Battles, battles and more battles

Elizabeth - posted on 06/24/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am mom to the sweetest little girl ever, HOWEVER, it's like there is a tiny, invisible switch inside her with two positions: angel and demon. Diapers, meals, bedtime, anything she doesn't want is a such a battle. I know that "terrible 2's" is just a stage, but I'm not sure I can handle it! I dread bedtime every night and walk out of her room so worked up all I can handle is flopping on the couch and watching tv for 2 hours before I go to bed.

How do you handle the persistent battles that you know are coming without losing your head (and ruining the rest of the night)? I'm not sure I can handle anymore battles of will without having a meltdown myself!!

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Rebekah - posted on 06/25/2011

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First off, trust me when I say, it WILL get better no matter what you do. As she matures, and you learn more about her, you'll have a much easier time with her.

2nd, I would HIGHLY recommend the book, "Raising the Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

When my son was 2, I quickly learned (with help from that book) how to predict battles and then end them before they even begin. My daughter is a little bit harder to read than my son, but we're making a lot of progress. The main thing is to set clear expectations. Honestly, if my kids (4 and 2) know EXACTLY what I expect from them, their behavior is 100% better. So yes, sometimes I spend 10 minutes in the car explaining exactly what we're going to do at the grocery store: That they will both hold my hand until we get to the door, one will ride in the seat and one will ride in the basket, I'll give them a cookie after we've picked out our produce, they will not ask to get out of the cart, when we are in the car after all of my shopping is finished they can both have an apple, etc. etc. It seems like if they don't have very clear boundaries set ahead of time, then they push their limits. So, make sure that she always knows what behavior you expect from her... then you can discipline appropriately when she disobeys.

As for bedtime, I'd make sure that she's able to predict with 100% accuracy what comes next. She should be able to say "we read books, brush teeth, sing two songs, mama leaves, and I go to sleep." If every night is not the exact same, she'll try to get control of the situation by throwing a tantrum (asking for random stuff, crying, etc.). You might even draw pictures for her on a poster board of your night routine to "show" her how bedtime works.

Anyway... Good luck to you! And really, if you try everything and nothing seems to work, it will get better as time goes on.

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Lela - posted on 06/27/2011

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My son loves to read also Elizabeth. So what you could to is say, Daughter, if you don't stop acting up NO book before bed. I do this with my son! He has a strict bedtime schedule also. Sometimes he doesn't want to get out of the bath tub when it's time. So I tell him, stop saying no and stand up so I can get you out of the tub or NO books before bed. And he stands up!
Hope that helps!

Elizabeth - posted on 06/27/2011

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Thanks for the encouragement Rebekah. The thing of it is, she has a super consistent bedtime routine. And once we're halfway through it, bedtime is so easy. But getting through bath, pajamas, and brushing teeth is so frustrating!! Once we get to reading books, she no longer fights it. (Can you guess what part of the routine she likes the most??) And that's all with giving count downs to bedtime, so she even knows bath, etc. is coming.

I've always tried outlining my expectations for her, but not to quite the degree you're describing. 10 min in the car before grocery shopping sounds like a lot to me, but if it works, I'll definitely have to try taking a little more time with her.

I will also definitely check out the book you recommended. My mom just said last night "Well, your LO being so much like you isn't ALL bad" LOL, gee thanks mom!! But I guess I could throw quite the fit when I was her age too. In all cases, I'm just trying to enjoy the sweetest little girl that she is most of the time, without losing my head when she's not.

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