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I'm really struggling with my DS

(12 Posts)
EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 01-Aug-11 20:00:04

?He's 2+11 and has always been a happy, generally compliant, nicely behaved little boy. I have never put this down to our parenting particularly (except that I have had fairly firm boundaries on certain things, so he knows to say please and thanks etc) but generally assumed he was just a nice natured boy. He's still a nice natured boy...for everyone except me.

About a month ago we started potty training. He took to it well and is pretty much dry and clean every day, but in the week we started he started to become cheeky, defiant and whiny. Things that also happened in the last month are the house suddenly being full of teenage students, him sleeping in my room in a travel cot (to make space for the students), then moving back to his room and into a big bed, me being quite stressed for the first week or two due to not having had students in before, and about 2 months ago H and I split (However that's a red herring as H is still staying here a couple of nights a week, we haven't spent family time together for months and months, and we haven't argued around him, or at all really)

He has just become so defiant sad He refuses to do what I say on principle, it seems - everything is 'I do it myself' which is fine but then he won't do it, he has bitten me !!! several times in the last few days, deliberately doing the opposite of what I say, flinging himself around, refusing to get in bed, throwing things...well you get the picture. I am losing my patience with him constantly, shouting and just being a horrible, ineffective mum. Worst of all is that I feel I don't like him much when he's like that sad

So - is it me? Am I fucking him up? Is it a developmental stage? Is he growing extra brain cells or something? Is it due to change of routine, or a combination of all the above? What do I do, how do I handle it? I work f/t and H is as useful as a chocolate teapot most of the time, I can't really rely on him (hence the split) and I have had a couple of moments of feeling a bit sinky but generally I am managing, but only if all the pieces stay balanced, this is fucking everything up sad

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 01-Aug-11 20:08:44


All I can think is that it must be incredibly confusing for him and he is doing classic attention seeking

By shouting and reacting angrily (natural, I am not at all criticising you btw) you are giving him the feedback he needs. Now the point is that negative feedback and positive feedback feel kind of similar to a child (in my non-professional opinion) so try to crank back the shouting, give him space and attention, catch him being 'good', praise praise praise

If he won't put on his shoes, fine, he can out out in his socks

If he won't go to bed, fine, do rapid returns without engaging him (lead back to bed, no chatter, just repeat time for sleep or whatever phrase you use)

What about you? Have you friends or family that you can confide in/spend time with (with and without DS)? Do you get a break to go swimming/cafe with glossy mag/shopping ?

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 01-Aug-11 20:09:31

not out out, go out, sorry, stupid sausage fingers

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 01-Aug-11 20:17:16

I didn't get any time really during july but this last weekend after the students went I went out three nights in a row smile so I do get some time to myself, I have friends who can help but there just aren't really enough hours in the day for me to do everything as well as I should.

Thanks for the response, it's good advice. It's just so hard when he behaves like this and I feel like crying sad Bedtime used to be lovely, stories, cuddles, kiss night he throws the books around, refuses to sit still for a story, won't give me a cuddle sad Gahhh I need to chill out but I just can't bear him being so defiant.

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 01-Aug-11 20:20:21

oh love sad

it so so hard; folk say tis a phase (which it IS) but you still have to endure it

what doesn't kill you makes you stronger

or summat

Keep buggering on [channels Churchill]

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 01-Aug-11 20:56:21

Will he get sweet again? sad

Oh that's not fair, he is sweet some of the time. But the rest...angry

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 01-Aug-11 20:58:35

yes he will, I promise

Besom Mon 01-Aug-11 21:08:52

I just posted today about my 3.2 year old throwing tantrums in the street/shops/anywhere to cause maximum mortification. This is a very recent development as well and prior to this was extremely well behaved and generally compliant.

Nothing has changed in her life at all that I can think of.

Whoever repliled to me said don't beat yourself up and so I'll say the same to you because it's true. It is very hard though. I felt very upset earlier today so I know where you're coming from.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 01-Aug-11 22:29:59

Thank you both! It's good to know I'm not alone.

timetosmile Mon 01-Aug-11 22:33:36

Have a look in the 'toddler' thread of the parenting section.....makes you realise at least a dozen others could have written a pretty similar post to you!
Have a brew or a wine
And keep your chin up!

kid Mon 01-Aug-11 22:45:23

I had exactly the same thing with my DS when he was almost 3. He literally went from being a happy child to a naughty so and so!
It does get easier over time but while you are going through it, it is unbearable.

DS is now 9 and I compare him to a stroppy teenager! He is very sweet, caring and affectionate but only while he is getting his own way. When he doesn't get his own way, he will shout, strop, moan ect but then he realises he still isn't getting his own way so will go off and sulk for a while.

Apprently they completely grow out of it, when they are 20! Just another 11 years for me then grin

But seriously, I was advised to ignore bad behaviour and use positive language to enforce good behaviour. So, tell him 'If you put your shoes on, we can go to the park' rather then 'if you don't put your shoes on, we won't go park'
I was amazed at how much negative language I was using, it was like I was constantly threatening not to this or that! It was really easy to switch too but only after I was given this advice by a very wise MNer.

Jesusgirl Mon 01-Aug-11 23:16:15

It must be the age! My dd 2+7, started playing up a bit. Refusing to say please or sorry.

What works really well for her are sticker charts. We put one up on the fridge and gets rewarded for good behaviour. It works like magic.

I did the shouting and scolding and lots of punishment with ds and it only made matters worse. Now I've learnt to reward good behaviour which encourages more good behaviour. Choose what naughty behaviour to give attention. Ignore if possible. For example if he starts to roll on the floor, make sure he's safe and won't hurt himself and then walk away. Come back a minute or 2 later and ask calmly ' would you like to read a book' or whatever he likes if he says no, ignore again and walk away. The minute he stops the tantrum, tell him what a good boy he is for stopping and give him a sticker.

Soon he'll realise he doesn't get any attention by being naughty but he gets rewarded for being good.

It must be hard for him with all the changes going on around him and I know somehow you feel bad about it but try not to over compensate. Love him and let him always feel secure in that love but make sure there're set boundaries.

Hope everything works out well for you.

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