Raise 'Em Right

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By Danielle Bean


Monday: Parenting

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Terrible toddlers? Trying teens? Something in between? This weekly forum is the spot to share your questions and struggles about all things related to parenthood.

Please join us!

Danielle Bean

Comments

  • I hope I found my way back to the right place. My 2 1/2 year old has entered his terrible 2s a couple months ago - in a big way. What do you think is the best way to discipline a boy who keeps talking in church, then when I take him out screams for 1/2 hour to go back in? Then cries at home for 45 minutes (peeing his pants) when we don't let him watch tv? Then spends most days dragging the chairs in the kitchen to the counter or cabinets and making messes any time I go the bathroom? Won't hold my hand when we walk on busy streets, sits down on the ground instead and cries so much he pees his pants? My discipline hasn't work, so what do you do to stop this behavior?

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 7:07 AM by MMH

  • MMH: I am sure you will get a lot of practical advice and tips, but the most important thing I feel you need to remember is that this is just a season, and he will grow out of it. When you are in the trenches it seems that it will never end, but having gone through this 4xs now, I can tell you, I hardly remember it (until I read a post like yours and then say - Oh right, that was a horrible time). I would try to limit the times you have to say no, give choices (both of which you are willing to say yes to), and pick your battles. By this I mean, you hold the line on the really important, dangerous things, like holding hands on a street. If he won't hold your hand, strap him into a stroller. 2 year olds will talk in Church, try to practice whispering and point out things that are going on to keep his attention. Above all, hang in there and know that it will get better.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:26 AM by Danielle M.

  • Hang in there...it will get easier. Keep calm, give yourself time-outs, pray, engage him activities (the messier the better to hold his attention!)that you have set aside on a floor he can't ruin or give him a "cleaning" job such as a dust rag....keep him busy but on your terms. In church, our family friend & Priest suggested sitting in the very back pew, less stress on you & less stimulation for the child, less distraction, easier to scoot him out too....

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:31 AM by Avk

  • me again, yes, I do all these things, but what sort of punishment works best on a strong willed child so that he won't do dangerous things over and over again?

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:37 AM by MMH

  • Baby gates have been a lifesaver for us. I can confine him to a safe room like bedroom or a designated play area...so I can shower/laundry, etc.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:58 AM by Avk

  • Dr. Ray Guarendi is an author, psych., and dad of 10...we went to one of his seminars at our church. It was GREAT. He told us that our experience with our 2yr old strong-willed child was not uncommon. Corner time---it may take tears, an hour or more but consistency is soooooooo important. It WILL work.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:01 AM by Avk

  • Sorry, typing on my iPhone while feeding a 5mos old. Lol. I meant consistency is key with whatever discipline you go with. Corner time is what was recommended to us & it worked with our now 4yr old & is working with our 2yr old. It took both my husband & I to commit to being consistent which is TOUGH when we have little ones & the temptation to let behavior slide is there but the rewards are great.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:05 AM by Avk

  • Maybe this is your first child and you didn't expect it to be this hard. Maybe this is your third child and your others quaked at a mere look from you. For whatever reason, this child is strong-willed. Like the others have said, it doesn't matter so much WHAT discipline you choose, but that you can be consistent with it. If it takes an hour and some wet undies, that is something you are going to have to steel yourself for. You are making an impact on your child already even though it doesn't feel like it. Some kids just take a lot longer! Remember, even when it feels like it isn't working, you have to keep sending the message that this behavior is unacceptable. Try using "natural" punishments as much as possible, too. I like the suggestion of strapping him in a stroller if he won't hold your hands. If he throws tantrums in public, he stops going to the library and grocery store with you. These types of punishments work really well if he has siblings that get to go places with you. Offer rewards for good behavior (again, works really well if there are siblings around that get the reward when he doesn't). Also, try to figure out what is really important to him. Does he love TV time? Does he have a favorite truck? Taking those things away will have a big impact. If there are certain things you can't deal with in terms of discipline, don't use that as a discipline. For example, if you need play dates for your own sanity, don't make taking away play dates a punishment.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:44 AM by Andrea

  • yes, I think part of the problem is no yard and that our apartment is only 1 1/2 bedrooms and we both work from home and so don't want to hear crying for an hour. We have baby gates that he knows how to climb over it he really wants to- he just moves a toy/truck stands on it then climbs over. Thanks, I'm going to try the corner method- just need to keep him there.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:45 AM by MMH

  • me again and again. Yes, wish he had older and younger siblings but no such luck. I wanted to train him to hold my hand since I see other kids did that once they started walking. He's not the worst behaved kid (never hits, fights, poops pants) but he's never paid any attention to library class- he's just wants to run off meanwhile kids over year younger are sitting still and following all the directions. So we definitely need to keep the playdates.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 9:50 AM by MMH

  • Try as hard as you can to not compare him to other children (I know this is impossible, but try hard!). I have three kids and two of them could have held my hand at walking age, but one definitely could not have. She isn't any worse behaved, just more . . . energetic. She tries things and does things the other two NEVER would have imagined doing. And she was my most peaceful baby. In terms of the "dangerous" things, your best bet is to work around them right now. Pick him up when you cross a street if he refuses to hold your hand. Do more baby-proofing even if you swore you wouldn't be one of those parents who latched and locked everything because your child would listen. Parenting is very humbling!

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:07 AM by Andrea

  • ...my dad always tells us "Well...aren't you just glad that you have a strong willed child full of energy that is up & ready to conquer the world when he wakes up than a lazy child who wants you to do everything for him! Be grateful!" But....he is their grandpa and they can do no wrong in his eyes AND he can laugh while we clean laundry soap off our wood floors! (Now that was fun!) :)

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:52 AM by Avk

  • Two great resources are the Discipline Book by Dr. Bill Sears and Parenting with Grace by the Popcaks. The latter one is from a Catholic perspective. Our 2 1/2 year old is the same way, very strong willed, but she understands choices now. We give her a choice about everything so she feels she has control but we tell her the options. We want to train her will, not break it. She doesn't like to hold hands either so she gets two choices, (1) hold my hand and she can walk or (2) don't hold my hand and I will carry her. She can choose but she doesn't get to walk without holding my hand. We had the same thing happen with us in church. She will talk and then scream when we take her out. Now she can (1) choose to use a quiet voice and read/color her mass book or (2) wait outside with daddy until mass is over (he holds her the whole time, it isn't a time for running around).

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 11:25 AM by unknown

  • I used to let him run around but now that I don't he screams. He only uses a coloring book for about a minute and mass is about 1 and 20 minutes. Dad doesn't go to church so it's just me taking him oustide. It's gotten kind of embarassing because other men are asking to help now. When we walk he wants either go the other way or for me to carry him- that's the problem. He weighs about 40 pounds, has always been off the charts on weight -gave me herniated discs, so I can't hold him long. He's very strong- broke a baby gate when he was only 9 months old just by cruising and pushing and banging it - he wanted to grab the dogs fur real bad. He was never a peaceful baby- I think I might have brought this upon myself by not letting him cry and throw up when he was a baby. I just took him outside and walked around with him all day - maybe too much of the sears method. He's having a good day today so far though. Thanks for all your suggestions.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:09 PM by MMH

  • I just wanted to second the Dr. Ray Guarendi suggestion--when our oldest was 2 (almost 3) we called into his show and talked to him about similar problems. He suggested the corner (which we were doing per the Nanny 911 or similar show style and he would NEVER stay) and holding him there until he was willing to stay for 3 minutes. Sometimes this took over an hour-for SIX long months. On the 4th of July (yes I still remember the exact day!) when he was 3 and 1/2 he decided to stay in the corner right when he was told--we had relapses after that but never as bad. He is now 8 (and the oldest of 7 kids) and still has to work on his temper but is really a very sweet, well mannered kid most of the time. As for the other 6 kids--no one has ever approached having to be held in the corner for an hour so as the first goes does not mean that will be how the rest go!

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:32 PM by Lisa

  • I found you all! I had just started over at F&F and then it moved! Glad to be here. I have a similar two year old. It's exhausting and I empathize MMH! My husband and I have hotly debated the mass situation. He's starting to get better but this is where I'm at with it: he's not bound to attend mass. So if he has had a really rough day (or week!) we split masses and don't bring him. My feeling is, he's home with me and our 10month old ALL THE TIME. So when we leave and go to mass it's just not fair to ask him to sit and be quiet for an hour. He wants to play! So the more you can expose him to what is age appropriate and safe, the better he might be when it's actually time to be still. That said, he's still 2! They're so unpredictable. Also, I have resorted to bringing Cheerios to mass (gasp!) when I think he might need it to help him through. Just ideas for what we've done. Oh! Another cool thing that my husband started doing. When my son is having a fit my husband looks him in the eye and starts deep breathing very slowly and calmly. It almost always works in calming our son down. And I have found that stroking his arm or tapping his arm with my fingers also calms him down. It seems to refocus him. I think a lot of our sons issues may be sensory related and also solved with sensory stimulation. I also give him lots of praise when he's being naughty. I know that sounds backwards. But I'll tell him what a good boy he is and how much I love him and that I know he's so good and listening, etc. It's not always true in the moment but makes me feel better and sometimes turns his behavior right around. Sometimes! Other times I just yell at him! Hahaha! But I try not to.

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 2:01 PM by Renee S.

  • Oh my gosh...lol. Renee S. "..sometimes I just yell at him"...Ha! :) Also, I completely agree with you about the rough week or morning & splitting masses. My husband & I do that too...& we actually get something out of mass! My son was being very challenging one Sunday & during communion the little stinker loudly asked where his cookie was to our priest while getting his blessing....ugh......KIDS!! Die of embarrassment at the time. I really like that idea your husband had of deep breathing. Hm..My 4yr old has 1/2hr of yoga at his preschool for kind of the same premise--refocus. I was surprised when I saw that being taught but intrigued! :)

    Posted on Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:22 PM by Avk