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Attention all "Attachment Parenting" mamas - need advice!

Ok, ok, I KNOW she's 2. 2 1/2 to be specific, and she's testing her boundaries and it's actually healthy behavior and all that jazz. But I am absolutely EXHAUSTED from fighting her on everything - and I mean EVERYTHING.

Example: I'm trying to get out the door to make it to a doctor appointment. I ALREADY have alloted like an extra hour for dealing with the battle. She's watching Dora or something, whatever is holding her curious little mind while I get myself ready to go. I'm ALMOST done, I give her a 5 min. heads-up that we'll be changing her clothes in a few minutes because we have to go. I approach her 5 minutes later and she does 1 of 2 things: 1) Giggles and runs away from me, all over the house, and when I catch her, even if I do it pleasantly with tickles, she SCREAMS and kicks and fights me and throws a tantrum. Or, 2) she just throws a tantrum from the start. Then it's absolute HELL trying to get her jammies off, diaper changed, new clothes on because she's kicking me, pulling her pants back up as I'm trying to take them down, hiding her little toes from me when I'm trying to put on socks, tucking her arms in her chest when I need to get a shirt on. Usually this whole time is full of tantrum, & whining, and if not, it's a big game and she's enjoying seeing me get frustrated.

FINALLY I get her dressed. I go get a warm wet washcloth to wipe her face from breakfast. Same thing. Runs & giggles, or absolutely fights me. Then I need to brush her hair. Same thing. Brushing teeth? Forget it. Now it's getting cold out... do you think I can get her coat on without any grief? HELL no.

We still somehow BARELY make it on time every time. The thing is, I am 7 mo pregnant, and I am EXHAUSTED from constantly fighting with her... both physically and mentally. I've tried calmly talking with her about it, no change. I've tried time outs, slight change, but in the last 2 weeks or more, NOTHING but trouble. I broke down to my mom the other day because I finally lost it with DD and I really yelled at her. I couldn't take it anymore and I was crying and I yelled at her that she needs to stop making everything hard on mommy and she needs to cooperate. I HATE HATE HATE that I got to that point... but I struck a chord with her because seeing me cry broke her little heart. (She's SO super compassionate, bless her heart...) I struck a chord, but still, no change in behavior. It's gotten to the point where I literally have to FORCE her to do everything I need to do with her, and I don't want to do that. I HATE it. But I don't know what else to do... I need help! DH works very hard for us and literally is gone 2 or 3 hours before we even get up to after we eat dinner. Then he gets to play with her an hour or 2 and it's time for bed. No one in his family is really willing to come help me out... they love to come play but they're really not the "kid" type - they're not comfortable babysitting. The only person I COMPLETELY trust to watch her or help me out in an AP way is my mom, and she lives an hour away without a car.

PLEASE PLEASE, fellow AP mamas, what do you do with your 2 yr olds when they are testing their limits like this? I can't take the battles anymore... I feel I've lost my focus on AP and I need to get back on track...

Answer Question

Asked by MamaLisa1976 at 3:10 PM on Dec. 9, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 16 (3,073 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • Have you heard of 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan? It WORKS.

    Next time, take her as-is as far as clothes. Have her shoes in the car and put them on in the seat. Coat too. Unless your car is parked a mile away she really won't have time to get cold.

    You might find a hairstyle that requires no maintenance. As to teeth, ever seen"Tooth Tunes" toothbrushes? They play music while you brush. Worked GREAT with mine.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:22 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • Another thought... dressed first thing in the AM. No breakfast or Dora till clothes are on. That also worked.

    A checklist/rewards chart is a GREAT method... she gets a star or sticker for doing a task with no complaining. Ten stickers = reward of some kind. Doesn't have to be big.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:24 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • Do you discipline her at all? If you don't of course she is gonna run wild. Your the one in control not her you need to let her know that.


    Answer by jnd951999 at 3:37 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • I absolutely do! I've always used positive reinforcement, and in "bad" times I've used "time outs" but usually I don't even have to resort to that - she's been SO GOOD and just the MENTION of a "time out" will normally keep her in check. I don't know what's going on with her...

    Comment by MamaLisa1976 (original poster) at 3:47 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • This is how I made sure me and my kids got out of the house and to my destination on time.  I would get them dressed  and ready first. I would MAKEthem get ready.  Then I would get ready. Then we would leave. Period.  I  never gave them a chance to act  up and delay me.  I do not know  what this attachment parenting thing is. But I am the mom. They do as I say.


    Answer by louise2 at 3:48 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • I like the idea of we can't do this until we do that, i.e the no Dora until you're dressed idea. If she throws a fit that's fine, just gently remind her that she can choose to get dressed at any time and then Dora will be hers to watch. I also give my daughter choices, sometimes that choice is which coat to wear today, or does she want to wear these pants or this dress, etc. Sometimes the choice is does she want to get dressed or go in time out- and then I give her to the count of three to decide. She rarely chooses time out- although that has happened, lol. I try to always remain calm and keep my voice upbeat and whenever she picks what I want I tell her that was a good choice. If she doesn't pick or ends up in time out then when it is over I ask her if she is now ready to do what was asked of her and get out of time out. I never berate or blame her, I just treat it as though it is her choice so she sees she has power, too.

    Answer by MaryMW at 3:53 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • I do think that she is testing you at this age, absolutely, and I am sure that sweet, well-behaved girl will come back. I would be very focused on making that happen before the new baby comes. My DD is two and a half as well and when she tests me I want her to learn that I will maintain what I am asking for, she does not get to stay in jammies all day because she has a tantrum, and I also want her to see that I will not be pulled into her tantrum by resorting to yelling and coming apart at the seams myself. Of course, we all have little moments here and there where we start to lose our cool, but I think my DD is starting to see that Mom is going to get what she wants eventually, and that it is easiest to comply, and that if she does she gets what she wants, too, like to watch her show or wear the dress she wants, etc. Best of luck to you. You lost your cool once but don't be defeated and don't give up.

    Answer by MaryMW at 3:57 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • my dd is 4.. ive always (loosley) did AP .. But this last week the camels back was broken.. We where at the bank & she was not acting like a 4yo at all.. she was acting up. being loud. running. it was horrible since there was a 3yo there that was really minding her manners.. Me & Dh pretty much said. thats it.. time to put our foot down & its time for her to understand who the parent is, who runs the show & who is the child & should have very clear boundaries.. No more nice guy.
    I now questioned the last 4yrs & think maybe if i would have set better rules earlier she would be more understanding now...

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:27 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • AP is a very difficult concept that I think a lot of parents feel is their natural way of parenting... at least I did... but I'm finding as the challenges come sometimes my natural reactions are not necessarily so "AP". Therefore, AP doesn't come as naturally as I thought, and therefore it needs to be worked on, much like everything in life. Don't doubt your AP ways in years past, Anonymous... and please don't give up now. I bought "The Discepline Book" by Dr. Sears and RE-read the chapter on tantrums. I always thought what it said in there was my natural way but obviously sometimes even I forget when I'm pushed to the limits.

    When I got pregnant with DD I never heard of Attachment Parenting, then I found a dear friend here on CafeMom who introduced me to the whole concept, and that's when I realized I am AP. I am not 100% AP, maybe 85 or 90% but I'm happy with where I am on that spectrum and that works for me & my family.

    Comment by MamaLisa1976 (original poster) at 6:58 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

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