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Old 10-21-2012, 10:41 PM   #1
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Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Naptimes and bedtime are becoming my own private hell. I can't effectively discipline my 2.5 year old. We are not on a good path.

I just bought $100 worth of parenting books and DVDs from Amazon. I bought Love & Logic stuff. I bought Magic 1-2-3 stuff. I bought the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers book. I might have bought other stuff. I can't remember off the top of my head. I've never bought a parenting book before. I thought they were a joke. I'm desperate now though. I don't like the kind of mom that I'm becoming. I don't want to be the kind of mom that I'm becoming.

I almost cried tonight. I'm so tired of yelling. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm spanking now. I was desperate. I HATE doing it though. It doesn't work anyways. Nothing does. I never wanted to spank. I hate spanking. The more often I do it, the more miserable I become. I really hate it. I don't want to do it anymore. I feel awful.

I decided that nothing that I'm doing is really working. I just need to open my mind and be ready to completely change things up. I'm going to listen to anyone and everyone's advice. I'm going to read parenting books cover to cover. I don't want to be a screaming & spanking psycho. That is what I'm on the path to become if I don't change now. I need to add some new tools to my toolbag. I want to be a better parent. What do you do that really works?
Liz (12 yrs), Jake (Feb '10), Josie (Sept '12), & Josh (Sept '13)
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:51 PM   #2
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

What sort of issues are you having? 2.5 is a hard hard age. Try to be kind to yourself mama, we've all reached our limits and have regrets.
Amanda hopelessly in love with my US Marine and three little men 12, 7.5 and 4 years<--what! When did that happen?
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:07 PM   #3
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Unfortunately I don't have any advice for you because I am in the same exact boat. I have a 2.5yr old, a 4yr old and a 7 month old and the older 2 are driving me batty and I'm losing it far to often. I just started reading the Love and Logic book. There are some good ideas for my 4yr old but my 2yr old is too immature to use their methods. This book is better for the kindergartner and older kids. Is there a book out there that talks specifically about toddlers? I'll be subbing because I need some advice too.
Maegen, happy wife to DH, Mama to three beautiful DD's, Madeline 10/08, Linnea 5/10 and Kara 3/12.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:01 PM   #4
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

I'm hoping you get some good advice, since we are dealing with similar problems.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:39 PM   #5
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Here is some info I posted to another thread a while back....I have several ages in kiddos-from age 17 yrs down to 17 mths, so I just put here information regarding my younger ones since your children are young and you don't really need any help for older children... Hope some of this might help you out mamas.

For my 4 yr old wild child: I think this works for any child age 2 and up especially if they are very verbal at 2 yrs old.

1.) Madilynn is my hardest child by far...she is very strong willed and very active. She is smart and I have found the smarter the kid the more they challenge authority.

2.) With this child I try to keep her BUSY!! Very important...cause when she gets bored she will get into EVERYTHING...she is very tactile and LOVES to mess with anything goopy, messy, etc. Lotion, shampoo, soap- you name it and she has played in it and made a mess when I haven't kept her busy. So I make sure to have plenty of busy activites for her daily- playdough, rice boxes, coloring, painting, pushing fluffy balls into tiny holes in a box etc...playing with shaving cream etc.

3.) When she is naughty we give her ONE warning and then if she continues the behavior we either send her to her room for a "calm down" time....or we do a "think about it" sit down. Sending her to her room gives her a chance to be away from the situation she was acting up in- she is free to play in her room and can come back to us when she is ready to calm down and listen better. The second choice of the "think about it" is where we actually sit her down on the couch, the stairs or the floor and she is not allowed to get up till she can talk to us about her behavior and what she needs to do differently.

4.) We also use 2 behavior charts with her- one for bedtime behavior (going to bed when told without fussing and staying in her bed) and another chart for general behavior (listening and not bugging her baby brother). She earns a star everyday on these charts depending on her behavior that day (we remind her throughout the day about her charts to give her incentive to behave good). Once she earns a weeks worth of stars she gets a reward. I have seen different variations of behavior charts but this is what works for her currently.

5.) We do a singing bedtime with her...I will tuck her in, we read 2 books, say prayers etc and then I let her chose one song for me to sing..I sing the song and then tell her to lay very still and very quiet while I go do a few things..I tell her if she will remain quiet and stay in her bed I will come sing her another song of her choice. I basically stay out of her room for increasing lengths of time in between the song 3 min the first time, then 6, then 10, usually by 10-15 minutes she is already fast! Works like a charm and I got this idea from another mama on here (THANKS!!)

General Discipline Ideas-

1.) Give one warning only and then if they disobey you need to follow thru with a discipline

2.) Try to always make the discipline fit the behavior (for ex- not picking up toys= toys are taken away for a period of time) (Not going to bed when told=early bedtime the next night) (Act up at the store means no going to store with mom next time)

3.) We really try to focus on their good behavior and praise them when we see them making good choices

4.) Talk talk talk with your child!!! I can't stress this enough...but when you develop a really good, close relationship with them they will naturally want to please you and act good! A lot of times kids act out to try to get more attention from their when they start acting up try to assess if they need MORE time with you. I spend a bunch of time just hanging out and talking with my kids daily even with my 4 year old.... I really try to get inside their! I plop down on their beds and just hang out and listen to them and explain stuff to them.

5.) Don't sweat the small stuff- I don't act perfect every single day, so I certainly don't expect perfection from my kids. Extend GRACE to them on issues that don't really have to be dealt with by a punishment...instead try doing "do-overs" (we say "oops- lets try that one more time") and give the child a chance to self correct their behavior- if they don't know a different way to change how they acted we model the correct behavior. We also offer little encouraging reminders when we see a child heading in the wrong direction with a behavior..(" Hey son, remember to use kind words when dealing with your brothers") etc.

6.) When everyone is in a grumpy mood and just acting up a lot, either get them outside or turn on dance music! lol! Seriously...nothing changes bad moods/behavior faster than a change of scenery or sound. I get in there and dance goofy with my kids and before you know it we are all laughing and acting better! :-)

7.) We are Christians so we use the bible to help reinforce proper behaviors in our children even my younger ones..I remind them when we are having our chats to remember what God says about their behavior...etc. I also quote bible verses that pertain to their issue when needed during the day.

8.) Try your best NOT to yell...the more you raise your voice the more kids learn to tune you out till you have to scream to get their attention...then they think its OK to yell also and will do it with you, their siblings etc...Tell your kids you will not yell at them and they are not to yell either. We use quiet voices with each other..etc...

OK for babies and toddlers under age 3-4:

1.) Make a touch safe zone where baby/toddler can explore safely without you having to say no...put up fragile things, use gates, use outlet covers, TV guards...etc...outlet plugs etc. Your sanity will thank you! Baby will be able to explore and touch things without being in trouble.

2.) Use the phrase "not for ___" (insert your babys name) to help baby learn when to not have things they want in areas where they cannot touch everything your gently re-direct them to something they can have. This sounds much nicer than "No!"

3.) Understand what is normal behavior for your childs age...babies and toddlers LOVE to touch/poke/grab/drop/squish/manhandle EVERYTHING! lol! That is how they learn about their world. So make sure you do #1 in my list and make life better for mommy and child.

4.) When your toddler does truly disobey or be naughty either redirect them to something else, or do a time out in their crib, playpen etc...I only do timeouts for kids older than 2 years. Before this age they simply do not understand a time-out and your much better off simply re-directing their behavior than trying to punish for it. (ex- my 17 month old son LOVES to pull hair...and he thinks it is SO funny when he is doing I know he does not truly understand how painful that is for someone or that this behavior is naughty...he is learning that it is but has not grasped this concept yet- SO what I do is when he starts to pull hair is I say " Oh! Not for TJ!! Ouch- that hurts!" as I release his hand and then I quickly re-direct him to something else to get his mind in a better place than wanting to pull hair. I may have to do this several times but he eventually gets busy doing something better. Over the past couple of weeks his hair pulling as decreased significantly- and now he hardly ever does it. We are also in the process of teaching him to have "gentle hands" and will help him touch softly and do things like pet our dog softly and such.

5.) Some parents say they would spank if their child ran into the street etc...OK to address this is important. In our home we start training our toddlers early about street safety...but even with that sometimes toddlers (again it has to do with brain development) are very rash and careless and they DO NOT think things thru...they just have a strong urge to do something so they do it...again without thinking about the consequences!! So you have to expect and know that a young child might try to run off and could get into the we teach ours rules of safety early on (we teach them if we yell STOP they are to freeze in place like a popsicle- we practice this all the time in the house)- reinforce it constantly and make sure to implement precautions such as holding hands, etc. When those fail because of the impulsiveness of a toddler and they try to run ahead of us or into the street (this has happened with Madilynn) we shout "STOP" and they freeze in place, then we run to them and in a very shocked voice without yelling we tell them how dangerous that was and remind them again of our safety rules...then we discipline them with a time-out, and they are not allowed to go outside for a day or so. Kids too young to understand any of this should not have been down loose anyways imo (keep them in a stroller or hold them or something)- cause a spanking won't teach them not to run into the street either, my neighbors little girl runs into the street ALL THE TIME and she is spanked for doing it EVERY SINGLE time! My little 4 yr old girl KNOWS she should not do it and WHY and now is very careful about making sure she has a grownup with her before venturing into any street! She has never been spanked, but clearly remembers the times when she was not allowed to go play outside because of not obeying our street safety rules.

For those who are spanking as a form of discipline and want to stop, it will be one of the hardest things you do...because once you get used to being able to spank it is hard to really have to commit to it and learn to think on your feet per say...spanking really does not require much thought...but parenting without spanking DOES! lol! I even print out a list of why we don't spank and alternatives to spanking and keep it taped to the inside of a cabinet so I can read it whenever I need a reminder or ideas.

Hope this helps- I will edit this if I can think of more to add that might be helpful. I think the book choices are a good starting point too! :-) Hang in there mamas!
Kellina ~Wife to a Cowboy & Christian Homeschooling Mama to 9 kids and YES we would love to have more! Expecting baby #10!! EDD January 2017!
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Last edited by KingsDaughter76; 10-22-2012 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:46 AM   #6
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

I don't know what problems you're having during bedtime, but I can tell you what worked for us. My son is a month younger than yours, my daughter is almost 1 now and a couple months ago I was pull my hair out. My DH is occasionally some kind of weird genius when it comes to teaching our son, and this was all his idea.

He started out by laying down with DS for bedtime, staying until DS was asleep and then sneaking out. He did this for a week.

Next, he laid down with DS for about 10 minutes, then said "I need to go check on Mama, I'll be right back, you stay in bed". So he'd leave the room for 2 minutes, then go back in and check on DS, leave the room for 4 minutes, so back and check on him, etc. and DS eventually would fall asleep. Over the course of a week, DS went from taking an hour to fall asleep to about 10 minutes.

Finally, he made a deal with DS - they'd read books in bed, then they'd snuggle for a couple minutes, then DH would leave - if DS got out of his bed, DH would shut the door; if he got out again, DH would lock the door. He did have to lock the door one night (for about 5 minutes) and there was a lot of yelling and drama over it (from DS), but then DH went back in, gave hugs and kisses, and put DS back in bed and he stayed. The whole thing was pretty peaceful overall, and now naps and bedtimes are super easy (for me too, not just DH). Hope that was helpful in some way.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:07 AM   #7
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

I know this is kind of silly, but I think that watching SuperNanny is one of the greatest things. My cousin, who I watch often as his dad is pretty much absent and completely dysfunctional, is 4 years old and I use her methods with him and they work very well. There is also a book about her methods. It is just nice to relax and watch some TV and watch other people with kids who are a little out of control, because it makes you laugh and not feel so alone, plus her methods are EXCELLENT
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:38 AM   #8
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Originally Posted by starbeam View Post
I know this is kind of silly, but I think that watching SuperNanny is one of the greatest things. My cousin, who I watch often as his dad is pretty much absent and completely dysfunctional, is 4 years old and I use her methods with him and they work very well. There is also a book about her methods. It is just nice to relax and watch some TV and watch other people with kids who are a little out of control, because it makes you laugh and not feel so alone, plus her methods are EXCELLENT

My DH is a psychotherapist and uses 1-2-3 Magic with his clients and brought home a DVD last week called "Painless Parenting" in the same series. It is geared for parents of toddlers. Not sure if he was trying to tell me something ...
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:27 AM   #9
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

Could your DS be upset about the new addition and the lesser attention he's getting and he's acting out?

I'd a thread on here about sibling rivalry when DS2 was born. I got some wonderful advice and Emilythestrange linked me upto alphamom's blog. I used SOOOO many tips fm the comments section of it. I can tell you they worked..esp'lly ones wherein you loudly announce to the LO that the older brother needs help with that/ praise the older one for being such a nice boy and tell the LO -who BTW only cares about peeing and food- that he needs to be just like the older one when s/he grows up.

I employ it even now, and it works like a charm. Nothing like the pressure of being told that you are being admired/watched right now.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:07 AM   #10
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Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.

We love 1-2-3 Magic. But you have to be unfailingly consistent.

Here are some things I have found that work for me. 1) I do not raise my voice, ever. I am not a yelling sort of person. I feel it is counter-productive and generally the only thing it does is cause the person on the receiving end to raise THEIR voice or else cease to listen. It's about self-control. I'm the adult, I can master self-control. 2) I do 1-2-3 consistently and fairly. There are some things that do not get a count--for example, things that are safety related and that I have already taught my son (he's 2). For example, walking into the road is immediate time out, no exceptions. 3) I provide alternative activities. ALL. THE. TIME. It is a pain in the hiney sometimes and keeps me busy but it keeps me sane. 4) We spend a lot of time out of the house. It keeps him from destroying it, lol. Outside time is key for us.

Bedtimes and naptimes are hard at this age. For us, the best thing we have found mimics what a pp said. We do bath, toothbrushing, read 2 stories, and DS chooses 2 songs for me to sing. Then we talk about his day....I've found this really helps him wind down. We review all the good things that happened in the day. We do not talk about anything negative that happened, only the good things. I tell him all the times I was proud of him and all the behaviors he did that made me happy. I try to reinforce the positive. Then he gets in bed and I tell him if he is very still and quiet I will sit by his bed and pat him or rub his back. The key is, if I can get him still and quiet, he usually goes to sleep pretty easily. If he is not still or quiet, I get up and move to the rocking chair across the room. If he is still not still or quiet, I leave the room. He does not like that, so usually all it takes is me saying "are you being still and quiet?" and he calms down.

It has taken at least a year to get to this point for us, mama, but it's possible!

Kudos to you for wanting to make a change! And good luck! Being a mama is hard work.
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