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(17 Posts)
Boobalina Tue 26-Aug-08 15:46:24

This message hasnt been posted to start a lively debate or to be antagonistic... but I need advice.

I have in the last 2 months on occassion smacked DS on the hand for really naughty behaviour - ie, not doing what he is told, answering back, throwing things - all these things for up 4 hours and then I have smacked him, after doing the usual time out, naughty step, taking toy away, ignoring, shouting and being stupidly cross.

Now I am well aware it is not acceptable to hit ANYONE let alone your children... but does anyone feel that your kdis will jsut push and push and push relentlessly for hours and hours tp see how frickin cross they can make you.

My DS is nearly 4 and we have a DD who is 10 months. I returned to work 7 weeks ago and am pretty stressed out by life.

I am expecting lots of people saying I am a horrid cow, cruel etc.... but whati woudl really like is advice on what to do after all the normal steps of discipline dont work and you are being laughed at by a nearly 4year after a whole day of being a little bugger.

I also get lots of him pretending he cant 'do' things when he realises when need to get somewhere on time - nursery / dentist /shops etc.. a tirade of 'I cant put my shoes on / random item of clothing etc' which he can do perfectly well. He will admit later that he was just pretending?! I feel like I am goign slowly bonkers adn also feel like a complete cow-bag for getting so cross with the little man.


greenandpleasant Tue 26-Aug-08 15:53:25

perhaps you need just to ignore him? ie don't progress to shouting and being really cross and eventually smacking. he is pushing you because you react. if you ignore ignore ignore (or PRETEND to ignore because really that's all anyone is doing while they grind and seethe inside) he may get the message that NOTHING he does that is naughty will make you cross. if he does something very bad you remove him from situation, make life as dull as possible for him and give lots of attention to the injured party or to your own activity.

if he can't put his shoes on, he goes bare foot.

i have a friend who took her son to school wearing only his pants (in summer) because he wouldn't get dressed! he learnt a) she follows up on her threats and b) never to do it again!

I know this sounds smug and pat and maybe you've tried it all. in which case sorry for being smug and pat.

thisisyesterday Tue 26-Aug-08 15:57:16

hmm well, I have a 3.5 yr old and know how frustrating they can be sometimes! lol

tbh I would use one of 2 approaches if he was refusing to (for example) put his shoes on. first would be to just say, ok, you can come like that. normally then he will get them on. if he doesn't then I put them in my bag and make him come out with no shoes on.

or 2, I would just say ok, I'll put them on for you. and do so. job done.

other things? let me think. answering back, I tend to just ignore to be honest (i know it is hard though). Or I will say "I don't like how you are talking to me right now, so I am going to stop listneing until you can talk to me nicely"

throwing things, he gets ONE warning not to keep doing it and if he continues it gets taken away.
the wartning is usually something like "DS if you can't play nicely with that toy I am going to have to take it away. Please stop throwing"

we don't do time out, or naughty step.
a lot of counting to 5 when I want something specific done. He gets a clear, but simple, explanation of what I expect him to do. if he doesn't do it then I say, I will count to 5 and I want to see you start doing x,y or z

Boobalina Tue 26-Aug-08 15:57:42

Hi there Green. I do do the 'you'll go out as you are thing' and it does work...eventually. I find it really difficult if he starts palying up at say 8.30am and by 3pm , he is still really pushing it... by that point I cant ignore him anymore and I get so bloody cross and also so upset.

So then we end up both in tears and the saddest thing is is that 10 month has majority of attention taken away becasue of him playing up.

When he is not being a PITA he is a very kind, considerate, loving, funny and articulate little boy who I love more than anything.

It feels liek Jekyll and Hide - he probably feels the same with me too though.

ajm200 Tue 26-Aug-08 15:58:33

No-one should judge you for giving your child a smack on the hand. Raising children isn't easy and all mums no matter how calm and in control they seem are really like ducks. Calm and serene above the surface while peddling like crazy underneath just to stay afloat.

My LO isn't as old as yours but the only thing that works with him is social isolation. We warn him 3 times then banish him to his room for 2 minutes. If he does the same thing again, he goes straight back. It seems to work (so far, touch wood)

If he breaks his toys we make a point of throwing them in the bin in front of him so that he knows that they are gone. We simply ignore a lot of the other less serious bad behaviour and luckily he is still small enough that we can pick him up and move him if required.

Is there someone who can watch the children for an hour to give you a break and some 'me' time. Sometimes, a bit of distance can help to calm things down a bit and help you feel better

bubblagirl Tue 26-Aug-08 15:59:34

have yout ried a praise chart or a chart that says what he has to do and turn it into a game set a timer and if he gets it all done by the time timer has gone off he gets a sweet on way hom from school or pre school

praise any good behaviour and if not being overly naughty ignore it and pick your battles with him and just point out how well his acting etc

if he is really naughty take awaya favourite toy dont shout but tell him calm and firm that his behaviour was wrong and dont get into adebate say what you have to say and nothing more

i dont condone smacking as dont feel it teaches children anything but if its a tap on the hand then ok but to smack a child its hard to tell them not to smack if they do it as you do it to them

try marbles in a jar when he fills the jar he get s a reward trip to park or fave toy

you genuinly sound stressed anyway so be careful that you may just not have the patience for him try to set some you and him time where you can just have fun praise and enjoy

and if you feel stressed dont show it to the children put brave face on keep calm and walk away for 5 mins to calm yourself down

as if im tired and stressed i do find i cant tolerate my son very much but have realised that now and as soon as i let myself go and make him laugh it helps me unwind

hope you feel better soon

as for the pretend dont stress at him when he does it say in jokey voice i bet you cant put that on by the time i count to 10 and make it fun so he gets positive attention not negative

HonoriaGlossop Tue 26-Aug-08 16:00:42

I think it's about putting EXTRA steps in BEFORE you get to the punitive things like time out, naughty step, etc etc.

If you are absolutely, totally smiley, positive and loving and warm with him, keep kissing him half the day, telling him he's gorgeous, handsome etc etc etc....then you start from a good point IMO. Because withdrawal of your loving attention can be strategy number one and can be ENOUGH sometimes.

Another strategy is not looking at things from an adult, logical standpoint. With things like getting things done as in shoes etc what he's doing is asking for a bit of attention. He's only THREE - still a baby; how much nicer for him to have you there helping him, why wouldn't he want that...doesn't mean he'll still be that way at 16 only when he's little!

so I think my summary would be

change your expectations ALOT. Tiny kids IME do not actually do what they're told much; they are human beings too and much prefer being asked, negotiated with, cajoled, joked with etc etc. Ask in a different way and make it fun - why not? Nicer for all of you!

Answering back IMO does not need punishing. If he's answering back TBH he is just showing you that YOU have the power and it's his little fight back. It's human nature and it's fine. Let him say what he wants within reason, it won't change the outcome. And don't get drawn in to answering his answering back - no point arguing with a 3 yr old! A disappointed, withering look is enough IMO.

filthymindedvixen Tue 26-Aug-08 16:01:34

if he ignores you asking him to do stuff, try putting on a silly voice, or whispering. It can work wonders to break a potentially volatile scenario.

Or make it a game, ''I bet you can't put your shoes on before I put mine on''

thisisyesterday Tue 26-Aug-08 16:03:15

boobalina, have you tried giving him plenty of attention?
is it possible that he feels a little bit pushjed out by his baby brother and the way you are disciplining him is reinforcing that?

I mean, the "i can't do it" thing is quite common when a new sibling arrives. sometimes the oler child just wants to be babied a bit.

he may be feeling a bit left out and it definitely sounds like he wants attention.

perhaps you could try and mkae more time for him somehow? make sure you do some activities together when baby is napping, get him to help you make dinner, go for walks and while baby is in sling/pram you can be chatting with him and showing him stuff

Boobalina Tue 26-Aug-08 16:19:22

DS has a sticker chart for not getting up too early in the mornings (as being over tired makes him bad tempered)and I also give him stickers for general good behaviour - eating food nicely, being helpful, being kind etc...

I do count to 5 for a lot of things, I will then do the ignoring thing, I will also do time out in his room for 3 minutes, I will also with hold a favourite toy....

I work 4 days a week. So on my day off I have to do the weekly shop in between 10 month nap / bottle / food routine, as well as laundry, visit out somwehere in the afternoon. Then weekends are spent doign the usual family things - activities for the kids (park,zoo, parties, cafe etc) seeing friends, DIY, as well as cooking, washing, cleaning etc.... then its time to go back to work again and continue on the never ending treadmill.

I am generally pretty stressed by my return to work and am going through the 'is this right for kids/me/finances' thing...

So I guess my patience is pretty crap at the moment. It feels like I literally never get anything compelted properly, and never really get to sit down until I am at work and then I get pestered non stop at work all day.... and never get to concentrate on one task there either....

I feel like I am not doing anything very well and jsut making everyone unhappy.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 26-Aug-08 16:26:04

oh boobalina I am sure you're not making everyone unhappy. You have a helluva lot on your plate. I really SO recognise what you say about the treadmill of life; I have to be SO organised just to get through the week....and it's like if you feel ill/unable to keep up with stuff it gets out of control so easily.

Maybe practical changes might help you cope with day to day demands? Can you do an internet shop instead of going out for it on your one day at home? Laundry - put at least one load on every day rather than leaving it for your day off? Have you got good help from DH? I found DH and I needed a BIG re-think when I went back full time; made a list of daily tasks, stuck it up on the fridge and shared out jobs EQUALLY! Might you be taking on too much?

You have two kids under 5 after all; it's enough to be doing on your day off with them, to just get through the day!

bubblagirl Tue 26-Aug-08 16:30:30

i doubt very much that your making everyone unhappy do you have someone who can watch kids so you can have some you time whether it be lunch with a friend a night out or a long soak in the bath with a book

and remember you dont have to get everything done at once tackle little bit each day so you have time to do other stuff dont do what doesnt really need doing

it sounds like you need some you time so you can be refreshed and able to get yourself into things again

thisisyesterday Tue 26-Aug-08 16:35:17

I agree with HG. try and make changes so it's easier for you.

batch cook food for the baby and freeze it, that way you only have to reheat.
do picnic lunches where you can ALL get down on the floor and enjoy yourselves whilst also eating.

definitely second the internet shop, much easier.

don't feel you have to go out in the afternoons, or do specific activities on weekends. we don't and my ds's really appreciate staying in with mummy now and then, helping to get dinner ready, cooling off with a dvd if we've had a busy morning ad just spending some quality tyime together.

it does sound as though you're trying to do too much, and wearing yourself out, which may be why you're finding your ds's behaviour wearing.

we have found (as Alfie Kohn suggests) that rewarding good behaviour can be counter-productive. what you're basically sayting to your child is that "I love you when you behave in a certain way", which I am sure isn't true. you love him no matter what, and maybe he needs to know that?
star charts and stickers aren't always the best approach, IMO.

Boobalina Tue 26-Aug-08 16:41:38

I know... have put all the laundry in 2 big bin bags today and taken them to a laundrette on my way into work for a service wash! With this shit weather, nothing is drying at all... Plus am going on holiday next week, but we all know what the organising is like to get there!

Part of me feels ungratful to ask anyone to take the kids, when I am off at work 4 days a week adn they are at nursery already - dont you know what i mean.

A good friend is babysitting the kids tongiht so me and dh can go out - bt as we havent been getting on too well we are going to the flicks so we dont have to argue speak to each other

Plus I am due on the day we get to holiday - hence PMT now.... hmm

JuneBugJen Tue 26-Aug-08 16:44:33

Finding the whole going back to work thing very hard too Boobalina, also feel stretched thin and a bit despairing at times. you have the same age dcs as me.

No real advice, just support. Kids are a bloody nuisance sometimes and you just don't want to negotiate/bargain/beg/plead for the smallest request to be done. Especially when you have what feels like so little time to spend with them you want it to be special and not sounding like a harpy the whole time. You almost can't understand why they are being so hideous when you finally are with them. I'm sure people will tell you its punishment for leaving them. blah blah blah...

I understand how you feel about the smacking. Personally, only done it once when terrified she kept running off across roads, but instead I have the terrifying mental cruelty of being extremely cold to her when she has crossed the line. It works so well I have to leave it in reserve as it clearly has more effect than 'volcano mum' I was using in the past!

Boobalina Tue 26-Aug-08 16:50:39

Have to go and get the little darlings now and get them into bed so me adn DH can go out for once and sit in the dark not talking!

Can i just say thank you so much for being non judgy adn nice... I have been wanting to post on this for ages and but seeing many reactions on AIBU have been too scared!


youngmumof2 Wed 27-Aug-08 10:49:59

kids arent easy to raise.. i know what your going threw my wee girl is 4 and i cant take her no where as she plays up and takes tanturms it makes me realy upset and alot off people look at her and me asif to say you cant look after your kid. i tend to give her a slap on the hand as i have tried everything but nothing works..

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