A.B. asks from Germantown, MD on December 14, 2009
New Mom Going Crazy! My Son Will Vomit to Try to Get His Way!
I have no idea what to do about this. I'm on the edge of crazy....
When telling my son "no" or having him do anything he doesn't want to do, his reaction is to scream at the top of his lung (almost like a death scream) and he will cry until he vomits. If crying doesn't make him vomit then he will gag himself with his fingers or anything else he can find to achieve this.
He has cried so hard he vomited just because he didn't want to go to sleep, because I told him no to going to the toy store(in this small town, a toy store IS wal-mart), because I put him in time out...the list just goes on and on....
Just a few weeks ago when My mom and I went to wal-mart, Right when we entered he saw a Christmas toy display. He told me to stop. He wants. I reply with a "no". The screaming starts and then just before I get out side he vomits. Then just to top off this very bad moment, a little old lady comes up to me to see if she can help. My son looks up at her and shutters and says "Help Me" I was just speechless at his reaction, and very embarrassed when the lady walked away with a very disturbed look on her face.
I am so very clueless on how he even learned this. So needless to say I am at my wits end, and any help/advise would be nice.
Just for some basic info about his home life and such, I figure this is where I'm messing up.
My son just turned 3.
His daddy is overseas (army)
No one in my family (not even me) is one who buys him everything he wants. (thank goodness the grandmas listened to me about this from the start)
I am a stay at home mom, so he does not go to daycare.
He is on a pretty good schedule. His bed time is 8 sometimes 9 depending if he took his nap on time
He eats 3 times a day. He is not a big snack-er
The only shows he likes on TV is WordWorld & Thomas the Train - The TV does normally stay on for background noise, but stays "locked" on Noggin if a DVD is not in.
I do not watch ANY of my shows until he goes to bed & is asleep. This is not an exaggeration, I am very big on what my son watches since he is a true "Monkey See, Monkey Do" type of child.
I guess that about covers it.
Thank you for any help before hand.
2 moms found this helpful
M.P. answers from Richmond on December 15, 2009
I'm not saying the bahavior is linked to the television and "constant background noise" you say is always on, but I would certainly eliminate that. Let him watch a show late morning if he's "behaved" and one late after- noon if he's "behaved". Let the shows be rewards. He should not be exposed to constant screen time, even though he's not actually engaged in watching it all the time. I'm a Kindergarten teacher and have done a lot of research on tv watching. The screen time and background noise are very distracting to little developing brains. It also "excites" the brain rather than soothes it and gets kids wound up. Good luck!
L.C. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
If he does this screaming thing at home, tell him if he wants to scream and vomit, he'll have to do it in the bathroom, not in your presence. Then walk away. If he vomits, make him clean it up once he has calmed down.
You need to find his "currency". For my son it was TV. If he was naughty, I took his TV away. I'd also turn your TV off. Turn on the radio or cds.
When you go to the store, be very specific about what you are going to do there and tell him. If you aren't going to the toy aisle, tell him that before you go in. If he is particularly good the 2nd or 3rd trip to the store, you might tell him that since he was sooo good, you're going to stop in the toy aisle to look, but not to buy. If he pitches a fit about wanting something, he doesn't go back to the toy aisle again for another couple of trips. If he's good during those intermediate trips, you might remind him that if he had been good last time, you'd stop, but since he can't behave, you just can't do it.
We have a sacred rule in our house - "Don't shame your mother". We talk about what kind of behavior is expected outside the home. If they happen to "Shame Mom" there are consequences and the aren't pleasant... a week with no tv or whatever. I've never had to go there - not since my son took a fire engine off a birthday cake at the age of 3. He is 17 and still remembers that one.
2 moms found this helpful
S.O. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
First of all, it sounds like you are doing a great job with this little boy. Even really young kids can find a way to get our goat, they are awfully creative that way! I would start being prepared for this behavior -- take along a plastic bag, paper towels and maybe some extra clothes when you go out if you think it might happen. Then make him clean up. Stay calm and stand right there with him, but get HIM to do it. He is old enough to participate in this cleanup activity. I feel for you, but you are doing all the right things with him and this, too, will pass!
2 moms found this helpful
P.W. answers from Norfolk on December 15, 2009
I also am a military wife and I also had a child that did this type of thing at about the same age...she would vomit in her bed and so on...just so she could stay up later, as it would take time for me to change the sheets and clean it all up and she would then have to have a bath. My advice is stick to your guns. I know this may sound harsh, but it works. My daughter would go to the bathroom and make herself throw up because she didn't like what we were having for dinner. I talked to Dr's and anyone I could think of, finally they all basically told me the same thing, she is doing it for attention. So I took all her toys, and put them away, and told her when she could stop making herself throw up she could get them back, she had books and her bed and clothes in her room. It took less then a week and she totally stopped. Maybe if you discuss the store before going, and what you are going to shop for that might help. I feel for you I really do. But I would really stick to my guns on this one, don't get all upset when he does it, because that is probably why he does it, he knows that it bugs you...don't make a big deal of it. If you don't deal with him trying to get his way now, you are in for a long hard road ahead. I hope this helps and I hope I didn't come across as harsh, I do have 3 wonderful kids and they are the loves of my life. My daughter tho, has always been what we call a drama queen, she would also go in and tell the school nurse she didn't feel well, then they would call me and I would come get her, low and behold when she got home she was feeling much better, just couldn't stand that mommy might be doing something without her :)
1 mom found this helpful
A.C. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
I don't see anywhere you're "messing up". I am also a military wife who had to deal with a VERY strong willed child while daddy was away (out to sea on a ship).
And while I agree to a certain extent of letting him "win" when you can ... YOU are the mamma and YOU make the rules. Stick by that now and you'll have a MUCH better time with them as teenagers. My oldest son is extremely strong willed also and while I NEVER wanted to BREAK him of anything ... EVER. I did want to bend him to the decisions *I* made. Some days that meant customers in the stores got to hear my son scream at the top of his lungs (I tried not to do this to the customers very often LOL) and I just ignored him AND their stares. Some days it meant turning around and going right back home.
And when it came to fits my oldest son was THE king of 'em LOL he could go on for HOURS ... and I do mean HOURS. When we were at home he was confined to his room for those fits ... when I had stuff I HAD to get done ... he got ignored and while in the car the music got turned up ... LOUDLY. Eventually he (and his sister and brother) learned what got him what he wanted and what didn't.
And DEFINITELY make him clean up his own mess and go to the bathroom to throw his fit.
Keep being consistant and continue to be the parent. He'll stop doing it the more he has to clean up and the more he sees it's not getting any reaction out of you.
Hope this is helpful and don't hesitate to contact me if you need an ear. BTDT (still doing it) on the military spouse thing ... it SUCKS *SS ... big time :)
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
Being the wife of a Military man, now retired, who was deployed while I raised children I can feel your pain. This is never an easy task even under good circumstances. I will tell you to hold solid to your convictions of not giving in to him. The more you try to soothe his actions the worse they will get. He has learned that these "tantrums" get your attention and has learned to manipulate you with them. I know it sounds silly with a 3 year old but you might want to try a child psychologist for some counseling. We went through an especially trying time with deployment, grandparent death, illness etc and our daughter would vomit, not at will, but from nerves, when we left her at kindergarten. We found a wonderful child psychologist who worked with her, and the two of us to find the answers. We started seeing progress almost immediately because he could get her to talk to him and get answers that we could not find on our own.
Little ones are sensitve to your emotions as well. If you are upset he will pick up on it.
I also want to recommend at least two days a week of daycare. This will give him an opportunity to play with other children his age, get some type of structure and learn that not everything is going to be his way. All children need to be involved with kids their own age. You need a life away from him as well. You need to be involved with other wives in your command. All of you must support each other to survive this trying time with some sanity left. It isn't good for you or your son to spend all your days and nights together with no one else.
I strongly encourage a daycare program for him. It will do both of you a lot of good to be apart for a few hours a week!
PS.. Do Not spend your away time cleaning house and grocery shopping. Join a gym, go out to lunch with friends, not just your family, join a group of ladies to play cards, whatever it takes find a life and interest for yourself. Remember always that this DOES NOT make you a bad mom! Having some "ME" time is therapeutic for everyone. It will help you to be a better wife and mom!
1 mom found this helpful
K.W. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
I have heard of this happening with other children before. The advice my friends had been given was to never give in. It just reinforces that when he does this unpleasant act he gets what he wants. As for another suggestion having the TV always on even locked to Noggin is not a good idea. I don't know how much always on actually means in hours but hours of tv is not appropriate for children. Have music on if you need noise. All of the programs on television are designed for the audience. On a children's channel the advertisements are designed for the children to want the product so badly. The tv did not suggest to him that he vomit to get the product but the tv did suggest that he want a bunch of toys he doesn't want really or need. Also you might want to speak to your ped regarding other ways to handle the vomiting. I would perhaps say if you are so upset that you are sick we're just going to go home and get in bed. By taking away the activities that he likes he might learn not to do the act that starts it all. Good luck.
J.S. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
My son turned 3 in late August. His temperament is pretty good but he does have times of frustration where he expresses it by stomping off of huffing & puffing. Although his behavior is not where your son's is - they are still at the same point of just that - expressing themselves. I suggest that you first of all remember that his behavior can be from a combination of things - the family situation (father not here right now), him feeling that he doesn't get what he wants when he wants it as well as him just being 3! One thing you will surely need to do is develop your patience. I know it's not easy but when speaking to your son, remember to get down to his level & speak in a calm tone. You can let him know that you can see he's frustrated or upset and we can act that out in different ways. Remind him to breathe and focus with him practicing his deep breathing - if you can find a cheap or toy stethoscope, he can hear his breathing from the inside. Incorporate counting - 1-3, 1-5 or 1-10. This will help "tune him into himself". Some call it self-soothing. Give him some suggestions like why don't you draw out on paper what your thinking/feeling - let him have some toy/child boxing gloves & punch it out on a blow-up type of toy...if you're at home when it happens, see if you can get him involved in one of his favorite activities - after breathing and calming down. He needs to hear several times in a calm manner that the vomiting behavior is not acceptable and can possibly make him sick. When he's in a good mood, look up a video online or in a book of the parts of the body, particularly concentrate on the digestive system (he's not too young to learn, trust me!)so he can see what he may be doing to his insides. Tell him to use his finger to go down his neck/throat, chest & abdomen to identify where the internal body parts are. Get him as involved in his own healing as much as possible. This is hopefully a phase of acting out...but either way, for his safety & your piece of mind, you all must work together to curb this current behavior pattern. Good luck & know that you are your son's best teacher!
S.A. answers from Washington DC on December 15, 2009
it looks like you have some helpful answers already, but I didn't read them all. I just want to say that you're doing a good job! it's so hard at this age with a willful child...
what I've found works best is give my son small victories. I try hard not to constantly say No. For instance, in your Wal-Mart scenario, I would have made a bargain to do my shopping first, then he could look at the toys for a few minutes.
Another tactic is I try to constantly talk to him and get him to talk to me using words. When he starts to whine or cry, I tell him to use his words to tell me why he's upset. Then I start asking questions to get him to use words instead of scream. I do it until he eventually starts talking to me. Then I can lead the discussion to where I want it to go (or distract him TOTALLY from the cause of his tantrum). Encouraging him to talk it out is a very successful tactic in our house.
Sometimes I get frustrated and just say "No" automatically when he picks up something he's not supposed to. Then I remember that it's the immediate NO that he reacts to. So then I give him a few seconds to look at whatever he's found, then he is ready to give it back to me like I ask.
It's a learning process how to alter your NO without changing the meaning of NO. you know what I mean??