Frustrated, Short Tempered

Maria - posted on 09/16/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have two wonderful children, whom I adore. But. My girl will be 4 in December and my boy is 10 months old. My girl, KK, tries my very last nerve - doesn't listen to anything, sticks her tongue out, hits, kicks and lots of other behavior that causes me to see red... Instantly. I know that she is 3 and is designed to test the boundaries. I know this, but it doesn't help when I'm in the middle of a battle (that's what it feels like...a battle). It doesn't take much for me to lose my temper and start screaming. I mean really yelling. My boy is teething and is unusually fussy and needy. I feel like I'm ruining them. I feel like I fight with KK everyday. Before I had children, I had never felt such complete love for someone; I've also never felt such rage or helplessness. I don't know what to do. I don't like myself. I've also gained so much weight. I constantly have a headache. I get breaks from them 3 days a week, but I'm still so hard on my daughter. Believe me, I know that I'm not a great mother, so I'm looking for tips on how to be better.

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Cecilia - posted on 09/16/2013

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She is pushing you because she is getting a reaction. Negative attention is still attention. With a new baby in the house she is fighting for any attention she can get.

First you need to establish what needs to change. Write down behaviors that are unacceptable to you. (we'll use throwing things as our example) Write them down a board. Write down consequences for each. Time outs work really well for 3 year olds if done properly. (I'll post below how to do a time out.)

Then- this is a very important step- make a reward and good behavior chart for her and rewards for it. This is important because it shows her good behavior gets her attention. Go buy some stickers at the dollar store. Every time she completes a task like " good listening" she gets a sticker. After so many stickers (at my house we use 10) she gets a reward. These are also good to buy at the dollar store, look in the party favors section because you can get 6 toys for a dollar :) and it just needs to be something small. These can be the counter-part the the rules listed above.

Ok proper time out- In most cases 1 warning is given. I personally do not give warnings for hitting. You hit anyone, you're in time out. When warning them be specific. For example, if you throw anything else you will be in time out. Saying "stop it" does not tell them exactly what you want.

So she was warned and she does it again. You pick them up and put them in the spot which you have dedicated to time out. This spot should be out of the way, not able to play with things, not able to see a TV but not isolated from the family. A hallway is fine but a bedroom is not. When you set her there you get down to her eye-level and calmly but firmly tell her "you are being put into time out because you did not listen to me when I told you to stop throwing thing"

Walk away. If she gets up, put her back without saying a word. She will try anything to get you to respond at this point. Yell she hates you, you're a bad mommy, they are creative at this point, so expect anything. Set a timer (also dollar store is fine for this) for one minute per age. Any time she gets up the timer starts over. Yelling, screaming, and crying do not reset the timer.

When time is up, go back down to eye level and simply tell her "mommy had to put you in time out because you did not listen to me when I told you to stop throwing things. Say sorry to mommy. If she says sorry give her a hug and a kiss and she is done. If she refuses, tell her she isn't getting up until she says sorry and walk away. check back in a few minutes to see if she is ready to apologize.

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