B.H. asks from Round Lake, IL on August 02, 2008
Good morning moms,
I am writing to try and get some advice on how to build good coping skills. By son is 2 1/2 and I have noticed that lately he "melts down" pretty easily. I know that some of his melt downs are for effect and drama (especially when being disciplined by my husband or myself) but he also has meltdowns in playgroup situations. It seems that if he feels like he is being bullied or things don't go his way he just cries and asks me if we can go home. An example would be when we were at a bounce house and a younger child simply passed him in line. She did not push him or anything, but clearly he felt like he was "bullied" and he fell apart. How do I build his confidence and teach him how to cope? Is this just part of being two or being the first born? The two's are new to me. I am a teacher though and I see situations all the time where kids have great confidence and can handle situations well, or they can't cope and their self esteem gets beat down. What can I do now to help him to be a confident little boy in the future? Any advice or suggestions of books would be great.
2 moms found this helpful
E.P. answers from Chicago on August 02, 2008
Meltdowns come with the age - "effect and drama"??? My husband and I used to have a saying" And..... theeeeee Academy Award goes toooooo....." . This will pass but you ask a great question about coping skills. At that age, I used to have a bed time routine that involved a lot of role playing with their stuffed animals. I would put the stuffed animals in situations that were exaggerated, each having a different personality and voice ...sometimes they would get bullied...eat too much ice cream when we weren't home....were shy....angry....very friendly but hugged a little too strong (big pink elephant!) and we made fun little scenarios. I would ask my kids to help "them out of the situation"...and they learned to creatively problem solve. My kids loved it. (Rather embarrassing but .... my kids loved it so much I did it for sleepovers!) I really think it helped them be more compassionate, kind, and confident. And it was our time together - good times! And some of the "skits were timely and incorporated things that the kids were going through (without being too obvious!) Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
A.K. answers from Chicago on August 02, 2008
In answer to your questions: Yes and yes and no. At that age, kids are bound to do those things. That is when you tell them and tell them and tell them how to react in those situations. A meltdown as you call it comes with a two year olds territory. He is just getting to know the rules of the road so to speak. He sees that and he knows that it shouldn't go that way and it is not fair. I don't think at that age it is "bullying". Books are good but in my experience, the experience itself is the best teacher!
M.O. answers from Chicago on August 03, 2008
When kids act out in any way they are saying: "I can't handle this and I don't know what to do". Try smaller doses of interaction. If he says: "I want to go home", go home. He's had enough for one day. A 2 year old is just learning to cope. After raising two generations of kids, I learned to back off and respect their limits. Build his confidence by approving of what he does. If he feels bullied, accept that and say: "I understand how you felt in that situation", and redirect him into something else. A two year old has many fears and they need to know that M. and dad approve of them. As parents, we want to do the best but sometimes we forget that our kids are individuals and have their own set of limitations.
J. answers from Chicago on August 03, 2008
I'm not sure what the experts say, but I feel like resilient children are the ones who were given lots of support early on and allowed to be themselves, even if that was fearful or timid some days.
But what you describe sounds totally normal to me - don't all toddlers have those crazy emotional meltdowns? Make sure he gets enough sleep, and doesn't get thirsty or hungry when on summer outings, etc.
M.C. answers from Chicago on August 03, 2008
The greatest confidence builder is for M. not to do more for him than he needs. Don't jump to give him a toy or put on his coat when he whines a little. He wants to be able to do things himself and the only way he'll learn is by practice, practice, practice. Secondly, he's developing his sense of self and he has to let go of that infant center-of-the-world idea. Sometimes I say no to kids just to give them practice on learning not to get what they want. First make sure what he wants is what you think he wants, he may be upset about an earache or something llike that. Then determine calmly and cooly if he needs it or just wants it. How has he been taking it lately when he doesn't get what he wants? If you're at home and up to a melt down, let it rip and then tell him he has to use words, or he can cry for a long long time and he still won't get it, etc. If he's frustrated because something didn't go as he wanted, tell him, Bobby, you feel frustrated. You wanted the block to fit, didn't you? Try again. Try to find another block that will fit. Crying and screaming isn't going to work. But try to remember not to do it for him, but let him learn to be a problem solver and to recognize his feelings and to act like big boys act. Is he around a child who acts like this? Ask his caregiver and talk to him about not doing what Billy does, we don't do that in our house, etc. The best approach: keep your uptimate goal in sight, raising an independent individual. Assume that your child's nature containe the drive to do that. Understand that many of his emotions and animal urges work against this (as do yours). Act to assist him in this process.
P.M. answers from Chicago on August 04, 2008
One of the options for teaching your child coping skills is to practice them when your child is not stressed out. Practice simple things like squeezing a ball, or counting to 10, taking deep breaths. And then when he gets the hang of those skills start to make a game out of practicing that he is not getting his way. Like playing a board game and you get a good card or something have him tell you how he is feeling, you can use feeling cards like a sad face an angry face so that he can point to them; and then say okay lets practice what we do when we get upset, then take deep breaths, squeeze a ball do 5 jumping jacks, etc.
G.H. answers from Chicago on August 03, 2008
Sounds partially like part of the "terriable 2s" and partially of being 1st born...we ALL tend to want to "save" them from all their hurts, psysical or mental. Don't save him all the time. He has to learn to cope to become a strong and confident young man. When someone cuts in line and your son says something to you just tell him that some children aren't taught to wait their turn...nothing for your son to fret about. Good luck
M.G. answers from Chicago on August 03, 2008
I have a 14 year old boy, 11 year old girl and 5 year old boy. Lord knows I am no expert but I will pass along a few thoughts for you and your son. First, they go thru phases where they can be fragile so don't over react. Second, what you are trying to teach him is a really important thing and fundamental to any successful person so it makes sense that it is not something that can be taught once or overnight. Its going to take time and repeated efforts to show him positive ways to deal with things and people that don't do what he wants. Without totally taking over a situation, in the past I have gently demonstrated to the kids what to do. For example, with cutting in line, go stand in line with him and say something to the kid who cuts in. Same thing in playgroup: model different ways to handle situations, exact words he can say, different things to play with if a certain situation isn't going well.
Of course, most of all, just love and support your child. Be aware that our society has very high standards for emotional control, especially for boys. Let your boy cry and have feelings now. Later, give him a safe place to talk about what he really feels with fearing judgment.