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I just don't know how to handle my toddler (ds, 23 months). He is completely and utterly out of control. And I feel exactly the same way (out of control). I think my husband also feels at a loss. Ds is incredibly "spirited" and incredibly smart and I don't know what I've done wrong but I can't deal with him at all anymore. it's like he is on hyperdrive at all times. OK, examples: he runs away from me constantly and especially if there is a busy road around. He laughs when I tell him how scary that is for me. If I yell at him (yes, lately I have been really yelling at him) he just laughs and does it more. I can't take him anywhere. At the park, he pushes any child that gets near him. He takes any toys away from any child he sees. He throws things at me. He says "don;t throw at mommy", and then laughs and throws whatever he is holding at me. He especially hits and throws stuff at me when me husband is home. HE waits for DH to look at him and then he runs over and hits me. Of course DH freaks out. Often then DS will run to his room and sit on his bed like he is taking a time out. He won't take a nap for me. He won't go to bed for me. He just laughs and bounces on the bed and refuses to lay down. We can do this for three hours and then he will succumb to exhaustion and sleep. He goes to sleep in 20 minutes for my husband, I can't even give him a bath. He splashes water at me and laughs hysterically. I say, "remember, I don't want to get wet right now", or "why don't you splash the wall", or just plain "cut it out", and the response is always the same. He just does it more and as much as fast as he can, laughing and laughing and laughing. I could go on and on. He is like a tornado. I am 8 months pregnant and I just find myself reduced to tears over him constantly. No matter where we go or what we do, he is always the loudest, fastest, most "poorly behaved" child. I am so tired of having my parenting being in the spotlight all the time. And did I mention the endless temper tantrums??? Constant, over everything. What do I do? I can't even believe I am going to have a new baby in 7 weeks, and am going to be dealing with ds and a newborn and no sleep. I can't do it. I just feel horrible. I have become a terrible mother. I yell at him at least daily and I feel horrible about that. So horrible. I'm just at my wits end. I feel like such a failure.
 

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First of all, mama, here's a big hug...


My DD is the same age as your son (they are a week apart!). Here are some thoughts I'm getting reading your post:

My DD is pretty good at not running away, but if she did have that habit, I would simply not put her in the situation to do that. Whether it means I carry her, or she goes in a stroller, even with protests (which would be met with comfort and sympathy, but no change in the situation). Frankly, I know for a fact that my DD cannot comprehend the "safety" issue, and yes she would laugh her head off if I tried to turn this into an "obey" situation (see my other threads on that subject!).

My DD is too young to comprehend the seriousness of situations. And to see me getting all upset with her does make her laugh. Why? Well, for one thing, she's never seen me like that, so it's a new reaction from me. Two, its sort of a game: hey, I can make mama react in that funny way (until you start really hurting the child, I don't think they have much reason to fear anger in you...just a theory).

I think you are expecting too much of your son to respond to your seriousness with seriousness himself, or to have too much control over his own actions without your assistance.

If my DD pushed kids at the playground, or took toys (which is totally normal at this age) I'd hover over her to prevent it, keep her away from other kids, go when others aren't around, etc. It's all about prevention at this age. You can certainly start explaining things while you are actively intervening, but to expect them to "comply" on their own is, IMO, too much.

We've had the same issues with water splashing in the tub. Again, I've discussed this on my other threads here...

In short, I think you are expecting too much of your son in terms of his ability to control his behaviour. I think you need to cut the power struggles out immediately - don't make this about "obeying" or responding to your anger alone...help him, do it for him, model it for him, and be there constantly to prevent it (while explaining what you are doing and why). He WILL grow out of this stage, and you won't be doing this forever.

I believe that it is the strong-willed kids who suffer most from any sort of power play. They'll push and push to regain control, until the parent breaks. Or the parent ultimately uses force on the child, and the child internalizes the loss of power, only to regain it in some other situation.

I made the mistake of turning the bath situation into a power struggle, and boy did it backfire on me. Returning to my usual policy of not starting such struggles has worked much better for us.

Hope this helps.

 

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(((Hugs)))

Unfortunately, I don't have any brilliant advice for you. I found that when things have been the toughest with my kids, they are doing a lot of learning and growing and I just did my best to "ride it out." Then, they hit a lull stage when things are laid back and easy (er!). I can relate to feeling like your kid is the one who is always acting poorly -- it is so very difficult.

One thing that stuck out was your ds throwing things/hitting you when your dh is home, and your dh's reaction to it. Try asking dh not to freak out, maybe that will help. It's a tough situation because you don't want to ignore it completely and feel like you're condoning the hitting.

Do you bathe your ds every night? Does he need it? My kids love a bath, but they get very wound up by it, so unless I'm feeling somewhat superhuman, we do a washcloth routine before bed. For bigger messes, they stand in the tub while I wipe them down. (I'm 6 mos pg right now, kids are 4.5 and 2.5.)

It's an awful feeling to be struggling so much when you're expecting. I'm usually on an even keel emotionally, not even any PMS or anything like that, but I'm convinced that I get it all at once during pregnancy. And then I spend the whole pg feeling like the world's worst mother and wondering how I'm going to cope, etc. So, you're not alone, and you're not a failure. I have come to realize that I *really* have to simplify everything. As much as I want to make dinners from scratch or have a clean bathroom or whatever, it is not worth it when I get burned out so easily. I still struggle with feeling like a failure, comparing myself to other young-ish moms with kids who seem to be able to do it all and keep it all together when pg.

(((hugs)))
 

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You know what's weird? My older son lost his marbles when I was about 8 months pg. with his baby brother. He seriously lost all control of his behavior and became exactly what you describe. A "tornado." And he exhibited a lot of agression toward me as well. I really think he was in "panic mode" about the new baby, and the only thing that seemed to help was a lot of focused "special" attention.

I also agree that taking preventative action is important. For instance, he should be in a stroller or be held in situations where he might run off.

He also sounds a little overstimulated. In your shoes, I would reduce all social outings and playdates. For your own sanity. Maybe try to find ways for him to run and play that do not involved too much social pressure/stimulation.

I would give up on naps. He'll adjust after a couple weeks. But it doesn't sound worth the struggle to me!

I wanted to edit and add -- I think his violent actions toward you might be curbed by putting words to some of his feelings for him. I would restrain him when he hits, because you do need to stop the behavior. But I would try to articulate some of the worries he might have, and anger he might have, in a way that is not-judgemental. It might really help him to feel "understood."
 

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wow, sometimes i forget how hard the toddler years were.
i remember trying to be so patient, but then at times i'd just cry and wonder how we'd explain his behavior to his college professors when the time came.

it does get better. not that this helps you now.

with the running in the street thing: we'd go on walks in the evenings on the side of a residential street. every time a car came, we'd say "stop! car!" and freeze. we'd act like it was very urgent, without completely freaking out. when the car passed, we'd make a big deal about being able to walk again.
when he'd run into the street while playing, i'd freak out in a very exagerated way "OH NOOOO! STREET! CARS! AHHHH!!!!!" these worked well with him. he might laugh at you at first, but be consistant.

with the playground thing: we had this very same problem. nothing healed it but time. although he's almost 4 and he had an incident today, but overall it does get much better
are there any older kids he can play with? like 3-4 year olds? my son did so well with this age group, and would rarely fight with them because he had such respect for them.
as far as going out, look at when his best behavior is during the day...is it after a nap? in the morning? my son was hell on wheels in the afternoons, so we stayed inside then. if i had to run an errand, it was in the mornings. all grocery shopping after a certain point was done on the weekends when dad was home and i'd go alone. or after dh got home from work.

about hitting...the toddler years are when we teach kids to express their feeling with words. this was so hard for my son at this age because he had speech delays, not to mention that most kids this age don't have a lot of words yet. when my son would hit, it was because it was the quickest, most easiest way to express his frustration. we told him that when he feels angry to use his "big strong voice": "No!" "Don't hit me!" One great way to work on resolving conflict is to have child who was hit to tell the hitter that it hurt, she didn't like that, etc. then the hitter (with mom's help) asks the child who was hit if there is anything he can do to help (hug, say sorry, ice for his arm, etc).

give him things to do that empower his independence. he's trying so hard to figure out how not to be this baby anymore, but at the same time they need mom and dad so much, and it's such an akward, frustrating time.

that's what this age is all about, pushing your boundaries to test you. do your best to know your limits, to set boundaries for him. he will try like crazy at first to push any boundaries you make, to see if you'll give in, but he doesn't want you too--someone told me that deep inside, children are telling us "mom, dad, i don't want to be responsible for the whole world". by setting limits, boundaries, you are showing him that you love him. and i remember that people used to always tell me this, and that it didn't really help at all, so sorry...


good luck to you...i can't imagine going through that age period while being pregnant. it was such a difficult age for me, he was so challenging.
 

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Quote:
You know what's weird? My older son lost his marbles when I was about 8 months pg. with his baby brother. He seriously lost all control of his behavior and became exactly what you describe. A "tornado." And he exhibited a lot of agression toward me as well. I really think he was in "panic mode" about the new baby, and the only thing that seemed to help was a lot of focused "special" attention.
i just read this. me too! my son was 3 and a half, and at 8 months life became hell again. and, his toilet training regressed, he started sleeping with us again, behavior was out of control...
his preschool teacher told me there is a word in spanish for toddler regression while mom is pregnant. so it must be common.
 

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First off, BIG hugs to you.

My older son was 22.5 mos when his baby brother arrived 6 weeks before we were expecting him (turned out to be a fully cooked chubby little guy about 3.5 wks early). Things had been challenging until then, with my energy level declining and my son (very bright and energetic) keeping me running.

when ds#2 arrived we fastforwarded into the "terrible twos" behavior I'd heard about but didn't believe until I saw it. (sorry if that term offends anyone!) In our case it was perpetual conflict from sunup to sundown....he would talk back to me, contradict me constantly, he had off the wall energy, started to get labeled 'hyperactive,' people would give me the "what's wrong with your child?" stare, even people close to me asked me what was wrong with him. All this while trying to care for a newborn. Then, in comes the extreme bouts of jealousy of his little brother.

Some weeks I would come unglued at him every day. It was horrible to feel so out of control, and to watch myself become a mother I didn't want to be every single day.

The great thing is it FINALLY passed.....ds#1 is a magical, wonderful, generally far more self-controlled and fun to be around 3.25 yo now. It's hard for me to believe he is the same kid. Still has "off" days and so do I, but it's not 24/7 anymore.

Hang in there! We're rooting for ya.
 

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Every time I've seen you with your ds, I thought you two had an amazing relationship that I've always admired.

I don't have any advice for you. I just wanted you to know that by watching the two of you together in the past I had a lot to gain by learning from you both.

Off topic, relating personal experience:
Last night my friend/neighbor Christina came over with her son Bruce (maybe you know them...they are in the Seattle deaf community). He is 10 months. For the first time ever, Raven hit him over the head with a block, and just acted like a total brat, taking all of his toys and pushing him and grabbing from him. I was stunned.... Is this *my* child? I worry that I got a taste of struggles ahead.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mocha09
Every time I've seen you with your ds, I thought you two had an amazing relationship that I've always admired.

I don't have any advice for you. I just wanted you to know that by watching the two of you together in the past I had a lot to gain by learning from you both.

I agree with ms. mocha on that one.
Hang in there mama.
 

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For things like running into the street, the key is to practice what TO do when not in a dangerous situation. I work with a boy with autism, starting with he ws 3. We'd walk holding hands and I'd stay "stop" and we'd both stop. Then I'd do it and let him do the stopping. I slowly let him get further away before I said "stop" that way in the beginning I was right there to physically stop him. Each time he stopped, he got lots of praise. Now he can be 20 feet ahead of me and will stop when I say stop. This has come in handy in the parking lot - one time he started to run, which is wierd becuase he never runs in the parking lot. But I was able to stop him with my words.

I would definitely do this with a toddler too. That way you can have the freedom to lt them learn to listen to you without the danger of cars (try it in the park, on quiet sidewalks, etc.)
 

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My dd is a day younger than your ds, and I describe her as a 'miniature human tornado.' Sounds so familiar. I find it tiring, and I'm only just pregnant, not 8 months. So, hugs.

First, I'd take some practical steps. Eg, running away. When dd does this, she goes on her harness (yes, I know there are strong feelings about this one here, but I'd rather her a live tornado than a squashed one
). End of problem. Actually, she likes the harness and it keeps everyone saner. I tried the 'stop' instruction but know that she will only listen and respond one out of four times, and I cannot afford that risk. So, practical measures win for us. And it is a phase that passes, dd#1 did the same thing and we used the harness, and now we have no problem with the 'stop' instruction. But it got us thruogh the tough (pregnant) times.

Re things like the tub, I accept that I'll get wet when I bath her. So, I wear an old pair of shorts and put up with it. I set some limits (eg no complete buckets of water over the edge or over me) but let some splashing go. I try to help her by letting her choose a toy to take in the bath, right now it's toy animals that she washes with cloths and soap, and it keeps her entertained without the need to throw water. Alternatively, if theres something like this that will wind you all up, I'd just wipe him with a cloth and not bath him. When baths are too stressful for us we make good use of the paddling pool outside in the afternoon and forget the tub for a few days.


I'd pick activities that are not so difficult for you, avoid things that are going to set him off, and wait it out. It will pass, I know this from dd#1. It may be tough when you have the baby for a while, but after a bit you'll forget about all this.

got to go to sort out my own little tornado, good luck with yours!!
 

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hugs to you! sounds like a very tough phase.

I agree with the above posters and add one thought re: tub time:

My dd (19mos) LOVES to splash. I've been known to fill the big cooler we have outside with the hose and she can play int he water till her little heart's content. Usualy 2-3 hours. I'm wondering if there are places in your life where you can let go and stop saying "no" and find ways to say yes -- splashing outside, running in a field at the park...etc.

Quote:
No matter where we go or what we do, he is always the loudest, fastest, most "poorly behaved" child.
Ok I went back to your post and saw this. My instant thought was to translate it for you:
"He is always the most confident, fastest, willing to take risks and try anything new" child.
 

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i just wanted to offer a little support, mamapajama. my ds is 4 and dd is 1. life got tough in the middle of my pregnancy w/dd as ds still wanted to nurse and i couldn't stand it. we had our first "fights" then, and this whole year has been rocky. he's whiney, demanding, "bad-on-purpose" (ie: running into house w/dirt to sprinkle on floors immediately after he watched me vaccuum), jealous of sister, etc. i, too, am at the end of my rope and have behaved hideaously over and over again.
i just met w/a psychologist (who i'm not thrilled w/as one of his initial comments was that maybe he's just spoiled and certainly my troubles wouldn't be so big if i'd weaned him at "6 or 8 months", but i'm gonna try one more session...) and it's covered by insurance. even if this guy is a bad match for me, i think it's a good idea to get the help of a pro, at least to get some ideas and to be able to focus on the problems.
good luck. i gotta get some sleep so i can try to deal peacefully tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow, thanks everyone for all the support. This has been a better week for all of us. I have really relinquished a lot of the mommy stuff to my husband so I can try to get some more rest, and that seems to be helping my patience. Michelle, I really appreciate your words of comfort. I am so very hard on myself and I get so focused on my "failures" that I don't notice the times that I have been very patient and the times when I beam with pride at my son who can often be the most charming little angel. PArenting can just be so hard , I had no idea, and so often feel at a loss for how to handle a situation. I am trying to be easier on myself, and just take it one hour at a time. I am also really trying to focus on all the great positive loving things ds says and does all day long, and continuousely praise him and just give him as much love as I can possibly muster during these hot pregnant days. I'm taking lots of deep breaths, and giving lots of hugs. And sending hugs to all of you as well,
Michelle
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
"He is always the most confident, fastest, willing to take risks and try anything new" child.[/QUOTE]

Oh, and thank-you for that. That is him. That is exactly who he is.
 

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No advice other than to ultimately trust your gut and believe in that your heart is BEST for your children.

Last night, the LONGEST day was literally the LONGEST day. My son was out of control and kept throwing toys and screaming. I brewed some chamomile tea and gradually put the others to bed once I realized that he wasn'tgoing to listen to me and besides it was bedtime. (He usually does.) He had fallen asleep at 5pm and woke up at 8pm and was NOT tired at bedtime. So, I had to just ride it out and guide him as best I could.

At one point I found myself REALLY angry and I had to lie down on the floor and close my eyes until the anger passed. (I find this helps me to search my heart for what I want to do when the anger passes) When I found myself less angry I just shifted into engaging, guiding, and playing with him. I knew that it was going to be a LONG night and tried to prepare myself for it.

At one point, around 2am, he got really, really sad and I asked him what was wrong. He whispered 'PApa' (dh has been gone a lot) It dawned on me that he missed his papa and I asked him that. He said yes and he cried in my arms. Then we played some more and he finally went to bed.

This morning I was once again so thankful for trusting my gut. When I get too angry, I have to stop everything and refocus even if it means I am lying on the floor with the twins flopping on me while I close my eyes. Sometimes, I light a candle or start singing to shift the energy. I find that shifting the mood when children are...well, you know....REALLY helps.

23 months is a vibrant age. There is lots of good suggestions from previous posters for you. I can totally empathacize with you and send you lots of LOVE and
 
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