View Full Version : Oh boy...what's fun about toddlerhood?
04-17-2004, 11:28 PM
My husband and I had a conversation tonight. He was almost in tears. He said, "I want my Shelby back!" She's been so very, very different in the last three weeks. More intense tantrums. Crying fiercely when she doesn't get her way. Every transition is a crying fit. She's hitting/swatting/kicking at us, kicking the cat, kicking her little sister. She used to cry a bit at things, throw a tantrum here and there, but she's truly kicked it up a notch. Distraction doesn't work anymore. She has a memory and an independent will.
We want our sweet little girl back.
Time to do some reading. We have had such a great time with her so far, it's sad for both of us to see her so angry and frustrated all the time.
We are committed to no spanking, but there's more to discipline/parenting/teaching at this age than simply not spanking. We don't want to be in this stage and get into bad habits with her, or do something terribly wrong. We really don't know what is the right thing to do. She doesn't even want HUGS for goodness sake. If she doesn't want a hug, what in the world does she want? She can't always have her way - we won't give in on our basic rules (like, you can't play in the street), and we can't limit ourselves anymore to avoid tantrums, when a tantrum can be caused by simple acts like cooking, going to get the mail, going to the next room, giving her a snack the wrong way, etc. etc.
I'm going on here. We're sad and wish we knew how to make her happy without compromising her or us.
Mama to DDs Shelby 09/19/02 and Sydney 10/16/03
04-18-2004, 08:55 AM
I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I wish I had some magig toddler dust for you!
I lurk over at the Mothering boards and seen lots of great advice given on the gentle board.
04-18-2004, 11:25 AM
If it's only been 3 weeks she is probably still testing her limits and partly just wants to see what you will do. I remember Amy going through a stage like this at about 18 months or so. With EVERY little thing she would lie down on the floor and scream and flail. After a few times I got tired of it. So if she was in a safe area I would just walk away. If she were not in such a safe area I would sit next to her and stare at something other than her without saying a word. In both cases when she calmed down and stopped crying I would talk to her and try to address whatever issue it was that set her off. Sometimes that would get her going again and I would have to repeat the whole process. My heart would be breaking but she learned that a tantrum was not going to result in any action on my part.
The kicker was that one day she wanted something and I told her she couldn't have it. She threw herself face down on the floor and started crying. Then about 10 seconds later I saw her PEEKING out from between her arms to see if I was watching. That was it. Whatever sympathy I had for these tantrums was totally gone.
This is a hard stage. Just think of it as a test run for the teenage years. :)
04-18-2004, 01:41 PM
It sounds like you're doing all the right things by setting limits and sticking to them. That consistency is really key. Like Helen, said, if its only been a few weeks, you need to give it some more time to see results.
I pretty much also ignore tantrums. I say something like "Mommy doesn't like it when we act that way. When you stop, mommy will talk to you again." And I ignore her until she stops. I'm not saying this is easy. Its REALLY hard.
For things like hitting us and the pets, those are an automatic time out for DD. I have been using the ideas in the book "1-2-3 Magic" and they have been working for us. My DD has always been pretty good tempered, but about 2 months ago, she started in on a very violent, belligerent phase. It took her a good month to work her way out of it. It was not a pretty month, but we have now gotten past it.
You may want to check out the Sears Discipline Book and also Positive Discipline. They are both written from a very gentle parenting perspective, but make no bones about the fact that sometimes having a toddler is HARD.
One thing you said about making her happy. With a toddler, making them happy in the long run, may mean they have to be unhappy in the short run. But the outcome of having a (generally) well behaved toddler who is a joy to take places is well worth it.
One thing about toddlerhood, the highs are higher, but the lows are DEFINITELY lower.
04-18-2004, 09:52 PM
I just ordered "1-2-3 Magic" from Amazon--thanks for the recommendation--lots of positive reviews on Amazon as well. I look forward to reading it!
Audrey is generally good tempered too...but she's not yet 18 months. I know I need to prepare for the worst!
pamela mom of 3
04-19-2004, 09:48 AM
Oh yeah, plus i hate to say but it can still crop up as they older it's just in different ways and different reasons but as they do get older you can *somewhat* reason with them LOL depending upon how all worked up they have become.
With Tantrums, i tend to ignore them, helps to reduce the power of them, my "baby" who's 3yrs now is quite rough always has been, he's quite the rough and tumble boy, if he starts hitting, i say that hurts or we don't do that, if i was holding him i put him down which ticks him off big time or if we were playing i stop and leave i will not tolerate that way of being and he is not fond of me not playing or not holding him.
I think it's about finding out what works best with your childs own way of being, my 8yo can be quite the little thunderstorm, we let her cool off and try to find out what is the "real" problem.
You can't always avoid Tantrums kids just will go off it's the way it is, sure some kids are probably better than others in this department but on the whole it is something most parents have to deal with.
I think the one part that we have to try and remember most times it's about being tired, at the end of their rope and just plain frustrated on their behalf it most time isn't about ticking us off...hey even as adults we lose it and want to scream and yell..just we know better than to throw ourselves onto the floor and kick and yell..although maybe sometimes that could help? :D
I can't comment on books or any methods posted though..
Good luck it can be a tough time, but they do slow off..however i found they cropped up heavy again after kindergarten was started my 5yo has quite the fits LOL }(
~Pamela Mom Of 3
04-19-2004, 07:22 PM
The other mamas did a good job of addressing the discipline/tantrum part. I'll just address the "what's fun about toddlerhood"? part:
-having a little person say, "You okay, Mommy? Be careful!" when I lose my balance, drop something, bite into something too hot, etc.
-hearing her say, "All wight!" and pump her fist in the air when she hears we're going to the park
-watching her round up all 3 purses and kiss her Elmo and doll goodbye when we have to leave
-having a cooking "helper"
-hearing her shout and wave to DH, "Bye! See you wayter! Nice day! Bub you!" (that last one is "i love you")
-group hugs (or, as she announces, "Poop hug!" when DH and I are hugging and she wants to join)
-galloping around the house with squeals and giggles to the William Tell Overture
-hearing "I bub you, mommy" and having those little arms wrap tightly around my neck.
I could go on and on, but I won't. I absolutely LOVE having a toddler. That's not to say it isn't difficult at times, but all in all, the laughter and smiles far outweigh them.
04-20-2004, 02:11 AM
Reading your replies made me feel *a lot* better. Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully.
As for Shelby, turns out a nasty little stomach virus that we thought was gone had in fact stuck around - so she's been suffering a bit, and her reflux has been aggravated, which would partially explain the behavior. (We kept looking for the explanation - tired, frustrated, hungry, bored - couldn't find it!) But I know that some of it is just toddler stuff, and that's the stuff I want to handle the right way for all of us in our little family.
We learned from this 3-week episode. I'm sure it will happen again.
In the meantime, I'm off to do some reading on gentle discipline (thanks for the link - interesting board), and to count my blessings because she is so amazing! And I'm secretly excited to go to the bookstore one night this week in search of books because I can drink coffee and wander at will for a couple of hours. Blessing in disguise.
Mama to DDs Shelby 09/19/02 and Sydney 10/16/03
04-20-2004, 08:00 AM
I agree with Sarah--toddler ARE fun! Gabrielle cracks us up SO many times each day! :D
She does somersaults and says TA-DAH! as she stands back up. She wears a colander on her head and walks around bumping into things and laughing hysterically. She strips off her clothes and flings them at me and runs. She daily tries to say new words. If you tell her she can watch a 'Bob' (aka Veggie Tales), she grabs her Ling and runs for the recliner where she sits with her big sissy to watch.
And when she's tired, she gets her Ling, and crawls on my lap to suck her thumb. Awwwww.....
As for tantrums... a regular routine really helps us. :D Also, I give her a 5 minute warning that 'in a few minutes we're going to take a nap, go bye-bye' or whatever. When she does pitch a fit, she gets carried to the bottom step (just around the corner from the kitchen and living room) and told 'you need to sit there until you're done crying'. I turn to walk away and 99% of the time, she gets up and follows me, fit over. :D I have to do this with EVERY fit tho, which somedays, gets VERY tiring!
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