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discipline & toddlers

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  • discipline & toddlers

    I am really struggling at the moment and really need some good ideas!!!! My DS is 25 months and SERIOUSLY driving me up the wall. I am becoming a shouty Mum and my patience is almost non existent. His entire vocabulary at the moment seems to consist of the word no and he just doesnt listen to ANYTHING. I feel like all we do all day is argue. I try everything everytime he does something he shouldnt.

    Like as an example this morning he went into my drawer in my bedroom and pulled out my hair straightener. I walk into him playing with it while it was plugged in.... not turned on thankfully.... I ask him to put it down, he doesnt. I ask again and explain that it gets very hot and we dont play with hot things. He yells "no" I say that as he cannot listen I am going to take it off him, so I do. He screams and starts trashing the room by throwing things on the floor. I attempt to redirect him by offering to read some books (he loves books) no dice. So I say 'I know that you are angry because Mum took the straighteners off you, I'ts OK to be angry' and then I sit there with him.... for TEN min until DD starts crying in the other room, I have to go to her of course and tell DS that he can come too.... he follows me around the house screaming for the next thirty min all while trying to kick the cats and throwing anything he comes across on the ground. The house is in total chaos once this finished and then it starts all over again about half an hour later.

    I really do try and keep my cool but I feel like I am being held hostage by him! He is not a distractable child and never has been, he is not fooled by offering him something else.... unless its something he also shouldnt be doing. Like if I said "lets go draw some pictures" he wouldnt be interested, if I said "lets go draw on the walls" he would be there in a flash.

    I am sick and tired of having to repeat everything I say a million times until I eventually have to just take something off him or remove him from the room. The house is baby proofed and all of our really nice stuff that we dont want broken has been put away so up to this point there have been very few things that he wasnt allowed to play with. Now however he can open any drawer and just drags a chair to get to higher places. I have the dangerous stuff like medicine under lock and key but not everything can be made that safe, and surely we shouldnt have to live like that either!?!?!?!

    What do I do? I am not wanting to do time outs or spank which is of course what everyone is telling me I NEED to do and claiming that AP has caused this problem. I am starting to wonder if they are right. He isnt naughty as such just SO CURIOUS and cannot seem to stop himself from doing things. But I have got to the point where the only course of action I can take is to just spend my day taking stuff off him! I just dont know what else to do. When he wants something that is ALL he wants and the only way to stop that is to cause a tantrum. I also have his sister to look after and at the moment I feel like I spend my days in a battle of wills with DS while ignoring DD.

    I need help.

    Sorry this is so long.

  • #2
    that does sound frustrating! it may seem like the solution would be a different parenting style, but that will not meet his needs, or yours. and you will probably end up with long-term troubles going in that direction.

    so let's look at it in terms of needs. could it be that he needs more stucture? planned activities that keep him moving forward? what do your days look like? does he have an expectation of what comes first, second, third? can you get out of the house for story hours, park play, etc? does he get enough outdoor exercise? other energetic activities?

    when my children were that young, if we stayed home all day, we all went nuts. the thing that saved us was structure.


    • #3
      Oh, that sounds like so much to deal with! I've been there too...trying to stay positive through a difficult phase, but running out of patience. It is so hard. Hang in there though, he will get older and things will change!

      I'm wondering if he gets as curious and "busy" outside of your house as he seems to inside it? I mean, does he do this at friend's houses, or in a store, or at a park, or in a class or playgroup? Is he always into everything no matter where he is? I'm wondering if he might enjoy the physical & tactile sensation of "exploring" at home. When kids are out & about doing activities and visiting friends, there is usually plenty of stimulation, so much so that some kids may get overstimulated. But maybe he really enjoys sensorial experiences and is seeking those out at home?

      And the not listening and not following directions? Well, that's just being a toddler. You may have to make taking something off him or removing him from whatever the first step instead of the millionth. Seriously, that may prevent a lot of frustration on your part if you just go there first instead of trying to verbally direct him first. Of course, HE may be frustrated & cry, but at least YOU won't be at your wit's end when that happens.

      You mentioned coloring on the walls (I think just as a general example, not necessarily as a specific incident), but I wonder if it's possible to change up some "regular" kid activities and make them a little more off-the-wall...literally? If coloring on the wall appeals to him more than coloring in a book at the table (I have to say, that sounds more fun to me too ), take a roll of butcher paper and cover a wall with it so he CAN color on the wall?

      Just some ideas...Hang in there, this stage won't last forever!


      • #4
        My 25 month old rarely listens to any verbal command. He is persistent and not distractible in a normal toddler way...I mean he KNOWS when I am just doing something to get him to stop doing something else.

        I feel I have to be very proactive in his care. Trying to plan physical time outdoors everyday at least and if I can fit in an extra walk around the block after dinner, even better. If you have doors in your house, shut them to limit access to areas where he could get in trouble with things he should not touch. (my house is very old and only has a few doors and neither of them even stay shut!)
        If I do have to get him to stop doing something else, presenting what he CAN do helps. For some reason he started walking into the parking lot to his carseat (like his big brother does) I said "Emmett, NO, sidewalk" He did comply luckily at that point because he didn't feel like it was a game. Sometimes I think he feels like that when he runs away! Your son may feel like you are both playing together at those times, toddlers don't really get that Mom is really upset.

        Maybe you can try some of the ideas in Playful Parenting?
        You know that talking to him about it does not work, so try another approach.
        I am not wanting to do time outs or spank which is of course what everyone is telling me I NEED to do and claiming that AP has caused this problem.
        Yeah, I would personally avoid that too. Neither are magic bullets for compliance.
        He isnt naughty as such just SO CURIOUS and cannot seem to stop himself from doing things.
        I think this is an important realization you made! Provide him with safe, Mommy approved spaces and items to satisfy his curiosity so he won't feel so much a drive to touch unapproved things. It seems like a little extra work, but the 'work' you are doing now trying to undo the behavior you dislike would be better used for a more pro-active attitude.
        Sometimes a happy two year old playing in a safe kitchen sink while you make dinner is worth the extra water puddle you have to clean up later. Sometimes making a safe fort while he takes a nap is worth the entertainment after he wakes up. (I have done both with success)

        Finally, please go easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can at the moment.


        • #5
          Some Ideas

          My 2.5yr old son is very similar. I also hate yelling...I found a great website with ideas for activities for him with or without mama... I hope it helps or.. jess


          • #6
            what struck me, was when you said you are spending all day redirecting and dealing with your son and it is taking away from your daughter. My thought was is that the heart of the need your son is trying to get met. Is he doing all he knows how at 25mo. to get your attention. Maybe trying some Mommy and DS time might help. Every day where he gets total undivided time with just you, no sister allowed to interupt. I also second all the ideas about structure and finding ways to get out of the house and do different things. I notice when my daughter starts to get into things that are not okay and she doesn't usually bother it's either 1 nap time, or 2 she needs to get out and see a friend or go to the park where she can run and make a mess and I won't care. Just today she asked for a glass of water started to drink it then ran over to the floor to dump it out and play with the water all over the floor. It was making me nuts I tried to redirect she screamed bloody murder. So I decided where can I let her do just what she wants play with water. It happens to be hot hot outside so we filled the baby pool to make a yes situation, out of a major headache! Good Luck it sounds like you are in a rough patch!