Monday, February 25, 2013

When "whatever works" doesn't work.

Confession: Being a "whatever works mom" doesn't mean I'm totally laid-back. It doesn't make me chill and casual. I wish it did! When I say I'm a "whatever works mom" it's more like, I have no desire to parent my children identically. They're different, and different things work/don't work for them. So I go with whatever works.

But every now and then, I run into a situation where discovering what DOES work is a struggle. I'm at one of those crossroads right now: Dois is such a loving, snuggly child. He has always had an odd tendency toward aggression (as young as 14m if he was frustrated he would smack himself in the head repeatedly), and in the last month or two his aggression has gotten stronger. Granted, he's changed daycares and we moved--so there has been a lot of transition in his little life lately. But we need to get to the bottom of this, and we need to communicate to him that hitting is NOT okay.

"Hands are not for hitting. Hitting hurts." The gentle parenting approach. I want to use it and I want it to work, but it doesn't. Such phrases are spoken and the hitting continues. It means nothing, no matter how often we repeat it.

Walking away from him or putting him down when he hits (after telling him not to hit) causes a tantrum of epic proportions. I have heard that if we keep doing this the tantrums will fade, but they haven't yet. And he bangs his head on the floor and shrieks and kicks and... I don't feel he's SAFE.

Time outs? How do people get their 2-year-olds to STAY in time out? No way is that happening here! I have tried it, but he just gets up and runs off. Then it's a game of chase-the-toddler.

I'm scared. I'm really scared. He's sweet and loving and I DO NOT think these are signs he will grow up to be a serial killer, but I'm scared that if I don't address these behaviors correctly and SOON that it's going to get even worse. And I can't imagine that. There's a lot of hostility in our house lately caused by the stress of his tantrums and aggressiveness.

I just want me sweet boy back.

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