Toddler hell

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Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529
Toddler hell

Anyone else living there?

Lately it has gotten particularly challenging. Jordan thinks it's funny when I tell her not to do something. She has even started covering her ears and giggling as she runs away. WHERE did she learn that??? She thinks time out is fun. Yesterday I finally tried popping her bottom after two time outs just to have her return to doing what she was not supposed to be doing... she laughed right in my face. Today she had a meltdown because I put a few goldfish on her tray and she didn't want them. When she doesn't want food she hands it back to you but I was putting dishes away so she cried with them in her hands until I took them from her. Then she had an all out fit for 30 minutes (you know, the kinds where you are convinced the become possessed by evil force) all because I needed to wipe her face, and hands then change her diaper and get her dressed for her nap. We were both in tears by the end of it (blaming pregnancy hormones for this). I even had to give myself a time out during all of this because I was just so flustered.

There are some books that were recommended to me that address discipline. I think it's time I get them. I really want to find alternatives to spanking but I have no idea what to do when me talking to her calmly and time outs don't work. How do you reason with a toddler?!

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

Eve has started in on all of this stuff too! It was especially difficult on our India trip. She's a big fan of kicking and hitting now too Sad And then her feelings get really hurt when I say no like I really mean it. I mean full on melt down, mommy-hates-me mode. And then 2 minutes later, she's happy and hugging and cuddly again.

I'm on my third, and I'm still no expert. I just let her do her melt-down in a safe place and let her scream it out if she needs to. I've noticed if I've tried to "reason" with her, she tends to get 10 times worse. If she's not totally gone to melt down, she can often be re-directed. And yeah, a slap on the hand or bum usually leads to her fist in my leg or arm. So "spanking" teaches her that hitting's OK.

It's such a hard age to be--they understand so much more than we think they do, and they hate that they can't get their ideas across to us. I know Eve gets upset when she's saying the same word over and over again and we still don't know what she's saying. I hope you find something that works for you and Jordan. I've been pregnant with a toddler, and I remember feeling like I needed to drive off somewhere and have a huge cry all by myself. Hugs!

julieanddanny's picture
Joined: 03/06/03
Posts: 248

Do you think they are at an age they understand consequences? I usually still redirect when she's doing something wrong. I'm certainly not an expert on discipline!

How do you do time-out? like a playpen or does she sit somewhere special?

I just ignore the fits.

Right now it's the whining that's driving me nuts!

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

We are going through a lot of the same stuff. My DH is having a very hard time dealing with it. But he complains about it in a way that makes Beni seem ruined and he gets so angry... it makes me get defensive of her. Like, he expects her to act very differently (better), but, 1) I don't see him reading any books, or looking for any information on how better to handle any of her episodes, and 2) I think he is sometimes expecting her to act way older than her age. Anyway... Beni is definitely driving me crazy often, but, not knowing how to deal with it all is driving us ALL crazy. Sad

jojogun's picture
Joined: 07/17/09
Posts: 561

We are lucky that even with the energy he has, Nico is pretty easy going. Right now redirection is working. If he does have a fit I just ignore it. One thing that has been a life saver for both of us is to get out of the house everyday. We either have playdates, music class or preschool every morning then come home for lunch & a nap. I think we were both going a little stir crazy being home so much. In the afternoons I try to have him help me in the kitchen or we go for walks or I make playdoh so he is busy. It is when he is bored that he starts to get.cranky.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Jake is mr mellow, so he has been easy ~ but want to recommend "The Discipline BOok" by Dr Sears ~ DH and I read it together when our first was an infant and it really helped open up a dialogue around what we expect or hope for and how we hope to achieve it when it comes to discipline. I love the way it was laid out and it was really helpful to both DH and I. Jo, I can't agree more with you ~ we are out of the house all morning every morning, then he naps most of the afternoon, being up and out and active makes everything easier, IMO! Winter is always the hardest as with the very cold temps we are housebound more that I like ~ those days get very very long with 3 so young at home Smile

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"Potter75" wrote:

Jake is mr mellow, so he has been easy ~ but want to recommend "The Discipline BOok" by Dr Sears ~ DH and I read it together when our first was an infant and it really helped open up a dialogue around what we expect or hope for and how we hope to achieve it when it comes to discipline. I love the way it was laid out and it was really helpful to both DH and I. Jo, I can't agree more with you ~ we are out of the house all morning every morning, then he naps most of the afternoon, being up and out and active makes everything easier, IMO! Winter is always the hardest as with the very cold temps we are housebound more that I like ~ those days get very very long with 3 so young at home Smile

Have it on my shelf, have started reading it like 10 times... haven't gotten to the "important parts" yet! I need to get to reading!

Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 1346

Staying busy and redirecting is what is working here. I try to get him out in the yard everyday. It helps alot to dispel his energy. I dont know how it will go once we get to Minnesota and it will be so much colder! His biggest temptations are the dishwasher and things with buttons, like the stereo. I can tell him 'no' 10 times in a row not to pull stuff out of the dishwasher and he won't listen. I have even lightly rapped him on the hand. I just started picking him up and carrying him down the hall to his room, setting him down, and walking out without saying anything. Somehow that is working! Seems to break the cycle and calm him down. It's sorta like a time out I guess. I do think it will get easier as he gets older and can finally grasp that good behavior is expected from him.

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

"reeveslady" wrote:

Eve has started in on all of this stuff too! It was especially difficult on our India trip. She's a big fan of kicking and hitting now too :( And then her feelings get really hurt when I say no like I really mean it. I mean full on melt down, mommy-hates-me mode. And then 2 minutes later, she's happy and hugging and cuddly again.

I'm on my third, and I'm still no expert. I just let her do her melt-down in a safe place and let her scream it out if she needs to. I've noticed if I've tried to "reason" with her, she tends to get 10 times worse. If she's not totally gone to melt down, she can often be re-directed. And yeah, a slap on the hand or bum usually leads to her fist in my leg or arm. So "spanking" teaches her that hitting's OK.

It's such a hard age to be--they understand so much more than we think they do, and they hate that they can't get their ideas across to us. I know Eve gets upset when she's saying the same word over and over again and we still don't know what she's saying. I hope you find something that works for you and Jordan. I've been pregnant with a toddler, and I remember feeling like I needed to drive off somewhere and have a huge cry all by myself. Hugs!

See, Jordan is unfazed by us saying no. She thinks it's funny no matter how serious we are. It's not that I want her to get her feelings hurt but it would be nice to know that she takes me seriously. I realize part of this is just her age but I also know it's personality. My mom said my middle sister would burst into tears if you just looked at her like you were angry. Jordan is not that sensitive!

I'm all for ignoring a meltdown but there are times where things just have to be done. One big one is diaper changes. She hates having her diaper changed and it ends up being a struggle 90% of the time. I've tried rewards like stickers, playing with my phone, singing silly songs, etc. However, there are times when non of it works. She just wants to do what she wants to do and she squirms and kicks. I'm especially protective right now because I really do not want to get kicked in the belly.

The problem the other day was I tried to let her cool down but it wasn't happening. I finally had to force her through the diaper change and getting clothes on because it was nap time and waiting was not helping. She was such a mess and was in obvious need of sleep.

"julieanddanny" wrote:

Do you think they are at an age they understand consequences? I usually still redirect when she's doing something wrong. I'm certainly not an expert on discipline!

How do you do time-out? like a playpen or does she sit somewhere special?

I just ignore the fits.

Right now it's the whining that's driving me nuts!

I think time out is really more about redirecting at this age than punishment. I feel like Jordan understands I'm removing her from something she is not supposed to be doing. I think the older she gets, the more she will understand that her actions cause consequences. I have a spot at the edge of the living room that I sit her in for time out. Sometimes she will cooperate and other times she wants to keep getting up. I've talked to other parents who stated at this age and they said sometimes they had to stay with them but eventually things clicked.

"Marite13" wrote:

We are going through a lot of the same stuff. My DH is having a very hard time dealing with it. But he complains about it in a way that makes Beni seem ruined and he gets so angry... it makes me get defensive of her. Like, he expects her to act very differently (better), but, 1) I don' I think he is sometimes expecting her to act see him reading any books, or looking for any information on how better to handle any of her episodes, and 2)t way older than her age. Anyway... Beni is definitely driving me crazy often, but, not knowing how to deal with it all is driving us ALL crazy. Sad

Yes! There are times when the exact same thing happens with us. I see that Jason is getting frustrated and I am the patient one. I try to remind him that her behavior is completely normal and it's just part of her growing up. I'm not an expert but I did major in child development and I'm the only one who has read books on behavior and discipline (more for teaching, not so much parenting - at least up until now). So when he makes comments like "this is ridiculous", I tell him it's not. She is a toddler and that is what they do. It's just like you said, knowing how to deal with it is the frustrating part.

"Potter75" wrote:

Jake is mr mellow, so he has been easy ~ but want to recommend "The Discipline BOok" by Dr Sears ~ DH and I read it together when our first was an infant and it really helped open up a dialogue around what we expect or hope for and how we hope to achieve it when it comes to discipline. I love the way it was laid out and it was really helpful to both DH and I. Jo, I can't agree more with you ~ we are out of the house all morning every morning, then he naps most of the afternoon, being up and out and active makes everything easier, IMO! Winter is always the hardest as with the very cold temps we are housebound more that I like ~ those days get very very long with 3 so young at home Smile

Thanks for the recommendation. Biggrin I'm calling Half Price on Thursday to see if they have some books I'm looking for.

***Just FYI, here are some books that were recommended to me by other parents - Dare to Discipline by James Dobson, the Discipline Book by Martha Sears, Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Solter and Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen***

I'll admit that I was a little afraid to admit that I've spanked Jordan. I know many people are adamantly against it and, to be honest, I do not want people to judge me for it. I know people say this a lot but I was spanked occasionally as a child and I feel like my parents are some of the most loving, fair people (and parents) that I know. I'm completely open to finding alternatives though, and that is part of the reason I want to read some different books.

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

I feel like I have to add that while Jordan can be extremely challenging, she is also the most fun she has ever been. I don't feel this way all the time and the other day was definitely one of our most difficult days we've had as of recently. I love her so much and she makes me smile way more than she makes me want to scream. Wink

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"Kayla1981" wrote:

I feel like I have to add that while Jordan can be extremely challenging, she is also the most fun she has ever been. I don't feel this way all the time and the other day was definitely one of our most difficult days we've had as of recently. I love her so much and she makes me smile way more than she makes me want to scream. Wink

Don't worry, we all know this! And I'm sure we all feel the same way about our own kids. Smile

You know it's funny, I really am totally anti-spanking in general, but, with these last teeth coming in, Beni has bit my already pregnancy-sore nipples a few times hard enough to make my (what feels like an instinctual, self-preservation) reaction be a swift swat to the butt. I'm really quite embarrassed by it, because I feel like I should be able to control it... but, nips are sensitive in the first place, and pregnant nips are 100x that, and well, hell, being bit in the nip is just not cool! So even though we disagree on spanking in general, I have to admit, I've done it.

Also, yes, diaper changes. When we moved to Laos we could only bring so much with us, and there is only so much stuff available here to buy. One of the things that we didn't bring with, and if you can believe, could not find to buy ANYWHERE was a diaper changing pad. So, since we moved here, Beni has just been changed on one corner of the bed that is in our "closet room" (it's the bedroom next to ours which has three wardrobes with all our clothes in it, as well as a shelf of all Beni's diapering stuff). Well the bed is an Asian King (slightly smaller than an American King, but still a king nonetheless)... so needless to say, it didn't take long before Beni was rolling over during diaper changes and running all over the bed. Her fave thing to do is to run up to the headboard (which has shelves and drawers) and sit there, of climb on it- naked bum hanging out. But as you have said... what do you do? We try to distract her, and there have been times when we've held her down just to get through it- but if we regularly held her down as hard as necessary to actually stop her moving, she would be covered in bruises. We got a change pad while we were on vacation, so we started using that immediately (just on the bed, but still)- it gives a bit more of a definition of the space and what we're doing... but of course she has still managed to squirm away. My DH thinks if we had continued to use a changing table all the way through from birth to now, she wouldn't be like this. It's those kind of comments that he makes that get me, because it makes it seem like we've failed her, and like we've failed as parents. I tend to think she's just a toddler, and doesn't want her diaper changed. But who knows. Maybe we are too loose and she is out of control. Sigh. I don't know. (Um, sorry for the novel!)

Kayla1981's picture
Joined: 01/04/07
Posts: 1529

Oh my gosh. I had a whole novel typed out in response and it got deleted. :mad: That is so frustrating.

I don't think you are "too loose or and she is out of control"

I suspect that many parents of toddlers feel that way at some point. I know I have. I find myself not wanting to fight certain battles and giving in. Then I think, if I give her an inch, she will take a mile. There are certain things I find annoying, like when she occasionally uses her hand to eat yogurt instead of her spoon. But I know she is just exploring and, right now, exploring is more important than manners. However, my situation in my OP was that she was playing with the knobs on the stove and even though they have covers, I'm afraid she could accidentally turn on the gas. Besides that, I don't want her thinking the stove is a safe place for her to play. She had two time outs for playing with them and the third time is when I tried spanking her. I NEEDED her to take me seriously. But, I must have not spanked her very hard since she looked right at me and laughed. I really think I've only spanked her a total of 5 times? I've always had some guilt after but I know once or twice I did it more out of a reaction because she kicked me and I had already told her not to. I know those times I felt even more guilty. So I do try and remind myself to take a deep breath and really think about how I'm talking to her and how I'm reacting. But, if it were my nipples?? YIKES. I'm sure my instinct would be to get her to stop ASAP.

I was definitely more anti spanking before I had Jordan. I've read the articles that are against it but there has always been a part of me that thought, well that's not how it worked in my family. I didn't go around hitting everyone because my parents spanked me. I don't have emotional scars and I love and respect my parents. Spanking worked in our house, in my opinion, without any negative repercussions. It was used very sparingly and effectively. But do I want spanking to be a part of the way I parent? I'm still unsure, which is why I have tried to avoid it. If I can find an alternative then I am all for it. I just want to make sure I find something that is effective and will teach Jordan boundaries. I know a few parents who are sort of more "hands off" and their kids seem so out of control. I want to find a good balance of boundaries and love. Not that those two things are opposites, in fact, they really should be more one in the same.

Okay, so this turned out better than my original novel. I'm sort of glad it was deleted. Smile

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in the laughing department, since Eve does it too. She either laughs (like the times I say no when she's nursing and has repeatedly punched or kicked me in the face) or goes into full melt-down mode. She seems to find joy in my facial expressions (even if they are of utter horror/just kidding, I don't think I've ever done a face quite like that). There's no in-between with her.

The good news is that they grow out of this stage, and yes it is a stage! And I won't hold it against you for swatting her a little when she's in danger since I've done the same. And, yes, I also swore up and down I'd never spank before I had my first. It's so different when you're actually a parent.