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Old 10-23-2012, 01:30 PM   #21
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

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"If you find that YOU are more upset than your child is when you are disciplining them, then you are doing something wrong. Your child should be the one suffering for their bad behavior. YOU have to stay calm. You can't be a good parent when you get so worked up." ... and so I try my best to apply that. But I'm not as great as he is. So I still fail. But I do try.
Love this. Thank you so much for your advice.

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Old 10-23-2012, 01:59 PM   #22
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

"Happiest Toddler On the Block" has some good suggestions for working with toddlers. It's by Harvey Karp (I think is his name) the same pediatrician that wrote "Happiest Baby on the block."
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:23 PM   #23
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

I super appreciate everyone's suggestions and support. I'm taking it all in. You guys have awesome advice.

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"If you find that YOU are more upset than your child is when you are disciplining them, then you are doing something wrong. Your child should be the one suffering for their bad behavior. YOU have to stay calm. You can't be a good parent when you get so worked up."
This hits home like nothing else I've read or heard before. I get so upset sometimes and he just laughs. He doesn't take me seriously anymore because I yell so much. I'm trying so hard to just stay calm. I've been doing a pretty good job of not yelling over the last couple of days. I made a mental list of the stuff that sets me off the most. I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for those events before they happen so I don't lose my cool when they do. One huge thing that sets me off, probably the biggest, is the ridiculous mess he makes with his food. I'm not talking about a usual toddler mess. Day in a day out, he throws stuff on the floor - smears it on the walls and chair, dumps his bowl on his head, and so on. He is relentless with his food messes. I don't have time to clean up the ridiculous messes he makes at meal times. It's so unnecessary. He does it to get a reaction out of me. He smiles and me and laughs as he's doing it. I've been so maxed out between him and our very fussy newbie that I've just cried during lunch more than a few times in the last few weeks. I shouldn't have to bathe him after each meal. More often than not, it takes me a good half an hour to clean up him and his area. I'm absolutely at my wits end over meal time messes. I'm trying to be right next to him so I can stop it before it starts. That's so hard when I'm alone with the kids though. The baby is so needy. I'm trying to eat myself and keep her calm. Often times, I'm nursing as I eat lunch. He makes a horrendous mess in seconds and I usually can't catch it before it starts.
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:38 PM   #24
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Meal time mess suggestions~

Give him just a little bit of food at a time, when he finishes what you have given him, offer him a little bit more
As soon as he starts making a mess (outside of the normal toddler mess) take the food away or remove him from the food. Do this every. single. time. He will learn quickly that you mean business. Keep your attitude calm, firm, and matter of fact.
When he starts whining or crying about wanting to eat tell him simply that when he makes a big mess he is telling you he is not hungry. Wait a little bit then let him have a chance to eat again.

I know it is soooo hard to stay on top of toddler behaviors when you have a newbie to look after as well...I so remember those days. Have you thought about wearing your little baby so you can have your hands free to do other things?
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:43 PM   #25
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

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Originally Posted by H's mom View Post
Bump for more ideas.

Also, how do you keep your cool and have patience? Because that's what I'm struggling with now. Yelling comes naturally to me, I've found, and of course my 22 month old is picking up on that. I smacked him upside his head with a defective sippy cup today because he wouldn't stop whining while I tried to fix it. The whining makes me want to shoot myself in the head.

Please don't just tell me "It's a hard age". I know my son's behavior is normal at this point. He really is a sweet boy most of the time and I love him to pieces. But when he acts up, what I need are tools to keep me calm when I all I want to do is toss him in the street and hope that a truck happens to pass by at the same time. It's at the point where I have decided not to have any more children because I simply don't have the right personality to cope with toddlers. What can I do?
Think of it like dieting. You have to make a committed decision that it's best for you and your child not yell/hit, and then make yourself stop. It won't be easy, you won't be perfect. I've spanked out of anger, but then I feel like an evil failure, and I hate that feeling enough to control myself.

When my children are driving me batty and I want to yell and scream and lash out, I do several things:

1) 3 deep breaths. If you make yourself stop and breathe before responding, you eliminate the 'knee jerk reaction', and give yourself time to think about a response.

2) Laugh about it. Sometimes the most frustrating parts of life are the most ridiculous, and all you can do is laugh, sigh, and move on.

3) Change of scenery! We have a membership to our local zoo/aquarium/botanic garden, so I have a year round backup plan. Sometimes we all just get stir crazy and need to get out.

4) Ask for help. I can't count the number of times I've called my mom/stepmom/DH/brother and said "Please come over here now or somebody won't survive the next half hour". Sometimes we all just need a little break.
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Old 10-23-2012, 02:44 PM   #26
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

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Originally Posted by KingsDaughter76 View Post
Meal time mess suggestions~

Give him just a little bit of food at a time, when he finishes what you have given him, offer him a little bit more
As soon as he starts making a mess (outside of the normal toddler mess) take the food away or remove him from the food. Do this every. single. time. He will learn quickly that you mean business. Keep your attitude calm, firm, and matter of fact.
When he starts whining or crying about wanting to eat tell him simply that when he makes a big mess he is telling you he is not hungry. Wait a little bit then let him have a chance to eat again.

I know it is soooo hard to stay on top of toddler behaviors when you have a newbie to look after as well...I so remember those days. Have you thought about wearing your little baby so you can have your hands free to do other things?
This exactly - word for word.

And one more thing, I know it's not ideal, but to get you through the difficult first few months, could you give him less messy meals? Obviously every meal can't be this way, but try things like a sandwich w/meat and cheese ONLY, or cheese slices and crackers, slices of pears, strawberries cut up, dry cheerios, pieces of chicken breast, etc. I don't even know how old your LO is, so forgive me if I'm way off base. Also, give him LESS than you think he will eat. Rmbr, you can always give him MORE if he eats it all and seems still hungry. But once he throws it on the floor, it's wasted. So give smaller portions and give less variety. These things help us keep most serious messes at bay.

Then, when I have the time, like the older kids are busy, or we are all at the table eating and DH is home, I give the baby whatever we are eating, too, and I am right there and so is DH and we both keep an eye on her and stop messes as soon as we can. So she still gets the practice with the messy stuff, but not often enough to make me want to blow a gasket every time I feed her.

If he throws a piece of lunch meat on the floor, it is worlds easier to clean than spaghetti. KWIM? If you have a dog, that helps, too. LOL.

Last edited by Kiliki; 10-23-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:01 PM   #27
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

If he throws a piece of lunch meat on the floor, it is worlds easier to clean than spaghetti. KWIM? If you have a dog, that helps, too. LOL.

YES! A dog is a great vacuum cleaner...lol! Although our little cocker spaniel is getting a bit pudgy thanks to our toddlers...haha!
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:40 PM   #28
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This has been a really great thread so far for me. I just posted about my toddler getting out of control since dd2 was born. She's normally a very spirited child anyway, but she has really been testing my patients lately.
My mom says she's like 4 in 1. (Children that is..)
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:04 PM   #29
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

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Originally Posted by mibarra View Post
Never ASK them unless you are ok with getting a NO! Tell them instead, because a question implies a choice. Or give a choice you can live with: instead of "Do you want peas?", you can say "Do you want peas or carrots?", instead of "Would you please pick up the crayons?" say "It's time to pick up the crayons."
mibarra has lots of great suggestions there! I've found this one especially helpful with my 2 yr old! I give her options as often as possible, and the rest I make into statements now!

Every once in awhile I throw out some options for her to say 'no' to. Want to play downstairs? NO! Ok! (here comes the statement) We're going to play fort in the closet, go get your blanket!
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Old 10-24-2012, 06:34 AM   #30
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

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Originally Posted by H's mom View Post
Bump for more ideas.

Also, how do you keep your cool and have patience? Because that's what I'm struggling with now. Yelling comes naturally to me, I've found, and of course my 22 month old is picking up on that. I smacked him upside his head with a defective sippy cup today because he wouldn't stop whining while I tried to fix it. The whining makes me want to shoot myself in the head.
I totally get it. I was just laughing with my mom about the need for a pill that cures whining Of course, I'd put it in the water at my office too

It's VERY hard to keep calm when you are trying to do something (anything!!) and you have a whiny child following you around crying and screaming and making a mess out of every.single.thing. in the house. I think we have all been there. For me, it isn't in my nature to yell--I was never raised around yelling and yelling makes me really uncomfortable. But, I do get impatient and it's more my nature to just be cold, or mean, and that is no better. When I am getting to my breaking point I try to either remove myself from the situation (adult time out) or I remove DS from the situation (put him in his room, in the living room, or in his time out chair), or I abandon what I am doing and we both go outside for a change of scenery.

Sometimes I have to remind myself (alot) that what I am doing at the moment (putting dishes away, loading laundry, trying to put makeup on, cleaning the counters, vacuuming) is really not all that important in the grand scheme of things, and if I take 10 minutes to step outside and play a game I can change the tone for the rest of the day. It's frustrating but it often works. Sometimes little hearts just need a little positive feeding and then they can reset and do something a little more independent. It's sure hard to remember that in the throes of the moment.

And, sometimes, I just need to employ the help of a video (like yesterday, when I was at wit's end), or sometimes I just need to crack open a beer and throw up my hands and say "wth, I'm just not going to worry about it".

And yes---having dogs helps alot with dinner messes
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