Not sure how to handle the early toddler stuff... - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a yeller. I come from a long line of yellers. Sometimes it's anger, but mostly it's just a raised voice when certain little ones aren't listening. I don't like it. I yell at DH when I don't even mean to, without realizing it. I DO NOT want DS to be a yeller too.

Soooo, DS is 16 months, which means he knows what it means when Mommy says to stop doing something. But he continues anyway. For the past few months, I've gotten frustrated, and been less than gentle, and I want it to stop. I don't want to push his hand away from something, or yell. But I also want to know how to get him to LISTEN. For example, if he's bothering (or about to bother) the dog, I tell him, "No doggie. Leave him alone." If he doesn't listen (he usually just smiles and then continues what he's doing) I tell him to "Come here." When he does, I pick him up, hug and tickle him, and give him something "fun" to play with. But lately he doesn't come. He thinks it's a game. And frankly, I like playing chase with him, but when I want him to come over, I want him to come over. I'm afraid that if I keep playing chase with him, I'll never get him to come when he needs to, and I especially don't like that when we're going to be outside playing a lot more, where there's so many more opportunities for him to get hurt.

So how do you "correct" him in these situations?
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#2 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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My DD is 2.5. For quite some time now she as been able to understand when I want her to stop doing something, but it has only been in the very recent past that she has started to develop any impulse control. And seven times out of ten, she wont come when I ask her to. She just looks at me, with a twinkle in her eye, and runs off. I'm not too worried about it because that seems to be the norm for her age. We belong to two playgroups and I see similar behavior with the other toddlers in the group.
Honestly, at 16 months, I just redirected and removed temptation whenever possible.
Yelling isn't my problem but I do tend to be snappish when irritated. Sometimes I set myself up to be irritated by expecting more mature behavior from DD than she is capable of. When I find myself getting that way, I try to take a step back and examine why I'm frustrated and it's usually because I'm expecting too much.
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#3 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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I think adjusting your expectations might help with the yelling urge. DS is also 16 months and while he understands a lot of what I'm saying, he certainly does not have the impulse control to listen.

Instead of telling him what not to do, I try to tell him what I'd like him to do, pet the kitty gently rather than leave the cat alone.

Running away has recently become his new favorite thing and somehow me saying "let's get dressed" is translated to, run away, as fast as possible. Which is fine, I grab him and sing songs while we get dressed. What is not fine is running away near the street or in a parking lot so in those situations, he is carried, worn or put in a cart/stroller.

I don't really expect him to be able to notdo awesome, fun things, like throwing cat food around, when given the opportunity, for quite some time, so I just don't give him the opportunity.

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#4 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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I redirected a lot also. Like the pps said, at that age my twins just didn't understand that they were supposed to do something or not do something on command or that they were supposed to come to me the first time I called. When I wanted them I had to call their name and say come here please and if they didn't I had to actually get up and get them and bring them to the spot where I wanted them to be. At about 20-24 months they started wanted to do things themselves and so saying something like "Do you want to come here all by yourself or do you need me to help you?" worked like a charm most times. Honestly, I've got pretty great boys behavior and listening-wise and they didn't really start listening until about 2 1/2 and even now we have our days!
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#5 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 08:33 PM
 
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A) Totally normal. 2) Completely age appropriate c) Adjust your expectations.

Really. he's engaged in something fun, interesting and engaging to him, and you're asking him to stop, immediately, on your schedule not his, and come to yo for who knows what reason? Doesn't sound like any fun, right?

I keep telling myself that if I can gfind ways to handle things without yelling now, we'll all be better off in the long run. If I can find ways to get her attention without yelling at the height of the Terrible Twos (DD1 is 31 months old), then hopefully I'll have learned strategies that last for the rest of her childhood and adolescence.

I can't expect immediate obedience at all times. I don't want to raise a follower, or someone likely to be preyed on in any way. I want to encourage her free thinking while also teaching her to pay attention when I need her to most - which means picking my battles and not screaming NO! over innocuous things, saving that for the big, safety related stuff. If she's running into the street, I need a firm, loud NO! to have immediate impact, not be something she tunes out because she hears it nonstop day in and day out.

In theory, anyways. Still working on the whole not-resorting-to-yelling-over-every-transgression thing myself.
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#6 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I guess I should have clarified that I do get that this is totally normal, age-appropriate behavior. I guess he's just so good most of the time that now that he's starting to not listen quite as much as he used to, I'm afraid that I'm setting a precedent that it's okay for him not to listen. Like when I tell him it's time to come inside, I just open the door and go in. I leave the door open, and 8 times out of 10 he follows, eventually. But there are times when I can't leave him out there and really need to get inside quick and he just stands there or runs away. I wait patiently, tell him again, and he runs off. If I go after him, won't he just decide that's the best game ever and never come in when told to? Seems like we'd be going backwards in that case. Same for getting in the car. We don't have a garage, and right now I can catch him if he runs off down the driveway. But I don't want to have to chase him EVERY TIME we get in the car. However, for now, he's happy to follow me out of the house, close the gate behind him and get into the car. So I want to keep doing that, instead of carrying him to and from the car. But for the times he doesn't listen, what am I supposed to do to help him understand what I need him to do, or that he needs to do it now? Or is that just not really something that's going to happen? This is where I need the alternative to yelling, which is how I was raised. And sadly, what I've done a few times in the past. Even more sadly, it works. But I don't want to keep doing things that way....
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#7 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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How about holding hands to and from the car? I know it's not always possible if you got other stuff in your hands, like grocery bags or whatever, but if you get in the habit of doing that, then the times you can't hold hands he'll already be used to being right alongside you, you know?

In our house "Quick-quick" means do it now, non-negotiable. DD1 isn't always 100% compliant, but it usually does work.

I also like to discuss the behavior I expect from her as well as give her a three-step itinerary of her immediate future - like when we're having lunch, I'll tell her "After lunch we're going to do a wash up, potty, and then nap. Wash up, potty, nap." When she knows what to expect (and what I expect of her), it's a lot easier to get her to go along with things.
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#8 of 18 Old 04-20-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
Soooo, DS is 16 months, which means he knows what it means when Mommy says to stop doing something. But he continues anyway.
I think you need to re-visit this. Most kids don't actually understand instructions framed in the negative until about age three. So if you tell him "don't touch the dog" all he understands is "touch the dog." The "don't" doesn't even register.

So you need to frame your instructions in the positive. Tell him what TO do, instead of what NOT to do. It can be hard to come up with in the moment, so try to think of positive instructions ahead of time.

For the running away... well, clearly playing chase is a fun game. So pre-empt him, and instead of chasing him, have him chase YOU. Run (slowly!) in the opposite direction, and when he "catches" you, scoop him up in your arms and take him into the house.

I wouldn't worry too much about creating a precedent for not listening. He could be the best listener in the world at 16-months, and it will still all go out the window between 2.5 and 4.

Good luck!

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#9 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 04:39 AM
 
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I honestly don't think you're creating a precedent, or habit, where it's okay for DS not to listen to you. I recently read an article online about how toddlers process things and how they don't look at things in the present or the future but in the past. So when you tell DS not to run, he won't recognize that request until quite a bit after you've made it of him. This, of course, poses a problem when you need them to listen to you RIGHT NOW!!!

I do a lot of explaining of expectations to our DS, like holding hands in parking lots and not running into the street. I don't expect him to acknowledge my words but I do see from his actions that he does hear me. Him being able to respond "okay mommy, I hear you" is something he just isn't able to do right now. I've seen many of my mama friends get frustrated, and caught up, in needing acknowledgement of their instructions and not getting it from their kid, then feeling like they're talking to a brick wall and that their kid is not listening. I think they are ALWAYS listening, just sometimes their impulsivity and need for instant gratification are much stronger than what mommy is saying.

As for the yelling, that's bigger picture stuff if it's part of the way you were raised. I have found that when I yell at my sweet baby boy, I feel terrible and it doesn't really work or make things better. I say keep explaining your expectations and recognize that 8/10 is a great track record, and that those other two times are normal, toddler-esque moments that make you crazy.

Me: almost 40, RN DW: 38, CPD Boy: born 4/2/2007 Girl: born 8/23/2010
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#10 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 09:30 AM
 
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I think this is what's hard about the toddler years...the more they learn and communicate the more it seems like they should be able to listen and obey to every command we make. But, the reality is that the more they CAN do, the more they don't understand as well. I think as parents we just have to continually teach in a loving and patient way and not expect so much so soon. We can't be lazy and just call out orders, we may have to physically move the child or get up and go physically distract them from the dog, etc. My DD is almost 2 and she hates it when we leave anything that's fun. It's difficult everytime we have to leave the park, a friend's house, or go in from outside. I almost always have to pick her up, explain what we have to do, that we'll do this fun thing again soon, and she still cries almost every time. It's frustrating, but I know that she doesn't fully understand and I just have to be patient and help her through it.
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#11 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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I've found the basic element of this approach very helpful... Get Off Your Butt Parenting Actually, the only part of it I really use is trying to link my instruction/request with a physical cue. Like with a 16mo, "come inside please" would be linked with a helpful hand to hold or (if the child wanted to do something else and I really needed him/her inside) a quick carry inside. I really think it's natural for a LO to not just follow a verbal instruction, for a bunch of reasons - still figuring out what some words mean, ability to be distracted by other sights and sounds, little impulse control, curiosity, healthy desire to explore the world and begin establishing some independence...

Anyway, the name makes me laugh and keep my sense of humor about parenting!

*** DH (wed 5/03), DD (6/07), and DS (8/11)
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#12 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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I like that idea of get off Your Butt Parenting (the name anyway, I didn't read a whole lot of the site). I think too many people think they should say something and the child should just do it. That's crazy. You do have to get up and GO to the child and show them what you want. Or if the child is doing something negative to get your attention, I say remove yourself. Get up and go away. Yes, it involves getting off one's butt, but I think it is a lot more effective than saying things that the kid can ignore. It is a lot harder to ignore a big grown up coming over to you and taking your hand then it is to blow off mom's request for you to "come inside".
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#13 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 12:46 PM
 
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[QUOTE=just_lily;13623804]

For the running away... well, clearly playing chase is a fun game. So pre-empt him, and instead of chasing him, have him chase YOU. Run (slowly!) in the opposite direction, and when he "catches" you, scoop him up in your arms and take him into the house.

QUOTE]

Brilliant! Thank you. I love reading these boards for this very reason. It makes so much sense, just not something I would have thought of.
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#14 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 03:43 PM
 
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I LOVE these articles for things like this. I found them really really helpful, and the advice made my life a LOT easier in the toddler years.

"Toddler Testing"

Looking Past the Behavior

In those situations, I used the phrase "honor the impulse." Whatever they do, the impulse is legitimate and deserves to be expressed. But sometimes, the WAY they are expressing it is not acceptable. lol.
So figure out what the impulse is, and give an acceptable alternative. When you tell dc to stop doing something, it's important to give them something to do instead. If not, their heads are still wrapped up thinking about what they aren't supposed to be doing. They can get kind of "stuck" in that activity/thinking.
I always found that that alternative had to be related to the original impulse, or it wasn't very useful.

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#15 of 18 Old 04-21-2009, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by just_lily View Post
...
For the running away... well, clearly playing chase is a fun game. So pre-empt him, and instead of chasing him, have him chase YOU. Run (slowly!) in the opposite direction, and when he "catches" you, scoop him up in your arms and take him into the house.
...
I do this, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. It's funny, though how many little tips like this I already know from having a dog! I'm sorry, but it's true. They are so much like dogs it's not funny. And I guess maybe that's part of my (too) high expectations -- our dog listens REALLY well! And one of the key things we were told when we first had him in obedience training was that you give a command once and only once. Otherwise, when you want him to come, he'll only respond once you've said, "Come! COME! COME!!!!" if that's how you start out. So I guess I'm trying to avoid that with DS and I'm not sure how, since I don't think a clicker and training treats are appropriate. (Although it worked great for the dog....)
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#16 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 12:34 PM
 
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I LOVE these articles for things like this. I found them really really helpful, and the advice made my life a LOT easier in the toddler years.

"Toddler Testing"

Looking Past the Behavior
Those were good articles.

Sometimes I find myself frustrated at my toddler, who gets the same devious look in his eye as he reaches for the dirt in the potted plant for the hundredth time in a day... Sometimes I find myself reacting in frustration, which results in me feeling guilty for using a harsh tone or pushing his hand away. One thing that I've discovered (I read it in a child abuse prevention brochure- I believe that the advice is appropriate for all parents) is that when you are feeling like you are losing control, H.A.L.T. and ask yourself these questions:
Are you...
Hungry?
I've found that simply being hungry can really shorten my temper. Make sure you are eating enough and staying hydrated.
Angry? If there is something going on in your life that is upsetting you, it can & will affect your temper- try to work out the problem; if that's impossible, talk to an adult about it; and if that's not possible either, simply recognize that your child is not causing your frustration and that you need to be mindful of that in your mothering.
Lonely? I know that if I've been isolated from friends or family for a few days, it can really make me feel like I'm losing it. Load up your child into the car and go visit somebody.
Tired? If you are exhausted, overwhelmed, or "burned out", maybe you need to ask your husband or Grandma to watch your child for a few hours while you take a hot bath and a nap. Your patience will be totally revived.

Here are my own additions:

Do you have cabin fever? If you and your child have been stuck inside, put him in the stroller/carrier and go for a walk, or go take a trip to the zoo or to the park. Getting some fresh air and a little exercise can really help center me- I'm sure most moms can relate.

Is your relationship with your husband/partner not getting the attention it needs? Get the grandparents to watch the grandbaby for an afternoon or evening and spend some time together, just you two. I have found that this is a very important thing for my husband and I to do; when the stresses of everyday life start taking over, spending quality time together really brings our affection for each other back into focus.


Good luck with your testing toddler!
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#17 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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I love all of the advice the other folks gave, so I will just add one more thing. I have a 21 month old dd. A couple of months back I was feeling like I didn't have all of the tools I needed to be the best mom I could be for my spirited toddler. I bought and read the book "The Happiest Toddler on the Block". I got a bunch of great tips, ideas, tools, and suggestions from the book. Some things were obvious, some things I already do, and some parts of the book didn't really speak to me, but overall, it provided me with some great resources. The author, Harvey Karp, really focuses on positive reinforcement and preventing undesired behaviors before they happen. Anyway, it is an easy read and a good reference.
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#18 of 18 Old 04-22-2009, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all! I guess I still have lots of reading to do! I think that most of my frustration comes from being unrealistic. I've told DH for several months now (and he admitted to this too) that I keep forgetting DS is not even verbal yet. He understands so much, and he always wants to be near me, so I can tell him to walk with me and he will most of the time. It's just when we're at home and he's bored, he'll get into stuff he shouldn't. But he's SO GOOD the majority of the time that I think my expectations have gotten too high for what's normal for his age. Now, if only I could remember that in the heat of the moment, when I'm drying his hand off from the dog's water dish for the zillionth time.....
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