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Tough day with 22mo and need a rant - and some advice!

(14 Posts)
sleepcrisis Mon 08-Apr-13 20:21:46

I've had one of those days and now I find myself blaming myself and picking holes in all my parenting decisions.

DS has tantrummed non stop since getting up this morning and now I am beginning to think I'm too soft on him and am turning him into a brat. Apologies if this is long but I need to vent and find some solutions for dealing with him!

I have always been quite laid back about behaviour - picked my battles and didn't really see the point in shouting no! at every little thing as I don't think its made much difference up until now. And I have just ignored the minor offences (food throwing etc) etc and massively praised good behaviour.

But one thing I have found hard is not giving into the whinging. Eg constant requests to be pushed around in his ride on car. Now he expects to be pushed round and round... and doesn't stop whinging until I give in. I still sit with him for 45 mins to get to sleep as I just can't face tears. If he asks to watch beebies I generally say yes, once or twice a day for one programme. When I come to turn it off he goes totally bananas.

Today we had tantrums over: nap refusal, dinner (starving hungry but didn't quite fancy his favourite meal. Cheered up once eaten it), Wanting to go up stairs while I was busy and wouldn't open stair gate, the list goes on.

I think he has too many grandparents who are quite happy to do whatever he wants, whenever, none of them seem capable of setting any boundaries. Just one more, just one more, all the time, MIL is the worst and I have to intervene all the time. I feel like he is incapable of just 'playing' and he needs an adult around to 'do' stuff with him. He's very happy out of the house, at the park ,soft play, pretending to drive the grandparents cars, etc etc.

I feel as though I can't say no and have totally lost control of everything. Have always felt he was a bit too young to try any kind of 'discipline' eg naughty step, and I'm not even sure if I like that kind of thing, but now I feel like I've left it a bit too late and he isn't going to handle it very well when I have to start saying no. I've always been so exhausted (terrible sleeper) that saying no and its consequences all seemed like too much hard work.

I don't know what I'm saying here. I've just had a terrible day, too many tears and a very very long bedtime. Just ranting really.

I feel out of control! Help!

sedgieloo Mon 08-Apr-13 21:03:43

I'm a mum of a 2.5 month and a 5 month old. I hardly have all the answers. But please don't be too hard on yourself. He is not even two, its not all lost! It sounds as if you want to start to do things differently on a few fronts. Might I suggest that you chose just one or two things. I've started doing 123 magic with my two year old. I've identified with her a few things that are not ok and if she starts, I start counting. Then if I get to three its 'thinking time and calm down time' she's begining to check her behaviour when I say: I'm going to start counting. It's working for her, it may not work for you, just an idea. There are lots of different approaches so maybe find something you feel comfortable with and are it through.

CreatureRetorts Mon 08-Apr-13 21:12:18

Oh don't be so hard on yourself. First of all he's 22 months - solo playing will take a bit of time if you want him to just play at home. My ds was like this - once I accepted it, it became easier and now at 3.6 he plays by himself beautifully and has done for a while. So involve him in what you're doing, put him to work eg doing housework with you etc. perhaps have a routine going in the day - so mornings, up and out of the house for a walk somewhere, back for lunch then a nap. Afternoon get out again.

As for the family members - how often do they see him?

Shybairns Mon 08-Apr-13 21:21:20

Like sedgieloo said, pick a couple of things to change at first.

I have always found giving 5min, 2 min, 1min warnings before doing things like turning of the TV helps.

And if the tantrum is down to not being able to do something/frustration, show him that you know what he's trying to do and tell him to calm down and ask mummy to help. You have to give him the words to use in these situations. Using please and thank you etc.

At meals do you spoon feed him if he's tired or having trouble keeping interested in sitting at table? I still do this for my four year old if she's really struggling.

As for needing to be played with all the time, well this is a phase that will pass. And in the mean time you can say, mummy will play with you for ** minutes then she has a job to do. Whe I finish my job/s I will play with you again.

Bed time, I would use Super nanny's rapid return tchnique.

Hope something I've said makes sense and that I don't sound patronising. Pour yourself a glass of wine. smile

sleepcrisis Mon 08-Apr-13 21:41:18

Thanks for the replies so far (Keep them coming!)

sedgieloo please could you give me the basics of 123 magic? What do you do with DC after the 123 warning? Ignore? Naughty step? Thanks.

creatureretorts We see one of the 4 GPs (all divorced) nearly every day. They can't keep away and we live in a small small town. I like it in one sense (takes the pressure off me to play all the time!) but I really need to get tougher with them re discipline.

shybairns I know you're right about me giving him the words. Sometimes due to just exhaustion and getting it over with quickly and painlessly, I just do what hes asking for without really discussing it with him. I definitely need to work on that. I have tried, but often he just won't look me in the eye if I'm trying to explain something to him and he just wants to move onto the next thing/carry on whinging! (eye contact usually great just not when being 'naughty')

As for meals, I shouldn't have really mentioned that as 90% of the time mealtimes are easy and pain free. Great eater generally, just have to be careful not to reach the 'over hungry' point. I do have trouble restricting snacks as he asks for them non stop, but I hate the idea of withholding food and generally it doesn't affect his main mealtimes, apart from lunch 6 times out of ten.

Re bedtime - how does supernanny work if he's still in a cot? Is it basically CC? I can't do that - his crying escalates and escalates til he reaches hysteria. I can't do it. I have been working on gradual retreat for a year! Ha! I am now about a metre from cot and its still taking 45 mins in the dark for him to settle, with a few 'one more kiss' episodes thrown in for good measure. And a lot of hyper shrieking and chatting.

feeling a bit better, have had 2 glasses of wine ;)

CreatureRetorts Mon 08-Apr-13 21:48:43

If you have a routine for the day then less likely that the GPs will make thins worse. Perhaps introduce 1 or 2 rules eg put toys away at x time, snacks at this time so they have boundaries to enforce.

Bedtime might be because he's overtired especially if refusing naps. What time do you put him down?

sleepcrisis Mon 08-Apr-13 21:53:20

Well today was a first on the nap refusal front. He usually quite likes to go up to bed after lunch. Usually sleeps for 90 mins somewhere between 12.30 and 230. Then I put him down at 6.45-7 and he falls asleep around 7.30. I've tried putting him down earlier and later and it makes no difference.

As for routine, We do have a sort of structure to our day. He wakes at 7ish, plays in cot till we get him around 7.45. Breakfast at 8. Play and get ready to leave house, snack at 9.30ish. Toddler groups etc from 10-1130, home for lunch, then nap. Afternoons are not very structured but he does have a small cup of milk and a snack infront of one programme on cbeebies when he wakes up. Often spends afternoon with GPs. Or running errands with me. Dinner at 5.30, and have done same bedtime routine since he was 6 months, so it really should be working by now!!!

sedgieloo Mon 08-Apr-13 22:42:09

Hi, I posted because I really identified with the 7th paragraph of your op. that sounded like me...Then suddenly behaviour seemed very bad and I didn't know what to use as discipline. I didn't really like what my friends were doing smacks/naughty step/threats/standing in corner/rants etc.

I'm yet to read the book on this 123magic by child psychologist dr Phelan. But I gather he encourages limiting discussion and emotion when disciplining, explaining ahead what is unacceptable (for example throwing food) and explaining the consequence e.g after a count if 123 quiet time in the calm down spot and then not engaging when following through so the child cannot bargain their way out of it. I use the cot because I have a baby and need to know she's ok and safe. I did some board searches on 123 magic to get more of an idea of how to apply the principles.

We've just been trying it for a week...What I like is the clear boundaries, giving the child the opportunity to exercise self control and check behaviour in the pauses between the counting and the calmness of it all (no yelling, anger or threats on the part of the parent) I plan to buy the book but there's quite a bit online.

sedgieloo Mon 08-Apr-13 22:54:28

It sounds like progress on the sleep front. Otherwise some good ideas in the no cry sleep solution for toddlers and preschoolers. Another idea is a star chart, and 3 or 5 stars resulting in a present. Going to bed quickly could result in a star the next day, and eating nicely etc. I know there is a school of thought that thinks this is treating kids like animals rewarding good behaviour. But at two yrs ould I found it a useful to for communicating what was and was not acceptable behaviour. I only used it for about two weeks to deal with protracted bed times and throwing food.

sleepcrisis Tue 09-Apr-13 20:29:54

Thanks sedgieloo. Yes this behaviour has just appeared suddenly and I am totally ill equipped to deal with it!

I'm going to do a bit of reading about 123 magic. My DS is quite a bit younger than your DD, do you think she would have got it 6 months ago?

Also I quite like the sticker chart idea but DS has absolutely no concept of waiting for something. Tommorrow doesn't really mean anything to him - or maybe I'm underestimating him. I just can't see how he'll put going to sleep and a star tommorrow together. And ditto for the present after 5 stars!

sedgieloo Wed 10-Apr-13 19:28:48

Hi sleepcrisis. It may have worked earlier. It's hard to say its quite a simple approach. I still pick my battles. But the 123 helps her to see that I mean what I say. Also it helps me stay calm as there is emphasis on acting swiftly with no discussion and emotion. I've also tried what he says about not asking over and over. For example 'dd come and get your shoes on' (totally ignores) then hand on shoulder, 'you are n

sedgieloo Wed 10-Apr-13 19:31:49

...not doing what I asked, what's going on?' To my amazement she said 'I am, I am' and cooperated!!!!

The star thing. At breakfast I would discuss how food she was going to sleep quickly and quietly and having a lovely sleep and then reward the star, the chart being on the fridge. It was just another way of encouraging the behavoir.

Sorry for the broken post. On my phone nursing my 5 month old.

sedgieloo Wed 10-Apr-13 19:33:39

how good she was

I sound like I have all the answers. I really don't!! Just a couple of ideas that have helped me smile

mummy2benji Wed 10-Apr-13 21:13:33

I am sure my ds1 was similar at that age (he is now 4y 5m). I certainly remember having to pick my battles or I would have been constantly saying "no!" He certainly wasn't good at playing by himself and wanted me to play with him all the time. At the age of 2 we implemented the 'naughty mat' - our take on the naughty step or 'time out' aka Jo Frost Supernanny. If he was being naughty he got given a warning to stop, then if he continued he would be put on the naughty mat for a minute per year of his age, so initially just 2 minutes. I know it doesn't work for every child but perhaps the age we started it was just right, because ds has never got off it and has always been subdued by the threat of it. We hardly ever need to use it now, but I did use it today (an impromptu 'naughty spot' on the school field, as he ran off up the road) and it still works. He said sorry and that he wouldn't run off again, we had a hug and that was that. I totally recommend giving it a try.

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