September 06, 2008,
A.M. asks from Norwalk, CA on September 03, 2008
HELP! My 2 Almost 3 Year Old Will Not Go to Sleep Now & Also Is Getting Naughty!
HELP! I have no idea what to do! I have two issues with my 2 1/2 year old! First,he has always been so well behaved in the past but in the last two weeks has been awful. The naughtiness started a few weeks back (before our recent move). He'll be three in October and he has started to hit me and talk back to me, and do anything else that he knows he's not supposed to do. I've tried time out, and telling him in a firm voice "we do not hit" and other Supernanny type things, and he just seems to be getting worse. I have been trying to give extra praise and it's just not working! I don't know what happened to my well-behaved boy! My husband says it's because I'm too nice to him! He does not treat my husband the same way!
Problem two: I feel like an awful mom who has no control over my two year old. He is very happy during the day and is great during our nighttime routine and seems ready to go to bed. We moved out of our house for a few months after my younger son had major surgery while we were renovating (to avoid the dust and mess of the house post surgery) and just moved back in. Before the move when the boys were about 29 months and 5 months we moved them into the same room. There were a few "rough" nights of crying but no real naughtiness. Now I put the baby down first and then we tip toe into the room. The first two nights in the room after moving back were great but then the trouble started. My oldest started yelling, screaming, throwing his books all over the floor. He climbs into his brother's crib and starts jumping around, kicks the wall, (man he sounds awful!) and turns the light on. Sigh. This goes on for up to two hours with me or my husband (if he's not at night school) dragging him back into the room, or holding the door closed, going in and trying to calm him down, talking to him "firmly" and telling him to go to bed. I start back to school tomorrow and will have lesson plans to write, papers to grade, and a house to keep up and I can't spend all of my free time trying to get my two year old to go to sleep, plus I know that he needs the sleep! Help! I am out of ideas.
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T.M. answers from Los Angeles on September 04, 2008
He either has a case of the terrible twos, and I bet anything this is just want it is, thats why they call it terrible twos.. as most say this to shall pass... so he doesnt want to go to sleep let him stay up in a play pen, give him some toys to play but he cant get out, give him some toys to play with in his crib, if he is crawling out of his crib you can lower the mattress so the rails are harder to climb over, most people dotn realize you can lower the mattress. Keep with the time out, but dont say anything to him, you know super nanys ways they do work, Hang in there MOm , its just a case of terrible twos, it will pass..
S.H. answers from Honolulu on September 04, 2008
Okay yes it's a terrible time for all.
He's in the 2's stage too.... and a recent move and change in routine for him.
Main thing is consistency. And boundaries. It takes time... sometimes a month even. And then as they get older, other phases erupt too. LOL.
Well it's not easy. But, you have too keep on reinforcing things as you see appropriate. At this age...for our girl... we would tell her that if she is grumpy... she can go in her room, by herself, and scream all she wants... then come out when she is feeling better. That she could not take it out on others... it's okay to have grumpy moments... but not to take it out on others. Sure, it took a learning process. But now at her age... when she is grumpy... she goes in her room (ie: her safe zone) and can scream all she wants. Then she comes out, and will tell us she feels better. It takes practice.
We also taught her about emotions... and talked about it with her, in a way that didn't judge her or "blame" her... this in time gives them a foundation to understand abstract feelings later.
Also, your son is the "eldest" child... this is a lot of pressure being an "eldest." So, at his age, they are not yet ready nor mature enough to handle everything... thus he is acting out. He can't express his frustrations in a "grown up" way. He needs help to navigate through it. Kids act out many times in reflection of frustrations or something they are not getting. So reflect on this.... Also, eldest children are often expected to be "perfect" and not make any trouble and are the first to be punished or scolded or corrected or told "no." All they hear is negative things... this creates stress for them internally. They then act out. Or they act up just to get attention even if it is negative attention...
Eldest children have a whole set of "problems" just being the oldest. They are still a child as well, and need understanding. They are tender emotionally as you can see... and need to know that their parent(s) are there for them and can trust them... for anything.
Well you seem like a caring patient Mom... and it's not easy this storm he is going through... but try to see what he is lacking.... and making him so angry....
Maybe he needs his own room too? His "own" things... his own special place and room.
there are so many factors involved. Have you tried just talking with him, and letting him vent and seeing what he is saying? What he is feeling? What is bothering him? At this age, in their own way, maybe he can verbalize it... then offer him non-judgmental responses so that he knows he is "understood." Sometimes, just that alone would make my eldest girl feel better and closer to Me. She just NEEDED that. My girl just needs to talk sometimes... it's her way of connecting with us, and feeling better. We never scold or judge her when she is chatting, but give her this special moment to feel "safe" in telling us anything about her day.
All the best, sorry I don't have any magic answers, but just some thoughts,
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K.H. answers from Honolulu on September 04, 2008
I have the same ages and my older one turns 3 in Oct! We're dealing with the same thing, him having these "naughty" behaivious out of the woodwork. It's easy for your hubby to deal in a firm way and him listen b/c he's not the one with him all the time so he'll listen. I just heard in a parent class that whoever is having trouoble with a kid, to go out and do something fun with that child, that way there's more to the relationship besides the struggle. So in all your spare time (ha!) maybe your husband can stay with the baby and you and your son can go out and do something fun... even if for 30 min??? On the sleep thing, it doens't sound good that they're in the same room... does that have to be the case? Also what's pre-bedtime like? Is theTV on/ lots of stimulation? Is there windown time? (our son usually runs thru the house after his bath being a wildman, or does head stands on his bed and "surfs" on pillows before story time. He needs to be able to go to his room and make noise. This is "what they do" at this age and it will only make it worse to tell him to be quiet. Try to pick your battles and be consistant. You're doing a GREAT job. Good luck this school year.
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B.H. answers from Los Angeles on September 06, 2008
You are the parent. He is the child. You make the decsions, not him. He knows you will "try to calm him down", "talk firmly to him" etc before he has to listen to you.
Set up the boundaries and stick to them.
Use words like, "we don't act like that in this house", "our family does not hit", "we don't yell" etc.
Do not tell him what he is doing wrong, because in his eyes he is doing nothing wrong, he is doing everything he needs to do to get your attention.
Start from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed, address the behaviours that you expect.
BREAKFAST: "Which will you enjoy and eat more of this morning, your protein smoothie of a fruit salad?" Give hime a choice.
PLAYTIME: "Which toy will keep you happy the longest, the trucks or the farm set?"
LUNCH: "Which would you like more of today so that you can eat a healhty lunch, chicken and pasta or chicken and potatos?"
BATHTIME: "Do you want your blue boat or the red one so that you are having fun in the bathtub tonight?"
BEDTIME: "Before you go right to sleep, would you like mommy to read you a story on top of the covers or underneath?"
TELL him your desired outcome with EACH activity. He does not know how to behave, you keep telling him what not to do, the mind does not hear negatives so every time you tell him to STOP THAT, he hears the "that" and continues right on doing "that".
This is what I do, I teach families how to be in harmony.
If you want to chat...
B. H, B.A.;B.Ed.
Family Nutritional Coach
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J.M. answers from Los Angeles on September 04, 2008
Your sons behavior,is not out of the ordinary,under the recent circumstances.Most important,he is 2 and 1/2 and thats a difficult stage for children. They experience all the same feelings you do, but are unable to express them,because of their limited ability to communicate those feelings. They get extremly frustrated as a result,and begin acting out. The important thing for you to realize right now, is that he needs your patience and understanding,while he is attempting to get those feelings across. You need to help him find the words, and while we all know, its not always a very easy thing to do, you need to convey to him, that you care that hes upset, and want to help. You need to try and stay calm.I've never believed anyone needs to use physical force, to get a point across.(especially towards their own child.)Children need to be nurtured, loved,and taught...Your a teacher.How far would you get with your students,if you slapped them each time they answered a question incorrectly?I'm not suggesting you would do such a thing,but there are those,that lack in specific areas,such as understanding, logic and tact,so they result to the teaching or treatments rendered by their own parents.I won't argue, that one who puts the fear or threat of having the upper hand against a child, would in time break them down,thus creating submissive behavior. We are our childrens teachers.Do we want them to love and enjoy learning? Do we want them to respect us,as individuals,or respect us (out of fear? I read your request over a few times,and besides his young age,and the problem communicating to you, he recently experienced his baby brother going through something scarry. I'm sure he knew his brother was in the hospital.He may not have understood exactly why, but just the same, it was the not knowing that may have frightened him.He saw you and dad making over him,and worried about him,so he knew something was wrong.You moved out for a while, and that also can have an effect on a child. Yes, even if you did move back in.He lost a sense of security during that transition.Dads gone at night school, he loses a bit of security there as well.When you mentioned holding onto the door knob so he couldn't open the door of his room, I sympathized with your desperation,and his as well. He appears to me, to have alot going on in that little head of his right now,and you need to try and take the time to find out what it is.If your son was fine before all these incidents occured,then you have to assume something is troubling him.Don't punish him for having problems.follow your motherly instincts,put your arms around him, tell him your there to help him,and then try your best to soothe his fears.Your attitude,your caring ways,will give him comfort,and calm him down. I wish you and your darlin son the very best. J.
A.L. answers from Los Angeles on September 04, 2008
I'm thinking that he's acting out because of the disruption of you moving out of the house and the attention your younger one has received while having surgery. He's probably acting naughty because he's craving your attention. I know, it's hard, I have a 3year old and an 8 month old myself. BUT I would suggest trying to spend some time alone with him doing an activity that doesn't involve the younger sibling.
In the last year he's had a new sibling, moved out of his house, dealt with the stress of his brother having surgery and the attention going to him, then moving back at home, and then dealing with all the pressures of beinga 2 1/2 year old.....it's a lot to deal with!
Give him some alone time and be comforting to him and I'm sure things will calm down.
A.K. answers from Las Vegas on September 05, 2008
I have a three year old boy who acts the same way. Everyone always says that the two's are terrible, however I disagree! It is really the three's! I say just hang in there it will get easier. He is just starting to learn how to express himself and feeling you out. My son always wants what he wants and there is no reasoning with a three year old..
I also can't get mine to take a nap. It takes at least an hour if not more, but now I have a 7 month old so it is ten times harder to spend that time. What works for me at night is if I lay down with him in his bed. If I am there he is less likely to get up. I also found this nightlight that they can hold at babies r us. And he seems to really enjoy holding on tho it as he falls asleep. It is called Tyke light and it comes in a few colors. Good luck, I hope this helps.
D.H. answers from Los Angeles on September 04, 2008
I have a similar problem with my 2 year old son that we have been working on. In fact I posted a request and got some good responses! What has been working so far is a bedtime routine that starts at 6pm to have my son to sleep no later than 8pm. The kids get their evening bath and story. Then I put my son to bed and let my 3 1/2 year old daughter stay up and color, read books, etc. until my son falls asleep. It took some work (he likes to get out of bed) to get him to stay put, but eventually he does fall asleep in his bed. Then I put my daughter to bed so she can go to sleep undisturbed. Maybe try putting your 2 1/2 year old to bed first and then when he is asleep put your youngest to bed. Be patient, be consistent, and be firm. That is why I started the earlier routine so I would have the patience to deal with the issue. Good luck, I know it's difficult to handle.
D.B. answers from San Diego on September 04, 2008
My son is the same age and just last week we finally solved his sleeping problem. It had been some nights an almost 2 hour routine to go to bed. What we've found that works for our son, start the nighttime routine early which was a mental block for me... I knew he needed to be in bed by 9pm so we started getting ready at 9pm - once we moved the pre-bed routine up to 8:30 its been much better. I think its because once he crosses that imaginary too tired line he fights even more to not go to bed. We do the same thing every evening (PJs, brush teeth, two stories) and then lights off and bed. The trouble for us came from the initial fighting at everystep (fixed with starting sooner) and then also once the lights were off we couldn't leave the room until he was asleep. We tried the walking out sooner every night, letting him cry, music/no music, night-light/no night-light. What it finally came down to was we had to leave his door open so he could hear us in the next room and see a little light from the hallway, before we would close his door so we wouldn't disturb his sleep. Granted our situation is easier with only one!! It just takes a little experimentation to figure out what works best for your son. Also, if possible you might want to let your husband be in charge of bed time for a few weeks while you figure things out. Our son always listens to my hubby the first time instead of 5 minutes and time out later with me because I"m the pushover. So for us there are always less problems when hubby puts him down. Although now that we've figured out the right combination I can finally put him to sleep with no problems.
Hopefully this helps and good luck!