Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toddler discipline

Yowzers, toddlers are tough!!  I've seen a ton of moments of bad behavior throughout my time as a pediatric nurse, but it's WAY different when it's your own kid. 

My fabulous friends came to my house for an overnight stay this weekend which included 2 twin 4 year old boys and one boy 10 weeks younger than Spence.  For the most part, the kids all did great together.  They played together with minimal squabbling over toys and all had a blast when we took them to an indoor playplace here in GR. 

It was definitely hard for Spencer to share "his" toys as we don't have a lot of friends with kids his age who come visit frequently.  At daycare, they all fight over toys but since none of them are theirs, it's easier to move on and get over stuff.  This weekend, Spencer and PWK were outside playing on the tricycle, and when PWK was riding it, Spencer pushed PWK off the bike.  P was not hurt (Spence really couldn't even push him off), but B immediately told him no and brought him into the house where he threw a HUGE fit in the foyer.  He just kept saying "no" and "night night" as he was lying face first on the ground screaming and crying.  Next thing I know, he is going up the steps by himself, climbing into bed, and reading stories by himself.  Apparently, he decided to put himself into timeout!!

Last night he totally lost it before bed.  He wouldn't brush his teeth, wouldn't put on his pajamas, wouldn't pick out books to read, wouldn't do ANYTHING that we asked of him.  He was overtired, crabby and a complete mess.  Nothing went well and B and I were soooooo frustrated.  I ended up lying down with him for him to fall asleep b/c we just couldn't get him to calm down any other way.  And, yes, I know that lying down with him to get him to sleep is like the worst think I could do- SUCH a bad habit (which we will NOT be making a habit).  I was just so frustrated and tired myself, and I just wanted him to sleep.  It was such a bad night and I felt like a horrid mom with a completely uncooperative kid. 

He has definitely started saying "night night" more often when he is really upset or mad or crying. I think he knows that he needs some down time to calm down. He has never left the room that we are in though, so Sunday's self removal was quite interesting. We hadn't really started with time-outs yet, even though I knew he was close to the age where we needed to start (P's mom is utilitzing them pretty well so far). I just need to figure out how to incorporate Spencer's willingness to "self" timeout into the moments when we feel he needs a timeout.  

It's really hard to discipline your own kid because 90% of the time they are great and cute and fun. But you also know that they have to become kind, responsible, smart, thoughtful children, teenagers, and adults. It's not just the "now" that I am/we are disciplining for. It's for the future. It's for the person I want him to be.  I just feel like I need to read more books on discipline so that I have a little more of a handle on techniques to use.  I know it's only going to get worse before it gets better.  He's not even two yet, and I've heard that two is worse than three!! 

If anyone out there has book recs for toddler discipline or any other words of advice on toddlerhood, I would love to hear it!!  I'm pryaing that a sibling will be a big help to us in the sharing department even though I know that will take lots of time and patience too!


  1. We're just getting to this point too - though my boy most definitely does not put himself into time out, so consider yourself lucky there :-).

    I just read & liked the discipline book "1-2-3 Magic"; some of it is too advanced for our young toddlers, but the basic framework has been helpful to us so far in devising a time out system. I also liked the "Love & Logic" concept a lot (the book is good if also very PERKY!), but in practice it wasn't working for Master P.

  2. Ah, we are going through the exact same thing. Thanks for your comment on my blog today, it's nice to know I'm not the only one! I hate to get so impatient with her, but sometimes I just cant do it anymore. She took a good nap though and we had a nice afternoon and evening, thank goodness! I am feeling great and feel very different than I did with her...so maybe it's a boy? Either way we're not finding out, we loved the surprise of her, so we figure it worked the first time! I hope you're feeling good too!!


Things I need to know......