Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Terrible Toddler

Usually referred to as the terrible two's or the terrible three's, we may as well face it, from the age of 2-5 is pretty terrible. 2's weren't so bad for my son, a cakewalk compared to his 3's. And now that he's entering his 4's it seems to only get more intense. Tantrums intensify and now more so in public. It's pretty embarrassing but a part of the toddler process nonetheless. I am learning that a proper schedule, and privileges are the key to success, at least where my son is involved. Kids and especially toddlers need a set schedule, and often times we make the mistake of giving them what they want or giving in to what they want to avoid the terrible part of the toddler process. And that is our mistake. My son has TV time, craft time, play time, and reading time in addition to the other things scheduled throughout the day. If he acts up one of these privileges are taken away. He has lost all these in one day multiple times and has spent the day having mealtimes and sitting on the couch and that's it. We also incorporate time out. These actually work for my son, and the more we incorporate theses disciplines the less he seems to act out.
Now that does mean that the previously mentioned options will always succeed. As growing children they will always test our patience, repeatedly. It's in their nature. Think back to when we were young. They will do it as toddlers, children, teens, etc. And all we can do is be prepared.
It is hurtful to feel like the "mean mommy" who takes away all the fun stuff, especially when your child is crying to you begging you "please mommy I'll be good". My heart aches and I want to give all the privileges back, but I have learned to stand firm and maintain a positive attitude and not only will the tantrums lessen, but my son seems to have more respect for me.
It's easy to get frustrated, as adults we often forget how WE were as children. And when our children are being difficult no matter what age they are, stop a minute, go inside your head and reflect back on to when you were there age. Every child is different as is their methods of choice. But by keeping a positive attitude and standing firm we will gain respect and over time they will learn that tantrums do no good at all.
There are other ways of disciplining a child besides spankings and such. And for my son the privilege system is really showing great results. And I'm preparing myself for the future tantrums to come.

As an added note I would also like to add that often times also talking to a child gently and soothingly no matter their screaming or yelling will often times prove successful. Ask the child what they are feeling at that moment and why, and then talk through it. It can take some time because they are toddlers, but as they are also asserting their personality's it not only helps them learn, but it helps them realize how to work through feelings and emotions.
 And if your in a public place or have company and your child chooses this moment to act out, ignore their stares of disdain that many people place. It's a part of the childhood process to try and act out, and by standing firm we will always get the respect and the good behavior...eventually. It just takes time. Love and affection can go a long way in a child's life. And whipping and yelling will only make tempers worse in children. Hopefully this has been helpful.

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