With growth comes new challenges, and this little man is certainly pushing the limits. Put me in a 1st grade classroom, and I’ve got it down, but a 2 year old who can’t reason is a different story…
How do you handle your toddler when they act out?
With my son Ari who is 22 months we have a chart for good behavior. If he throws a tantrum we take a sticker off. If he gets out of "the cool down corner" as we call it we take one off. Once he gets 10 stickers he gets a "prize" It has been working well. Let me know if you have any questions!
Super important: get down on their level, which Pat is obviously demonstrating. Also, we didn't use "share," we used more of "that child is using it, you can use it when their done" method. Even at home when it was just me, my husband, and my son before the baby came along we used this method. I would have something, usually a spatula or spoon while baking and my son wanted to use it to stir. I would tell him that he could use it when i was finished. Then, when I was finished and he then had a chance to use it and was finished, I would use it again. Vocabulary like, "I'm sorry you're upset/that's not ours so we need to wait until they are done using it" also helped. When he got older we would ask him if we could use things he was using...sometimes he'd say no. Obviously, we didn't need to use child toys so that was fine and it taught him it's okay to say no sometimes. Once he felt confident enough with his own boundaries he eventually would always say yes or "give me one minute more" or something to that affect. If he freaked out too much when he was younger then he would take a break until he was ready to let others use things. It has seemed to work pretty well but every kid is different so...good luck, girl!
If you are at home and have company visiting, I would suggest you put away his most favorite items before guest get there. Some kids will "trade" a toy for a toy. Kinda like you did with not being able to sit through church. Remove him from the area, don't give him attention for the behavior, time out in an area by himself until he calms down. I know it can be embarrassing, but remember this is a stage and he may just need more time maturing before he is ready for interactive play with others. I am sure you already do this, but make a big deal out of "sharing" with your hubby.
We didn't believe in taking things away just so we could say they 'shared', but we did remove them from the situation when they wanted everything someone else had and started bugging them for it. Just a,'looks like we'd better be going since you aren't willing to play nicely with the other toys. See you guys soon. Let's go.'. And you have to follow through, which stinks sometimes. Or, if we are home, they go to bed for a while to give them time to reset. Come back out five minutes later and test it. If no improvement, back they go.
Try this: make sure he knows that you recognize how he is feeling. For example he doesn't want to clean up ask him "Do you want to clean up your toys?" When he says no, say "I understand that you don't want to, but its time to clean up" We use this approach with all the kids at the school I work at (ages 2-5). It works at least 80% of the time. Also asking him, how does that make you feel then acknowledging his feelings might help too. The most important thing to remember is to be consistent, and don't give in. Good Luck!
Flurry said it all.
Its a really hard age. I think consistency is key. You and Pat need to make sure you are on the same page with consequences for bad behavior, and rewarding his good behavior. Whether its a behavior chart, or a certain time out chair, or whatever, just be consistent with it. Pick something and stick with it. It may not seem like it is working at first, but if you stick with it it will! What was HUGE for my little guy was when I started anticipating his tantrums. You can tell when they start to get bored, anxious, overwhelmed etc...and redirect them. Trying to resolve a small problem with a small distraction is SO much easier then dealing with the tantrum, and the negative consequence that goes with it. They will definitely still happen, but so much less. I would try your best to find something that works and get it in place asap. When my twins were born, my 2 year olds world was turned upside down, and he definitely reacted in his behavior. It took a few weeks, but by being consistent with our system, he began realizing very quickly that the rules don't change just cuz the babies were there. Good Luck!!
I don't have particular advice for handling the situation, but I'll share something that someone told me that has helped me understand how my little ones are feeling. At that younger age- -4 years old and younger- -their belongings are such a part of them that they have a hard time understanding the detachment. Giving their toys to someone else is like giving their arm or leg. Sounds weird, but I could see it. I have my own ways of handling my sons' behavior but I try to remember that concept when I'm expecting things and it helps me be more level-headed.
Consistency!! (and a whole lot of patience). I have found with my 2 boys that it is tough having someone else always making the rules and telling them what they are going to do and when they are going to do it. I try to always give them options that they can choose from (always pick options that you are comfortable with and you know you can follow through on). For instance, my boys don't have to clean up their toys if they don't want to, I will gladly do it for them but if I clean up for them I cannot gaurantee that they will not end up in the garbage. It is their choice if they want to do it. They also don't have to eat their dinner. It is also their choice. I am done trying and begging and getting mad that they won't eat what I slave over (and I cook almost all my meals from scratch so I really do work hard to give them nice healthy meals). It use to make me so angry when they would turn up their noses to their meals so now I just tell them they don't have to eat it although we may or may not have icecream later and those who don't finish their dinner do not get icecream. I have found if you give your child some sense of control over their life and their possessions it helps (but you will still have plenty of battles). Stay as calm as possible and be consistent and remember that sometimes mommy needs a little time out to gather herself so that she can keep in control of the situation. Also, when you think that you are the only one having these issues or that you are failing just remember that EVERY SINGLE MOMMY feels this way! Your doing great!
Remembering Ledger is 2 and learning new concepts helps. He will outgrow it, take favorite toys away when company comes. I don't believe he has to share all his toys. But learning to share is important. But please when the twins arrive don't buy 2 of everything the same. Sharing for them will be much easier.
Before we had kids and I watched other toddlers act out I always thought I would never let my child do that. Oh boy did that thought come back to haunt me! Be patient, show love, most important be consistent
My little guy is the same age as yours, and I have to be honest...this is a hard stage! Since he's started throwing temper tantrums and the screaming! Oh the screaming! Sometimes I just walk away, and sometimes I laugh. Other times, he gets a "time out" just to take him away from the situation and give him a second to catch his breath. I think he's still a little too young for much else. I do try to explain to him what's going on and that yelling/screaming is not OK. I just hope he understands me. ;)
Its so hard. Just be consistent and love him. I've found humor works better than anything with kids. Sometimes a tantrum is stopped if you tantrum back of turn the situation into something to laugh at. With small children the goal is to stop the behavior not to "punish" them. Praise him when he gets it right, and laugh with him. Love can overcome a lot.
I read the book "1-2-3 Magic" when Brynn was just over 2 and it changed my life and the way I will and do parent, for the rest of my life! Read it, See if it words for you!
Stay strong, sadly it only gets more challenging! Get down on their level and explain to them right from wrong and make sure they understand. Then redirect them. :)
I've used the concepts from "1-2-3 Magic" by Thomas Phelan since my son was 2 years old. It's easy and even 2 year olds can understand consequences. I still use it with my now 5 year old son and my almost 3-year old twins. Another book I am reading right now is "Christlike Parenting" by Dr. Glenn Latham. He is a Christian author that shows how to parent as Christ would. The examples/dialogue he uses are kinda "hokey" and are sometimes geared for older kids, but the Christ-like concepts are spot on.