Sunday, July 31, 2011

Terrible Twos

I've been writing a lot recently about what an amazing big bro Colt has been, and he has. He's been wonderful and has been a big help around the house. But, hes also having some behavior issues. It seems as though THE DAY he turned three he hit "terrible twos". When hes good he's so so good but when hes bad hes so so bad. Colton has been an extremely well behaved, laid back, sweet natured kid. Oh gosh, how bias does that sound!?!?! But really he has! :) We've been very lucky with his behavior and the wayhe listens and follows directions. We know he has it in him!!! We, of course, see his sweet loving behavior during the day a lot but after an all out war, sometimes it's hard to remember how kind he was to his brother or how he made us laugh earlier in the day. I've been told two is nothing and three is the hardest age. I've also been told that the toddler/child years are nothing compared to what the teenage years bring. Yikes!

I'm sure Colts behavior is nothing out of the ordinary for his age. I have a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the elementary age. I'm aware of egocentric behavior. I understand Colton wants what he wants when he wants it and he doesn't understand why he may not get his way but OH MY GOODNESS! The fits he throws when things don't go just his way are fierce! He's angry, aggressive, mean and physical. I know a lot has changed around here in the last few months and I know that this probably has a big part in it. Zak and I are trying everything to work with him, teach him, and not loose our minds! There might even be a little bit of bribing going on. Okay okay, there's a lot of bribing going on. So much that I'm not proud of it. I bribe him with candy or treats to do just about everything I'm too tired to fight him on; getting dressed, taking a picture, getting in the car, helping me do something, the list could go on and on. I'll be the first to admit this is not helping the behavior because now he thinks that everything he does deserves a reward or treat. A month or so back we were at Don Julios for dinner. Colt had to potty so I took him into the restroom. He was told if he pottied he'd be able to have a candy as we left the restaurant. He did not potty so as we walked out of the restroom he asked about the candy. I told him he would have to potty to get the candy and he stopped dead in his tracks, right next to a large table of people, in a very crowded restaurant and screamed, at the top of his lungs, " "I WANT MY CANDYYYYYYY!" I was mortified. He wouldn't budge. It would have been easy to give him the candy, but I didn't. I stood my ground and later in the meal he did use the potty. Sometimes though it's hard to stand your ground, specially with a newborn at home who's demanding all your attention. I know consistency is the key but its so hard to be consistent!

There have been a few days that I have felt so defeated, so overwhelmed and so lost at what to do and how to handle it all. When Colt gets upset with us he will tell us, "Go to work!" This started with daddy because when daddy would get upset with him he'd just want him to go away and he started saying, "Go to work!" Recently, he has started telling me this as well. One night last week, after a very very long trying day, he told me "Mommy go to work!" I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said, "I AM at work and I CAN'T go away!" I knew, and so did Zak, that it was time for mommy to get out of the house. Alone! It seems like each day things get a little worse and a little harder. Zak and I have tried everything to disciple Colton. We've tried spanking, time out, raising our voice, ignoring and on and on and on. None of which work. We are learning the more upset we get with him the worse the situation gets so we try really hard to keep our cool, which is near impossible most times. One thing that has worked is taking away toys. In fact, the top of our kitchen cabinets were lined with toys this afternoon. However, this tactic won't help when were out in about. Luckily, we haven't had too many meltdowns in public. However, there have been a few and I do find myself saying a quick prayer for patience and good behavior before we head out on outings.

Like I said before I know this is a phase, I know his behavior isn't anything too out of the ordinary. I know his world has been rocked with our new addition and I know we all need to be patient. I know all kids go through this in some way, shape, or form but sometimes I look at him and think "What have we done wrong? Why are you acting like this? I DO NOT KNOW YOU!"

So, followers, mommies, anyone...I'd love to know how you survived this "phase" of life. I'm ready for my sweet little man to come back! What kind of discipline did you use. Can you recommend any books? Any funny stories that might not have been funny at the time but you can look back on and laugh at now?

23 comments:

Lauri said...

When Connor was 3 and Kaitlynn was a newborn, he went through a HORRIBLE phase similar to what Colton is going through. Connor's issue was naptime or bedtime. When it was time for him to go to bed, he would start melting down and throw these tantrums by kicking, screaming, hitting, etc., and he was so violent that we didn't even recognize him. It was very disturbing to witness. There was so much transition going on in his life (new baby in the house, new school, staying at home after being in daycare full-time, etc.) so we knew it was just his way of acting out and dealing with all the change, but it was an AWFUL time.

Even though Colton has been a dream with his baby brother, it's still a HUGE transition for him and quite the adjustment from being an only child. That combined with his age (yes, I think 3 is harder than 2, too) and I think he's just trying in his own way to have some control over things in his life. You are doing the right thing by giving him consequences to his bad behavior. We found with Connor that taking away his beloved bear and blankie (for bedtime) was sometimes the only threat that worked. It was a serious blowup when we did it, but he eventually learned we were serious when we threatened.

Have you read the Love and Logic series for parenting? I have used some of the techniques and they really work great. The premise is to take the emotion out and use logic/reason instead. As in, "I'm sorry you made a poor choice to act out in the grocery store, so now you will have a consequence when we get home and you won't be able to ride your jeep tonight." Or something like that. Very effective.

Sorry for the LONG comment. Just know you are NOT alone!! Hang in there. This too shall pass.

Leah J. said...

You're sweet little man will come back ... Promise!!! Casen went through the terrible twos when he actually was two. I'll email you what worked for us. Thinking if you!

Missy said...

We are in the same boat! It has been funny and frustrating at the same time. Things that seem to help us is to constantly talk about what we are going to do, what she needs to do after what she is currently doing, etc. so that there are few surprises. When it is something I am asking her to do I usually warn and then remind that if she doesn't she will get a spanking. That usually helps her to comply, if not she is spanked or put in time out. We also try in the middle of a meltdown to use the distraction technique. Her meltdown is always when leaving something she was having fun doing, etc. So I usually just ask her to tell me her favorite part and that subdues the meltdown temporarily and then I can talk/reason about having to leave and I know she is sad but talk then about coming again, etc. At bedtime our rule is if she screams and cries there are no stories read. That has also seemed to help. The major thing I am finding is consistency, patience and not letting her know I'm upset...taking a mommy time out if needed and then regrouping. And we tell her if she is going to throw a fit she can do it in her room by herself. :)

Lynn said...

Oh wow..I have read your blog off & on, and I am so happy to have come here today to find this. My 3 year old daughter is going through this now. In fact this whole post is where we are right now. She is the sweetest most loving girl but she turns in a matter of a second. It happens throughout the day. Every once in a while she bites her 1 year sister. I've tried everything from spanking, time outs, raising my voice, trying to talk to her to throwing her in her room to throw her fit. I've laid in bed at night exhausted trying to figure where it is I am failing. Sometimes it is she just needs a little attention that her sister is getting, sometimes it is her being on the verge of getting sick and sometimes it is just the phase. I believe that consistent behavior from us parents and unconditional love will eventually prevail. But, oh how frustrating and tiring it can be. 3 is a tough age. Good luck.

katie said...

I am just a stranger and at the moment I only have a four year old but I will tell you some days its even hard with her! How wimpy does that sound?! Im one of nine children myself and a few of my other siblings have large families so I struggle with feeling like a wimp at times. I cant really offer any great advice because I believe every child is different as well as every family. What I do want to tell you is to not be so hard on yourself. God entrusted those precious children to you cause He knew you could do it and although I dont know you personally you seem like a really great mom who is just trying her hardest to raise her children right. This phase will pass. He has been through a lot of changes and just needs time. Keep up the good work mama!!

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Everywhere I look in toddler resources, I see talk about the terrible two's. There are more books on disciplining two year-olds than there are on all the rest of the ages combined.

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