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For those Mom's with "spirited children"

My just recently turned 2 year old is... well, he's HARD to put it nicely. He can talk very well for his age, but he seems to keep whining SO MUCH - he has been hard since birth .. I am getting warn out - feeling that defeated feeling. I am very consistant with discipline but it just doesn't seem to get easier/better. Even my mom shrugs her shoulder with him and she has raised 3 girls and did foster care and is the most wonderful person I know. I love my son with all my heart, sometimes i just feel overwhelmed... every step of the way seems SO hard with him... I try to be creative and fun and excited and playful but ugh.. it gets hard some days to maintain this.... He fights me when I change him, trying to potty train, nap time, bedtime, leaving the house, being in stores, getting dressed, getting pj's on, taking a bath - you name it- he is an ONLY child and will stay that way but how do I keep my spirits up?


Asked by Anonymous at 11:38 AM on Nov. 16, 2009 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I call my DD "satan" but I guess the PC term is "Spirited"!! She drives me INSANE every second that I am around her! She is the FRIENDLIEST child in the world and LOVES being out in public but I can not control her! I have a 5 year old that is well manored & knows how to behave so I dont understand how my 2 1/2 year old that was raised with the same discipline can act like she does!

    NOTHING keeps her attention, she will color for 2 seconds (literally... one touch of the pen to the paper) then open a book to one page, then go get a toy, then go get something to drink... all in the matter of about 1 minute! She is not clingy but LOVES to be up in my business. By this I mean she isnt fussy or needy but she loves pushing a chair around so that she can stand up & see what I am doing & it gets SOOOO frustrating!

    I want to take time for myself but everytime I step away, she gets into crap and then i have a mess to clean up

    Answer by Jaydin_Makenna at 12:32 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I wish I had an answer, maybe you should take some time for you and have someone watch him just to rejuvinate yourself. keep up the good work. I have a hard one too but he has brother to keep him occupied.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:45 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • Dr. Sears has a really helpful book on the spirited child. What I also found helpful was to pick my battles...most things really didn't matter so I could let them go and be stubborn on what WAS truly important at any given time. Then when that was conquered, I could do something else.

    Potty training tip...though you don't want to do this in winter but in late spring and dipes. Just underwear. They HATE it when they mess that way. (That was my mom's achieved byt he end of the season.)

    Answer by gdiamante at 11:46 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • my middle child is strong willed. my pediatrician told me when she was around 10 mos old she will always have a will stronger than mine and i had better learn to do something about myself because she would not change. i wanted to punch him in the face. but he was well known to be one of the best in Memphis and he was right. I had to adapt to her and parent her differently. She soon became a wonderful child and still is no problem at all. but i still have to parent her differently. get a book or some counseling on a spirited and/or strong willed child and change your way of parenting.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 11:58 AM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • Whining is a parent taught behavior. If you ignore it then it goes away. When your son whines say, "I can't understand you when you talk in that voice." Don't give him his way when he whines. The same goes for temper tantrums. They are the two parent taught behaviors. When kids learn they don't work they stop doing them.

    I suggest the book Love & Limits by Elizabeth Crary. She also has a website called Star Parenting. Her book Without Spanking or Spoining came out in 1981 when my oldest was a toddler and changed my life.

    You say 'he fights me'. You aren't having fun and it sounds like he isn't having fun. Maybe you have notions about what things should be like and stick to those, like routines. If you relaxed expectations maybe things would be easier. I don't know all I have to go by is just the few word you have written. has good discussion boards about parenting.

    Answer by Gailll at 12:04 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • Jaydin
    OP here: that's how i feel except he's an only child and WHINES all the time too - I have tried Gaiils ignoring and saying for months on end that I can't hear that tone etc. This is NOT my parenting issue. I've read Super Nanny books, raising BOys books, everything you need to know books cause I have no natural instincts to go on here.. I am just at a Loss. He has NO Independant play skills so and he's very particular. He says" Mommy play with me" I mean, when I have nothing to do , how do you say no to that? of course I want to play with him but I literally CAN NOT! sit on the cough or have a break or he freaks out crying and does not stop...IDK. I just want this to be funner so I am not yelling all the time or frustrated so often.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:37 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • Looks like he needs children of his own age to play with. Child day care perhaps for a few hours may help.  Helps him as well as you for at least a few hours. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:46 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • You may want to consider a part-time preschool for him (2 or 3 days/week for 2 hours or so). With him in a preschool, you could get a couple of hours to yourself to do whatever it is you want, be it cleaning, running errands, meeting a friend for a cup of coffee or taking a nap. Having other children to play with will help to teach him age-appropriate play & social skills, plus having time away from mommy may help him to appreciate you more. The extra activity may help to wear him out some, too, so when he does have free time on his own, he's more willing to either play by himself or rest, giving you more of a break. Also, when he goes to preschool, he'll have to learn new routines w/new people, which may help him to appreciate your routines more & be easier about cooperating with you. There are no guarantees, of course, that any of this would work for him, but at least you'll get a couple of hours by yourself to recharge.

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 1:01 PM on Nov. 16, 2009

  • I think you are trying too hard. Why be up and fun and creative for a kid who doesn't get anything out of it. And 2 is too young to potty train most boys! Arrange to go shopping without him once or twice a week and give yourself a break. You can't let this kid be your whole life. His progress doesn't define your worth as a person.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:54 PM on Nov. 16, 2009