Terribly Early Terrible Two's

As hard as it is to admit the past few months I’ve really been struggling with my toddler and his early onset of terrible two’s. Many parents had warned me about this developmental stage but I didn’t listen, after all my boy was an angel – he barely cried or complained and had always slept throughout the night. What did I have to worry about? Turns out a lot.

I’d like to say the first tantrum was the hardest and dealing with them gets easier but they’re getting worse and I’m really feeling like a fish out of water – especially having to deal with them alone. What makes it worse is I can tell my son “no” and he’ll ignore me over and over again yet when his dad visits (or even my younger sister) he only has to tell him once with no objections. Then comes the useless advice and the “are you sure his tantrums are as bad as you’re describing them?”. Yes. Yes they are. And yes I’ve tried distracting him, telling him in a stern voice, removing whatever he’s having a tantrum about from him and even lightly tapping his hand but nothing seems to work. If anything the tapping his hand makes things worse because he retaliates by hitting me back and it turns into the battle of who can get the last hit in. Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable with tapping him. He’s still young and has only just began understanding the concept of no and he doesn’t yet understand consequences (e.g. don’t touch the radiator because it’s hot and you’ll get burned). But when he’s old enough to understand I don’t have a clue how I’ll discipline him. I’m really torn because I know I have to start laying groundwork and setting boundaries now before he becomes one of those feral children you avoid at all costs (you know the ones, when you're in a shop minding your own business and you look over at a bunch of kids screaming at the top of their lungs and running around as if they're in a playground - knocking things over and barging people out of the way while their parents ignore them). But how?

Growing up mixed race (and in a single parent household) my parents both had two completely discipline methods. My mum (on weekdays) chose what I would call the more aggressive route, whereas passive aggressiveness has always been my dad’s thing (on weekends). To this day I don’t think I can remember my dad raising a hand to me. It was my mum who was the one who’d be most likely to give me a clip. God I remember those power struggle rows where my mum and I would scream at each other and I’d cry and be sent to my room all because me and my younger sister would argue and she’d run downstairs to my mum and act all innocent and upset. Or the times my sister and I would stay up past bedtime and have loud conversations in bed and my dad would storm in, tell me off (because I was the older one therefore I was solely to blame) and send me to sit downstairs in the dark for ages. Oh and my favourite time during my early teen years, when my mum and I were arguing about god knows what and she followed me into my room and chucked the TV at me (I say at me but it was just in my general direction, not that it makes doing it any better). Back in the day we had those big TONK televisions (the same model as the one pictured below) so I’m glad her aim was off that day because I’m not sure I would have woke back up afterwards if she hadn’t missed (I remember plugging it back in after and praying that it would switch on so I could get my weekly fixes of Hollyoaks and the UK Top 40 – it did!)

I was old enough to know better and not a toddler.. But back to now. There seem to be three main problem areas I’ve pinpointed.
The Curiosity Tantrum
Understandably my boy is a nosey one and like all children when something catches his attention he has to have/do it. From roly-polying on the bed, trying to shove his fingers into a portable fan heater, climbing upstairs and even grabbing stuff off the shop floor shelves. If he wants it he has to have it. Sometimes I can successfully distract him for long enough to forget about what he shouldn’t have/be doing but if not I usually get a full blown tantrum. These ones are usually the easiest for me to handle.

The Foody Tantrum
Picture this, after slaving over the cooker for ages, plonking my boy into his high chair and presenting him with his food he outright refuses to eat. So I sit there for an hour or so whilst he tantrums and try to persuade him to eat a proper meal (you know so he doesn’t like, uh.. I don’t know.. die!). This one is down to everybody’s persistence in letting my son snack on junk food despite constantly telling them NO. I cant tell you how many times I’ve walked into the kitchen and narrowly caught my dad hiding something behind his back whilst holding my son who’s innocently chomping away at something he clearly shouldn’t have. It’s no wonder my son doesn’t want to sit still and eat his dinner when he’s been snacking on biscuits/Milkyway/Kinder chocolate 10 minutes beforehand. Don’t get me wrong, a little treat every now and then isn’t the issue but waiting till after he’s eaten or even asking permission to give him junk isn’t rocket science. If I say no then that’s that, don’t sneakily give it to him behind my back. 

The Teethy Tantrum 
You don’t know determination until you’ve tried wrestling with your toddler for what seems like an eternity because he refuses to open his mouth so you can brush his teeth. Not a day goes by when I don’t get that painful sting of toothpaste being raspberried into my eye. I don’t understand why he’s so scared of having his teeth brushed (teething maybe?). I’ve tried everything from changing his toothbrush/toothpaste to brushing my teeth alongside him so he knows it’s nothing to worry about. Nothing seems to have worked. 

As we all know, discipline is a relative concept that differs from one family to another. Social factors such as classism, culture and upbringing can all have an impact on the way we choose to discipline our children. Children can also respond very differently to  different methods of discipline. There’s not a one size fits all discipline system what works for one child may isn’t going to work for every child. #BKCHATLDN discussed this topic and had an interesting take 

No comments

Post a Comment