I am utterly frustrated to say the least. Our fs is 3.5 years old that was sent to us with supposed extreme behavioral issues, such as scratching face,head banging etc, which he has not done in the 2 mos we have had him. But i think he is testing us because he blatently disobeys rules, i feel like i give 24/7 time outs, he has established this attitude, with these nasty looks on his face, says ughhhh all the time, i feel like he is always in trouble. I have analyzed myself to oblivion, am i expecting too much, i am trying to pick my battles, but i can not overlook out right disrespect! If i give in once to him i am afraid he will run with it. I find myself getting more and more frustrated......suggestion?
I am not going to be much help, but I can relate! My little guy has mega attitude. Rolls his eyes, sighs, gives me dirty looks, and he is only 2.5! He is very aggressive too, but mostly just after visits.
I think Bugaboo thinks rules are meant to be broken. You hit the nail on the head - they are testing us. Normal for the age, but much more blatant because of the trauma. I give Bugaboo choices. You can do what I said, (I say what it is though), or this happens (time out, lose a privilege which is more affective that time out for him). I tell him the choice is his. And it works. Not all the time granted. There are days I just want to run screaming naked down the street while pulling out my hair.....
Best advice - get on his level - into his face so he has to listen - and give him choices. Sometimes I count to 3, and lately he yells 'no two!' or 'no three!' LOL. But his newest thing is he waits until after I say 3 and then he does what I want. So now I am trying to break that habit.
Yes pick and chose your battles. But they are learning what they can get away with, and will continue to test test test until we break..... and I will not be beaten by a 2 year old! :)
I too feel like my little guy is always in trouble so you aren't alone! (yesterday my neighbor yelled at her 3.5 year old that she had had enough! How sad is it that that made me feel better? I wasn't alone!)
choices are good. counting is good. except when i count, there is no space between the numbers--123. then i do what i said i would do.
being 3.5 means he IS in trouble 24/7! individuation is a great big bear. but it has to be done or else you have more problems later on.
when my kids did their snarly stuff, i'd pretend they had given me the answer that i wanted. so if Flowergirl was told to pick up toys and told me no, i'd say, "thank you for picking up toys!" and then help her. and smile. she did not get the response she wanted, she did get a say about it, and then it got done. and then i congratulated her for doing what i asked.
my mom gave me the best advice when my oldest--now 27--was 2. you, she said, are the mom. act like it!
that meant i didn't take it personally when Missy would give me the go to Hades look or scream or shout or run the other direction when i wanted her right here, righthere, rightHERE! i'd just go get her and we'd do whatever it was that i said in the first place.
make sure he's getting enough rest even if he's not sleeping at naptime. YOU need the decompression time, too. establish (or continue) a very predictable routine and then marry it (or at least cohabitate with it) for a little while. threes love routine. it helps them transition. it calms little spirits. it makes mom's day go smoother!
and lighten up on yourself. sometimes motherhood defies all logic. if it works, keep it. if it doesn't, change it. maybe instead of time out you can try time in where he serves his time on your lap or by your side. my youngest son had a time when he couldn't be trusted to follow ANY rule. one evening i'd had all i could take. i told him that i knew he wanted my attention, so he'd have it. for the rest of the evening he had to have his hand in my pocket and go wherever i went. at first it was funny because he thought he was in control. nope--i just kept on doing the things i needed to do. he screamed. he yelled. he called me names. i did not engage. by the end of the evening, he was calmly following around and ready to behave. for a couple of minutes anyway! it only had to happen once.
get creative. we put toys in time out. we had them pay for someone to do the jobs they wouldn't. we made their world very, very small so that we could avoid external stimuli that might adversely affect behavior. we tried 1-2-3 Magic (which didn't work as well as i had hoped) and Love and Logic (which our youngest son doesn't quite get) and some other stuff until we had a workable system with our kids. quiet parental voices work better than loud ones--it only took me several children to figure that out!
parenting is double tough. square that when you're raising traumatized kids. find time to catch him being good. do random acts of rocking and cuddling. build in some time to just feel tender toward him. and please, please, please, take some time to take care of yourself.
remember, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!
I'm not OP but I have to say greenrobin that was one of the best post I've read! I've been having some frustrations with escalating behaviors and everything you said just clicked! I think I love your mother too! LOL. Thanks so much.
(sorry this is SO long!)
It is ADMIRABLE that you are asking "what else can I do so I'm not punishing this kid constantly?"
Some kids are challenging, truly challenging. We may need to beef up our discipline outside of punishment a little. Discipline includes SO many things, but it's from prevention to setting the child up for success, to encouragement, to teaching, to guiding, to helping, to various types of consequences.
In another post, when I said something about consequences not having to be punishment, extreme, or rubbed into the child's face, it was mentioned that certain behaviors should be squashed for the best interest of the child. I absolutely agree! That is actually one of the main reasons I believe in non-punitive discipline. The child can't simply choose punishment instead of learning socially acceptable behavior.
With challenging kids, consistency is NUMBER ONE. It is with all kids, but not to the same degree. Some need as close to 100% as you can humanly get it. They also often need a great deal of firmness and clarity. They need the boundaries to be ABSOLUTE (brick walls) where there are no holes.
Which is my first suggestion. No holes. Did you mean what you said the first time? Sure you did. When we say "pick up the blocks," we don't say "start picking up the blocks by the time I get to three" (or ten or twenty). We meant it when we said it. Kids can learn to take you seriously if you follow through immediately also. The same thing goes with other things. "I'm going to get you a yogurt." Then within 10 seconds, hand him a yogurt. You can't say, "just a second" and then take 10 minutes. Your word has to be ironclad. So here, 1) say what you mean, 2) follow through immediately, every single time.
Another thing that I think is probably more what you were asking as it was the examples given is teaching a child exactly what needs TO happen. SO many times we punish so a child will stop a certain behavior. And MOST kids will figure out what they should do over time. And even if they don't figure out what TO do, they usually can at least figure out what NOT to do. But some kids can't act on what NOT to do if they don't have something TO do to put in it's place.
Now, when it's US, we simply go to the powers at be and ask what we SHOULD do if we can't figure out. Well, kids aren't very likely to do that at 3 years old! We'd probably get freaked out if a preschooler said, "Mom, I really want to growl and stomp my feet; but since that just gets me thrown into time out, is there something I can do instead?"
But we can help them. In times when there is not distress, we can come up with cues between us. Additionally, we can practice what we WANT them to do in a given situation. "When I call your name, I want to hear, "yes?!" and you to come QUICKLY. We made this a HUGE game. But then, because they are used to it, they are much more likely to do so (rather than running the other way, screaming "what" or the like) the next time we need to call them for medication, a treat, or anything inbetween.
Also, a LOT of people are against "canned responses" these days. They want kids to think for themselves and blah blah blah. Well, I agree that kids should think for themselves and should have a say and all that. I also know that a 3ݽ year old often doesn't know when or how to do that appropriately. As we are teaching them those things, they can give the canned response "yes ma'am." Then they don't have to think about it and their initial thought of "no way" doesn't come out! With young children, comply first THEN we can talk about it is a pretty good idea. In time, they can learn to respectfully negotiate.
"Try again" and other do-overs are very helpful. It fixes the problem immediately and gives the child practice on what TO do. Punishment over the past just isn't necessary and they have one more practice and one more positive experience to help them do better next time.
Prevention is another thing. This can be so many things. A routine is a main one. Another is letting kids know what is happening next. For example, a five minute warning. Or "pick up your blocks then we can go to the park." Make sure you are mindful of their world. For example, "Sport, after you finish coloring THAT picture, will you get the laundry from the hall basket for me?" His picture is important and it's respectful to let him finish his picture if he wants.One I used with my son was "I am going to tell you something that might make you angry. Why don't you just throw a fit before I tell you?" Well, that is just silly, but it warned him AND kept things a little light.
And humor, games, etc go a LONG way. I really don't LIKE racing for things like eating, picking up toys, etc. However, at first, it was the only way BB would really do things without a fit. Once he was complying regularly, we could drop the whole race thing. Same with other games. And humor can go so far. Sport was just sour yesterday. The person I was with kept telling him it was okay. Blah. No. I was not okay because of it. Neither was his brother who was playing off of him. I told Sport that I noticed he lost his smile. I asked if he had looked for it yet. I sang the Smile Song (Something in my Pocket). He looked and found it. When he put it on, it was so nice, but it kept "jumping off." We tried all sorts of glue and such. Finally, he was HAPPY and not a sour little guy afterall. It was fun, but it helped him make a choice to be happier. Well, after nap, he also was a bit sour. He says, "look mom! I glued my smile back on!" I will definitely be encouraging this one a bit more!
Anyway, I'm on medication and can't think straight, but I hope I made any sense.
I HIGHLY recommend:
Raising a Thinking Child by Myrna Shure
Positive Discipline A-Z by Jane Nelsen (there are lots of others, but this one just handles the discipline, not the theory and concepts as in-depth)
Pam, i used the throw the fit first too. the only difference is that i put a time limit on it. i'd say something like, "okay, i have 7 extra minutes for you to have a fit. go!" and then look at my watch. it's shockingly funny to them and really does work.
thanks for reminding me of that!
They said it SO well that there is really not much more to add from me lol.
Except this: 3 1/2 and 4 were ALWAYS worse than 2's! Why they call it terrible 2's Fainting 4's I'll never know because my kids were rotten! lol love em all and was very consistant and parented with much love and and had well rounded home life and they were a test to my every last bit of patience! LOL
Hang in there and remember from me to you...I SO HEAR YOU as I have that 2 1/2, 4, and 5 yr old :)
Echoing the sleep thing. I finally put it together that my younger daughter *really* needs more sleep than any of the other kids. If she's not in bed by 9, her behavior is noticeably grouchier the next day, and she gets into trouble a lot more.
More sleep isn't a cure-all for behavior, but I was surprised at the difference an extra hour made for mine.