Jessica - posted on 10/01/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )




(This may get a little long-winded, so I apologize in advance.)

My son is almost 2. I'm a single mom. For financial reasons and because I am going back to college (though I already have one degree and am 28) and therefor can only work part-time, we live with my parents. My biggest issues with my child are his temper tantrums and refusal to listen and do as he's told. He's the first grandchild on my side and his father's side, so of course he's spoiled. But he refuses to do what he's told. If I swat his hand for doing something he laughs at me and does it again. If I swat him harder he might cry one little sob and then does it again. But I digress ... Here's my biggest question and I need to know if it's normal and/or how to deal with it.

Every time I try to reward my child or give him something special it always ends in a tantrum. If we go play outside (which doesn't happen a lot because the yard, though freakin' huge, isn't fenced and we've got an open barn with lots of dangerous "toys") he throws a fit when it's time to come in. If I let him eat candy, which is rare, or get him something special like a piece of cake, he gets angry and throws a fit when it's all gone. If we blow bubbles or do some special activity he gets mad when it's time to stop and he also gets mad because I won't let him do it all himself, then again when I let him try it himself he gets mad because it doesn't work. If we go somewhere special he refuses to listen to me and tries to run wild, then I look like a monster for getting on to him or spatting his leg. And of course he gets angry and throws a fit when it's time to leave.

I've come to terms with my child being a brat. I'm hoping as he gets older and understands more and punishments can become more severe and case-sensitive he'll grow out of it. But for right now everything seems to fall back on me and I'm having trouble coping with the guilt of it. I've gotten to the point where I don't enjoy giving him treats, letting him do special things or taking him places because I don't like dealing with the aftermath. The few minutes he's happy does not equal the longer period of time during or after when he's throwing a hissy over not getting exactly his way. I've got enough guilt from being unmarried, not being able to provide him a proper family/home/everything else I think he needs and deserves and I want him to have. I hate feeling guilty about this. My friends all take their kids to do things and they all have special times at home and their kids handle it fine. Then I feel even guiltier because I feel like a terrible mom for not being able to do this right.

So again, sorry for the length. Hope you enjoyed my novel. But seriously, is it normal for a kid to act that way? Is it asking too much for him to just be grateful and enjoy what he gets when he gets it? Should I give him these special treats regardless of how he acts in the end? I don't know what to do and I'm tired of all the added guilt and depression it brings. Thanks for taking a few hours out of your day to read about my issues!


Christie - posted on 10/01/2009




First, your a great mom and you are doing the best you can with the situation that you are in! Second, it sounds like your son is in the terrible twos. My son did similar things. You just need to be consistant. I think instead of swat his hand, he is old enough to go to time out. At that age, I put my son in his pack n play that was ina corner, and told him two mintues. Then I discused what he did afterward. Keep this up, he will get it, he just might be in TO a lot at first. Another thing is you don't always have to DO something when he's been good, just cheering for him and telling him he's a good boy or doing a good job is usually enough. If you want, you can always make a chart and use stickers. Make a big deal out of doing the stickers and when he gets x amount of stickers, then special movie, helping you cook cookies, something fun for the both of you. As for throughing fits when things end, my son still does this, and he's 3. The key is trying to let them know ahead of time that the activity is going to end. I hold up my hand and show him he has five mintues. Then I show him one finger for one mintue. Another thing you can do that a friend does, is that she sets her cell phone alarm for a certain time, and when the timer goes off, then its time to end or go home. This age is tough, and even tougher when you're on your own. But you are doing the best you can right now, and bettering yourself so you can give him things in the future (i.e., home, family, etc.) Good luck and I hope some of this helps.

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