why wont my son listen?

Corlene - posted on 01/02/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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is it really that he just wants the negative attention? hes 3 months shy of 3 and he constantly hits, kicks and screams... we recently aquired a kitten and he terroriszes her, no form of disipline is working for me and my husband. Hes with our son till 2 pm then when i get home from work he heaves and doesnt get home till midnight ( and no the behavior didnt start when the schedule changed ) hes always been this way but it seems the smarter he gets the worse it is..... any suggestions? im losing my mind lol

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Gigi - posted on 01/04/2013

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Well said Ariana!
Corlene, which form of discipline are you using and are you consistent? You said your son has always been like this and that his behaviour is getting worse which is understandable. The older they are the broader understanding they have and bigger imagination. Luckily, they also have bigger capacity to understand limits. You just need to be very consistent with him - if you let his behaviour slide, he will just learn new ways to get what he wants. He won't change his behaviour just like that, it is up to you to teach him.
I have a sort of "tiered" aproach to bad behaviour and consequences. The least serious is - Distracting strategy aka "you can't play with that, but look here, you can play with this!" (enter the appropriate toy). The middle level is Withdrawal strategy which is employed if the offence is bigger such as throwing a toy or hitting a tv (rare occurence but it does happen) - after one request to stop that (I usually add another, more positive alternative in the sentence), the toy (or tv) will be taken away (turned off) and I will nicely explain that we don't throw toys (hit tv) and that she will get them back as soon as she wants to play nicely with them. The most serious is Time-Out which is done in my daughter's bed. I barely use that one but when I do the impact seems to be huge - I just pick her up (calmly and silently) and carry her to her bed, close her bedroom door and put kitchen timer to 3-4 minutes. When I come to get her we talk and she appologizes, we share kisses and hugs and life goes on.
I mostly use only the first one, and the Time Out is done only in extreme situations.
That said, i always try to pick my battles and see do I really need to stop something.
We have a cat as well, and when my daughter was very small we started teaching her how to treat it. We showed her how to pet it gently and pointed out how the cat was happy then. We praised her every time she was gentle. I let her help me give food to it and even pick out "present" for the cat for Christmas (her idea, not mine). I think that terrorizing the cat would get her into a Time Out immediately.

Ariana - posted on 01/03/2013

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What discipline have you tried so far? With 2 year olds it has to be fairly immediate and if even then they tend to kick off for a while until they realize you mean business. And even THEN they'll try things to make sure the limits are the same.

I would try to work on certain behaviors, saying he kicks and screams well what is he kicking and screaming over? Is it a certain situation? When he can't get a certain thing? If you aren't actually sure ('cause it's happening so often) try to make a behavior log for the week, write down when he's acting out and why (if you know that is!). See if there's a pattern (always during dinner, 5 oclock, cause he wasn't allowed outside etc.).

So for example if he's bothering your cat target that behavior. If he starts to go near the cat and bother it tell him 'touch the cat gently', 'pet her like this' and show him (try to encourage that) if he refuses or he continues bothering the cat you tell him we're only allowed near the cat if we're gentle and take him away from the cat. If he screams or tries to run back just pick him up and move him away (however many times, although the cat would probably run away...). Don't argue or try to get him to stop just ignore the screaming and if you have to say something say we're only allowed near the cat if we're gentle. If he decides to have a tantrum (but isn't going near the cat) let him, ignore it and walk away.

So try to find a plan for his behaviors, also try to make sure your husband and you have the same rules and pretty much the same way of dealing with it so he has consistancy.

For most kicking and screaming I would tell him we don't act like that and if you don't stop you're getting put in your room to calm down, or leave him where he is and ignore him while he's doing it (if possible).

Like I said each situation brings a different way of managing it, because if he's kicking and screaming because you're trying to get him to help pick up his toys (or something like that) or because you have to change his diaper or something you can't just let him alone and ignore him because he's trying to get out of doing something, so you'll have to figure a different way to handle that type of situation.

If he's throwing a tantrum because he has been stopped doing something he shouldn't or any situation where he can be ignored I would ignore the behavior. If he's kicking at you when you try to ignore him you should put him in his room to calm down.

I used to have to take my son into the bathroom when we went to restaurants because he'd start throwing a tantrum. He used to do it all the time, but now he's almost perfect when we go (he's 3 now).

In general my advice is to pick your battles, try to make things fun (how fast can we get these shoes on? Can you get yours on faster than me? wow you're fast like a tiger! etc.) and try to find consistant discipline that relates to what's going on in the moment. Try to get it to make sense to what's going on. Try to provide more positive attention.

So if you're bothering the cat you can't go near it, if you throw toys they get taken away, if you're screaming for something that hurts our ears and we're not listening to that, walk away etc.

Also try to connect with him throughout the day, if you play games with him or go to the park and try to incorporate positive attention to him he'll be less likely to have a tantrum and more willing to listen to you. Try to do things where he 'wins' like 'fight' him and lose, ask him for things and when he yells NO NO go oh ohhh ok you win you win. Can I PLEASE have your socks? Please? No?? Oh ok you WIN you always win!

Toddlers are smaller, less powerful, less coordinated, slower than pretty much EVERYONE so they tend to kick off and get upset because they're always being taken away or told what to do. If you let them feel like they've 'won' a couple on you they're more willing to let you 'win' a couple on them.

It's not fool proof but it helps. Whatever you do try to be consistant about it. Good luck!

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