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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just can't take it anymore. I am at the end of my rope. I am 14wks pregnant and I have had it with dd, who is a little more than 2 1/2. She just does not listen to me. I tell her not to do something, I tell her why she should not do said thing. I warn her that she might get hurt. She does it anyway and gets hurt. I understand that she needs to test her surrondings, test me and my boundaries. I have given her a lot of freedom to do all of that. The only form of punishment we have been using is time outs. I end up thretening her all day long. It used to be just simple consequences. Say we are outside and she isn't listening or behaving, well then she will have to go inside. I hate it I hate that I have to try to leverage her constantly. Buy nothing else seems to work. She does not seem to be able to reason out on her own that she needs to behave inorder to have fun and be happy. I try to speak calmly to her and repectfully, but it seems like she only even halfway listens to me when I start to get mad, and raise my voice. I have to be really firm with her or she walks all over me.

Now a few days ago, she got in a lot of trouble because she did not come back into the yard when I told her to. She had begun following another older kid who was visiting, out the yard and down the street. I warned her, I counted to three, I asked her to come here. She did not move. So, I went and got her and brought her in the yard and then into the house for a time out. She cried and screamed and it went on and on for a long time. Needless to say I was very upset as well. Now again today, after crossing the line with me all day over little things, we were in the exact same situation. She is standing in line with our driveway but past our yard. A friend of ours has just left after working around the house all day. My husband is standing right there with me. I tell Amanda that she needs to get out of the street ( we have no sidewalks, very rural area), and come back in the yard, she took two steps foward, like she was going to cooperate, and then froze. Now both myself and dh are telling her to come here and get back in the yard. She doesn't move. I count to three, then I tell her she is going in the house. She turns around and runs down the the street away from me. I about lost my mind. I call to her to stop, she keeps running. When I catch up to her and pick her up, I am furious. I immediately start scolding her, and she smacks me in the face. Now I am ready to hit her back. I was so mad. I did not hit her, I never have and hope I never will, but oh these days, I sure do feel like it. Instead I tell her that I feel like smacking her. Now I know this is not a good thing to say, but sometimes I feel like it helps me from acctually doing it. I have said this before and I seem to be saying it more that I would like to. I have tried to explain to dd why we do not hit, even when we really angry.

I have to go for now. I will continue later on.
 

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No offense, but I really think you're expecting too much. She's 2.5. I think it would be reasonable to expect her to listen to your verbal commands maybe 10% of the time.
I also think it's a bit much to expect her to have a significant grasp of cause and effect where behavior/imposed consequence are concerned.

Why not, instead of making it a power struggle, go to her when she's following the older child, lift her up and say gently, "DD, we have to stay in our yard right now." (Unless you can follow the older child for a bit. Can you do that sometimes?) Ditto when she's in the street: Walk over, take her by the hand and say, "The street is dangerous. We need to stay on the grass."

It seems as though you're feeling that she's doing these things just to misbehave. She's not. She's doing them because she's 2 and she's figuring out her world. Why not see if sometimes you can go with her and do the things she wants to do... and then, when you need her to do something else, be matter-of-fact, gentle, and reasonable in your expectations. Help her to do these things instead of standing and commanding.
 

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At 2.5 - 3 yo, I still had to shadow my ds all the time. He listened to me so rarely that it would shock me when he did. :LOL Around 3 he started getting a little better, and now at nearly 3.5 he listens probably about 70% of the time. When he doesn't listen I can quickly see that he is overtired or overstimulated (unless I am so tired I can't reason well, which happens a lot more often since I am about 10 weeks pregnant)

It would have been a nightmare for me if I would have been pregnant a year ago...I can only imagine how hard it is for you. Your energy level *should* be going up soon, which is likely to help increase your patience and ability to follow your child around. (that is true for me...I hope I am not making too many assumptions for you)

I would agree with the PP, as much as you want her to have the capacity to follow directions all the time, it isn't very realistic for a lot of kids.
 

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Yeah, I think you are expecting waaaaay too much from a 2.5 year old. Not many are going to do things just because you say so, no matter what the "logical explanation" is, because they just don't have the impulse control to work that way, and because their urges to do things come from a deeper place in them than their ability to ration around things. I think you need to really adjust your expectations to be more age-appropriate.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mosky22
I tell her not to do something, I tell her why she should not do said thing. I warn her that she might get hurt. She does it anyway and gets hurt.
I would not expect a 2.5 year old to do something just b/c I say so, no matter how much "reasoning" I give her. In fact, you should consider the fact that she doesn't stop even when it's going to HURT her as all the evidence you need that she CAN'T just stop on her own. You need to follow up verbal instructions by physically being there and showing her.

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The only form of punishment we have been using is time outs. I end up thretening her all day long. It used to be just simple consequences. Say we are outside and she isn't listening or behaving, well then she will have to go inside.
Okay, I think you should just ditch the punishments altogether. Timeouts are pretty ineffective and don't actually teach anything. And those "consequences" don't sound "logical" to me at all. You can best believe that, to your DD, they are just more punishments.....But I'll save that discussion for another thread.


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I hate it I hate that I have to try to leverage her constantly.
Good. Because the good news is, you don't!


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She does not seem to be able to reason out on her own that she needs to behave inorder to have fun and be happy.
Okay, stop and ask yourself a few questions...fun for who? make who happy? and how do you define "behave"? What I hear you saying is "she has to act the way I think she should act so I can be happy". here's a good starter article...

Children Don't Really Misbehave, by Thomas Gordon
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_gordon2.html

Quote:
Now a few days ago, she got in a lot of trouble because she did not come back into the yard when I told her to. She had begun following another older kid who was visiting, out the yard and down the street. I warned her, I counted to three, I asked her to come here. She did not move.
So after the first time when she didn't stop leaving why didn't you just go and get her? You need to follow up verbal instructions with action. SHOW them what you mean. That's the only way they will learn, and as with anything, it will take many repetitions to get it.

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So, I went and got her and brought her in the yard and then into the house for a time out. She cried and screamed and it went on and on for a long time. Needless to say I was very upset as well.
As you have discovered, power struggles suck. For everybody.

You don't need to do this.

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...I tell Amanda that she needs to get out of the street ( we have no sidewalks, very rural area), and come back in the yard, she took two steps foward, like she was going to cooperate, and then froze. Now both myself and dh are telling her to come here and get back in the yard. She doesn't move. I count to three, then I tell her she is going in the house. She turns around and runs down the the street away from me.
This is just so incredibly normal and appropriate for her age and developmental maturity. You are setting her up for failure by expecting her to do things she simply cannot. And, as you've described, you are all miserable at the outcome.


I can tell you this, punishment and threats and trying to control her behaviour are only going to lead to more and more of this. You'll have to up the ante, increase the level of punishment until you've squashed the soul out of her. There IS a much better way, much more peaceful way. My DD is 3 years old and we have rarely ever had the sort of issues you are describing. Now, at 3 years old, she is starting to be able to respond to many verbal requests, so it does get easier...but once you start with the power struggles...oi!


Check out our GD Book List sticky thread. Check out the articles from the link above. Hang out here for a while! I hope you will. Life does not have to be a series of endless power struggles!!
 

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I have a 4yr old spirited dd who never sits still and thinks she is grown. She ran away from me at Toys R Us recently and I found her in the bathroom.
The only way she listens if I get down to her level and look into her face.

Otherwise she agrees w/ me and makes noises of agreement w/o even hearing what I am saying, she takes after dh in that respect.
 

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Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen and Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn have really helped support my choices in my parenting relationships with my children and decrease power struggles. You might consider checking them out.
 

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It is a LONG time past 2 before kids can take verbal direction successfully. It works much better, IME, to make eye contact, physically help them move their bodies, etc. I know it's a pita but do you want to have a connection with your child, or have always-obedience? I don't think you can have both.

nak
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate the feedback. Piglet, I esspecially appreciate your indepth comments. I know I am expecting a lot from dd, and she is only 2 1/2, she doesn't have the impulse control, I understand that. The thing is she is not an average 2 1/2 year old. My neighboor down the street she has a son, just one month younger. You would think that Amanda is a year older than him, and people do. She has the vocabulary of a 4 or 5 year old, and she expresses herself very well. She potty trained herself before her 2nd birthday. I have already been through the shadowing and physically guiding her. She is very physical she keeps up with 3,4 & 5 year olds on her bicycle and playing ball outside. She is extreemly advanced both physically and verbally. Yet of course she is still only 2 emotionally and psycologically. It is very difficult to treat her like a 2 year old when she acts so much older. She also has the freedom of an older child, able to explore and play. What I am trying to say is I can't keep up with her. I'm sorry I can't follow her around or do everything that she does. We have already been through a lot of that. I know the time outs are not working, I know the power struggles are getting worse. It is just that I don't know what to do.

I read the article you suggested Piglet. I understand the the behavior itself is not bad and she is not doing it on purpose. I understand so many GD concepts, I just don't seem to be able to implement them in practice. I have read "Kids are Worth It" cover to cover, but I just don't see how the strategies are supposed to be implemented. I feel like I am having this crisis, because I gave her so much freedom, and now I am having to place all these limits, and she is constaly asking me "why?", and I am running out of answers. Of course I wanted her to develop her own opinions and thoughts and feelings, and her own voice. But now I find myself complelty unable to deal with it, when she challenges me and contradicts me. I have ended up resorting to all the things I didn't want to do; time outs, punishments, taking toys away. I feel like my whole parenting approach is falling apart.
 

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If your child is gifted (I don't know if she is, but your description leads me to think that might be the case), then you are going to have this struggle all of her life to some degree. I know my mom did. My brother was very gifted intellectually and was a great athlete, but at or below his peers in emotional development. It is a very frustrating thing when they seem so much older in other areas to deal with the fact that they might be behind on emotional development (which includes things like impulse control).

Another area where there might be some mamas that can help is the gifted threads in the special needs forum. Giftedness has a really cool side, but there are some really difficult issues too, and like all of parenting, it is usually more of an issue of parents having to adjust how they interact.
 

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Hugs to you... It's really hard to feel stuck this way. I just think, overall, from reading your posts, it would help for you to try to make as much physical and eye contact with her as possible when you talk to her, and physically MOVE her when you want her to go somewhere or do something.

IF it's safety, say "I am going to help you be safe now" and move her. If she gets mad, that's a whole other thing. You can give comfort and understanding.

It sounds like you might also really benefit from some humor/playful solutions to getting a little compliance. Others have suggested Playful Parenting and Unconditional Parenting, and I agree those are great suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank You All so much. There have been times in the past when I have posted and felt like no one was listening. I really appreciate the heartfelt words of wisdom and advise. Benjalo, I agree she need more physical contact with me. She has been weaning herself down to one nursing a day ( I don't offer, just wait for her to ask). I'm sure that she would benift from more time being hugged and physically guided. Jennifer Z, I did not even know about the gifted thread, thanks for the info.

Also, I think I will look into the Undconditional Parenting book. I've seen that being discused a lot here lately.

Again, thank you for the support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Since starting this thread just a few hours ago, and reading the replies, I have already been able to make some adjustments. I am having an epiphany (sp?). When Amanda is doing something, for example playing in a laundry basket at the top of the stairs ( just 5 min ago), and dh is asking her to get out of the basket, telling her that it is not safe. She just kind of stops and doesn't do anything. She is not trying to defy us necessarily, she need us to come and help her. Oh yeah! This is like duh! Of course she still needs our help. I used to tell dh all the time not to sit across the room telling dd not to do this or that. I drilled into him that he had to get up and redirct her to something else. And here I am doing exactly what I used to tell him not to. She has been climbing and running and doing so many things on her own that we have sliped out of that role of helping her physically to do the right and safe thing. So I tell dh go up there and help her out of the basket if that is what you want her to do. So he starts up the stairs. Well dd thinks he is comming up there to get her and take away the basket. I tell dh, let her know that you are just going to help her to be safe. She calms and lets him help her out of the basket and take it in the bedroom for her to finish playing in.

I think I get it. I need to be more hands on with her. I have been so tired and really sick with this pregnancy, that I have gotten a bit lazy with her, and I am expecting to much for her to follow verbal instructions all the time. I can't beleive I forgot this basic principle and allowed myself to slip into this terrible parenting. I remember having to take her by the hand and guide her away. She has always been very cooperative with that.

Thank You All so much for helping me reason this out. Of course there is still more that we need to work on but I think I am going in the right direction. I feel so much better.
 

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I agree with what others here have said about timeouts- and I would also add that the "counting to three/five/ten" has not been my friend. It sort of stages this battle of wills, a level of threat. Later what I've seen are the children get smart with it and wait until you say "three" to do whatever you've asked, or right after "three"...or even worse, start to say, "oh, but mom you didn't count to three first, so first count to three and then i'll do it." I understand there's a power issue there, and would rather provide choices instead. But not at two and a half.

With my daughter, I dropped the counting, and would instead ask/tell her (depending on safety issue) not to do something and then if she did it, IMMEDIATELY get up and redirect/remove/etc. There is no gray area. I know this must be a lot harder if your energy is flagging? Later, there can be lots of choices and explanations, but if she's doing things to where you fear for her safety, I personally wouldn't count down.

If she is super-smart, maybe she's a little bored right now? I noticed a pattern with that and my daughter (not that she's super smart, but she definitely tested a lot more when she was bored mentally). Can you plan some outings to a park for a silly picnic, or eat dinner for breakfast (or vice versa), or go to a local museum? Give her a ride on a blanket around the living room? Make funny masks or learn a new song? Put on the wacky mommy hat and just go with the ridiculousness of toddlerhood?
 

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Hey, and don't think you've become terrible at parenting, in your words! Sometimes we all slip and forget and things come out that originate in our own childhood, or from fatigue, stress, or well, being pregnant! Parenting takes a lot of creative thought and energy, and sometimes that's hard to muster all day long.

BTW, my daughter (5) still likes to play in the laundry basket. It's her boat, natch, unless dad picks it up and then it becomes a hot air balloon. But yeah, yesterday we had to say - yes, you can play with it on a safe surface, but no, it's not a sleigh to go down the stairs in (her idea the other day), although it would be fun if that would work.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by loraeileen
Hey, and don't think you've become terrible at parenting, in your words! Sometimes we all slip and forget and things come out that originate in our own childhood, or from fatigue, stress, or well, being pregnant! Parenting takes a lot of creative thought and energy, and sometimes that's hard to muster all day long.
ITA. We all do it. I went through this phase with DD once not long ago where she was screaming alot and I realized after posting here for help that I had been basically responding to her "intensity" with more of my own. Okay, I was raising my voice back.
: But then I was reminded here to "focus on what you want more of" and so I responded with quiet, calm speaking and within a couple days it was completely over with.

As for the everyday things, well that is where we all find it hard with GD. What I mean to say is, we read these principles and want that for our kids, but nobody tells you "what do you do when your 2 year old is whacking his baby brother" or "how do you get them to sit still for a hair cut", or all the myriad daily little challenges we face with the toddler and preschooler set. Of all the books I've read, none really address this well. That's why this forum has been such a godsend for me. I've been reading about "what do you do when they don't want to share?" and "my toddler is hitting me" for months before my child was actually at the age to do those things. But when she was, and did, I had so many wonderful suggestions from mamas here. Somebody really needs to write a book about all the little things you encounter from day to day with the really young kids. Once they are able to truly express themselves (which involves understanding what they are feeling, and why) then I think it will be easier b/c I can use "active listening" techniques and involve them more often in "problem solving". But right now DD's skills in that area are limited and it's not always easy to figure out what is wrong and how to help.

Anyways, you sound like a loving (and exhausted!) mama with a bright and wonderful DD. Hope we see more of you around here!
 

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One quick thing I've noticed with the whole "why?" thing, is that I find that I automatically consider it to be "backtalk" when my 4yo does it, but when I'm honest with myself I realize that he only asks "why?" because I normally give him a reason. Which in turn makes me realize that this particular time I HAVEN'T given him a reason. WHICH IN TURN makes me realize that this particular time maybe I'm not all that clear on the reason myself. WHICH IN TURN
makes me either clearer in my own mind about the reason (which I can then communicate to him), or makes me realize that actually there isn't a good reason at all (why shouldn't he play in the rain on a warm day?) and I should change my mind.
 

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My daughter is also very verbal, and also very tall. She looks and talks like a 4-year-old, and not a young 4-year-old, so I sometimes have to remind myself that she's just 3 and hasn't been 3 that long.

I'm just starting to not have to constantly shadow my daughter.

Best of luck to you
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by solstar
I have a 4yr old spirited dd who never sits still and thinks she is grown. She ran away from me at Toys R Us recently and I found her in the bathroom.
The only way she listens if I get down to her level and look into her face.

Otherwise she agrees w/ me and makes noises of agreement w/o even hearing what I am saying, she takes after dh in that respect.

We are in this situation also. What works better for me (DS is 3 and spirited) is go over, tap him on the shoulder or otherwise get his attention first and then say whatever it is. He doesn't respond well to just voice, sometimes being stubborn honestly but much of the time simply being absorbed in what he is doing, very focused, and probably not even hearing me until I specifically get his attention at his level and get him focused on me. More tiring (I'm 32 weeks pregnant so definitely sympathetic!) but less frustrating.

Hang in there.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mosky22
You would think that Amanda is a year older than him, and people do. She has the vocabulary of a 4 or 5 year old, and she expresses herself very well.
My 2.5 dd is like that also. And I totally totally understand you when you say it is difficult to treat her her own age. Especially for me because I have a 4.5 year old too, and I tend to treat them the same way. For instance I am telling her jokes and I expect her to laugh, and she totally does not get jokes... of course... But then she says "oh, that's a joke" and she laughs.. I am digressing ... But for all the verbal and physical maturity, she REALLY is 2.5 I think from what you describe, she is certainly very gifted and when you have a kid like that you need to keep her very busy. Crafts, painting, playing with water, help you clean the house with the vacuum, cleaning the floor with a sponge whatever... I have a very good website but it is in French...
http://auxpetitesmains.free.fr/apartirde2ans.htm
 

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It sounds as though you've found the answer: sit quietly and listen to yourself. I believe that you know the answer, but maybe have forgotten it for a bit. Think of what advice you'd give to someone else in your situation. When I'm caring for my 2yr old nephew, I find that excited mis-direction can help. (Can you jump over this crack on the driveway???) Especially if she's able to do things beyond most 2 yr olds skills! I found out that he could learn how to do jumping jacks one day while distracting him from a crying session. Crazy fun. It sounds as though you have the opportunity, since she stops and looks at you. It might be even more difficult if she never even stopped what she was doing.
Keep up the good work.
 
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