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Struggling mom

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  • Struggling mom

    Hello all! This is my first day on these forums, but I have read them for a while. I have some issues with my son and would appreciate any advice at all.
    First of all, my son is 3 years 8 mts old. I practiced AP from the time he was a few weeks old. I was told by everyone who gave me advice about his sleeping problems to let him cry it out. Well, I tried that twice, and just could not stomach it again. He has a wonderful pediatrician who said to me "just put him in the bed with you if that's where he sleeps the best." So, I did. Finally, I started doing some research and found Dr. Sears and AP.
    He has always stayed home with me or my husband since birth and I just weaned him at 3 1/2. He was really just nursing at night by that point and I was able to use my husband putting him to bed and other distractors to wean. He was OK with it.
    The problem I need advice with is his temper tantrums and not doing what we ask him to do. He is very smart and creative and when he wants to do something if you tell him no, of course, he doesn't want to hear it. It's almost like you have interfered in his carefully calculated plan and he will not hear of it. He will scream, say rude things (like shut up), and the worst part is him hitting. We were at a neighbor's tonight and I asked him to do something before he went to play basketball and he just went into a tantrum at their house. He hit me several times and I was so embarrased. So, we immediately went home and I wouldn't let him play. He was tired, so I know that set him off somewhat.
    I am in my last semester of nursing school (RN) and I work at the hospital. My husband watches my son while I work, go to school, study, or do clinicals. I know for a fact that this is too much on my hubby, but we have no other choice right now unless we want to put him in daycare, which we don't. I know my son doesn't like to be away from me so much, and my husband has a hot, hot, hot temper with my son when he doesn't mind. So, this all makes me guilty!
    My son likes to play with other kids and does fine with them, but we really don't know anyone in this area with kids his age. He does go to a little Taekwondo class twice a week and he really enjoys that. (My husband said that taught him how to hit, but he was doing it way before karate).
    I love my son and love my husband so much and I feel as though we are in chaos. To top it off, my mother-in-law separated from her husband almost a year ago and moved in with us and just has never left. I do get along with her but some things she does I don't agree with, neither does my hubby. So, that adds to the stress! I can't help the guilt and thinking that things would be a lot better if I were home more than I am.
    I sure hope someone out there has some advice! I don't know anyone else who practices AP, making it really hard for me, and my husband isn't 100% on board with the no spanking although he tries not to 99% of the time.
    Well, I guess I summed it all up!
    Thanks for reading this and God bless you!

  • #2
    Wow momma, it sounds like you are really in a tough spot right now. I'd venture to say that the change in your life (MIL moving in, recent weaning, etc) plus your child's age is leading him to exert some control in his own life. While it may not exactly be comforting, to an extent I would say that this is developmentally appropriate.

    My children are seven and almost five (end of November) and redirection is still the name of the game. Full-blown meltdowns occur daily and it is absolutely exhausting - granted my children have other challenges which lead to these.

    What I would suggest is to keep a daily log - when these types of issues come up, when things go smoothly, sleep log, food log, etc and see if you can pinpoint a pattern. I have found that daily logs have really helped me in the past.

    Wishing you only the best.


    • #3
      Hello! How you are describing your son is very like my son, 6 month ago! I think many of us AP parents have hit a bump at that age as we have to develop a new skill set.

      I recommend reading up on Non-violent Communication. The tips and techniques are wonderful for everybody, but especially help with the new conflict at 3yrs old. See this site and get this book-Parenting From Your Heart: Sharing the Gifts of Compassion, Connection, and Choice .
      NVC has really helped my son and I communicate better and have a good constructive relationship.

      Also I want to recommend Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime I have just stared getting into this book, so have not read it all, but its very structured and reassuring.. while remaining pretty much AP. One of the sub headings on the cover is "understand why your child is misbehaving" and "stop the tantrums" along with "stay connected to your child."

      Generally I think it is important to find local people to support you doing AP. Often times when a child reaches this age people think attachment parenting is over and that we should stop being attentive to our children's needs, and that is not true!
      Do you have a local group, or a least a few freinds with similar parenting style?
      Fill us in on your journey!


      • #4
        i second naomi's recommendations and would also like to add Unconditonal Parenting by Alfie Kohn. it really helps you understand the relationship is the most important thing, and do act/react in a way that you can maintain EVERYONE's dignity, not just the adults.

        i noticed that several times, you talked about feeling guilty. your guilt is probably playing a huge role in how you are relating to your son. i recommend you give yourself a little break. guilt is designed to self-condemn. you're in a difficult situation and doing the best you can. condemnation isn't goin to help you. try to focus on all the things you are doing right for your family, and take pride in them.

        if you don't have a local group, come here often for support


        • #5
          Well I agree with what everyone has said already!

          Just wanted to add that sometimes daycares/preschools/community centre programs can provide a good break for the parents! I know that you said you want to avoid daycare but I was not sure why exactly. There are some daycares/preschools that are pretty AP compatible so if that is the concern you may be able to find something that you would be happy with. Not full time, but just something that would give hubby a few hours break a few times a week. For instance, my son's preschool is relatively unstructured and follows a fairly "Alfie Kohn" approach to discipline and learning. I find it a good complement to the AP we do at home and provides him with a community of kids and caring adults (the teachers and other parents).



          • #6

            Thanks so much everyone! I wrote down all the tips you gave me and will be looking into these ASAP. It feels so much better to hear from like-minded parents who have been there-done that!!!!
            I hope to get to know you all better in the future. I will keep you posted on our progress!


            • #7
              Originally posted by glory2Him View Post
              The problem I need advice with is his temper tantrums and not doing what we ask him to do. He is very smart and creative and when he wants to do something if you tell him no, of course, he doesn't want to hear it. It's almost like you have interfered in his carefully calculated plan and he will not hear of it. He will scream, say rude things (like shut up), and the worst part is him hitting.

              Hi there,... I have dealt with very much the same issues...the comment the stuck out to me was this: "t's almost like you have interfered in his carefully calculated plan and he will not hear of it. "

              I wonder if perhaps he is not feeling like he is being respected in these instances (apart from being tired, hungry)... I have found that if I state to my girls "you need to do this". they rebel (Gordon Neufeld calls this "counterwill")....

              Perhaps if he is in the middle of something or even if he doesn't seem like he is get down on his level and explain to him what is going with the basketball scenario you talked about, if he comes in and says "can we play basketball" and you want to clean up the toys from before, take him aside (not in front of friends) and tell him quietly that you will help him clean up the toys from before before going out to play basketball, so he feels you are on his side.

              l have found that when I order my girls to do something they say no, but if I say, "sure, you can do that, but let's clean this up first, or lets do this first" they react in a positive way...

              It also really helps to discuss before going to someone's house how you want them to behave and explain to them that if they hit, or yell you will leave....

              The screaming and yelling and hitting seems to be a way for them to exert the little control they have over a situation... I have also found that by telling my kids the plan for the day, this puts their minds at ease. I think often times kids feel like they have no control over their day because we just tell them 2 minutes before, "it's time to do this", or "it's time to do that"...

              I hope this gives you some ideas and is helpful!