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help! I'm raising a stranger! (no bashing please)

Raising a baby wasn't easy but it seems like a piece of cake compared to raising a toddler! With a baby there are a handful of solutions to any given situation and while in the beginning it was tough to figure it out, once I had it down it was so easy! My son is now 16 months and I feel as if a stranger has taken over my sweet baby boy! I feel like I'm treading on thin ice, and one misstep could be disastrous! I used to know how to care and discipline him but as he's getting older, I'm realizing, I have no idea who this little person is and it scares me! I love him more than anything in the world, no matter how difficult he can get, so I don't want anyone to think otherwise. When I try to discipline him, it seems to backfire on me.. he screams, bites, headbuts, and throws things. I feel like everything I do is wrong! I've tried talking to him about why he can't do or touch this or that, just telling him no, and even raising

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:55 AM on Jan. 12, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (11)
  • oh boy the head butting. My 17 month old does it to me all the time. I am also struggling with this and though I don't have much advice to give you I will say you are no alone by far.

    Answer by Amelora at 2:03 AM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • don't get discouraged!! It is always scary being a new mom then when the baby arrives it seems like it is going to be so difficult and turns out not to be that bad, then comes the point where they start to tack the months on and beleive me it gets tougher and tougher!! I had the same exact problem I used to think to myself 'what did I do to deserve such a wonderful baby!' my son was the best baby in the world(in my eyes of course:) then he started getting older and much much harder to deal with and trust and beleive that it gets harder and harder as more time goes by, then you start to look back and realize that what you thought was difficult times raising a baby was actually much easier than dealing with a toddler!! Like I said don't get discouraged just start enforcing time outs if needed and don't let your child control you, they are smart little buggers and know very well how to 'play' us, just keep up the good work mama..

    Answer by jsimonds220 at 2:04 AM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • cont... it does get very tough raising a toddler, I understand what you are going through it's not an easy task my son is 3yrs old now and he is very tough to handle, just stick to your guns and show him whos boss (time outs and discipline) I don't mean in a mean way just a 'i'm the boss' way if you get stressed out just walk away for a moment and take some 5min to yourself, be consistant and have patience, I know what your going through its not easy and i've been told by other moms with older children that they get even more tough to deal with as they get older and older hang in there and i wish you all the best:) Good Luck and Take Care. Jenn

    Answer by jsimonds220 at 2:08 AM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Number one, always be consistent with discipline and rewards. He may sit in the sad chair (our version of timeout) twenty times a day for trying to climb the bookshelves; this is just how toddlers are.

    Answer by rkoloms at 6:34 AM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Well, my son was a VERY hard infant and cried literally all the time. So I understand that feeling of not knowing what you are doing.. I just keep on reading any books I can, watching super nanny episodes, reading posts and responses on CM, asking questions to my Ped. and the nurse help line because i never feel like I know what I am doing. My son started tantrums at 7 months and is so chalked full of an unlimited supply of energy. I got a game plan of how I wanted to discipline with time outs after so many trys from 16 months to 22 months I stayed very consistant, tried not yelling, got down to his level, explained things, gave short reasons for things, started picture charts and bedtime charts and he actually listens very well for a 2 year old. but I think mostly because he knows I will follow through if I ask him to pick up his toys and he doesnt, its time out or I take a toy away. No if ands or butts.. be strong.!!

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 11:42 AM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Omg... I went to bed last night thinking the same exact thing.... I felt that at 11 months old, my darling son was taken over by a child I didn't know anymore and at 25 months, I'm the only person he hits and talks back to.... I'll read all the answers now. i just want you to know that I'm with you and feel your pain.

    Answer by lynnard at 12:51 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Ok, read all the answers and here's my advice... remember, i've got a 25 month old whos in time out about 10 times an hour. He doesn't behave badly around anyon else but me. And really, he's a sweet kid.

    1) Mama gets the worse.
    2) Be consistent and show him what good behavior is.
    3) Butting head on the floor... don't worry about it..."Oh that looks like it hurts." He can't hurt himself too bad.
    4) Figure the boy out. When is he happiest? Does he like to feel like he's in control? My son always wants extra milk with his second dish of cheerios, even if he's got a whole bowl full. So instead of telling him no, I get the milk and pour a drop in there. he's happy.

    He wanted to feed the fish, but I already had. Instead of saying no, I explained to him that the fish was fed already and if he got more food, he would get sick and go away. that was cool to him.


    Answer by lynnard at 12:57 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • 5) Hitting: Time out spot. "That hurts mommy." At night time we talk about being nice and how if Gavin at school were to hit Ethan, Ethan woudln't like it. So Mommy doesn't like it when Ethan hurts mommy. It's ok to be angry and mad but use words like "Ethan mad" and go be by yourself.

    6) Expend energy... does he like being outside? Get him outside?

    7) Play. Does he like playing with things with you on his level? My hubby realized our son likes it when you play on his level. So getting down and playing was good.

    8) consistent. Have I said that already?

    And you aren't alone... I went upstairs last night wondering why I feel so alone in all this. My husband doesn't have these issues... but I did involve my husband last night. I asked him that when my son hits me, hubby come and kiss mommy to make it better and say, "Ethan hit mommy and mommy has a boo-boo. Need to be nice to mommy."


    Answer by lynnard at 1:02 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • As a mother of three I understand how you feel. As my children went from babies to toddlers it was both a happy and sad time They are testing every boundry and rule because they want to see what will happen next. Try to imagine trying to follow the laws in a strange country where you don't really know the language and the law books aren't written in english. Same idea. And toddlers little brains are trying to process lots of information and stimulus. They short out sometimes. Kind of like when the day is just too much and you want to cover up your head with the covers from your bed. :) Toddlers feel that way a lot and they melt down. Be consistent. Keep the rules simple and clear, as well as the consequences. And as strange as this little one may appear, I think you will recognize that little bundle when he wraps his little arms around you and says he loves you. Or flashes that cute smile. It will get better around 4. :)

    Answer by Ardnaseus at 5:54 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

  • Mama, you are being the voice of so many moms!! I agree with lynnard, and pretty much with what all of the moms have said above. Calm, clear, and consistent seems to be working for us right now (with a very spirited 15m old) and lots of redirection. I've taken a look at 1-2-3- Magic and "The Happiest Toddler on the Block," both have helpful info, but every kiddo is different (both books are for kids 2 and up). GOOD LUCK!!!

    Answer by mevxoxo at 7:36 PM on Jan. 12, 2010

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