Read.Think.Learn.Grow | Thursday

Terrorizing Toddlers

When I first sat down to write this blog post, it was intended to be about my kindergartner learning Sight Words with a little bit of our fun, learning moments at the Thinkery earlier this week.  However, after the day that I have had, my head was full of terrorizing two year old toddler tantrums.

It has been 4 years since my son was a two year old and my memories are a little bleak to say the least.  He was more of a threenager than a terrible two.  Plus he is a mama’s boy through and through.  Just today, in school, he drew me a cute little picture of the two of us standing next to each other with the title, Dear Mom, I Luv U.  And in the picture, he is handing me a flower.  Are you kidding me!?!  This kid!  Sure, we still have a lot of issues, arguments, etc., however, I can almost always comfort him to get him to calm down and I always have been able to comfort him.  My parenting style fell more on the attachment parenting realm with him.  I had more patience. less controlling, more parenting with meaning.

Now, my daughter is a different story.  I am still trying to figure out how to get past her tantrums.  So Thursday mornings, I do a bible study at my church and she goes with me.  She gets to hang with two awesome ladies, sometimes three and a bunch of active 2 year olds.  They play, sing songs, color and paint.  She truly enjoys it.  And I do as well.

Let me play out this morning for you all…WARNING. THIS IS LONG

She had full control over what she ate that morning, a toasted raisin bread sun butter and jelly sandwich.  The first one was eaten by the dog which drew some tears but once I placed the dog in the back yard then I made another one for her.  She had full control over what she wore including the princess panties, check.  I then proceeded to ask her to get a wipe to clean her breakfast off her face which she was more than happy to do.  She ran into the living room and passed the wipes package that was sitting on the couch so I of course reached down for them and pulled one out.  That.was.when.all.hell.broke.loose.  You would have thought that I had stolen an ice cream cone straight out of her mouth.  You know, with the yummy ice cream from Lick or Amy’s Ice Cream?

She was not to be calmed.  I apologized and placed it back into the package and back onto the couch.  Asked her to please proceed with cleaning her face, however, it.was.all.over.  We spent a good 25 minutes arguing over the most ridiculous things.  Mainly just putting her clothes on and arguing over what shoes to wear, etc.  Once it was a little calmer and we were ready to leave (note by now it was about 10 minutes after bible study had started), we walked toward the door and I started to open it.  Then it all happened again because she wanted to do it.  I pick her up in a lame attempt at trying to calm her.  {Note I say lame b/c the last time I attempted to calm her during a tantrum, she bit me like a hungry vampire.  Seriously, she drew blood.  It left a huge red mark…I have pictures to show her future husband so he knows what to look forward to (yes, I will).}  Alright, back to today.  During this last bit of the tantrum after I put her down because she is flailing her arms and legs, I simply ask her if I can hold her.  She cries out NO.  I stop and think.  Then tell her that mama is sad too so can she please hold mama?

Guess What?!  It worked.  It actually worked.  I was able to pick her up without getting kicked in the guts and comfort her.  It was a God sent miracle.   As we walk out of the house and get into the car, she says, “Nice Mama.”

Once back home, I decided that I needed to use my Psychology background and start reading some simple parenting books again.  Or re-scan them over.  When you are on your 2nd child and somewhat of an older parent, then the parenting books start collecting a lot of dust on the shelf because you know…you think you got this by now, right!?!  Ugh!

I pick up Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky A. Bailey, Ph.D.  And the first bold sentence that I read “Your interactions with your children literally shape their brains.” I have definitely shaped this child’s brain to think that me arguing back with her during her control fests just means I am a mean mama.  We are both feeling bullied and I am the adult so it is my job as a parent to take a breath and choose to control myself instead of her.  I find myself focusing so much on how horribly she behaves and how often she throws tantrums even when I offer safe choices.  Dr. Becky A. Bailey talks about the Power of Attention which states “what you focus on, you will get more of, and will strengthen within yourself and in others.”  So I am only strengthening her miss-behavior.  What!  Mind-blown.  This is such an easy concept yet such a hard life skill to have as a natural worrier dealing with a toddler tyrant.

This post will need to have a Part II because I am so exhausted from the terrorizing interactions between me and my daughter and need more time to put words into action.

I love her strong willed spirit and her smart, energetic mind.  I vow to bring these to her attention more often so that I am not focusing on the negatives of our interactions but only on the positives which in turn will hopefully calm our relationship just a bit…maybe…we will see.  Stay tuned y’all.

♥Abigail

the-power-of-attention

 

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