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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS is 3 years old.

He pees on the floor, then runs to me and says "Mommy, I peed on the floor!"

He tackles and jumps on his little brother.

He whines.

He walks by a table with books on it and in one big sweep, he pushes them all off.

He spits his drink out all over the floor.

Its like this from the moment we wake up. And please don't tell me I'm not paying enough attention to him, because I do. Sometimes I have to make dinner, pee, change a diaper, or nurse his brother. If we are home, life is a nightmare. If we are out of this house, we do fine. But it can't be like that all the time.

I'm angry all the time. I'm down on myself. I'm resorting to punitive discipline because as much as I talk and try to be gentle, nothing seems to help. I try to be positive, happy and and a healthy influence on him. But I'm not. I'm miserable.

I feel like all my posts anymore are negative. I'm deep down in a hole and I can't get out.

I'm sorry - this is much more of a downer then I expected it to be... I keep searching for answers to make everyone happier in this house...
 

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My DD is about 5 weeks into potty-learning. 3 weeks ago we decided to ditch the diapers altogether. Sometimes she has accidents. She says "mommy i peed on the floor". Some might think she's boasting, lol. She's not. She knows she's supposed to pee on the potty, but she also knows that everyone makes mistakes and it's okay. we've never acted negatively so i see her reaction as proof that we haven't made her feel shameful or afraid of making a mistake. My advice is to assume the best of intentions, even if you feel he's just doing it "on purpose" or "for attention"...just act like it's an honest mistake, say "that's okay honey, it's an accident. next time try to let me know if you need to go pee." and that's it. don't make an issue out of it.

Tackling and jumping on his little brother also sounds perfectly normal to me. Geez, my 3 year old DD does that sometimes to DS. Kids get excited, they play a bit rough. Get in there with them, guide them, gently. Plan ahead for them not to be out of sight together if you feel your older one is a bit full of beans...Again, don't make a big issue out of it, just assume the best: your son doesn't want ot hurt his little brother but he gets caught up in the fun and loses control. be sympathetic. help him the same way you would tutor a student - guide, baby steps, show them...don't berate them (or feel negative within yourself) about mistakes.

Sweeping books off a table. Again, don't make a big deal of it. Say 'oh look, all the books are on the floor, let's pick them up." Encourage him to come and help you, but don't force him. Think about what circumstances lead up to this? Is he emotional - angry, frustrated at the time? Does he need help expressing those emotions in a less destructive way? "You look angry. You may not throw books on the floor, but you can <hit pillows, jump up and down, whatever>". Is he doing this out of boredom? Is he doing it becuase it's fun? Are there books he can do this to? Or maybe you should keep your more valuable books off the table so you aren't triggered so strongly when he does this.

Spitting his drink on the floor. Say "uh oh, you got you water on the floor. we need to clean it up.' Hand him a rag and show him. Don't force it. Again, don't make an issue out of it. You might also give him only one sip at a time. Tell him "you may not spit your water on the floor. i will give you sips of your water to help you drink it." Or you may say "Water is not for playing, water is for drinking" and make sure he only has water when he's really thirsty.

I don't think how much attention you pay him is really the issue. I think it's the kind of attention you're paying him. You'd be amazed what a simple change in perspective will accomplish. Don't let the little things get you down. Don't make issues out of things. Assume the best of intentions. Even if his intentions are all "bad" your attitude change will affect him. Maybe he's feeling like he's a screwup, like all he does is make you mad and upset. Maybe he feels he can't do anything right.

I know this is a lot to swallow. You sound at your wits' end.
 

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You know what, my DD can be like this much of the time. Makes me crazy. And the thing is, I think it's pretty interesting for her when I get angry, even if she doesn't like it. I found myself raising my voice to her today and it escalated from there - she yelled at me, I got more angry, etc.

I wish sometimes that I could do exactly what piglet suggested - just react neutrally to my DD's behavior, fix the problem, and move on. I think it might actually make her feel bored, and less inclined to do this stuff (IF, in fact, she's doing it intentionally and isnt' just being wild, which I also believe is sometimes the case).

No advice other than to say taking a deep breath and riding it out sounds like a really good idea, but I can't manage to do that so well, so...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the support.

Piglet, first I want to say I really appreciate how you are always supportive and "there" for mamas... I've always enjoyed and benefited from reading your posts. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

As far as what you posted here, I have to say, I do ALL those things! I really do! I guess I'm losing it because I've been doing that for a year now with ds. I'm afraid I've "let" him get totally out of "control."

He pees on the floor..
Me: "Oops, you missed the potty. Next time where do we pee?"
Him: "In the Potty!"
Or sometimes I don't say anything really and just clean it up. I've also caught him mid-pee and taken him upstairs to finish. He finds it all hilarious.

He jumps on his brother to get a reaction from me. Period. When he is smashing his brother's face into the floor for the ZILLIONTH time, yes, it does cause a reaction from me. The other million times I was able to let it go or react calmly.

Sweeping books off the table... yet again he's done a zillion times.

I don't know. Sigh. I just don't remember my non-ap nephews acting like this. Of course, they got locked in the bathroom or put on the stairs for time out about every other minute.

Anyway, tonight ended quite well. He went over to his cousins to play for awhile while I did some errands and I think it was good for both of us.

He can truly be such a wonderful boy. He was so sweet tonight... thanking his uncle for making popcorn, and hugging his aunt goodbye. He walked so sweetly to the car and got in all by himself, gave me kisses and we had a nice drive home. I know he really enjoyed being out of the house.

I swear, there is bad karma in our house.
: We actually burned sage throughout the house last week in hopes it would help.
 

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Sounds really tough!!!

"When he is smashing his brother's face into the floor for the ZILLIONTH time, yes, it does cause a reaction from me. The other million times I was able to let it go or react calmly."

He should not be let to do this. If he is a threat to his brother, as it seems he clearly is, you (or someone else) need to be within arms reach and prevent attacks like these. I think when they are let go, the child doesn't realize just how serious it is. Even if you start yelling afterwards, he knows that you (in essence) let it happen time and time again -- so it can't be that big of a deal. You wouldn't let him play with knives, obviously. I'd react in these cases as though he were about to approach a knife. I'm not one to think that consistency is extremely important, but in this case I think that he simply cannot be let to do this -- or at least that you should do everything in your power to prevent it from happening. His brother does not deserve to be assaulted. Would you let him to this to a child who is not yours if that child were also under your care?
 

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Just wanted to let you know, Mommy&Will, that when my DD hurts my DS it's all I can do to stop myself from slapping her, screaming at her, or yelling "look what you did!!! see how hurt he is??? YOU did that to him!!". It's horrible what goes through my mind. The Mama Bear in me just cannot handle seeing my baby hurt. Fortunately, it's a rare event in our house. But I do watch carefully when they are together because DD just gets very excited playing with him and really doesn't understand what is okay and what isn't.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Piglet68
Just wanted to let you know, Mommy&Will, that when my DD hurts my DS it's all I can do to stop myself from slapping her, screaming at her, or yelling "look what you did!!! see how hurt he is??? YOU did that to him!!". It's horrible what goes through my mind. The Mama Bear in me just cannot handle seeing my baby hurt. Fortunately, it's a rare event in our house. But I do watch carefully when they are together because DD just gets very excited playing with him and really doesn't understand what is okay and what isn't.
While you certainly shouldn't scream and yell, I do think it's appropriate to calmly but firmly direct the "offending" child to observe the other child's tears and hurt that were the result of his deliberate attack. The reason we don't smash other people's faces into the floor isn't because our moms said not to, it's because it *hurts* the other person. You can also start instructing the child in how to make ammends. If they are willing (and they often are after they have really stopped to take a look at how the other child is crying, etc.), show them ways they can help the hurt child or offer comfort.

I have a brainstorm for the OP. If you have a video camera and tri-pod, set it up and let it roll some morning or afternoon. You won't be in the frame the whole time, but you'll be able to hear much of what goes on between you and ds. DH and I watched one of those awful "Nanny" shows tonight (a rare thing for us) and I saw some *very* obvious mistakes the mom was making. One was in regard to hitting. Her 3 year old son would be hitting her (the mom) repeatedly, and she would just cover her head with her hands and tell (beg) him to stop -- to no avail, of course.
I'm sitting there thinking: "Take his hands and hold them! Tell him you will not allow him to hit you!" Duh! She is 3 times his size yet she's cowering under his blows! It's not non-GD to defend yourself or others by restraining a violent toddler or preschooler. No surprise -- the siblings were regularly bashing eachother as well. My point is that sometimes problems and solutions seem more obvious when you are watching from the outside. So consider watching yourself from the outside and see what comes up.

You sound like you are really at your wits' end. I don't want to add to your stress by sounding harsh or unsupportive, but does seem to me like your ds's behavior is a little excessive, since it has *you* so drained and frustrated. If you were to laugh and say, "He sure keeps me on my toes!", then I might say, "Whatever works for you!" But clearly this is not working for you. And if you are feeling so down about yourself all the time, it's not working for him either. I believe in GD, and while GD means not being harsh, it doesn't mean you can't show honest disapproval. For example, both my kids went through the spitting-the-drink phase. I reacted by showing my disapproval ("Alexander, you may not spit on the floor!") and having them help me clean it up. (Why pretend it's OK as long as you clean it up? It's not OK, IMO.) I was careful not to *over* react though. They got through the phase pretty quickly when they saw that I disapproved, but that didn't really push any major buttons for me.

As for things like peeing on the floor or knocking books off a table, my nearly 3 y.o. ds (who can give me plenty of frustration, don't get me wrong!) is able to understand that he is either creating hard work for someone else or undoing someone else's hard work. I suppose it may not work for all children, but pointing this out works better than anything else I have tried for things like getting him to stop throwing freshly folded clothes out of the laundry basket.
: This was a real problem for us until I got down on his level and explained that Poppy (dh) had worked hard to fold all of those clothes, and when they get all unfolded that undoes Poppy's hard work. I reminded him that it makes him mad when his sister undoes his hard work. He really got it, and hasn't gone nuts with the laundry since. (I've had to remind him a couple of times, but that is enough to make him stop now.)
Who knows, but something like that might work for the deliberate peeing on the floor. (Assuming it *is* deliberate.) He is making extra and unnecessary work for you, even if he does help clean it up. If it's simply a matter of not getting to the bathroom on time, that's a different issue. You may simply have to take him to the bathroom before it gets to that point. I have to do this with my ds -- he will be doing a major "potty dance", yet still say "no" if you ask him if he has to go.
I often just take him to the bathroom without bothering to ask him if he has to go. I *know* he has to go! :LOL

The "making work" thing might work for the books too, but you might want to consider keeping tables mostly clear for a while so that you don't have to engage that behavior. There are plenty of other things you're dealing with that can't be so easily prevented -- it's probably worth it to eliminate the ones that *are* preventable if you can. (That reminds me of another dumb thing the mom on the Nanny show did
: She kept telling her kids to stop eating candy -- to no avail of course. When they did it anyway, she didn't take the obvious step of removing the bowl of candy from the kitchen counter! She just kept nagging them.
)

Hang in there -- some of this might be a phase, but hopefully you can find some ideas to get at least a little more peace in your home. I hope I haven't come off as harsh -- I really don't mean to.
It's late and I sometimes get more abrupt than I intend to. Time to go to bed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I love all you mamas.


Today has been a much better day.

Here's some of the tactics I've used today to help deter frustrations:

Peeing on the floor:
I tell ds he must wear a diaper or underwear because we have to make sure the floor doesn't get wet. He protests but I was firm about it and he realized this and put up little protest.

Sitting on his brother:
This is a total game for him and I struggle with this. I KNOW its not right to "let" him hit his brother. I don't. But ds #2 is a busy guy, crawling all over the house and I can't be an arm's length away every second. Maybe every minute, but every second is hard! And as far as the reference to knives - I can put knives away, I can't put his baby brother away (although I sling him as much as he is willing). I know where you are coming from and I try very hard to minimize these incidents, but sometimes it happens.

I've tried so many tactics. I've held his hands and said "we do not hit. hands are for (clapping, tickling, loving, something like that." He sees ds #2 cry and I ask him how that makes him feel. Know what he says? "Good." : ( Its getting harder now because they are "playing" together now that Jack is getting older. DS #2 is giggling half the time his big brother is sitting on him!

Dumping water on the floor:
He was dumping his cup of water on the floor (shaking the sippy until the water comes out), so I just calmly took and said "we'll keep it up on the counter until you are ready for another drink of water."

Knocking books off the table:
I just exclaimed "oh no, what a mess. we can hardly walk in here now because of these books in the way. What do you think we should do about it?" DS answers "I know! Let's clean up." Of course, other times he just ignores me and runs out of the room.

I sometimes worry about being too complacent. Its like I'm hard-wired for punitive discipline. I worry, am I really teaching him like I think I am or is this all going to come back and bite me in the [email protected]@ when he is older.

This is so very hard. I just want to tell him "pick the #%$* books, and stop throwing your $*&$( cup or else!"


I also made sure that when we woke up this morning, we went straight downstairs and started setting up his train set. He was thrilled and played happily with it while I got breakfast.

Anyway... this all sounds so trivial when I chunk it down like this. I want to improve my behavior. I am working on that. I also know that I am depressed and can't seem to shake it... I don't know if this is just normal mommy burnout depression or something else.

Thanks for all these insightful responses. I keep re-reading each post to make sure I've absorbed all this advice!

 

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Too late to respond? Hope not...

My DS is about the same age as your DS1, and I recognize some of those behaviors, and they come about when he's bored. Messing with books (a returning favorite; DD did it too), pouring out water, even being too rough with others: all of that sounds like he needs something else to do. He's trying to get a reaction out of you, right? He's playing your buttons. A scientist -- if I do this, will she still do that?

I really struggle with finding that something else to do that doesn't involve a) my constant presence, and B) a PLAY button. I just can't say how hard that is for me sometimes...exhausting. Running from DD activity to DS activity to chore to sit down to DD to DS to chore...

Anyway, I really, really feel your pain (I actually typed "paint" which may actually be a good activity...) because I'm suffering through a lot of it to, right down to pulling my hair and climbing all over me.

So here's to another good day for you! Hope you're even able to string a few together!
 

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About hitting: one thing that I've seen done at a school I worked at, was that the teacher would say, "oh, so sad, it looks like you forgot that we don't hit in our house/school/whatever and you need to hold my hand for a little while until you can remember to keep a safe body. (Insert name) needs to feel safe, and I need to know you can remember, so you can hold my hand so I know where you are and that you're both safe. Let me know when you think you can remember" And keep them with you for a while, holding hands, going about the day, housework, whatever. After a few times of this, they do remember. It's not punitive, I don't think, if it's stated in a way that's matter of fact. Hitting is just not going to be ok, and they lose some freedom of body movement for a little while until they can remember.

With peeing on the floor deliberately (I'm sure you probably know when the difference is), I did have my daughter help me clean it up. Same with books or other things to get attention. I guess she needed attention, and if that meant cleaning it up together, then that's what we did, with a hug at the end and some sort of something else later (books, art, etc).

With whining (a HUGE peeve of mine) I say, I'm sorry, I don't understand that sound, I can listen when your voice sounds like mine (and talk in a very soft, calm voice). And I really won't respond. Ok, unless she has a fever or something.

If I'm at wit's end, then I know it's probably time to plan something fun where we can hopefully get away from our tensions (i.e. zoo, visit to a friend's, or a playdate at home, doing things together all day). Granted, I have just one right now - ask me in 6 more mos how we're coping!

I've used the Sears, Love and Logic, Faber & Mazlish, and Kurcinka books to get ideas from - who needs the Nanny?? I have never used time-outs or spankings, but the consistency, choices, natural consequences (i.e. eat too much sugar and your tummy hurts - had to go through it at least once - I think that's the most extreme example I've got), and expectations were HUGE for us.
 
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