Help me with my terrible toddler! — The Bump
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Help me with my terrible toddler!

Oh man, Jack is killing me these days!!  Just flat out abusing me (pinching, hitting, kicking) and I'm SO tired of it.  I am seriously never able to let my guard down around him, I am not sure when he's going to decide it would be fun to reach out and pinch my leg or kick the baby in the face.  It makes me so sad :(  How do I make him stop?

Or when I have to bring him in from playing outside, all hell breaks lose and he pitches the hugest fits ever!!  So embarrassing, he just freaks out and starts throwing punches, flings himself on the ground (I have to move him to grass so he doesn't hit his head on the concrete).  After a minute or two he'll realize I'm really going inside and he'll follow me, but how can I pre-empt the tantrum?! 

I just feel like such a crappy mother when he behaves like this, and it hurts my feelings when he beats me up :( 


Jack 3.5.07 / Ethan 9.17.08 / Lauren 4.3.11 image

Re: Help me with my terrible toddler!

  • I have no advice because I'm entering the tantrum stage as well.  I hope some of the veteran moms can help!
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  • So it only gets worse, eh? Sean is starting to do things like that too. He's also a big fan of trying to bite and we're working on that one along with the flinging himself down or flailing his arms. I recently read Love And Logic Magic and liked their philosophy. I've started to use some of it now and see a mild improvement. Most of it is targeted for kids who have communication and language skills so I think we'll be able to apply the principles more as he gets older.
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  • Unfortunately I have no advice for you.  I'm going through the same thing with my Ethan.  I feel like a failure, too, but a friend of mine (who has two sons ages 7 and 4) went through the same thing with her boys and they are great, obedient kids now.  Our boys are being typical toddlers and testing their boundaries, and we're just along for the ride trying to be the best moms that we can be.  Good luck!  If you are able to figure out anything that works, let me know; I'll do the same!
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  • We are just starting to get to the hitting phase.  Right now, the biggest target of Colin's is our dog, though occasionally he'll pinch us or hit us.  We do time out if any of this happens.

    As for the tantrums, one thing that I've found to be helpful is to spell out everything we're doing.  Like discuss going to the playground, how long we'll be there, what things we're going to do when we get home.  I try to make the home stuff fun, like snack, listen to favorite cds, etc.  It helps some.  Distraction also helps.  It's a constant challenge though, esp. if we're outside and he wants to run the other way!  They are definitely testing their boundaries. 

    I wish I had better advice for you, unfortunately I think we're just starting down this toddler path.  I hope things improve and if you find a solution that works, let me know!

  • We are well into the you know. Shes moved away from throwing things at me...I think I scared her the last time when she hit me in the face with a metal picture frame.

    To avoid the constant meltdowns I try to tell her in advance what's going to be happening (we're going inside in a few minutes, we're going by by soon, etc). This helps a lot especially when we'll be changing location.

     I also try to give her choices (you can either listen to mommy and pick up your toy or I will put the toy away and you wont be able to play with it). When it doesn't work and she goes to timeout I tell her "that's too bad, your toy has to go away because you didn't pick it up".

    If she's hysterical. I set her down and walk away (not too far, but far enough for her to know she does not have my attention). I think we spent 90% of our trip to the aquarium last week like this. When she's done we'll talk. Sometimes this is a few seconds...sometimes it's 10 minutes. I don't even try to do anything when she's screaming. It's totally humiliating sometimes (and sometimes I cry all the way home from where ever we are), but I can't control her behavior...I can only help her learn how to react better next time.

    Cammie highly recommends the book "Love & Logic" ... not followed word for word but it's a concept of consistency and helping them to make choices for themselves that they know are right. I've been really impressed with how it's worked on Grace.

    Good luck!

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  • I have a feeling this will be me soon!

    I agree with the others about telling him what's  going to happen in advance.  At the park the other day I saw a mom doing something I may try.  She gave her three year old notice they were leaving in 5 minutes.  The little girl started protesting so the mom  said, "Okay, so should we leave now?"  She said it really sweetly (not threatening or menacing), and the girl said no and didn't have a problem leaving after that. I'm sure it would take several tries for this to work, but maybe you could get there eventually.

    I don't have any advice on the physical stuff.  I think it's one of those "this too shall pass" phases. 

  • This post is making me excited for our session :) HAHAHAHAH!!!  I dont have any advice I'm just scared now. ;)  Seriously though I hope it gets better - he's probably just testing his boundaries.

  • No advise here but I'm in agreemet that kids this age test boundaries. We are not doing any special tricks but just try to be firm on items that he's not supposed to do or get into. That's the way my parents were and I hope that it works for William too.
  • You've already gotten some good advice and plenty of sympathy.  I just wanted to say that I also just finished the Love and Logic Book after the reccs I got here and I'm looking forward to trying out some of their techniques when he's older and can communicate more.  But there are some strategies that we've already tried and they do seem to work.  You may want to check it out.  Of course if you're anything like me- you have no time to read!  I had to read it on a flight to Texas.  It was an easy read and I almost finished the whole book on that flight!






  • imageRaleighsMom:

     I also try to give her choices (you can either listen to mommy and pick up your toy or I will put the toy away and you wont be able to play with it). When it doesn't work and she goes to timeout I tell her "that's too bad, your toy has to go away because you didn't pick it up".

    According to my pedi this is one of the most effective ways to prevent meltdowns.  You give them a choice about almost everything, even though the options are essentially the same.  Like in Meredith's example, the toy gets put away regardless of what Raliegh chooses.  Supposedly it kind of kills 2 birds w/ one stone.  On one hand their minds are working to think of what 'they' want to do and on the other hand they feel like since they are getting to choose they are getting their way.  My pedi says that it's even useful in getting them to eat better, like if you say 'do you want pb&j or ham and cheese?'  that kind of stuff. 

    Regardless of what you do, just like the pp's said, it's all a phase and will pass.  It just might take oh, about 5 years. ;)

  • It's a stage.

    First, don't let him hurt you.  Put him in time out or in his room and explain to him that hurting others isn't nice and that you will NOT tolerate it.  Don't even give him the opportunity.  If you think he's about to do it, explain to him that if he does xyz behavior, that you WILL send him to time out, period.  You'll have to be very consistant with this, and it will take some time before he knows you mean business.

    As far as the tantrums.  There is nothing you can do.  he can't control his emotions yet.  Make sure he is safe, and walk away.  He most likely won't continue them if he doesn't have an audience.  I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but make sure he knows that you are the boss.

  • oh yeah, we do give choices like the previous posters explained.  That way, they feel like they have a bit of control of the situation. 

    We also talk in detail about everything that we are about to do so there are no surprises.  They may not like what they are about to do, but at least they know it's coming.

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