my son is balling out of control

Deslannee - posted on 12/13/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )

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my son is acting out more than normal. when he was first born the boy never cried.. when he turned one everyone thougt that i was blessed with how well behaved he is.. now that he has turned two, every day becomes a nightmare. i ask for a hug he cries , i pick up his toys he cries. he cries about everything, bed time almost never happens, just balling out of control no matter where no matter who... im running out of ideas. he wont listen to me and this is just not in my comfort zone. time outs he enjoys cuz hes not getting spanked,, when i count to three he continues to ten.... when i spank him he acts worse right after, and i feel bad..... i love my baby but he is making it difficult for me to do things like potty train him ect... anyone that can help that would be great

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[deleted account]

Hey. First of all, I'd like to say that most of us have all "been there" at one point or another, so I feel your pain. I'm just a mom, not a pediatrician or child developement specialist, so understand this reply is all personal opinion/experience talking. You need to follow your own instincts as a mother.

That being said, two is the begining of the toddler stage, and developmentally speaking, actiing out is normal to a degree in children this age. They are testing the waters, trying their boundaries and trying to assert some control on their environment. With your son, you might want to try observing him carefully to find out why he is crying instead of focusing on making him stop. Watch him for a few days to see if there are any triggers to the crying spells. Is he hungry? Tired? Is there alot going on around (noise, TV, activity) that might be overstimulating him? Are you moving from one thing (like playing) to another (like leaving the house), also known as transitioning? Is he around any stressors? Is he trying to get your attention? See if you can't find a pattern which might help resolve things. Make sure he has a routine so that he knows what to expect next within his day as well as so you can easily keep track of when he might be hungry or tired (i.e. ripe for crying).

Once you find a pattern (or two, or three) you can impliment some solutions. For example, if he is hungry, obviously you'd offer a snack. Tired or overstimulated you'd give him some quiet space and a calm activity, like reading a story and cuddling together. If it's transitioning, you'll start helping him throught them: "We need to get ready to go bye-bye soon. Can you help me find your shoes? What else do we need to go bye-bye?" That kind of stuff.

You also can try giving him some things that he can assert control over. At two, he is old enough to help put his toys away, choose which juice cup he wants, etc. Give him no more than 2 choices at a time (that you can live with no matter what he picks) and let him start to gain some independance bit by bit.

At this age, you can also start helping him to express his feelings in ways other than crying. Start reading him simple books about feelings. For example, a board book with faces for different emotions. You can also make faces and tell him the words for "happy", "sad", etc.

Tell him that crying is ok if he is sad, but if he needs something he has to tell you "using his big boy words". Ask him for a feeling: are you sad? mad? etc. The sooner he learns how to tell you what is up with him, the sooner crying for everything will stop. You have to help him learn that.

Also, pick your method of discipline and stick with it. Going from time outs to spankings might just be confusing him, which will compound the issue. Be clear on your expectations. Give him a warning: "If you do X again then you will go on time out." Then give him a time out (1 minute per year of age). When his time out is over, tell him why he got the time out "You got a time out because you broke the rule of X." Then move on.

One more suggestion: Take him to his Pediatrician for a check up to make sure there is no underlying cause for his tears. The Dr. can also help you with this, they know your child and children in general and can help guide you, even if there is no medical reason for the behavior.

And I would hold off on the potty training until everything is resolved.

I hope something in this helps, even if it's in some small way. I am sure that you know all of this already, but it's the only answer I could think of. Good luck, and I hope that things calm down for you soon!



P.S. Try reading "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp and the SuperNanny books. Huge help with these things!

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