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i need help with discipline....toddler/bad mom related.

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 10:41 AM
  • 16 Replies

i need help.  serious help.  my toddler is driving me insane and i dont know what to do or how to handle it.

he is extremely strong willed.  and smart.  very smart.  independant.  in fact he is so independant its inhibiting his verbal skills because he never has to ask for anything...he just does it himself.  now i know what you are thinking.  how cool would it be to have a 2 year old that can refill his own sippy cup?  but its everything.  emptying the fridge.  breaking glass bottles of condiments.  dumping coffee on the ground.  taking glass down from the mantel and "playing with it"....it doesnt matter what it is.  and a lot of time its dangerous.  he thinks the oven door is a trampoline :(

i go to the bathroom and dread coming back out because i am afraid to see what he has ruined.  putting things up high doesnt work.  he uses anything you can imagine to get to whatever he wants.  it doesnt matter if its a toy, or a chair or a saint bernard he is like a freaking acrobat and uses anything he can get his hands onto.  short of taking down all the counters and getting rid of the furniture, the chairs and table and eating on the floor i dont know how to stop him.  and he is STRONG.  i made my husband build a special custom gate to keep him in the living room/dining area.  it has three different locks on it.  not only can he do a pull up and swing over the top of it but he can undo all three locks.  and these are from a farming department store!  any regular type of childproofing locks are useless.  he figures them out no matter what.  i cant keep him contained no matter what i try.

redirecting doesnt work.  time outs do not work.  screaming doesnt work.  spanking doesnt work.  he will repetatively keep doing the same thing over and over again until i just lose it.  part of the problem is my ptsd.  i cant handle that sort of over stimulation.  it makes me sick and triggers me in a way that i cannot control.  even on medication i cant handle it.  i scream all the time.  i find myself covering my ears and wanting to run away.  but if i do that i have no idea what the heck i will come back to....the only time i get a break is when he is sleeping.

i dont know if this behavior is normal...it probably is.  i know some kids are just calmer and more submissive by nature.  he isnt one of them.  i feel like a horrible mother.  i dont like being this kind of mom.  i HATE being this kind of mom.  if i were to look at myself as an outsider i would call myself a bad mom.  i dont know what i am supposed to do :(

my last resort is to switch his bedroom to a room with a door that closes very hard...the door jam is screwed up and even i can barely open it and close it.  most people think its locked because you cant even turn the handle.  you have to lift the door up on the hinges and then twist.  is it horrible to put him in there?  at least i know he would be safe and could only get into toys.  he couldnt get out.  and honestly i need more of a time out than he does.  sometimes i just need to be able to put him somewhere where i know he is safe so i can walk away for 10 minutes and calm myself down and reground.  plus maybe if i had him in this room i would be able to say "if you do that ONE MORE TIME you are going to your room" and maybe after a while he would learn that i was serious and might start listening.  i dont care if he plays with toys...in fact maybe the quiet space would help him learn to redirect himself.  i dont know.  i am at a total loss.

what would you do?  please dont bash me.  i really need help :(

by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 10:41 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Autumn355
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Honestly it sounds like he does this to get a reaction out of you. You could put him in that room 2 different ways. 1) make it his room with his stuff but NOT the "time out" room that is punishment, but a safe place to put him when you need a break. But remember, his toys are in there so this is a reward, use it sparingly as a get away or you could make the problem worse.
2) have nothing in the room and use it as a naughty spot ( 1min for every year he is, 3 yrs 3 min) this has to be consistent and also cant be used if u are asking him to do something (like pick up toys/cloths, clean his room) and he is avoiding it because then time out gets him exactly what he wants, out of doing the chore. In that case hand over hand physically prompt him through the task.
As for everything else IGNORE it if it isnt dangerous, take it away if its sometjing hes not supposed to have, get between him and whatever hes after but all while ignoring the behavior, even if you have to physically restrain him. Do not talk to him unless he calms down, try not to make eye contact until he calms down.
This is something that will take alot on ur part
Also you will know that it is working if his nehavior getd WORSE!! Soon ot will get better:)
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tansyflower
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

i have been trying to do some research and there is a concept of doing a "time in" instead of a "timeout".  the difference is the time in is a way of removing the child from the situation and giving them a chance to calm down (even if that means playing) so you can talk with them and discuss what they did wrong.  and a time out is more of a punishment for the behavior. they are very different approaches.

when he gets a time out he gets very upset and cries and screams (not unusual for a child) until you let him out of time out and then he calms down and goes right back to whatever it is he was doing bad.  and the cycle repeats.  and repeats. and repeats.  until i flip out and scream at him to stop which doesnt work anyway.  i have been consistantly doing time out for almost a year and he still doesnt "get it"...but i do agree with you.  its an attention thing.  plus he really is a curious child.  he loves taking things apart and seeing how it works whether its the screen door or the vacuum cleaner or one of his toys.

maybe i am not engaging him enough, but its so hard to give him 100% of my attention when i also have a one year old and a 5 month old to take care of.  right now i just feel so overstimulated (especially by the yelling) i cant think of anything to do other than just put him somwhere safe until i can get a grip on myself :(

Quoting Autumn355:

Honestly it sounds like he does this to get a reaction out of you. You could put him in that room 2 different ways. 1) make it his room with his stuff but NOT the "time out" room that is punishment, but a safe place to put him when you need a break. But remember, his toys are in there so this is a reward, use it sparingly as a get away or you could make the problem worse.
2) have nothing in the room and use it as a naughty spot ( 1min for every year he is, 3 yrs 3 min) this has to be consistent and also cant be used if u are asking him to do something (like pick up toys/cloths, clean his room) and he is avoiding it because then time out gets him exactly what he wants, out of doing the chore. In that case hand over hand physically prompt him through the task.
As for everything else IGNORE it if it isnt dangerous, take it away if its sometjing hes not supposed to have, get between him and whatever hes after but all while ignoring the behavior, even if you have to physically restrain him. Do not talk to him unless he calms down, try not to make eye contact until he calms down.
This is something that will take alot on ur part
Also you will know that it is working if his nehavior getd WORSE!! Soon ot will get better:)


bloomsr
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM
When he acts up ask him why he is doing what he is doing. Try to give him an arts and crafts drawer that he can easily access. Stock it with washable markers, safety scissors (there are some by crayola that only will cut paper), stickers, play dough, coloring books, old magazines, water color paints, stickers, etc. show him the drawer and explain that he can do whatever he would like with its contents (in designated area).

If he acts out with the crafts, throw them away. If he misuse them, remind him once how to use them and if he misbehaves again, throw them away. Same with toys, books, etc (we use toy jail as an initial punishment and then donate toys to kids who know how to use them and play with them properly).
You probably won't have to throw away or donate too many items. After a few times the kids usually see that you mean business. As for breaking your things, we have a drawer w kid safe plates bowls and cups. My kids (2 and 4) can help themselves to water whenever they'd like but can only have it in the kitchen.

Good luck, mama. I had (have) ppd and 50mg Zoloft/day is the only thing that keeps me from turning into a crazy mom. I cry, scream, lose all motivation and am in general totally overwhelmed and scary to be around without the meds:(
tansyflower
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM


Quoting bloomsr:

When he acts up ask him why he is doing what he is doing. Try to give him an arts and crafts drawer that he can easily access. Stock it with washable markers, safety scissors (there are some by crayola that only will cut paper), stickers, play dough, coloring books, old magazines, water color paints, stickers, etc. show him the drawer and explain that he can do whatever he would like with its contents (in designated area).  its so hard because i have an open concept house...so the dining room/living room/kitchen is all open.  and to make matter sworse he sleeps in the living room because our upstairs is not finished so we only have one bedroom at the moment.  its like having 4 people crammed into a one bedroom apartment some days kwim?  he has a whole are of the living room just for toys and arts and crafts and he would rather play in the fridge....and i cant redirect him to the toys no matter how hard i freaking try.  it drives me INSANE.  plus i watch my one year old niece so if she is playing with toys he takes them away, or pushes her and makes her cry and then he gets a time out and then they are BOTH crying and i swear its like nails on a chalkboard...my nerves cant handle it.  sometimes i just want to be able to seperate them if they cant play nice together.  which right now isn possible.  i told my husband that i dont care if i sleep in a room with no ceiling and open wiring we are moving our bed upstairs finished or not so i can get him into a real room with a door.

If he acts out with the crafts, throw them away. If he misuse them, remind him once how to use them and if he misbehaves again, throw them away. Same with toys, books, etc (we use toy jail as an initial punishment and then donate toys to kids who know how to use them and play with them properly).  if he would play with his toys instead of stuff he isnt supposed to i would do this.  but i cant just throw the fridge away.  or the oven.  or the microwave.  jesus just talking about it makes my blood pressure rise. we built a special custom gate to try to keep him away from all that stuff and it did nothing.  within two hours he figured out how to jump it.
You probably won't have to throw away or donate too many items. After a few times the kids usually see that you mean business. As for breaking your things, we have a drawer w kid safe plates bowls and cups. My kids (2 and 4) can help themselves to water whenever they'd like but can only have it in the kitchen.  he can play with plastic bowl, cups, colanders...even my metal pots and pans are down low if wants to bang and make noise.  in fact they usually end up in the toy box.  but he doesnt want to play with that stuff...its like the kid has some sort of glass fetish.  even when i keep stuff in glass up high or locked up he manages to get to it.  the other day he found a beer bottle and smashed it on the floor.  there was glass everywhere and he was standing there like some sort of drunken sailer ready for a bar fight.  if i wasnt being driven crazy i might actually laugh over how absurb it is. 

Good luck, mama. I had (have) ppd and 50mg Zoloft/day is the only thing that keeps me from turning into a crazy mom. I cry, scream, lose all motivation and am in general totally overwhelmed and scary to be around without the meds:(
i am really trying my hardest...i got on medication about a month ago.  i have been getting out to go swimming a few evenings a week for some me time.  i am even in couneling.  i know a huge part of my problem is me.  and that makes it even worse.  its hard enough to feel like you cant control your child much less yourself.  some days i just feel like giving up.  he was a totally different child until his brother was born...and now that i am watching my niece his behavior is out of hand.  i dont know how to juggle them all and make sure he is getting what he needs and screaming at him all day certainly isnt the answer :(


AtiFreeFalls
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM
1 mom liked this
First let me just say that you have a normal toddler. Both of my spirited kids have been that way. I thought I was doing something wrong too, but this is just human development. The fact that you are both still alive is testament that you are a great mom and you are doing your job. And with PTSD it is really no wonder you feel so overwhelmed.

The next thing you need to know is that he won't be this way forever. This is a phase that he WILL outgrow.

Last, you need some strategies. I don't think its awful to put him in a room he is safe in and can't get out of. If that means locking him in his bedroom for 5-10 minutes so you can decompress or go to the bathroom, fine. But you could also put a baby gate up in the doorway and leave the door open (if he can't climb over them), give him a favorite toy to keep his attention (play dough is a miracle for little kids and pretty easy to clean up as long as it stays out of the carpet), or take him with you.

I also find that keeping a kid busy with accepted activities helps. Get out of the house, every day if you can. Go for a long walk, take him to the library or park, get a ride along and a bike and go for a ride, play in the yard, let him paint with water on the sidewalk, sidewalk chalk...

Lastly... get a break. As often as you need to. Have your husband, mother, friend, or even hired helpwatch him while you get out of the house and do something for *you*. Have some quiet time with a coffee and a good book or meet a friend for lunch or work out or listen to grownup music in the car. If you have time to yourself you will be much more able to handle whatever this kid throws at you.

You really are doing a ffabulous job. Stop beating yourself up. Control is an illusion, you can only control yourself. So when he's driving you nuts and you need a mi ute, take one.

Good luck, mama!
tansyflower
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

thank you.  i feel so bad about this all the time.  i am in tears just typing this.  i love him so much...and i try to tell myself that the terrible two's isnt called that for no reason.  i just get so overwhelmed and i am more upset over how i react than how he is acting.  i dont want him being raised by a mom who yells all the time and is out of control.  and i dont want to spank him (which only makes both of us feel even worse) so that he listens out of fear.  i dont want him to be afraid of his mom.  thats not fair to him.

since my youngest was born things have just went to hell.  i could barely walk from a pelvis issue from the pregnancy and birth and 5 months later it is still incredibly difficult for me to take them places or go for long walks since i cant keep up with him.  i count the minutes down until my husband gets home so he can go outside and run around which if left up to him he would do 95% of the time.  but its just as dangerous in a way outside.  he is attracted to all things he souldnt touch.  he wants to play with my husband chainsaw and large stacks of wood, he knows how to turn the 4 wheeler and the logsplitter on (mind you i dont even know how the hell to start this stuff)...my husband says he even preps the carburator/choke first before he turns the key!  if he wasnt driving me crazy i would think the kid was a genius :/

i have gotten to the point where i try to let him have access to the house under my supervision, but some things he cant be around.  just this morning he followed me down into the basement even though i closed the door and it has a childproof lock on the door.  i didnt even hear him.  i was bending over stocking a 400 degree stove when all of a sudden i saw him out of the corner of my eye.  its times like that i just need to have a safe space that i can put him in so he cant hurt himself.  and even if he had not of followed me down he could have just as easily smashed a pot of coffee or done something else because i wasnt right there watching him.

i am hoping a totally 100% kid proofed room that he cant get out of is the key to my sanity.  if its not i dont know what i am going to do :(

Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

First let me just say that you have a normal toddler. Both of my spirited kids have been that way. I thought I was doing something wrong too, but this is just human development. The fact that you are both still alive is testament that you are a great mom and you are doing your job. And with PTSD it is really no wonder you feel so overwhelmed.

The next thing you need to know is that he won't be this way forever. This is a phase that he WILL outgrow.

Last, you need some strategies. I don't think its awful to put him in a room he is safe in and can't get out of. If that means locking him in his bedroom for 5-10 minutes so you can decompress or go to the bathroom, fine. But you could also put a baby gate up in the doorway and leave the door open (if he can't climb over them), give him a favorite toy to keep his attention (play dough is a miracle for little kids and pretty easy to clean up as long as it stays out of the carpet), or take him with you.

I also find that keeping a kid busy with accepted activities helps. Get out of the house, every day if you can. Go for a long walk, take him to the library or park, get a ride along and a bike and go for a ride, play in the yard, let him paint with water on the sidewalk, sidewalk chalk...

Lastly... get a break. As often as you need to. Have your husband, mother, friend, or even hired helpwatch him while you get out of the house and do something for *you*. Have some quiet time with a coffee and a good book or meet a friend for lunch or work out or listen to grownup music in the car. If you have time to yourself you will be much more able to handle whatever this kid throws at you.

You really are doing a ffabulous job. Stop beating yourself up. Control is an illusion, you can only control yourself. So when he's driving you nuts and you need a mi ute, take one.

Good luck, mama!


FebPenguins
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Clearly you are NOT a bad mom if you are asking for help!! I didn't read all the responses completely, but here is my thought.

If you put him in a 'locked' room for 10 minutes to get a grip on yourself, that is OK. If you put him in that 'locked' room for hours on end, that is abuse.

Could you consider putting him in 'daycare' for a few hours a week? Just an idea.


tansyflower
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

i would never just lock him in for hour....just long enough that i can get a grip on myself.  i know they say timeouts should be age appropriate and if you use the one year rule then i guess my time out should be 28 minutes long LOL!  but seriously usually 10 minutes is long enough for me to compose myself so i can breath again.

i would love to do daycare but we are so broke right now i am watching my niece 50 hours a weeks just to make ends meet.  luckily she is a pretty laid back kid and naps like 3 times a day so it could be worse.  plus i live almsot a half away away from town so that makes me even more isolated.  i know i need more adult interaction.  i have been trying to get to town to swim a few nights a weeks, partly to get out of the house and be by myself and partly as physical therapy.

my mom has offered to come and help once a week but she just got out of the hospital and is still pretty sick.  i know she wants to help but i dont think she is up to it....on a good day she is in a wheelchair.  but she has offered to help pay for my carpenter friend to turn part of the bedroom into a fort....there are two huge closets in there and one of them would make a pretty cool play area.  i think she figures if its really awesome to play in there he will be more likely to leave the rest of the stuff he shouldnt be playing with alone!

Quoting FebPenguins:

Clearly you are NOT a bad mom if you are asking for help!! I didn't read all the responses completely, but here is my thought.

If you put him in a 'locked' room for 10 minutes to get a grip on yourself, that is OK. If you put him in that 'locked' room for hours on end, that is abuse.

Could you consider putting him in 'daycare' for a few hours a week? Just an idea.



FebPenguins
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Yeah, I wondered if money might be an 'issue'~isn't it for everyone!!! That is the sad thing about our day~IMO, not enough moms stay home, so the ones that do are far and few between, thus the adult interaction is just not there. The internet is great, but it is just not the same as getting together in REAL life. Here are some hugs being sent your way, b/c I am in the same boat, as far as the 'lack of adult interaction goes.

Another idea I had is could you build another gate and stack them. So you could put him in that room and 'lock' him in, but still be able to hear and SEE him??

Quoting tansyflower:

i would never just lock him in for hour....just long enough that i can get a grip on myself.  i know they say timeouts should be age appropriate and if you use the one year rule then i guess my time out should be 28 minutes long LOL!  but seriously usually 10 minutes is long enough for me to compose myself so i can breath again.

i would love to do daycare but we are so broke right now i am watching my niece 50 hours a weeks just to make ends meet.  luckily she is a pretty laid back kid and naps like 3 times a day so it could be worse.  plus i live almsot a half away away from town so that makes me even more isolated.  i know i need more adult interaction.  i have been trying to get to town to swim a few nights a weeks, partly to get out of the house and be by myself and partly as physical therapy.

my mom has offered to come and help once a week but she just got out of the hospital and is still pretty sick.  i know she wants to help but i dont think she is up to it....on a good day she is in a wheelchair.  but she has offered to help pay for my carpenter friend to turn part of the bedroom into a fort....there are two huge closets in there and one of them would make a pretty cool play area.  i think she figures if its really cawesome to play in there he will be more likely to leave the rest of the stuff he shouldnt be playing with alone!

Quoting FebPenguins:

Clearly you are NOT a bad mom if you are asking for help!! I didn't read all the responses completely, but here is my thought.

If you put him in a 'locked' room for 10 minutes to get a grip on yourself, that is OK. If you put him in that 'locked' room for hours on end, that is abuse.

Could you consider putting him in 'daycare' for a few hours a week? Just an idea.




tansyflower
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

i have actually thought about replacing the bedroom door with a screen door with a hook on the outside....i know it sounds ungodly horrible to lock your kid in a room.  but i guess a baby gate or a door with a broken jam is no different...they all keep the child in a place they cant get out of without your help.  at least if it was a screen door i could hear him and see him, especially at night.  i worry about him the most then.  i dont want him getting out of the room at night either for safety reasons....if he wondered down into the basement he could seriously burn himself or god forbid he could get outside.  luckily he has been staying out of the basement until this past weekend when dad hooked up the new woodstove.  now he figured out how to go up and down the stairs which he never did before.

they make metal grate you can put across the bottom of screen doors so kitties dont scratch the screen.  them at least he couldnt push through it and we could attach one above the other so it would be pretty solid at least 5 feet up.  idk...i am willing to try anything.  my carpenter said he could put things like a steering wheel and puttons and windows and doors in the fort and my husband can run electric to it so it has lights and stuff.  i am hoping that something like that will keep him more entertained than trying to play on top of the fridge.

i just wish i had more friends closer by.  i hear about mom's doing playdates and having fun and i wish i could do more of that....both for my sake and the kids sake.

Quoting FebPenguins:

Yeah, I wondered if money might be an 'issue'~isn't it for everyone!!! That is the sad thing about our day~IMO, not enough moms stay home, so the ones that do are far and few between, thus the adult interaction is just not there. The internet is great, but it is just not the same as getting together in REAL life. Here are some hugs being sent your way, b/c I am in the same boat, as far as the 'lack of adult interaction goes.

Another idea I had is could you build another gate and stack them. So you could put him in that room and 'lock' him in, but still be able to hear and SEE him??

Quoting tansyflower:

i would never just lock him in for hour....just long enough that i can get a grip on myself.  i know they say timeouts should be age appropriate and if you use the one year rule then i guess my time out should be 28 minutes long LOL!  but seriously usually 10 minutes is long enough for me to compose myself so i can breath again.

i would love to do daycare but we are so broke right now i am watching my niece 50 hours a weeks just to make ends meet.  luckily she is a pretty laid back kid and naps like 3 times a day so it could be worse.  plus i live almsot a half away away from town so that makes me even more isolated.  i know i need more adult interaction.  i have been trying to get to town to swim a few nights a weeks, partly to get out of the house and be by myself and partly as physical therapy.

my mom has offered to come and help once a week but she just got out of the hospital and is still pretty sick.  i know she wants to help but i dont think she is up to it....on a good day she is in a wheelchair.  but she has offered to help pay for my carpenter friend to turn part of the bedroom into a fort....there are two huge closets in there and one of them would make a pretty cool play area.  i think she figures if its really cawesome to play in there he will be more likely to leave the rest of the stuff he shouldnt be playing with alone!

Quoting FebPenguins:

Clearly you are NOT a bad mom if you are asking for help!! I didn't read all the responses completely, but here is my thought.

If you put him in a 'locked' room for 10 minutes to get a grip on yourself, that is OK. If you put him in that 'locked' room for hours on end, that is abuse.

Could you consider putting him in 'daycare' for a few hours a week? Just an idea.





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