Going toe to toe with my Toddler

I would love for everyone to think that my son is a perfect angel all the time, but since my blog is all about keeping it real, I have to be honest when it comes to my struggles as well as my victories, right?

Parker has been having a hard time lately.  As much as I wanted to believe that my son wouldn’t go through this, here we are.  The past few weeks have been such a power struggle with him.  I think part of it has to do with the fact that he’s aware that he doesn’t have my full attention like he did before, and another part of it is his age and just wanting to be more in control.  He’s becoming more self aware, and wants more control over his daily activities.  Everything from diapering and getting dressed, to boundaries outside and inside the home have been a struggle.

I don’t want to make an issue out of everything.  I don’t want to be the Mom that flips out every time their child doesn’t do what is asked.  I want to be the calm collected parent that focuses on the important things, and just lets the small stuff go.  I have to say, it’s harder than I ever thought it would be.  It’s hard to know where to draw the line between just ignoring or distracting and taking corrective action.  When the whining is excessive, and the shaking of the head and saying “Na, na, na” when told to do something, it can be very frustrating.  I know it must be frustrating for him at this age too because his verbal skills are very limited, and expressing what he wants, and getting upset when I don’t understand him is something that he has a hard time with.  He’s very outgoing, but can’t always figure out exactly what to say or do to express himself.  Having empathy about this has helped me not loose my cool when he goes through his excessive whining spells.  Other times he just wants to be the one who is in charge.  So, I try to let him choose what he wants to do as much as possible within “safe” limits. I don’t have to control every situation.  A little freedom with him goes a long way.

Sometimes though, he gets deliberately angry when he doesn’t get his way.  Although this isn’t often, I won’t accept kicking, throwing, hitting, biting, or scratching no matter how frustrated  he gets.  Even if he’s doing it in a playful manner, it’s not acceptable.  That’s why this week, we decided that we would start using time out.  We got a small table set, and conveniently have one extra small chair.  We found a corner of the room to put it in, away from his toys or any distractions.

He is still pretty young, and I know he won’t fully “get it” until later, but it has worked out well so far.  The rule is one minute per age, but since he’s still really young, we are just playing it by ear…literally.  When I’ve told him no, and given him a warning that there will be a consequence, and he does it again, I put him in the chair.  When he sits still without moving, calms down (isn’t yelling or fussing) for a little bit,  I come over and repeat what he did wrong, and tell him that when he does that he disobeys mommy.  Since he can’t say “Sorry” yet, or even understand what that means, I just ask for a kiss and hug, and time out is done.  I’m sure this will evolve as he gets older, and has a better understanding of it, but everyone has to start somewhere.

I’ve always said that I want SO much for my kids.  Maybe even some of the things that Dan and I didn’t have growing up.  One thing that I do not want though, is my kids to feel that they can overstep their boundaries with us to where we aren’t respected as their parents.  I want them to feel loved, and safe within the boundaries that we create.

I never thought this parenting thing would be this challenging, and Parker hasn’t even reached two yet!

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