A donkey with earplugs and blinders

Our ‘Timan’ is approaching his 3rd birthday with giant strides, he has just a little less than 2 month more to go and I really don’t see an end to those ‘terrible twos’. But I’m not talking about tantrums in this post. No, I’m talking about something else: My little monkey is rather a little donkey with earplugs and blinders.  He’s defiant strong willed, doesn’t listen is very busy and doesn’t pay attention has his own opinion.

But I found some strategies that work actually pretty good sometimes with my tot to make him listen and do what I want him to do:

  • A short, simple and clear message that tells him what I want from him. No long sentence about the why’s and if’s. He would probably just getting lost and forgets what I told him to do.
  • Lock eyes, even if I have to force him to do it by going down to his level or lift him up and restrain him from kicking.
  • Talk with a calm but firm voice because now I’m much to close for a loud voice anyway. 😉

And not to forget:

  • The Smile: My chance to get the message across and ‘Timan’ complying is much better when he can see that I’m not angry with him. Even if sometimes it is a forced smile to be honest. However the importance is not to turn the whole situation into something funny, otherwise my authority is gone in the flic of a second. Depending on the situation I’m waking actually a fine line with this smile.

And this one works like a charm most of the time:

  • Let him choose so he can completely be in control of the situation in questions of clothing, meal choices or things he has to do (Mommy is doing one of his tasks, he’s doing the other one, but he can choose which one he wants to do).

But sometimes the situation is just not for choosing, so I do:

  • The counting: I count to the magical number 3 and when I’m finished he better does what he’s supposed to do, or else … . This works absolutely perfect but I have to follow through with the thing I threaten to impose on him. It took a couple of tries and he really got it. 🙂 This is actually my #1 tool.

If nothing else works, the next one is my absolutely very last trick (but I really don’t like it at all and I never ever do it when we are in a shop):

  • Buy him, bribe him offer an incentive: Who says little kids can’t be bought?. ‘Timan’ wants something, he’s getting it. But only if Mommy is getting her way. But I’m afraid if I’m doing this too often I might end up with no other tool and that’s what I’m trying to avoid.

And I have to admit, sometimes I’m doing this:

  • Yelling: One shout and very loud. It actually works when something is at stake or dangerous, i.g. he’s about to run into an approaching car. This is getting not only the attention of ‘Timan’ but also of the whole neighbourhood. Ugh. 😦 But if I’m yelling at the tot on a daily basis because he’s being naughty it is getting us nowhere. He is just closing his ears and I end up to be the one who is frustrated.

And even this I’ve done:

  • Spanking on his hand when ‘Timan’ is trying to grab something after I told him several times over numerous days not to do it and he still keeps doing it. Like i.g. snatching something off the cutting board while I’m cutting or trying to grab something out of the hot pan on the stove. I don’t regret these spanks because the message came through and he never did it again does it less often. Mission accomplished.

But let’s be honest, at the end of the day this one is cheering me up every time in those very desperate situations ;-):

Sometimes we have good days, life is wonderful and everything goes well from the time we open our eyes until we fall asleep at night.

But still, we have days nothing seems to work. The whole day is just terrible and awful, ‘Timan’ is not listening to anything and one naughty behaviour is followed by the next one. As I mentioned before, please don’t get me started with his tantrums. I could tell you about them with no end in sight. Sigh.

And then again, ‘Timan’ is a sweet and cuddly tot and the best awesome little boy in the whole wide world. I love him to the moon and back. And he’s my son, my mini-me. 🙂

What are your strategies when your kids turn a deaf ear to everything you are saying? Or do you really have the miracle words that make them do what you want them to?


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Posted on June 26, 2011, in 'Timan', Developmental Stages, Parenting, Tantrum, Toddler and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I like your thinking, girl! He is such a cute little man. I LOVE that picture!

  2. i’ve used a lot of what you’ve said i’ve used. we’re just making our way into the terrible twos and it looks like it’s going to be quite a ride.

  3. Oh, man. I WISH there was a miracle phrase that worked with my kiddos. If you find one, will you let me know? 🙂

    And I think you have the right idea with the wine. I like your thinking!

  4. I’m a HUGE fan of giving choices, bribing and counting. We mom need a full arsenal!

  5. Totally need that wine at the end of the day. I admit that I laugh when I hear someone trying to explain something in detail to a 2 year old. Much better to keep it short and simple.

  6. I use bribery. A lot.

    • He he, I learned this from your blog. But ‘Timan’ is still young, he has the ‘gimmies’ but I ignore them. Ok, I try to. I’d rather go back to that store later in the week and buy it (on my own will) when I think it’s ok for him. As a surprise. 🙂

  7. My son has been 3 for two weeks now and we still have all the same tantrums, if not more of them. He definitely wants to do things his way. One thing I try to do, when I can, is to offer him a choice (clothes, snack, etc.) and that helps him to feel that he is in control because HE has made a decision. We used to have a lot of tantrums over tooth brushing at night (this Mom’s Guide was helpful in that area, by the way). We gave him several tooth brushes to choose from, which helped, but then just consistently insisted on brushing his teeth each night. Now that he knows it’s part of our routine he is much more cooperative. Good luck, and hang in there!!

    • Thank god we don’t have problems with the toothbrush, we used to until around 13 month, till he was able to see himself in a (separate) mirror, now he likes it. And I started early on with ‘funny’ toothbrushes with cars, frogs, pandas … (from Colgate). I still do the main brush work at least twice a day, but he likes to brush himself, and to eat the tooth paste (only the one with a melon or orange flavour!). LOL.

  8. These are all such great tips (especially the wine at the end of the day!) and I’m glad you’re seeing a light at the end of the terrible twos tunnel! I’m just getting started; my youngest turns 2 in September. Wish me luck…

  9. I used to run a crisis home for behavioural youth and let me tell you, having your own kid is SO much different than having youth in crisis. This is because emotions are involved.

    Mine is only 14 months but right now we are working on saying no, follow through, consequences (natural and logical) and talking in a soft voice when she is screaming, that way she will have to stop screaming in order to hear us.

    Raising children is the hardest job ever and there is no rule book.

    • You are so right. No rule book and every child is different. At this age ‘Timan’ is screaming sometimes just because. He likes to hear his own voice sometimes very loud and sometimes very soft (oh yes, he likes to whisper). I think it all comes down to finding out for themselves what they can, are allowed and are supposed to do. And sometimes it’s just joie de vivre. :-).

  10. Over here for Sunday Funday!

    A lot of the ones you’ve mentioned I’ve used. And frankly, I know it might sound horrible, but one of the ways I used when babysitting is if their throwing a fit I’d just ignore them. Usually they finally wise up and toddle back. 🙂

    • I’m doing this too sometimes and then he’s running away and comes back when he calmed himself or he actually asks me to hold him tight to help him to calm down. He’s aware that he’s having a tantrum and can’t stop it.

  11. I have no advice from you – in fact, I’m going to write down some of your tactics for my toddler! He’s been throwing mini tantrums almost every day when he doesn’t get his way (which is often when he’s not allowed to do something) and it’s driving me nuts. When you find the magic solution, make sure you blog it 🙂

    • Don’t worry, I will let you know when I find it. LOL. I guess many people would be interested. And in the meantime, lets keep our heads up, it’s going to be over in a couple of years (or more). 😉

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