Friday, May 02, 2008

Calling all moms

Ok - I'm coming to all of you moms (and dad, aunts, grandmas, friends) for some help.

We are knee deep in the "terrible twos", and the last few weeks more than ever! My sister-in-law Ashley said when Gabe came and stayed at her house he only threw one fit the whole week he was there. Well, apparently he was just saving them up, because ever since we got back from picking him up 2 weeks ago he has been in full fit mode. You name it - Gabe can throw a fit or whine about it. Wanting cookies, having a sore throat, wanting to go somewhere, Cory leaving for work before Gabe has said, "Bye-love-you" 110 times, Hunter taking his toy, you name it.

I have tried a lot of different methods, and have not really felt like I am having success with much of anything. I've tried giving him choices with consequences (from "Love and Logic" guidelines), timeout, ignoring him, taking deep breaths, going in the other room and having my OWN time outs, and I'll even admit - I've yelled more than I would like. (Oh - and don't forget the occasional time I break down in tears myself).

So all of you with parenting experience - any advice? I know I can't give in to everything, and ignoring it doesn't seem to do much. He is such a smart little kid, that sometimes he outsmarts me with punishments - even at this age (scary for 13 years down the road when he's almost 16 huh?).

But I'd love any suggestions, books to read, things to do or NOT to do - any advice.


Rhien Family said...

No advice Here- I think you're doing a good job at being a mom! Seriously.

Just thought I'd say Alli goes through phases. Her terrible twos were ok most of the time. The threes on the other hand have been a handful at times!

Love and Logic stuff seemed to work well for us for a few months... now she's back to throwing tantrums, horrible fits, and lately she's even started talking back to us at times. Then for a few weeks, she'll show remarkable improvement, and then relapse back into the uncontrollable fits. I think kids really need to come with a manual!

Lucy's luckily a very content girl thus far, and she's only upset when she's getting a diaper change.

Mom still swears by the pinching finger motion while counting to 3... You might try that... haha.

Ok. Love you- hang in there.

The Rhiens said...

I think Jed needs to clarify that I never actually pinched anyone...I just acted like I was going to, while counting to three. It still works with Julia. :)
She runs by the count of 2.

Sorry I don't have any great advice at the moment.

Brian & Charlotte Carper said...

well, i;m not really an expert, but have lots of experience thru all the ages.

with Blake, i tried the explain every thing reasoning method - i remember one doctor i took him too said to forget about using all the psychological techniques because he was so smart that you could never get it to work more than once before he caught on and figured out how to work it. which sounds like what you deal with with Gabe and jed with Allison.

the best classes i ever took taught us to pick our ONE battle that we were not willing to lose and not fight over the rest. when you have really intelligent children like we do - they just don't grow mentally the same as other people's kids. they are far more advanced mentally than their bodies or their age can deal with - this causes lots of frustration on their part.

the more of this frustration that you can teach them to handle or ignore (you ignore and try to teach them to ignore whatever the stressor is) ... the happier everyone will be.

also, by the time alicia came along i was so over the "let me explain this to you" phase and found great success with " because i'm the mom and you're the kid.. shut up." which sounds really harsh, but was much more successful than the way i did with blake.

Good luck and the most important thing to remember is that although it seems knee deep to you now and like it will never change, it really is just a short season in your life and it will not be like this for very long. and don't worry what it will be like when they are in their teens.

when they are in their teens, they will have the ability to reason like a teen , not a 2 year old. LOVE YOU - Aunt Charlotte

Me - Jen said...

You know - good luck. I really think it is an ag thing, two is horrible and I think three's are worse, sorry . I just ignore my children and don't respond when they whine. So pretty much I ignore them all the time.

Find out what is the very most important thing to him. What makes him tick Whatever it may be, take it away.

Just some suggestions, good luck. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job. To bad you can't rent out children through these stages. Good luck!!

Katie said...

Alright, so if you look at my children you will agree that I am not in any position to give parenting advice, but this particular subject has been the focus of much of my studies in the last three years, so I do have some good book suggestions. I really like Love and Logic (Mostly), and recommend the book "Holding Time" by Martha G. Welch, M.D. It is basically a bonding strategy, and it sounds like it would work pretty nicely with Gabe. I have used a lot of the suggestions in the book, as bonding was a real issue with us to begin with, but it works well for all children, not just those with RAD. I also have found the books, "the strong willed child", and "Dare to Discipline" both by Dr. James Dobson really helpful. They are OLD, not cutting edge anything, but they have some really useful information in them. They were recommended to me by one of our LA County Therapist, and it is one of the few suggestions that he made that I actually found useful:) I LOVE the book, "The Explosive Child" by Ross W. Green. It was written more specifically for children with ADHD, autism, etc., but there are a lot of tactics and thoughts that I use just as much with Adia as I do with Ethan. And it has some great tips on staying calm and sane, as you deal with kid "explosions". It was recommended by another therapist, and there have also been several specials on it on Dateline, and Today, and shows like that. Another one that I like a lot is called "Getting your child from yes to no in ten minutes or less" I have loaned it out right now and can't remember who wrote it, but I found it at Deseret Book in Cedar, so maybe they still have it.:) I liked it, but didn't find a ton of the stuff useful for my particular situations. It all made a lot of sence to me though, and I think that for a great kid like Gabe, it might be just the ticket. One of my favorites has to be "The five love languages of children" by Gary Chapman, and Ross Campbell. It explores the different "styles" of love your child connects to, and tells you the best way to relate to that child. It really boils down to the fact that each kid is different, and what works for one doesn't work for the next. THis book helps you understand that, and I LOVE it. (It's good for more than just dicipline, but also teaching them, having more fun with them, everything) Anyway, I think the key is to just get educated, then pick a plan, pray about it, then stick to it. We have been told by a lot of therapists that a lot of forms of dicipline are good, the key is just to pick something, and stay at it. Eventually it will work, (and Heavenly Father will tell you what to do, I know that one for sure) I have all of these books, and love to share, so if you want to borrow some of them let me know. You are doing a great job! Kids are hard (Who knew?) but your kids are growing up great, and so just keep at it. It has to get easier right? -Just say yes, I'm not interested in any other opinion:)
Anyway, just as a side note, the thing that we are having a lot of success with is respect. I talk to the kids with respect, so they are expected to talk to me with respect. That is the only language I understand. Throwing fits and whining are not speaking respectfully, so I can't understand what they are saying. When they can repeat thier frustrations in a normal tone, volume, whatever, then I can understand them, and together we can figure it out. I didn't know if it would work since both of them were on a (Then) two year old level, but they understood it perfectly. It took a little reminding, and explaining, but they caught on really quickly, and it really has worked. Anyway, sorry this is so long. I should have emailed you privately. Oh well, good luck.

cemarcano said...

So I have a two year old too. She throws tantrums and I do the Suppernanny thing. I warn her and then she goes to a time out stool (That she can't climb down from yet) and she sits for two minutes. Then I come back explain what she did wrong and she gives me a hug and says she's sorry.
Distraction works - like trying to change the focus. Sometimes I just start tickling my kids to get them to forget what is making them upset.
And at the end of this I just have to say that Gabe's tantrums are a sign that he loves and missed you. Kids don't throw tantrums for strangers. I know it doesn't seem fair, but it is a sign he feels the "comfort" of being in a place where he can be all of himself. He probably has a week of tantrums built up that he just needs to release. It might help his emotional development to also identify what he is feeling without judgement - like validation. For example: I can see you are sad that Daddy had to leave for work. Or, you are angry that . . . Whatever. Try to remain calm and validate what he's feeling. It will help him as he matures to recognize and deal with his emotions. Right now he's just feeling them without any understanding of what it is or where it's coming from. Then if you truly apply the love and logic - you are empathizing with how it feels even though you are NOT giving in.

Kristi said...

I have to admit, that after 4 kids, I still don't know what I'm doing. i don't think I've even read a parenting book for those things (I probably should) But, Gabe sounds like Jonah. Jonah started his "2's" early and is still going. But, like many have said, don't give in. Also, he loves to be praised. We have a jar where he can put in marbles. When we catch him being sweet, he gets one. If he's throwing a tantrum, I remind him that this is not how we earn a marble. Then I do give him the two choices. We do use time out when it is violent or disrespectful. But, when he's out of control, I put him on the cool down couch and let him do whatever. ( I did read that in a book, I lied. I think it's the Eyre's book on teaching kids values) Then, we can talk about it. Another instant gratification I saw on someones website, was instead of marbles, giving a quarter, and then they get to go to the grocery store rides in front. I thought that was cute, but i would run out of money. Usually with the marbles, we turn them in for a dollar toy or something, or ice cream with daddy. I usually let them help me decide the reward first. Eventually, when they get older, you can take out marbles when they misbehave (Putting an older kid in time-out doesn't seem to work). Right now we are doing tickets with the older kids for privileges and money. Anyways, there will still be tantrums and arguments, and yes, we still yell. I am working on that one. I find that when i'm calmer, everyone else is more or less calmer. ( which usually happens with me time and scripture reading) Well, good luck. If you run across something that works, we'd love to hear it. i'm always looking for new things. I think you are doing a great job with your boys and love reading and seeing them grow.

Blake said...

It's normal for two year olds to have these fights. Developmentally speaking, the mind has just determined that they are seperate from "mommy" and can obey different rules and out comes. So, they push and push and push to see where the boundries really are and what they can get away with. Can I get away with this? Can I determine when Daddy goes to work? What will Mommy do if I don't obey?

Which is to say, you can draw the line anywhere you want and they will still cross that line. In fact crossing lines and discovering consequences are what being 2 years old is all about. Totally normal and totally a pain in the behind.

As long as you use your conscience as your guide, you're doing fine. I'd recommend taking embarressing baby photos to use when his first girl friends come over. :)