23 answers

Coping Mechanisms

My youngest child is six weeks old and I'm finding it frustrating to deal with my two year old. I have to give a lot of attention to the baby, but the two year old often acts up--throwing food, crying, screaming, wanting me to put the baby in his crib. I never used to lose my temper when it was just my older son (who is 11) and my two year old daughter. Now, though, I find myself screaming at my 2 year old and hate that I do that. Does anyone have any ideas for ways to cope with a screaming 2 year old? I know I'm not getting enough sleep, but try to nap when my 2 year old and baby nap (90 minutes to 2 hours every afternoon). I also have a high school girl come over to play with my 2 year old in the afternoons. Sometimes my mother-in-law comes to play with the 2 year old in the mornings.

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So What Happened?™

First, thank you all for the wonderful advice. It's so good to know I'm not the only one who gets frustrated with the terrible twos! I try to make extra time for my 2 year old by reading, 'baking' (where she stirs the bowl, but that's about it), playing outside, etc. When she acts up after I tell her not to do something, I give her time out. When I get really frustrated, I give myself time out. She still thinks time out is like a game, but it seems to provide a good amount of cooling off time for both of us. Now that the baby is almost 4 months old, he's okay with sitting in his bouncy chair for a few minutes if I need to attend to my daughter. Thanks again!!

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This is pretty normal. The poor little two year old is dealing with something quite stressful - being replaced as the littlest and not the center of momma's world. The book Siblings without Rivalry is a great book and I highly recommend it. Also, try involve the 2 yr old in the things you are doing and remind him that he is loved. Maybe have the relatives look after the baby a bit so that you can hang out with the 2 yr old some more. I would carve out time just for him. Also when he is stressed, I would let him know that you are right there. 2 is a difficult age any way. A new baby adds to the 2s. I used a night doula for a little while a few nights a week so that I could get some good sleep. she would bring baby to me when she needed feeding but other than that she would mind baby from 10pm to 5am. It definitely helped with the sleep. Good luck.

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Best wishes,a

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Mama- you're in a tough spot, but it's time to start training (not disciplining- but training) your two year old. If it's gotten to the point of screaming at your house, clearly her behaviors are not appropriate. I highly recommend "To train up a child" and here is their website: http://shop.nogreaterjoy.org/product_info.php/products_id/69
It is a really short little book, chock full of practical, common sense suggestions. It revolutionized how I train my kids. And now that they're all teenagers, I'm seeing the sweet fruits of early training. It's only a few dollars, and it's really the best thing I've ever read- and I think I've read nearly ALL the child raising/discipline/training books out there. It is overtly Christian, so if that's a problem for you, you can skip or ignore those parts. But it will equip you with the knowledge you need- and as a mom, knowledge is power! You can really do this- not just get through this, but emerge from this hard time victoriously, with a closer, more harmonious family, with happy well trained kids. Blessings on you mama- you can do it!!!

1 mom found this helpful

My friend had triplets when her daughter was about 2, and one of the best things she did to keep her oldest happy was to hire a mother's helper in the afternoon to watch the babies while she spent time with her 2 year old. The oldest still got her special mom time, and the babies were fine. It sounds like your 2 year old wants more time with YOU, not other people. Give it to her, and I think your life will improve.

Dear S., One trick for holding your temper is to reflect upon the fact that if you were in public, or friends were around, you would be able to hold it . This reveals the fact that you do indeed have control of your temper's effect on your actions. Now, it looks like stress builds and you are doing several things about that, naps, having a sitter and M. to play with daughter. Take little serenity breaks during the day, sit down and tune out as much as possible for 3 minutes and think about a peaceful scene or an especially happy moment, remember how lovable Miss 2 was only 6 mos ago, etc. These will do you more good than , say eating a dozen cookies. Next front is your attitudes. Today too many parents believe that they have to play with their children in order for their children to be entertained. There are some kids that do need more attention, but it is a good idea from the beginning to allow your child to develop their inner resources for playing by themselves. She's already two, I don't know if she has developed this ability. If not, then you will have to talk to her about it. Instead of feeling guilty and thus stressed when you cannot play with her, spend a minute talking to her about playing alone. Show her how to set up blocks, or pretend she is having a doll party. open up some books and suggest that she look at them by herself. She is two. She is frustrated by her inability to communicate her needs and to be able to do things by herself. When she gets upset try to figure out what it is about and verbalize that with her, "Do you want me to give you something? " "Do you want more ..... The answer is no, you cannot have that because......" Some times they are frustrated thinking that you don't know what they want when actually you are refusing it to them, so by putting it this way they understand they have been understood and sometimes they don't get what they want. At this age they are developing their ego, their personhood, and they are very serious about this task as they should be. But along with that, you need to help shape that ego into not being so selfish, into understanding that they don't get what they want always, that they share this planet with a lot of other people. It is a daunting task, and they have more energy than you do. Third, does baby really need to take up so much of your time? Try to be creative about ways to care for him with less effort and time on your part. Use swings, bouncy seats, etc. You see, Ms 2 is on the right track in that regard. Amazing, but God, or life, is always cueing us about solutions to our problems.

Sounds like your 2 yo just wants your attention. I would try having the teenager and your MIL come over and sit with the baby while you spend some one on one with your 2 yo. Good luck!

Wow; with the exception of the 11 year old child, I could have writen this exact post!! I have a daughter that is 2 1/2 and a 7 week old son. I have also been less patient and often find myself yelling at the 2 yr old and then feel terribly guilty. Here are a few things that I have found helps:
1. letting the baby cry for a few minutes to read a quick book or having a little extra "snuggle time" won't harm anyone.
2. TV will not "rot the brain." While you are feeding the baby, put on a program your child enjoys (my daughter likes Mickey Mouse Club House and Handy Manny); then interact with your child as he watches by taking to him about what's happening in the program. That way, he feels as though you are interacting with him, but you don't have to be actually playing/interacting directly.
3. Throw a random compliment to your child. "Wow, your baby sister is so lucky to have such a great big brother."

4. The special helper role is always good to help the older child feel valued and important.
5.Give the older child more choices so that he feels more independent. Let him pick out his clothes/p.j.'s, what he eats (within reason), etc.

I hope these aren't too common sense, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded (especially when sleep deprived). These are some of the strategies I am using with my daughter and seem to be helping. Good Luck!!!

Share the time with baby and the 2 year old. Let him help by bringing you clean diapers, lotion, towel, whatever you need. Don't forget to praise him for each individual thing he does and tell him how proud you are of him. Don't ever leave him alone with baby. The jealousy is trememdous and ends up in sibling rivalry at older ages. Make sure when baby is sleeping that you give special attention to the 2 year old. That's the special time you'll have with him that you won't have with the baby..they won't have to share you then and he'll feel special. Don't hollar, let him help and be the "big brother". And always let him know he is the 1st boy love of your life (daddy is a man).

even if you didn't have a baby that age can be tough! First make sure you and he are both getting enough sleep. At 2 they should still be getting at least 14 hours a day. So if he isn't getting 12 hours at night, adjust his bedtime to make sure he does or add in a morning nap. If his room isn't dark enough you can make it really dark by adding black felt - put up the scratchy side of self stick velcro and use a piece of black felt that is 12 inches wider and longer then the window. The felt can meld into the corners and really blocks out all light so even if it's not dark out it will be dark in the room.

Second you may want to watch The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD to help you with communicating with him.

I have found that a little one on one time with you and him will help, but the majority of issues usually stem from being over tired.

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