Everything’s a battle. You’re at your witt’s end and feel like your doing this parenting thing all wrong. You just don’t know what to do anymore. You hope and pray “it’s a phase” because you’re almost at the point of admitting defeat .The behaviour is off the chart. Hitting, pinched, biting and hair pulling are the norm. The tantrums are endless, and no amount of ‘counting’ or ‘naughty step’ does the trick. The thought of leaving the house is unbearable, you can’t face the thought of dealing with this kind of behaviour in public, it’s bad enough at home.
You just want to know that you’re not the only one feeling like this, that your child is not some DEVIL CHILD and that there really is an end in sight?
I get how emotionally draining this all is. Why would your little one push every boundary possible? You’re convinced she hates you. I mean, it’s really hard not to take it so personally I know that, so here’s a few things you need to keep telling yourself.
Recognise the Limit pushing for what it is.
Toddlers have little ‘impulse control’ and it’s very often about expressing their needs and feelings. I know it doesn’t make sense that she’s fighting about putting her pj’s on when you know darn well how tired she is. BUT she probably doesn’t recognise this herself.
Rules, clarity, expectations
How else do they learn what’s right and wrong behaviour if they dont push the boundaries? How else will that learn what you expect and do not expect? What is appropriate behaviour and what isn’t if they don’t push the limits so they can learn from your reaction.
Dealing with feelings
It’s often a way for your toddler to deal with stress and feelings that they are unable to express verbally.
Maybe, just maybe, (and this is said with love) we’ve been distracted of late. Life gets in the way, something has happened, we’ve been working hard etc, etc and we just haven’t been paying as much attention to our little ones as we usually do. (AND there really isn’t any need to beat yourself up about this either.)
And a whole load of other stuff including:
Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration, over stimulation, fear and confusion.
I bet you didn’t think there could be so many reasons for misbehaviour.
REMEMBER that part of their development stage is to test power and will.
Sooo, what the hell can you do to make life a little easier for yourself and stop the constant battle ground.
Here’s a few tips.
I know, it’s a dirty word for some (me included) I don’t really adapt well to routine, BUT it really can make life easier for some toddlers. You see, toddlers like routine and predictability, it stops their feelings of overwhelm. It makes them feel safe and secure to know what’s coming next. It helps them to adapt and transition more easily to the next thing.
Turn things into a game.
So, I used this technique over and over again. It never failed to work when my little ones wouldn’t put their shoes on, brush their teeth, have a bath etc. I would say ” I bet you can’t find your shoes before I can?” “I bet we can’t brush your teeth without you laughing today” “I bet you can’t get in your car seat before mummy sits in her seat”
Would you like to use the green bath towel or the blue bath towel to dry yourself now as it’s time to get out of the bath.
Are you going to eat the peas or the carrots, you choose.
Use timers or give verbal reminder/preparation
Toddlers often have trouble transitioning from one thing to the other. Its a very interesting world for them and they really do think that eating tea and bedtime are boring.
When this timer goes off it’s time for tea or I will tell you again in a few minutes and then you must do as I say.
Autonomy – your toddlers need to exert independence
So work with this stage of development to your advantage. “Can you put your shoes on or do you want me to help?” You are always so helpful when you pass me the baby’s nappy”
This is one thing we’re all guilty of, but if we weren’t rushing out of the door how many battles and tantrums would we avoid when putting shoes on etc. Try to allow 10 more minutes than you need. I know easier said than done but better than a horrific floor show yeh?
The famous saying “Choose your BATTLES”
Sometimes when you can see your toddler is clearly tired, distressed, angry or just not going to conform it’s not worth getting into a power struggle. ” I can see your tired tonight, so I am going to help you pick these toys up and but tomorrow I would really like you to do as I ask”. That way you don’t feel like you’re giving in and you haven’t entered into a full blown battle either.
And I could go on, and on, and on about a whole heap load of other stuff too. X
Need some support with this? Someone who totally understands how you feel and can provide you with some practical steps? YOU CAN eliminate, avoid and reduce MELTDOWNS/TANTRUMS/TERRIBLE TWOS ever happening in the first place.
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