because he misses the time with me (he's in preschool full time) but even on weekends we go through this.

Anyway, I hear ya about the consistency, and the firm boundaries, and I don't think I've been very convincing so far.

I did find one thing that helped in the middle of a daytime control-fit tantrum. I gently took his face in my hands, looked in his eyes, and calmly but firmly said "you need to stop now; you must not do this" and to my surprise it worked.

Thanks, moms, for the support.

sklt -- love your term "the ladies" LOL! I can almost picture them.
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#8 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for everyones input. I am actually printing out everything to bring home and show DH since he is not on my side with this. He says to give in all the time - I guess that is a DH spoiling his DD. This makes setting boundries and limits very difficult. Also there is NO consistancy in my house becuase of our situation. That doesn't help either - but I do make 1 thing consistant. Dinner time at the table with everyone that is home - usually me and the kids.
I will work and work at something when he is not home (which is often) and then be on the road to success when he comes home and screws it all up. These are issues we are dealing with (marital).

Beccaboo - Your DS sounds EXACTLY like my DD. Thanks for understanding and the hug. I need support now. Expecially since my best friend (who has no kids) says my DD is a spoiled brat and it's not the age. What does she know!!!:
Knowing I'm not alone is some help.

Drangonfly - Thanks for the info and advice. I will definatly(SP?) talk to my DH about some of your suggestions and see if we can agree to stick to one thing first and move on from there. We are actually going to sit down tonight and talk about stuff, I am adding this to the list!!

KandD - I agree part of it might be not enough time with me (Chana is in Pre-K full time while I work full time). She begs for attention, but I have so many other things I need to get done that quality time is hard to find. Even on the weekends.

Part of the problem is that DH has no foundation for raising kids (he was neglected as a child), so we are always at odds. He wants to give his kids everything all the time and let them do whatever they want and never say NO. He doesn't understant that it doesn't work that way. They need structure and boundries. I'll let everyone know what happens and how it turns out with DH. Thanks.
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#9 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 02:04 PM
 
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It was great to read these responses. I know I need to work on being firm (kindly and calmly!) and more consistent. DH always points out that when we told ds, "when you throw your toys (except balls), we will take them away" and then DID (we put them up in a closet for a while), after a while he pretty much stopped throwing things. I probably negotiate too much, as well (dh calls it "cajoling," which I hate). I do think it's important to discuss and explain things with/to ds, but on occasion I go overboard.

As stated before, many of Julian's struggles are "do it myself" sort of issues. This desire is completely normal, and developmentally on target. Plus, I want to encourage him to feel competent and to have that nice sense of satisfaction from a job well done. He helps me do many household things, and usually we manage just fine. So if he says in a reasonable tone of voice, for example, "I wanted to open the door, mommy!" and it's not impractical to do so, I don't see any problem with going back outside and granting his request. But is this allowing too much negotiation? It doesn't seem to follow sklt's advice (Be consistent. Do NOT give in "just this once" to move things along. Believe me when I say, you will regret it, because it's a long hard road back from "just this once."), but it feels appropriate to me. Feedback please!

BUT... if we do start to have a struggle about something, I want to solidify my plan for how to react. When he starts whining/fussing/tantruming (call it what you will) about something, I will ask him to use his nice voice (or something along those lines). If he melts down, I will be sympathetic (along the lines of what rosiesmama said: '"I can see you're upset. I'm sorry you feel so badly" and just sort of go on with my business'). But what if he really freaks out? If I send him to his room until he calms down, he usually starts wailing "I want my daddy!" over and over and over again (or if the issue is with dh, then it's "I want my mommy"). Or he'll start yelling that he's scared. It goes on and on. Then I either feel like sh*t listening to him or just get pissed off (probably based on my own level of energy). I hate leaving him alone just to "sob it out," but he doesn't seem to calm down any faster if he's with me. Plus it upsets the baby to hear Julian scream, so then I have two of them crying. I guess the issue is I still don't know if I should let him calm down on his own or try to guide him through the tantrum. [Bluedragonfly wrote: "Tantrums are tantrums, and epecially after reading that article mentioned above in my latest issue of Mothering, they are a piece of cake" - perhaps I'd better go re-read the article!]

Sorry to write another book - it's quite unlike me, really! - but this topic is obviously hitting a nerve. It helps to sort the issues out on my brain by getting them down "on paper," as it were. I would be so elated if we could work through this and stop having so many battles. A friend (yogamama from these boards ) has been using 123 Magic for a while, and while I've used an approximation of it for several months, I think I should finally get around to borrowing the book and try to implement it properly.

Ach - I've used up my whole hour when ds#1 is at preschool and ds#2 is napping! Now you all will know the depths of my desperation if I've allowed this time to be squandered at the computer!
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#10 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 02:08 PM
 
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PS to mingber: I hope you don't feel like I'm derailing your thread! I'm sorry; I probably should have just started my own. However, our issues definitely do sound similar, so maybe it makes sense that they're in one place. Hope you don't mind!
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#11 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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Beccaboo, I may have been unclear. I generally honor any reasonable requests (like your "open the door" example - that happens all the time around here, lol), as long as they're not accompanied by whining or fit-throwing, as often as I can. If I can't (we tend to run late, go figure), I explain why, and make sure that they get to do it the next time. I have a slightly different situation, because we're forever "taking turns" in our house, since the ladies are only a year apart.

But there's a difference, in my mind, between negotiating and "cajoling" as your DH terms it. Negotiating, around here, consists of a reasonable request followed by reasonable reasons by the child. For example, this would work for me: "Can I have a piece of candy?" "I don't think so." "It's after dinner, and I ate all my green beans all gone." "Good point. Yes, you may have one piece."

This, on the other hand, woudn't: "Can I have a piece of candy?" "I don't think so." "Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? <scream, scream, scream, stomp, stomp, flop>" "If you stop throwing a fit, you can have one piece." That's very, very bad.

I understand that your son is younger than the ladies, but I've been working on this with them for a while. Basically, I encourage them to "use your words" if they want something. I don't want *arguing*, but I'm open to discussion about many things. Some things, I'm not, lol.

Your toy example hit home, too, lol. Although we've actually bagged them up and walked them out to the trunk. Then, the next day, we've walked them from the trunk to the Helping Hand donation place. THAT made an impression, both good and bad. Now, we have a box, and if they're fighting about a toy, it goes in the box if they can't figure out how to work it out themselves. We also are working on a "one-in, one-out" thing because I can't seem to convince our relation to give us books not toys, lol, so when they get a new toy, they get to choose what toy "kids who don't have many toys" would like, and it goes in the box, too.

We've all been there. In fact (as I listen to the whining that's going on behind me), we're probably all still there, and will be for years, lol.
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#12 of 18 Old 11-22-2002, 09:35 PM
 
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Thanks for clarifying. That makes more sense than how I read it. Generally, dh uses "cajoling" to describe me asking Julian to do something several times, in different ways. Maybe a better word would be "nagging" - I know, I'm working on it! : I liked your descriptions of negotiating vs. arguing - that's exactly the difference.

We had a big blowup today - I won't even describe it, but I had to remove him from a situation - but I was pleased that I kept calm and stayed firm but sympathetic. Usually I would have placated and distracted him just to keep the peace. He spent at least 45 minutes screaming and crying (first leaving preschool, then in the car, then in his room), but I gave him his own space to recover and he *did* get over it. It occurred to me that I can't be afraid of him being upset, kwim? It happens, and though it wasn't fun, it didn't totally ruin our day or anything, either. Hopefully next time a similar situation occurs I can remind him of what happened (you chose to do this when I asked you not to, and so we had to leave) and he might be more amenable to behaving better.

Thanks, everyone! And Mama-J, I hope you will post when you have a chance. :better
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#13 of 18 Old 11-23-2002, 12:19 AM
 
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My ds has just turned 3 and we are getting into this screaming/tantruming phase now. There are so many times when he makes a plan of what he wants to have happen, but he doesn't understand the timing or the series of events well enough to know that he has to ask in advance.

Mingber, you might ask your dh to read Barabara Coloroso's book Kids Are Worth It. She does a good job of describing what the cost to the kid is of reacting to one's own negative upbringing by letting the kid have everything their way. She calls it "jellyfish" parenting, which can be a reaction against one's own parents being too strict ("brickwall parenting") or, conversely, because one's own parents were basically absent (another version of "jellyfish"). She shows how it sends the child a negative message ("I don't think you can handle it") and doesn't give them the skills they need to develop inner discipline. She gives good examples of how to choose a middle road between being a jellyfish or a brickwall (she calls this "backbone parenting"). It's a very readable book, practical, not a lot of theory to wade through. I tend toward the jellyfish end of the spectrum myself, and this book is helping me build my resolve to be more consistent without being more harsh.

-Sue
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#14 of 18 Old 11-23-2002, 01:20 AM
 
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Sklt - I totally agree with the idea that it may not be a "battle" per se, when the request is delivered appropriately, and not accompanied by whining or fit-throwing! YES! That must be it! I mean really, although it's natural for her age, it shouldn't be acceptable to me that

A: she requests something
B: I say no and explain why
C: I can see her tonsils

It snuck up on us, so we were caught unawares when she first began the more mature pleading phase, and she's a smart little bugger. She slipped whining in a little bit at first, but within a very short period, whining became a major issue and we found ourselves cringing and annoyed, saying no ALOT because of it. We have made it clear 98% of the time that when she whines, it's a one-way ticket to zip. But that 2% of the time, when we weren't sure if we were doing the right thing, weren't sure it was whining or something else, when we couldn't think straight for the day full of stress and tug-of-wars, she has taken full-on advantage of the slightest chance we may cave. But in all honesty, whining is not a problem for us anymore, however something tells me that it's not gone completely; it lingers under the surface...waiting.....

Yes, she can have her fits over not getting her way - in her own space (she still won't get it). She can whine till she's blue in the face to her babydoll, with no response from us. And she can have a tantrum over being frustrated with herself, and I will always be there to cuddle when it's over. All of this is our golden opportunity to teach our girl how to be; how to have manners, how be liked and respected by others, and so on.

Mingber, it must be really frustrating to be tackling this all by yourself, and having your DH pull the rug out from under. Being consistent is probably the #1 most important thing you can do here. More important than that, is the fact that he is repeating what his folks did to him, maybe on the other side of the spectrum. Kids need boundaries and a firm understanding of rules just like they need love and food and air. They are begging for it at every turn. During these fast, scary and thrilling developmental periods, that is one way they know their parents love them and are concerned about their development! I hope you are able to convince him to look deeper at the situation, and then you guys can work together on this! It will be sooooo much easier for you and your kids - less confusion, more conviction, more happiness.
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#15 of 18 Old 11-23-2002, 02:46 PM
 
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Yeah. What she said. lol
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#16 of 18 Old 11-25-2002, 04:27 AM
 
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I'll admit that I tend towards the jellyfish style of parenting too, not that I don't follow through on what I say, but that I tend not to make much of anything a battle. The putting the choice back on the child is the issue that I'm starting to confront because I think that I'm offering too many choices. Breakfast is a big issue for me. I usually offer a choice of several things, and she usually says she wants something else (she doesn't know quite what, or she wants something she knows we don't have). If she asks for something that seems reasonable, I give it to her, but a tantrum ensues when she can't have what she wants. Telling her that she can have 1, 2 or nothing doesn't seem to make much of an impact in getting her to actually make a choice. She's still going to get upset and have to work through it, so I end up making nothing and I figure she'll come to me when she is hungry. I'm still trying to figure out whether or not it's better to make something for her and say that's it, or to try and make her make a choice that she doesn't want to make because she won't be happy with any of the outcomes. I feel like I am frustrating and stressing her. The other day I offered her eggs or cereal, and she didn't want either--she was so caught up with the idea that we were going to make cookies that she just wanted to get on with it. She was angry that I wanted to cook and eat breakfast first, and she got angry and started crying and demanding that we make cookies. I made eggs for myself and by that time she had calmed down and wanted some of my eggs, so I shared mine with her.
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#17 of 18 Old 11-25-2002, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Crap - I just typed a whole bunch of stuff and lost it. So here goes again.

Beccaboo - I don't have a problem with you adding your insight and greivances (sp?) to this Tread because they are all on the same topic.

Coracle - The book sounds great, but I would never be able to get DH to read it. He refuses to read parenting books or any other books for that matter.

Bluedragonfly - I agree with you, that kids need boundries and they need to be consistant, which is why I need DH to understand and work with me.
I have made some headway with DH. We finally talked last night and he agreed that he would be more supportive of what I have put into place. He would listen to me more and if he didn't think he could handle a situation the way I have set up the boundries/sturcture, he would discuss it with me. He also would discuss things with me as they were occuring if necessary, to work together on handeling DD, not going against each other and her seeing the problems between us. We need to be a UNITED FRONT, so DD can't attack and conquor.
He actually ran into 3 hours of tantrums last night with DD and was exhausted afterward. He also couldn't believe how well my methods were working (letting her cry it out and then come to us when she is calm and collected). Yes, it took awhile, but she finally came and apologized and said she would brush her teeth and go to bed. DH was amazed that once she was over it and onto something else, he was still experiencing aftermath effects (fustrations and exhaustion). It is amazing how quickly they are over it and onto something else and we are still trying to collect ourselves and deal with it. Yesterday afternoon I tried a different tactic (the situation warrented some AP mothering instead of a stronger method) (DD was exhausted) so I sat with her/hugged her and worked out a solution to her problem/tantrum.
I think handeling the tantrums/whinning depends on the situation and each one is different - kind of like picking and choosing your battles. I think DH is finally understanding and more on my side - yes, he still Jellyfish parents, but will work with me more instead of undermining me.

Sklt - I love the negotiate vs conjoling. My DH conjoles and I try to get DD to negotiate more. Using her words. DH has agreed to work on that also.

Maybe I am getting through to DH

I do feel better knowing that this is all a stage/phase she is going through and that I and DH need to set up foundations to prevent further problems. i think he will work with me more and then we can tackle DD better together. When does this phase/stage stop?? Is there an ending in sight?? I know a lot of it depends on correcting the behavior so it doesn't progress into a worse situation. I also feel better knowing that I am not alone in this and that all of you have a similar problem. . The support and advise is a great comfort to me.
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#18 of 18 Old 11-25-2002, 06:01 PM
 
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Like I said before, you sound like a great mom. Your child will be FINE!

I am really happy to hear that DH is opening his eyes to the situation, and helping you more.

As for how long it will last, this phase/stage? I could be wrong, since mine is only 3, but.....I believe that #2 of my first post, "Once I accept this as normal behavior, I can either let it run its course of about 1-5 minutes or extend it indefinitely" applies here, and can be looked at another way. At the ages of 3-4, certain behaviors can be curbed or, if they are ignored (which you are by no means doing) and working for the child in that she gets negative/positive attention from them, she might have learned to incorporate them indefinitely, morphing them as she gets older and smarter.

I know that my friend's son, who is 5, was a terror at 3 & 4. He is a gentle, loving little soul now. I have heard that 4 ish can get pretty bad, but look at it as your chance to help guide her to become the person she will very soon.

I also completely agree with you for seeing each situation as individual, some requiring a different type of parenting tactic.

By the way - after I posted that about the stamp book, I tried it and I kid you not, it has worked ever since. My girl has three stamps on her card posted on the fridge for excellent behavior. I don't overstate it throughout the day, I only will at key times say, "This is your opportunity to make the right decision about your behavior. You have the choice now....etc." and remind her that she can earn a stamp this way. She is way thrilled about reminding me every night to put her stamp on her card.

I read somewhere that it is extremely concerning if your 2-4 yo is not negative and pushing limits and patience to the wall. To be complacent and constantly pleasing you at this age is very expensive emotionally for the child, and will come out at some point much worse, and more painfully. This age is likened to the turbulent adolescent years, and is absolutely normal.
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