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Ok I am at my wits end here. Ethan has become such a challenge. Some of it is him some of it is me I know. I am tired and have my hands full and I know some of it might be jealousy over Baya. But he will not listen, answer questions, help when asked. The second I say let's get dressed to go to play group he is done. He runs away or lays on the ground. You name it he does it to be challenging. He has become aggressive and is hurting Ben and I so he gets time outs for it. Saying owe or trying to talk to him does nothing. I don't even think time out is really helping him. It helps me though. He has become a runner as well. I literally can not ask him anything and get an answer or good physical response.
My problem is myself mostly. I don't know how to handle him. I want to be a positive reinforcer. I don't want to scream and man handle him ( like I have been when I lose it) and we do not spank here. But I guess I don't know how to be a positive reinforcer. I was screamed at and hit as a kid, and I find myself slipping into moments of being my Mom. I need advice. How do I handle my defiant 2.5 year old. I try to be really happy when he does listen and answer. I try really hard to give home more time when he is acting the way he should. I even try and give him space and time to do things on he time table but I don't think he has one. Please give me advice, I dont know what to do but something needs to change here.
I dont' know how much advise I can offer, but I too have a "running away or just staring at my parent is a good way to handle being asked something" kid. It's SO annoying. "Come over here, James! It's time to get your coat on for school!" [run run run, giggle, giggle, giggle] If I can, I ignore him and continue with the planned process. So like in that example, an "Ok, well, I have to go to work, so I am leaving" usually works. I don't know how well that will play out if he gets more defiant... it's not like I can *actually* leave him for the day if he's being a twit!
Sometimes I resort to threats. Sometimes we remind him of an online Santa video we customized to be "sent" to him that where Santa told him to "always listen to his parents."
Don't know if any of that is particularly helpful, but you should know that you're not alone! I don't even have a newborn to blame for the bratty behavior! Mine also likes to scream/screech- we're really good at not even responding to that. I figure it's an easy one to ignore and show it gets no reaction or results!
Most of that sounds like typical toddler/preschooler behavior that he just needs to be guided out of.
Some suggestions: Provide choices. "Ethan, it is time to get ready to go to playgroup. Do you want to put on your blue shoes first or your brown coat first?" "Do you want to open the door for me or help me carry Baya's bag?" etc. Involve him in the movement towards getting out the door.
Don't let him have a choice about hitting/hurting. It isn't an option to hit. I tell Owen "We do not hit! Hitting hurts" and I don't let him. I physically hold his arm or feet if needed.
About your parenting. I fight the same battle. I was spanked and physically punished, uncontrollably I might add, and I find it coming out often. In fact, Owen found the salt shaker this afternoon and dumped half of it out on the counter. I saw him and hit his hand. I am dead set against hitting in ANY form, however in the moment I found myself overstressed and lost that cool that I normally have to discipline in different ways. My normal method would have been to say "Owen, No! We don't spill the salt! This is for cooking food not for the counter." and redirected him. We can make mistakes and don't have to beat ourselves up. While I am mad at myself I am not beating myself up about it. I lost it. It is not the first time, but I most certainly hope it is the last. It is my goal to never hit my children and discipline in the most effective ways. Sounds like you feel the same.
I will try the options more. I have tried it but he just shuts down on me. I do involve him in getting him self, me or Baya dressed sometimes it works. Today was very trying. I put him to bed read him a story ( while Baya was screaming in the other room) I wanted to give him his own time. A few minutes later I hear a noise I walk into his room and he had ripped up about five books. I am proud of myself I didn't lose it I just told him we don't treat books like this and he lost access to his books. And I removed all of his books.
It sounds like you are handling him ok...he is just going through a difficult and challenging period. It will pass. Be firm, calm and consistent and he will get it in time. I know that is not the easiest thing to do and it is difficult to have patience when it is so disrupting to life, not to mention aggravating (and maddening, lol). He is testing his boundaries and learning to manipulate to get a reaction. Dont give in!! once you have corrected him verbally, keep the talking to a bare minimum and just act. Example...if he is jumping on the sofa (or any other repeated behavior that he wont seem to stop) correct him firmly one time, then just get up and remove him, you may have to do it 100 times, but he will see that he can not over power you and "get" to you. Dont say much...it gives him the opportunity to argue and fight.
Jens advice on giving choices is very good, but a really belligerent child simply will not care and will refuke all choices and still throw a fit. In that case, you really just have to let it go and do whatever you can to distract him with something else while you get him dressed. I always used singing some silly song really loudly...after a few minutes they would focus on me and quit fighting. I use that often, actually, it works with Joel. I throw his name in the song, or names of our pets, etc, anything to get his interest. It might take a few minutes to register with him over the kicking and flailing, lol, but it works for us. I make up some of the silliest crap...songs about cars (his favorite) or kitty cats, or whatever he is "into" at the moment. Yesterday it was Peppa pig (ugh) "peppa pig is a very cute pig her brothers name is BOB" he had to stop flopping around to correct me and tell me his name was George. so I then go "OHHHHH thats right GEORGE!" etc etc..you get the idea.
Its sooo challenging, I know...but just keep your head open...keep thinking and be as creative as you can under the circumstances to diffuse the turmoil. Also I highly rec the book "positive discipline" by Jane Nelson..it's been around forever and is excellent. They have an FB page with tons of great articles and info. definitely worth joining! Positive Discipline | Facebook
Good luck my love...you are doing a fine job, and it will get easier, I promise!!
Mom to: Samantha 7-11-87, Scott 9-5-90, Dustin 7-20-91,
Seth 7-6-98, and Joel 7-13-09
Thanks Mel I have been looking for a book. Why can't kids come with manuals. Yesterday just felt like such a failure. And then today I am so tired. Ethan woke at 2 am, I had to put him back down which means hours before I fall asleep. Except Baya kept waking and at 4:30 decided she was up for the day. I finally get her back down only for Ethan to wake up and take his pull up off and pee in the hall way 5 feet from the toilet! I just don't know how I can be a good mother with no sleep under my belt. This is just craziness!
I agree he sounds typical, adam is an absolute handful these days. I agree with giving choices (both can be what you want, ex: do you want to dress yourself or mommy to dress you?) I see Adams face light up when he gets to choose. I am also trying to be extremely consistent. If he defies me, into timeout he goes. It's really starting to work, if I just mention timeout, he stops and immediately apologizes to avoid the chair. Or I tell him if he doesnt listen I will take away whatever he's playing with. Right now we're working with a timer. He likes it.
Toddlers are so hard, I miss my sweet boy... I spend so much of my day threatening and I hate it.
Just take deep breaths, get down on his level and talk to him calmly, take him out for some alone time...
I have a lot of the same struggles. After a lot of thought into why Autumn was never like this, and Carleigh is so extreme, I have found what works for us. Autumn is very dependent, needed a lot of help. Now, I know that Carleigh does NOT need or want any help. For instance, if I even think about helping Carleigh out of her carseat, and out of our tall SUV, she screams at me "I waaaannnnnna get out myself!!!!!!!". At first, I was so frustrated because she was screaming at me.. thinking to myself, Autumn would never scream at me like that. Then I decided that thinking like that wasn't doing me any good. Why the heck is she screaming at me? Because she can do it alone. She wants more independence, without the rush of the situation. So, I now calmly tell her that she can tell me that in a nice voice, and she does. I would imagine that Ethan is struggling with Baya a bit, but also that he is trying so hard to be a big boy and manage as much of himself as he can. When you tell him to go get his coat, he isn't just thinking he has to get his coat, but that he has to drop everything he is doing, go potty, get dressed and get into a carseat...bummer! You may want to try giving him a warning ahead of time, "Hey Ethan, we are leaving in 5 mins..........Hey Ethan, we are leaving in 2 mins...... One more minute until we have to get our coats on.....Okay, time to put that away and get your coat on, can you do it on your own, or do you need Mommy's help?" That always gets Carleigh.. "I DO IT!"
Thank you everyone. After reading a few chapters of the book Mel recommended I feel a lot better. And the few things I have started doing yesterday already made a difference. I know he was struggling with Baya and His position. But once I read the book I understand that is really the problem, that and my frustration was leading to power struggles. But his behavior was to get more attention negative or not, and to control me and sometimes to get even with me for losing it. So now I am trying harder to give him special time and just to include him in everything. I had him help get his snack and clean it up after, set the table last night, clear his spot after and anything else I could think of. If he started tantruming I asked him to stop then asked him to help me with something. It felt like night and day.