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Do you expect your child to have emtional control?

555 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  ImoKit
My dh and I are debating this more and more these days. Our ds, 2.5yo, in general is a easy-going and easy to disclipline kid.

During the times that he has a meltdown for whatever reason, I am the one trying to figure out WHY he's having the meltdown by watching his cues and talking to him. Thankfully, he's pretty easy to read and can easily be calmed down when I tell him that I want to help him, but while he's crying, I cann't understand what he's trying to tell me. That usually gets him quieted down while I rock and hug him. Then, he can proceed to tell me he's tired, hungry, wants "XYZ", whatever. He uses his words very well.

Dh, on the other hand, is not on the GD boat and thinks that sometimes, ds just needs to suck it up and stop crying. He's a great dad, but he just doesn't have the patience to talk to ds and try to figure out the problem, instead he just says "Stop crying ds!" Which, in turn, upsets ds even more that he cries HARDER.

Now, when all this is happening, dh doesn't pay attention to what is working better (my way or his) and keeps demanding that ds just "suck it up" and that he'll be a "p***y" (cat) if I raised him alone

From a very young age, ds has shown me that he's an emotionally sensitive little man. I'm proud of that and I'm proud of the fact that I'm raising him as a compassionate, sensitive, caring man and father. That is important to me. Sucking it up is not important to me.

So does your SO think your dc should have emotional control? It seems like that could be YEARS down the road.
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This is a problem we had with our youngest for the longest time. She would throw tantrums over the least little things and scream for what seemed like endless amounts of time. Once she hit 3 1/2 years old she started improving and now is a lot easier to calm down. I can usually redirect her pretty quick or just ask her to not be that way if she has no real reason to be that way. I try to get her to tell me WHY she is so upset in the first place, and encourage her to talk to me about it. By then it usually just calms her down doing that.

I'm sure all kids are different with this kind of thing. But it will get easier for your child within the next year or so I bet.
I think your ds is way too young to control his emotions right now. My ds is a bit older than your son( 32 mos) and his emotions are right now very much in control of him. I'm 36 and most times I have a hard time being in control
I know what has tricked me in the past with my older kids is thinking just because they are super verbal they have extra control. I've now seen the error in this. Maybe your dh is putting pressure on him to talk about it because his expectations are too high. It may even help to give your husband new words. Obviously the stop crying isn't working , but he's not ready to cuddle and rock it out. Maybe he could find his own catch phrase for he and ds. My dh is from the Carribean and his phrase is "brace up". It means the same thing and said with an accent it's kind of cute. Also when we call ds Dude it tends to difuse the situation. HTH These two year old emotions are very hard.
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Of course not! Waaaay too young to be able to assemble emotions and act in a way that is socially expected for an adult. DH could use some tips on child development.

It is hard at that age because they understand everything you say. They are getting verbal--they SEEM so grown up. But in six months you and DH will look back at this time and remember a baby, not someone who should be in control.

Have you read Becoming the Parent You Want to Be? It is excellent for explaining what you should expect at what age.

Slightly OT, are adults ever totally in control of their emotions 24/7? No. We can get snarky when we are tired or hungry. If we have a day when things don't go well, we lose our patience. We may or may not break down crying, but we certainly are not ourselves when we have been having a rough time.
I study early childhood development.

No two and a half year old has emotional control and your husband is NUTS to think that your son should. This really doesn't begin to develop properly until much later (think 5, 6, 7) and he is expecting too much. I wouldn't expect a 4 yo to be able to stop crying upon being told to do so, much less a 2.5

I suggest doing a little research online for what is normal at his age and having your husband read it. If he's this demanding now, good luck to him when your son gets older.

Originally Posted by annab
Have you read Becoming the Parent You Want to Be? It is excellent for explaining what you should expect at what age.
Thanks for the book recommendation, I will check into that. I think it would definitely help if dh could see what is average for a 2.5 yo.
Quote from The Natural Child Project by Jan Hunt

"Adult-like behavior matures by the time we are adults"

Always the one I use when I'm trying to help someone else understand why I treat my children with compassion and respect, ESPECIALLY when they are in the midst of a meltdown!
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I agree with the other posts that children can't control there emotions , gosh adults can't always either, you should see me PMS time
Dracula beware. No let them be kids and comfort them if that helps ,sometimes it makes it worse. I think it's sad when I see kids fall and hurt themselves and parents say get up you'll be right, my first instinct is to comfort. I have found comforting them when they are hurt at least slows down there emotional outbursts, other times when they are crying for tantruming or other reasons comforting doesn't always work. Still working on what does work, aren't we all.
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Of course my dd's are all over age 9!

A two year old. No way. No how!
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My ds is almost 27 mos, and no way does he have emotional control!! There are so many things that are new, confusing, frustrating, and sometimes even painful in his life. Heck, I don't have emotional control all of the time. The best I can hope for is that I can make him feel a little better when he gets overwhelmed, and best case, he can tell me what upset him after he calms down. I have printed a few pages from Jan Hunt's website and keep them on the fridge to remind me and dh of the "big picture." That ds is a child and needs more than anything our love and support. Maybe you could put this one on your fridge for you dh to see? He may just not understand that ds is not developmentally even close to "controlling his emotions."

And do you want him to be? Ever? Emotions are feelings, and feelings should be expressed. No emotion is ever wrong. But there are unpleasant ways to express them. And these unpleasant ways are definitely more likely to happen if feelings are bottled up. With GD our children are learning to express their feelings in ways that are helpful to them without hurting anyone else. But thinking that you can actually control an emotion is a dangerous path. This was really common in how our generation was raised, though. Don't cry. Don't show any weakness. Don't express your fears. My dh and I have always struggled with his ingrained need to hide any emotion that is considered negative, and it has taken us years of counselling to work through.

Good luck to you. Trust your instincts, and have faith that you and your dh can come to an understanding and work together. This is pretty novel stuff for a lot of people. It's hard to get past the way we were raised.

By the way, I just bought Archie Kohn's dvd Unconditional Parenting for my dh. I loved the book, and I thought the dvd would be easier for him to get through.
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Originally Posted by peilover010202
My dh and I are debating this more and more these days. .... He's a great dad, but he just doesn't have the patience to talk to ds and try to figure out the problem, instead he just says "Stop crying ds!" .
Your instincts are right. I wonder if this is a calm guy thing. Our ds is also good natured and rarely melted down. My dh is very like yours. He's a great dad in many ways, but at about this age, he too kept telling ds to that he "needs to calm down".

I kept saying "just HOW is he going to calm down just like that? You have to teach him TOOLS to calm down." I'm not sure that ever really got through. Dh is very good at controlling his emotions. He considers it to be "carrying on" when I get upset and say something like "I really wish you'd clean your crap off the couch. There's no room for me to sit and I feel like you're taking over the house." Apparently the 2nd sentence is carrying on
: !

Maybe you could suggest to dh that instead of saying "stop crying" he could give ds something specific (and positive) to do.

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Originally Posted by LynnS6
Maybe you could suggest to dh that instead of saying "stop crying" he could give ds something specific (and positive) to do.

Lynn, I think that is a perfect idea! Dh doesn't always do so great in the redirecting area (and I'm still definitely learning), but there are plenty of things dh could entice ds to do that would be fun and get his mind off the meltdown subject.

And, to colleen, no, I don't particularly WANT ds to control his emotions all the time. Although, I do know there will be times in his life when this is valuable (work is my first thought), so I do want him to have the tools - but at this point it's not at all important to me.

Thanks everyone!
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Well i have no kids right now but.. I am 22 and cant FULLY control my emotions LOL. When I am hungry i sigh huff and puff and my bf knows he better feed me soon! LOL
sorry accidentally posted before I'd finish typing
Everyone has meltdowns, as you get older you have less, untill you become a teenager when you have more (but less than when you were 2). Then the meltdown frequency decreases again untill you get pregnant, get PMS or have something stressfull going on in your life, then the meltdowns increase.

Also, PMS + Teenage hormones = level of emotional controll expected in a 2yo.

Could you copy the way your DH tries to get your Ds to calm down, next time he (DH) throws a tantrum (everyone I've met has occasional wobbly so i'm assuming this a reflection of the human race). Thatway maybe he'll get the point that it doesn't help.
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