Mom Challenges

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This picture was taken this past October. Maybe it was a foreshadowing of the craziness to come...

You know what is one of the worst things ever? Toddler tantrums. They make me want to either drink a beer at 10 in the morning, or go on a nice long run so I can come back refreshed and ready to take it on, both of which I can not do at the moment. I actually would never drink a beer at 10 in the morning but lately it does not sound like such a bad idea. I end up trying my very best at disciplining (which consists of time outs in his room) and I usually start crying because I feel like I am going to freak out.

I have a great kid I really do, but I do not know what this new behavior is all about. My son has started shouting "NOOOO!" in public, screams for Daddy, throws himself on the ground, has even hit me a couple of times and has full on temper tantrums.

To be honest, this all makes me feel like a bad Mom. What am I doing wrong? Have I let him watch cartoons one too many times since I feel like a big blob? Is he rebelling because he knows someone else is coming into the family? Is it just a cry for more attention? I have no idea. I admit I am about as fun as a dead lizard right now and I have no energy to go to the park and play hide and seek...but what is up with this?!

If you have been through this, I would love some advice.

39 comments:

Our Pinteresting Family said...

I am going through this right now with my two year old daughter. I feel like I never know how is she going to act. We took two cars a few weeks ago to dinner with my college friend who was in town. We did this just in case our daughter was restless and didn't want to hang out. She lasted two hours (I didn't even realize how much time had passed) without making a peep. But, we couldn't last five minutes at the library two weeks later. Then she'll say after we left screaming, kicking and crying...."I was a good girl, no screaming and no crying" LOL!

Nashes said...

Oh, honey, you've done nothing wrong... you have a two year old, that's all! I don't profess to being a parenting expert but I do have two boys and this phase is so familiar sounding! As for the public outbursts, a wise friend told me that there are two types of people out there: those who understand and remember the stage well, and the judgy ones who don't get it and really should be ignored.
I've been a follower of your blog for awhile and can see that he's lovely, you're lovely, and that your sweet boy is going to be just fine, mama! New baby days are tough but you will both make it through.
Penny
www.karmasisters.com
www.karmasisters.com

Meghan @ More from Meg said...

I would be so over-whelmed too!! I'm sure you're doing everything right though - just remember to breathe! :)

Jessica said...

I am no parent expert, but I do have two kids age 10 and 7 and I remember those toddler days! What worked best for us was not to try to reason or compromise in the middle of the tantrum. If we were at home, we would pick them up and put them somewhere safe, like their bedroom and just tell them (over the screams) "when you're ready to stop that, you can come out of your room" and then you just let them scream and do their thing and completely ignore it. It can go on for a long time at first because they think you're going to come in their bedroom and get them. Eventually they stop and if they start screaming when you walk back in their room to get them - you walk right back out. Eventually they get to the point where they have stopped and you let them out and give them a stern talking to "we don't act that way, that is not nice. You say sorry to mommy for screaming at her. You are a big boy, not a baby. We don't scream like that." and then move on. It worked for our kids (but I know every kid is different) because I think it's teaching them that it's unacceptable, you won't tolerate it, they won't get their way just because they're screaming...and it's no fun to be stuck in your room! Now being out in public is a whole different story cuz you just can't let them scream! Yeah, and remembering to breathe is great advice as is remembering that walking away from the screams (even on the front doorstep) is okay for a few minutes while you let the blood pressure go back to it's normal state.

Ali said...

It's not you or the cartoons!! It's his age and a part of growing up. You're not a bad mom and you've done nothing to cause this. Tantrums are rough. Hang in there. You're not alone!!! When I see this happen in public to other moms, I usually want to give them like a head nod of understanding haha never judgement!! Eventually, things will get easier again, but for now you're kinda in the trenches of training. Don't get down on yourself.

Lisa said...

My advice is to give him as little attention as possible when he's having a tantrum. He's basically a little fish trying to make a big splash and getting you worked up with him is all the better. So if you are at home just ignore it, don't look at him or try to fix it. It's harder out in the world but the less reaction he get's from you the less reward for his behavior. Then be sure to lay on the praise in a big way when he's being appropriate. Even if he's playing quietly be sure to tell him how good he's being. It's not a quick fix but I think kids react well to positive reinforcement. (I have 4 and 6 year old boys)

Lindsay said...

I think, er, hope, it's the age b/c my son is doing the exact same thing. Meltdowns on the FLOOR of home depot, escaping the car cart at the grocery store and making me run(aisles away) after him then back to the cart. What a fun age :)

Chunny said...

When a child is having temper tantrums the best way you should do is to ignore it. That's what I've learned in our psychology subject. Eventually they would stop crying in the end. Sounds bad? But it's the best way. Even in board exams those are the correct answers. Hehe. =)


http://sassychunny.blogspot.com/

Jennifer said...

It's not you...they call it the 'terrible twos' for a reason, sweetie!! Kids need to test the boundaries, and your little one is learning there is a lot of stuff to DO, and he is discovering that he has PREFERENCES, and he has IDEAS of his own on what he wants to be doing instead of always being agreeable. Don't worry!! I totally agree with Jessica: whenever the tantrum starts, you (in as calm and emotionless voice as you can muster) simply state "Go to your room and scream if you like. I don't want to hear it, it's not a nice way to talk to Mommy. Come out when you're done." Since the whole point is a reaction and attention from you, going to his room to scream will soon seem pointless and he will stop. I also have two sons, and babysit a great deal. This always works. No one wants to have a fit alone :) When they come out, I always smile and say I'm glad they chose to be with the family, and move back to whatever we were doing.

Two important points: never compromise or bargain to ameliorate behavior unless your choices also include the 'thing' you were wanting him to do (i.e. you can either read the book quietly with me, or you can read the book quietly with me AND Daddy). It will make future fits that much easier--they have not learned to manipulate through undesirable behavior. When the fit is over, just state calmly what desirable behavior is, and move on like the tantrum wasn't important...and eventually they won't be :) And two: don't let the 'fit' get your son out of whatever it was that sparked him off...just pick right back up where you left off.

And remember: this too shall pass!

MellyB said...

I have it on good authority that toddler boys actually find dead lizards quite entertaining. So there's that.

I'm with you. My two year old is really testing limits right now and I'm asking myself if this is some new pact with the devil or normal behavior. It doesn't help when you're pregnant and tired and feeling a little bit of Mom guilt over the fact that you are about to rock their world as they know it.

In summary, I have zero helpful tips, but I'm right there with you dudette.

Simply LKJ said...

I agree with the others, it's not you, just a phase all children go through (some worse than others, some longer than others, and some at different ages-my girls had terrible threes not twos!).

I will say, children are very aware of their surroundings, so he may be sensing the changes to come. When pregnant with my second I made it a point to try and carve out a set time each day, when I knew both my daughter and I would be in a good mood and not tired to do something fun together. This can be something as simple as coloring together, blowing bubbles, drawing with sidewalk chalk.

Also, you will learn especially with more than one to plan your days around yours and their best times...running errands when someone is hunger, thirsty, tired (whether you or them) is not a good thing for anyone, and just sets everyone up for failure. Moms have off times just like they do.

Lastly, remember this is a phase, we all go through it at some point with our children. And yes, some would like to think their children were always complete angels and make you feel terrible that yours is not. God gave those people short memories to get them through their own parenting nightmares!! LOL

I found that removing a child from the situation at hand is best. I left many a grocery cart in the middle of a store to do so. Yes, it is a hassle and no fun, but it works. They soon realize that life is no fun if mom is willing turn and make a dash for the car regardless. My girls learned by age 4 that if they were going to misbehave, when mom said, "we are leaving"...they KNEW WE WERE LEAVING! While at home it is best to place them in a quiet location (away from distractions, my girls loved their rooms, so that was NOT an option)...let them cry it out, sometimes you will have to hold them, but make no comments and try not to make eye contact, just sit and hold them til they have calmed, then explain in their terms what they did wrong, that it is no ok, give them a hug, and get on with your day.

All of this to say, it is not easy...kids are different, parents are different, circumstances are different...there is NO manual to tell us how to do it right.

Erin McFarland said...

Ya'll sound very NORMAL!! lol
My only advice is- this too shall pass :)

simplyvonne said...

ahh i definitely dont have any advice but Kaylee is starting to show some now if she doesnt get what she want. My fear is that she would do it at restaurant and people woudl think im a bad mom if i just let her be. eek

Becky Goerend said...

I'm glad I'm not alone as the mommy of a two-year-old! =) Lately, something that has kind of worked when he argues is asking him, "What did mommy say?" Then he has to repeat that I said no instead of it becoming an arguing match. It doesn't not work all of the time, but it helps every once in a while. Last night we had crying and screaming for 1 1/2 hours at bedtime... I feel your pain!

Day to Day Mama said...

When my oldest was two I'm pretty sure the neighbors thought I was beating her. I had to drag her in the house during tantrums on a regular basis while they peeked out their windows. Not fun! You are not alone! I will just echo what everyone else said...ignore. Put him in a safe place and tell him he can rejoin the family when he calms down. I also started getting very strict about bedtime (still am). My kids always threw the biggest tantrums when they were exhausted. Everyone laughs at me that we are always leaving to put the kids to bed but I don't care. I am the one who pays the price if we don't! :) Hang in there

my thrifty closet said...

Hi! Lindsay, haha...kids tantrums do feel frustrating sometimes. When I am at my best behavior, I could handle it in a calm manner but when I have a bad day, I throw a worst tantrum than my kids. Well I guess parents are human after all. The most sane advice I got is to to keep your cool, and tell them that mommy is not going to talk to you until you talk nicely. As for temper tantrums in the public places, I just walk away quietly. It seemed to work for my two boys. And pray hard of course...:-)

mongs
mythriftycloset.blogspot.com

Lindsay said...

It does get better, friend. I am kind of in the thick of it with my son, but his sisters grew out of it. I guess my advice would be to not put as much energy into the tantrum as you think you should. The more attention you give the one throwing the fit, the longer it is going to last. Obviously if you are in the middle of store you will have to leave & give some discipline, but don't make it seem like it affects you as much as it does. :) If that makes sense it at all. :)

Katrine said...

I don't have any advice because once you discover one things that works, it changes. But I will say that this will pass. Thankfully it's a phase that will pass.

Heather J said...

I'm there too girl so I totally sympathize. I also agree with what Jessica said and might I add be consistent (which you probably already are) in whatever form of discipline you use/choose. Good luck and don't doubt your mothering abilities!

A Pretty Life in the Suburbs said...

I'm going through this with my 2 year old as well! I have 2 older kids who never had tantrums, so this is completely new to me! He does the same thing - SCREAMS in protest in public, he punched me this morning out for coffee at Starbucks! Ack!! We just came home! I'm hoping it will just pass...and deep down I know it's just a phase. As it is with Max...we just have to hang in there! I'll have a beer for you at 5:00 ok? ;)
Jo-Anna

The Cyclist's Wife said...

Oh man. Tantrums suck, especially in public. I think it's in public when I lose my cool and get completely anxious, which I totally think the kids can pick up on, thus making the tantrum worse.
My mom told me a story of when I was a kid and threw a major tantrum in the grocery store. Like on the ground screaming. The store manager walked by and calmly thanked me for cleaning their floor, to which I quickly got up and got quiet.
In that vain, I've found it works well with our two year old to do my best to always try to remain as calm as possible in any type of discipline (not an easy task!). Additionally, when the tantrum thing started happening, I found myself saying, "you know that's not going to work, so let me know when you're done". Sometimes, he would actually stop and laugh (!) but usually always he would stop and we would move on.
This, of course, is much easier when it is happening on your kitchen floor than in a public place. In public, I usually attempt to remove him (which can be difficult if he's flailing around) and then take him somewhere to sit until he's done. As I'm writing this I realize it sounds like this is happening often, it's not, but I think even just a little bit is enough to drive any Mom to the end of her rope. It does get better though!

The Student Traveler said...

My mom used time out for me. Because it was more of a mental thing rather than a physical place, she told me on multiple occasions that I was in time out while we were in the middle of the grocery store, car, anywhere, and I usually calmed down. My brother on the other hand just needed a spanking.

theolivetree said...

Don't let the guilt get you friend ;) It is all the age and a boy thing :)

I think they know they can get away with more in public...smart little things they are!

I let my oldest watch hours of tv everyday the last few weeks of my pregnancy...we can get mother of the year award together ;)!

salla said...

I used to be a daycare teacher with a class full of two year olds. You aren't doing anything wrong. Most of the advice you are getting is good. The only thing I will add is that consistency is KEY. However you decide to handle the tantrums, do that every time. Public or private doesn't matter. He has to know that the behavior gets the same reaction every single time.

Alexa said...

Ugh Lindsay. I am so not looking forward to the next stage. Mila is already starting to throw little tantrums and she's 15 months! What the hell?! So frustrating! I guess at least soon enough you can at least have a beer - in the evenings. Oh what the hell...at noon. Haha.

Sarah said...

You poor thing. I so know what you mean about being a dead lizard in their eyes right now lol. I read a book call Shepherding a Child's Heart. It's awesome. Really great way to marry discipline and working on their little hearts at the same time. I will say it's a book that supports spanking and I know some people don't like that, but I'm telling you it's really affective and one of the most loving and best books ever.

- Sarah
agirlintransit.blogspot.com

Welcome said...

oh man! its the age! my boys did this too!! It was just a terrible phase, i noticed it was worse because their naps were dwindling down to no-more-naps! They were just plain overstimulated when they would throw fits. Try figuring out what is the trigger to this lately, is because he is refusing to nap, is it it because his blood sugar is low (my boys are hypo glycemic) and i can tell when they get a lil crabby -they need juice and poof they are little angels again! Is it cuz he wants something he cant have? Just avoid stores that have toys or the toy isle.

Basically everyone has been thru it, and says its just a phase. Hope that cheers you up, that you are not alone!! Your doing everything right- just be consistent with the time outs. LOVE YOU!

Lauren said...

Aw, how old is he now?? Mine is 19 months today and we're starting to see this behavior too. I honestly think it's the beginnings of the terrible twos. It's not ALL the time and it's still fairly rare behavior but it happens enough that I think "O.M.G. HOW am I going to handle two??". When I got pregnant, we had some issues with sleep and such, but now? WHOLE new ball game.

Most of the time my little gal is sweet as a button but she has started hitting me, pulling my hair, and being VERY verbal with her "NO!". I've tried explaining that we have to be gentle and nice and why her behavior is bad, I've tried time out (she doesn't seem to understand this at all - or maybe she does and it's just the worst thing EVER and she just bawls until she's blue in the face), I've tried spanking her twice and it just didn't feel right. I honestly am kind of lost on this too. She bit me for the first, and only, time the other day and it hurt so bad I cried. Seeing me cry, made her burst into tears. Since then, when she does a bad behavior that inflicts pain, I fake cry. It seems to really upset her and I've noticed her "bad" behavior, at least in that dept, is decreasing. I know it's only working because of her personality though, she's very empathetic for a toddler.

You're not being a bad mom, I think everyone goes through this to some degree or another. I think it's so much worse seeming for SAHMs because they don't get a break. It's sometimes such a relief for me because I feel like I have a ton more patience for correcting bad behavior at home and not letting it wear me down because I DON'T deal with it 24-7. Sure, work is work too, but toddler tantrums are not only physically draining but emotionally too - they make the workplace the easy place to be.

Anne @ Domesblissity said...

Oh Lindsay, I really feel for you, especially with your 2nd baby nearly here.

With my daughter, when she hit 2 and started this behaviour, by 2.5 she was out of it. She just 'got' time outs and discipline. My son, on the other hand, was and still is exactly the same as Max. People keep telling me it's a boy thing but it didn't sit well with me. I didn't know what to do. Now, at 5 yo, there is light at the end of the tunnel and he has 'nearly' grown out of that behaviour but he has different thought processes to a girl. I taught myself to believe that boys have no fear which sets them up for adulthood. Men need to be brave and fearless for roles such as fireman, soldiers, policemen and protecting their family. They're hard work though. Plain and simple. I tried to avoid putting my son in a situation where he would lose it, eg shopping mall, library, etc. Instead, I took him to the park, let him run wild and cross my fingers he'd be so exhausted he'd have a nap. He's still the same. Prefers to be running around wild in the backyard but take him to the shops and he's jumping up and down like a jumping jack. He's learnt and starting to understand the reward system but it's the constant reminding that gets me. No one said this parenting gig was easy but I wish I would've known about it before I had kids. LOL Hang in there Lindsay. Thinking of you.

Anne xx

Corilu Designs said...

Oh I got a real chuckle from this post Lindsay that I had to comment. You described my son and me to a "T" when he was 2. In fact, my son would have about 5 temper tantrums a day, everyday!!!! You are not a horrible mother, he just can't express himself like he wants to and is frustrated and thinks he can get what he wants. I was also pregnant like you with my daughter and that is when he started with the tantrums and continued for a few years. (Sorry, maybe your son with grow out of it sooner). You do have to be consistent with discipline especially in public. You will feel embarrassed by his behavior in public and tend not to discipline him and just want to leave. He will pick up on this and keep doing it. The best piece of advice is to get as much sleep and rest as you can. When you are overtired you become irritable and your patience is very thin. With good rest, you have a better frame of mind and can handle situations calmer. Sure, we all have advice, but in the end you have to do what feels right for you. It won't last forever and like me, you will want this stage back again, well maybe not. LOL. You're doing great :)

Kathy

Jennifer @ Delightfully Noted said...

Oh Lindsay I have seen this with a lot of my friends who have kids around the same age! I agree with alot of other comments about not giving the tantrums alot of attention. I have a friend whose 2 year old daughter did the same thing with the screaming,flinging herself on the floor, and it seem to work when my friend would put her some where safe (like on carpet) and tell her she could come join everyone after she was done. The tantrums seem to end rather quickly when they realize no one is paying attention to them! LOL

Andrea @ Strawberry Chic said...

I'm not sure that I have any good advise for you, but just know that I have been through, and am going through the same thing. My 2yr old has such bad tantrums he will fling himself on the floor and usually ends up hurting himself which makes the screaming even worse.

I think one of the most important and toughest things to do it so stay calm and collective. I've noticed that when I start freaking out everything escalates.

I'm such a pushover I've started carrying around emergency treats like dum-dums...so when the tantrums happen in public I tell my little guy that if he listens to me he can have a treat. Probably the wrong way to deal with it, but sometimes i just get desperate :)

smilingmoon said...

Patience is waiting quietly without worrying, fussing, fidgeting, fighting, crying. Patience is learned and practiced. Lets practice our patience by not worrying fussing fidgeting fighting or crying and by waiting quietly until (fill in the blank occurs). My son is 14 now and I still remember this little mantra I made up for us by heart. Don't know if it helps but kids who get to say no are very intelligent, independent, and aware- can't help but love em!

Mariana said...

I think (as someone else has already written) it's the age and a part of growing up.
My little boy was the same. He is 2 years and 5 months now. It’s better already. Now he is a sweetie. (But, he is my first child and actually, I don't know what comes next??:)) When he was like that, I told him (every single time) that it wasn't right what he was doing. And then I tried to ignore him. It's not easy, I know. Hang in there! I think it will be better soon, because I think you're a good mom.

Gaby [The Vault Files] said...

I feel for you! I know exactly how it feels! Matthew used to throw himself on the ground looking up, when he was about 14 months and did it for a couple of months. You know what I did? I ignored him completely, for every single time he did it. Not even looked at him. I don't know if it was a phase or just rebellion, but it was so nerve racking! I think he probably realized that I was just not going to buy it, so try ignoring him, maybe it will work!

Lauren said...

I ofetn remind myself when I'm struggling with a crying 4 month old...that the toddler tantrums are yet to come. I hope these suggestions help you out!

ginanorma said...

Oh girl you are not crazy and you are not alone, this is so healthy and NORMAL!!! You are not a terrible mother in the slightest, kids at all ages, mine now 17, test us. At this age for yours, trying to test the limits and figure out his surroundings etc. etc. If he wasn't throwing tantrums, then I would be concerned. There is a really really great article about mothering similar to what you are sharing here, I will see if I can find it for you...
I remember when my daughter was 3 and we were at the grocery store, i was a single mom, and on food stamps and i was trying to get organized and pay etc...and i hear a bang...the cart had fallen ON TOP of my daughter while I was fussy with my wallet and all eyes were on ME let me tell ya! It was not a pretty sight LOL, luckily she was FINE, but yes we've all been there, and it's OK that it's happening as long as you are figuring out the balance in disciplining which can be a challenge too...Always stick to Authoritative parenting and you can't go wrong, plus there is lots of advice out there now adays, thank you for sharing your heart, it's good to hear honesty from other Moms!!

XO

mamiof2boys said...

I stumbled across your blog and just read this one. Believe me I am sure you are not a bad mom, I went through the same thing when I was pregnant with my second child and I had a not quite 2 year old already, it is for sure that you baby can sense that another addition is coming into your family and is trying to ask for attention. Be patient and loving to him and take assurance that he WILL grow out of it.

Hollie Ann said...

i'm glad you posted this. sometimes i think i don't want kids (i really do though!) bc i just don't know if i have the patience!! it's nice to know all moms struggle with raising kids and the challenges that they bring. not every good mom (which you are) has it together all the time. this sounds really normal though!

he could be doing this:

i once babysat a little girl who started yelling "i diarrhead!" and i was like omg really..you had to have diarrhea when your mom left you with me...and i'd check her diaper...NOTHING. she repeatedly punked me for like 30 minutes. and when i'd put her down for a nap she'd yell "ARE YOU KIDDING ME HOLLIE....COMEEEE ONNN!" this was at 2. she also was known to yell "i love vagina" in grocery stores. where she got the word vagina from we have no idea.

i loooooove the little girl to death. but i mean. he could be yelling "i diarrhead" at target ;)

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