How do I handle my spirited 21 mth old? Feel like I'm failing :((16 Posts)
I love the absolute bones of my son (21mths). He is super cute, can be incredibly loving and funny and charming and clever. However....he is so different from my calm quiet DD. He wakes at 5am every damn day and pretty much starts shouting his head off straight away. He is having constant tantrums all day, he hits me and his poor sister all the time and no amount of sternly telling him"no hitting" seems to be having any effect. He starts throwing things within about 5 minutes of starting a new activity and its getting to the point where I can't face getting anything out for him to do. The school run is hell because he fights getting his shoes and coat on, fights getting in the car, fights getting in his pushchair, screams his head off during the drop off and the only thing that makes him stop is bribing him with food which I know is a slippery slope. I have to drive as its too far to walk and I can't let him walk from the car as he just bolts off. I'm finding myself losing my temper with him more and more. I've had an absolutely horrible day with him today and feel awful Can anyone give me some advice on how I should be handling him?
No real advice, but my DS1 was exactly the same. He got better around 2.5 and until recently has got easier all the time (just in the middle of an aggressive phase now at 3.10). We just kept consistent and I avoided the worst places - switched completely to online grocery shopping for example as supermarket shopping was hell on earth.
If he fights getting coat and shoes on I wouldn't bother - just put him in the car with a blanket. I often did this, mine never had a problem having shoes put on once at a destination.
Mrscog, I do often let him go out without a coat, but good point on the shoes. Hadn't thought of that. If he's going in the car and buggy anyway what difference does it make? Pick my battles right? Its such a shock as DD although had her moments (gruesome 3's anyone?) was a walk in the park in comparison. How did you keep your cool with your DS? Should I be implementing a naughty step or something?
Yeah definitely pick battles - mine were basically safety driven, as at that age most things are just developmental - for instance he love taking loads of wipes out of packets, in the end I mostly remembered to put them out of reach but even when he did it I gave up on the telling a off - he just grew out of it, same as for pulling books off shelves etc, as they develop they just get bored of things which were previously fascinating. It's so hard to keep calm, and I didn't start punishments until he was older (toy removal most effective here) because no amount of shouting, naughty stepping etc worked and that made me angrier and then I'd behave horribly and really regret it (I once pushed him over ) when I keep calm I don't get as annoyed and furious. For in the pushchair how about a book with buttons which plays music or something really immersive like that? I was lucky in that DS didn't mind the pushchair too much (late walker 18 months) and my battle was with getting him to walk rather than be carried!!
I have tried books in the buggy in the past but maybe I'll try something a bit more interesting for him good idea. I haven't done naughty step yet because when we've tried it out once or twice he's just laughed and I just felt he was too young to get it, and like you say it just makes me angrier. You're right about the shouting too its making diddly squit difference only making me feel like a horrible person. Thank you so much for your replies, I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one going through this. Tomorrow I'm going to try letting him get on with it a bit more and see if that helps.
I'm finding food a challenge with him too. He is starving hungry in the morning so usually has multiple breakfasts, and then basically spends the rest of the day going to and from the kitchen and yelling for more food. He has a lunchtime nap for which he's too
full from snacking tired to eat and then is starving when he wakes from his nap so has a big snack and then messes about at dinner. I feel like he often doesn't really eat a proper meal. That along with the unbelievable mess he makes is adding to my rage! I know I should cut back the snacks to get him to eat a proper dinner at least but I can't take anymore of the shouting and tantrums. Don't know what advice I'm expecting really
My advice is to make things easy for him by being really consistent. So decide what snacks he can have etc and then just do the same thing every day.
I've got a stubborn 2yo and we just try to make life predictable for her. She accepts wee and wash hands before meals now as we always do it. Etc.
Also a lot of it is about your own attitude. I'm frustrated with the 3mo today as he is just not napping and still not but I am recognising that it is my issue. If anyone asked about my day my answer would be "fine" as it is nothing to write home about but seems all consuming at the time.
We are having problems with our 23 month old - especially the hitting and throwing. His speech and comprehension is average-ish so I know he understands not to do it, but laughs and does it again. Like you I found myself getting so frustrated and angry.
We used the 'naughty step' with my daughter at about this age, but I'm not sure my son would understand to stay there (her speech and understanding was better at the same age) so what we've done is set up the travel cot downstairs (away from toys/tv) as his 'time out'. He gets one warning for bad behaviour and next time he gets put in the travel cot for 2 mins.
It works well actually, even after just a week he's improving and the physical space from the bad behaviour and two minute break to take a deep breath is good for me.
On the meals mine only needed 2 proper meals and one snack type meal at that age - could you do - big breakfast, then cut down on the morning snacks, just offer very light/small things then a bigger snack/lunch type thing at 11.30/12, then nap then the dessert from lunch (fruit/yoghurt type thing) then his proper dinner?
So this morning he woke up at ridiculous o'clock (again) and has spent all morning shouting and generally being a menace. We have agreed to dramatically reduce the amount of telly (we were using it way too much as thats the only thing that keeps him quiet for any length of time) to see if that helps so no telly this morning. Colouring, trains, books and a million rounds of breakfast. I know his behaviour would be better if he wasn't getting up so stupidly early (pre-5am this morning)....but that's a whole other thread. Poor DH has had a really stressful week at work and he's just wrestled a screaming DS into the car and taken him and DD to ballet to give me some peace.
On the food front, maybe I am worrying too much about the lack of a proper lunch and just make sure he has a proper dinner and breakfast and be a bit more strict about limiting snacks. Its hard to tell when he's genuinely hungry because he asks for food all day long. Trouble with breakfast is as he's up so early its hard to tell when breakfast starts and ends if you see what I mean. Argh!
Argh before 5 is a killer. What time does he go to bed? Mine at that age had a strange paradox where the later he went to bed the earlier he'd wake. When I made bedtime 6 instead of 7-7.30 he started waking up at 6.30 instead of 5.30.
Worth a try?
OP when he wakes at 5am have you tried a shot of nurofen and a cuddle back to sleep? My sons early waking and general awful tantrum-y miserable behaviour went mental around 21mo and it turned out to be his last molars. They finally cut through a week or two before his second birthday and the change in his personality and sleeping was incredible. Maybe worth a try???
I've started sitting on the stairs with Dd on my knee, and explaining in serious tone that xyz behaviour is not acceptable, she needs to be kind, cooperate, not hit or whatever. She nods seriously and tends to be better afterwards. Worth a try? I think explaining in a different location sort of points the explaining out as being a big deal. Dd is 22 mo.
Could you offer a small snack with milk for early breakfast then offer as much as possible for breakfast at later time, eg cereal, fruit and yoghurt, then decide that is the end of it? No more snacks for a couple of hours.
I always offer milk freely.
I can't offer any advice as I'm having similar problems with my 20 month old son, so just offering sympathy! Watching this thread with bated breath. My DS hits us whenever we say no to him, have tried telling him firmly no (he hits us more) moving away from him (he follows us and hits us) putting him in a 'naughty corner' (comes out of it and hits us again) and on a couple of occasions I have properly lost my temper and shouted at him (he laughs or hits).
You're doing well in my book if you've only lost your temper on a couple of occasions, I seem to be losing it on a pretty regular basis these days . Its reassuring to hear so many are having similar difficulties though.
BotBoticelli thats a good point re molars. His sleep seems to be getting worse so that could be a factor.
Mrscog he goes to bed at 7, sometimes 6.30 but any earlier and he doesn't settle. You are right though, I def subscribe to 'the more they sleep the more they sleep' and earlier bedtimes definitely help.
His speech is sky rocketing. He was saying loads of new words today so sure this must be a factor.
With the food thing, we had a stand off this morning - I didn't let him have his cereal until he sat nicely in his booster seat. The stubborn little scamp totally refused so he went hungry till his
buggy bribe school run snack. He's actually been a bit more cooperative for the rest of today so maybe I need to be much firmer, calmer and give him clearer boundaries. He is so different from DD!
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