9.08.2008

RESISTING THE URGE TO HIT

Luke in One of His Signature Outfits (P.J.'s and Snow boots in the Middle of the Summer)

Today I assessed the damage still remaining from this past weekend:

Bruise on my upper leg
Bruise on my arm
Scratches on my arms
Toe that feels broken
Nose that is still sore from when he head butted me during family prayer

... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Why do I feel like I am constantly wrestling with Luke? (Probably because I am.) He runs, I chase him down, try to restrain him, he kicks me, claws at me, spits in my face, etc. It's like Ultimate Fighting, but with my toddler... and I'm losing.

This weekend felt exceptionally bad. On Thursday night, Erik was out sailing and I really wanted a pizza, but I was too cheap to pay the gas surcharge and a tip for delivery. So, I figured I would order it and pick it up. Sounds simple enough. I get to the pizza place and spend 30 minutes trying to keep Luke from running back into their kitchen, all while holding Charlie at the same time. When it finally dawned on me that I couldn't carry the two kids and a pizza, I decided to make two trips out to the car. Luke thought we were leaving without a pizza and threw a tantrum on the pavement in front of the pizza place. With my one free arm, I tried to pick him up while he kicked and spit at me. It was bad. I especially loved the 6 other adults waiting for their pizzas who just stood and watched me. It was really embarrassing and I will not be returning to Papa Johns in Camarillo for a very, very long time.

Then there was my niece's baptism on Saturday night when he had to be taken out of the room by Erik, all the while kicking and screaming, "I WANT BAPTIZED! I WANT BAPTIZED!"

Sunday was the worst. Am I the only one that feels like it is a mean joke for women to be expected to restrain their children for 3 hours while dressed in heels and nice clothes? Immediately after church, Luke ran into the empty chapel and started doing nosedives off the pews. When he saw me, he started running through each pew and crawling under seats like it was a big maze. I finally caught him somehow and during his tantrum he actually pulled my hair out. Ow.

Luke and his cousin, Leyna, taking a bath while camping. See --- sometimes he can be cute.

Perhaps I will regret writing this, but sometimes (not all the time) I feel like spanking Luke. When he kicks me, pulls out my hair, and gives me bruises, I want to fight back. Not hitting my children is a general rule that I have established for myself. I read this article and I am even more determined to not spank my kids. However, my natural instinct is to fight back when he physically hurts me. Is there an alternative to time outs? (Those kind of seem like a joke right now.)

28 comments:

  1. all I can say is hitting feels pretty good sometimes. Give him a few years and im sure you'll resort to that eventually. Oh yeah it looks like you might need my new book I just got the explosive child. I love it can't put it down!

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  2. Hey, Gavin has those same pj's!

    As far as disipline goes, please let me know when you figure it out! I'm at a complete loss and Gavin is definitely in the middle of the terrible two's!!! I couldn't help but laugh when you talked about your struggle at church. It's funny because it's so true! I feel tortured every Sunday and often wonder why I even go when I spend all of Sacrament meeting in the hall with Gavin while Kaitlyn sits in the chapel alone (since half the time Nate has to work on Sunday). And then there are the days when I spend Sacarment meeting OUTSIDE because Gavin is being so loud that he's being disruptive even in the hall! I WISH that spanking actually helped. The few times I've resorted to it, he just laughs at me and I get even more frustrated.

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  3. I am not an expert and I don't have 2 kids, so I cant say I totally understand...but I do a little. I have worked with young kids (including ones Luke's age) doing behavior therapy. It is really hard sometimes (though it may have been easier for me because they weren't my kids), but I agree with you for not spanking, all he will learn from that is to be afraid of you. The biggest thing I can think of that may help is not to be using empty threats. If you do, he will figure it out really fast that he can walk all over you. For example, if he was throwing a fit outside of the pizza place, warn him 1 time to stop or (give his consequence here. It has to relate to the situation) you can not have pizza when you get home. He will eat something different or less "fun." If he continues, then he gets cereal or leftovers (something with as little work for you) for dinner. It can be more work for you but once he figures out you are in charge and make the rules and he cant walk all over you things should get easier and he will start to act the way you expect and know he can. But remember, you have to be consistent. This is just the biggest problem I would see when I did the behavior therapy, hope it helps! Good Luck!!!

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  4. I can't believe Tia didn't suggest that "cup of water"...she has them stashed all over her house (thanks to Rod) and they're on hand to throw in the psycho childs face...just enough to get them to miss a breath! classic! I love it!!!

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  5. you need nanny 911. I never watched that show until recently and now I'm hooked. they're pretty smart... and they don't spank either.

    I bet people who google "spanking" are going to start finding your blog.

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  6. This is what I've learned about spanking, the few times we've resorted to it, it just makes our 4 year old think he's allowed to hit us. Which he doesn't otherwise. My brother used to put his daughter in a cold shower (she was 6 or 7) because it was the one thing she really hated that would get her to behave. My mom always recommends the book "So you've decided to raise a boy" or something like that by Cleon Skousen to people with rowdy boys. I think it's out of print, but I bet you could find it online. Good luck.

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  8. I can commiserate. Isaac has a bad habit of hitting me, spitting, and screaming. We're doing the time-out's and the consistent consequences. I thought the time out's were worthless for a long time, but when I started enforcing them (at first that meant putting him in the corner 10 times throughout the 2 minute timeout and standing right there) he's at least staying in the corner. I get right in his face and tell him sternly but not shouting, "you cannot hit mommy. It is not okay." He has to say he is sorry, big hugs and we start over. It's tiring. And I'm definitely no expert. I watch super nanny clips on youtube all the time...

    It beats spanking, though.

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  9. I don't have kids, but I was a nanny for a two year old and a six month old for about a year (both boys). I loved it, but it was really hard with the two year old. He wanted so much attention that I couldn't give because I was feeding the baby or changing the baby or putting the baby to sleep! But he really tried my patience when he would act out. We did the time out and say you're sorry or you don't get any books at nap time, etc. thing.
    I LOVE SUPERNANNY! I watch it every season even though I don't have kids and Ben thinks I'm waco! I love her techniques and it really does come down to who is the boss. Don't be afraid he'll think you're mean. He might at first, but once he understands that you HAVE to be in charge and that is your job and he CAN'T change it then you'll both be so much happier!
    Sorry I don't have much "real" experience to give! It'll be better soon!

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  10. I'm so sorry, especially about the pizza thing. Almost worse than the actual tantrum are all the people standing around, not doing anything except wondering what your problem is. :-(

    And I can relate. My two boys are generally pretty sweet, but there are certainly days (especially at church!) where I feel like I've been wrestling all day. 'Cause I have been. And there are times I feel like getting physical with my three-year-old, 'cause I am hurt. I have done that, too. And it doesn't help anything.

    Things that help me cope include: 1. time-outs (for me, not them -- I go hide out in my room or the bathroom for two minutes). And then 2. give the kids as much control as possible (e.g., give them choices: instead of "come with me" you can say "do you want to WALK next to me or SKIP next to me -- that kind of thing works well with my three-year-old ... or give them a "job," like holding something as you walk out to the car ... "can you carry my purse to the car while I carry your brother?")

    Sometimes those things work (and maybe they only work because my son is three -- which is a LOT better than two, I think!) and sometimes they don't. But it's something to try, at least.

    Good luck, and I feel your pain!!

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  11. Somebody told me to watch some "dog show" on tv. I don't remember the name of it but the trainer says everything he does with the animals you can use with kids and it works! Yeah you must be consistent and show him that YOU are encharge

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  12. Love the choices idea, I totally forgot about that one! It keeps you in control but makes Luke feel like he has a say in things, which I have seen help out a lot! Good luck

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  13. oh boy, I can relate to this one except I don't think Leyna is quite so physical- she usually doesn't hurt me with her little swipes when she's mad, but there have been a few times when she's kicked me in my stomach, on purpose and hard, that hurt really bad and made me really mad. I definitely put her and myself in time outs with those situations. I've also realized that there are other things I can do besides isolation- like taking away privileges -her blanket at nap time or favorite toys. Maybe find some of Luke's favorite things and use those as leverage. Let me know what other good things you learn...my Dad's no help with the "no spanking" idea- he keeps telling me "sometimes you just need to smack the brains from the bottom back into the head". :) But Larry and I have already set a no spanking rule as well. Then again, maybe Luke is like Erik, mom said the only way she could get through to him as a little boy would be to get really physical, like pin him against the wall so she could talk to him. Good luck!

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  14. Read. This. Book.
    http://www.amazon.com/Discipline-Life-Getting-Right-Children/dp/1887069062/ref=sr_1_19?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220929890&sr=8-19

    I haven't actually read it, but I've heard the author speak in person. I'm a preschool teacher, so I got to go as "professional development."

    Let me tell you, her methods WORK. They are so simple and "common sense," so they're easy to remember. And they WORK.

    I went back to work the next Monday after hearing her speak, and I had a whole new approach to discipline with my students. It was like magic. And by the time the end of the year rolled around, I was getting comments from co-workers about how amazing I was at discipline, and how I was always calm and collected and how the kids always listened to me.

    I'm about to add this book to my shopping cart to have as a reference... and I think it could really help you out a lot too!

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  15. Cristin,

    I can so relate. Today Owen bit me in the butt. I shut the fridge and he wanted in there so he bit me right in my arse...and it hurt. I often feel bad for Hayden b/c he takes the brunt of Owen's abuse. We do a lot of time outs here and they don't seem to be working but I keep hoping one day they will. This is all new to us b/c Hayden never acted like Owen does. We don't agree with spanking either but I'll admit that I've done it before and it always makes me feel crappy afterward.

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  16. Alternative? Ummm...never having kids in the first place? That's the only thing I can think of, which is the reason I am still without child.

    But that doesn't help you one tiny bit, eh? Sorry.

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  17. I think Spanking is an acceptable way to discipline a child. Especially a physically active boy. While not all personalities respond to spanking, I did, and I think it is effective as long as the boundries are kept and a spanking becomes more of a shameful act of punishment then a physical pain causing one. Oh, and I haven't felt bad after spanking. I often think its the difference between mothering and fathering a child, but to each his own. I was spanked, I learned to listen, I still love my parents and know that they had to have been frustrated with me.

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  18. I have to agree with Erik. If you are spanking out of anger or to hurt them, you are doing it for the wrong reason and they won't understand it.
    I have a friend who is very diligent about time-outs and although it didn't seem to be working the first little while (it was about 6 months before I saw a drastic improvement) she really has a great kid who listens very well now.

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  19. You know I have only one kid and well she is a very active 2 1/2 year old that kicks and hits and spits and well I too have spanked her to only have her say "Mommy you hurt me and you need a time out, that was mean" So spanking does not work. Time outs have been getting better with the stool that I bought but what happens when I dont have a stool well she is crazy. I often wonder when this will get easier.... does it?
    My sister has 4 children and it is so true that parenting and disapline is different for each one.
    Her oldest is now 12 and all they have ever had to say to her is that the are dissappointed in her actions and that she should go to her room and think about her actions. She usually cries for 20, 30 , 40 minutes and then she knows what she did wrong and that was her punishment.
    Her son responded to nothing!! He had a bad temper and even broke bedroom windows with his head... They soon figured out that spanking, time out and everything else was not working. Then they figured out that manuel labor worked. Well meaningless manuel labor. they have him dig a hole in the back yard, one that if he gets in which he needs to do it as deep as he is. and then he has to fill it back up. That works really well for him. He is able to work out the anger on the ground instead of anyone else and he has plenty of time to think about what he has done. He is now 10 and they have been doing this for a long time.
    Their next daughter she gets spankings but the real punishment is the waiting for the spanking. They never spank right away it can be and hour off but she has to wait in her room for it. That is the punishment. it works for her. and well the youngest compared to the rest she is just a bowl full of cherries and a joy.

    So I really have no advise I need some from you... Luke and Annabella are 2 peas in a pod, I hope I never have a son, with such an active misbehaving daughter... think what my son might be like... I though girls were easier?

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  20. Oh Cristin, I'm in pain after reading this. I know what you mean about about church. Even though Jonah is only 11 months, I feel like I spend the whole 3 hours in the hall way, trying to contain him and keep in happy. (Especially since our ward meets right during his nap time) A lady gave a lesson a couple sundays ago and said that when she went throug all the years of hanging out in the halls of the church, she had to think of it as an act of faith. So that's what I do now. Because it does get really hard sometimes. As far as disciplining. I wouldn't hit either. But what do I know!

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  21. Thanks for sharing the article from the Ensign. It comforts me to know that there are so many other mothers out there with VERY active 2 year old boys. It's a learning process and each child is different. There is lots of good advice in your comments and you just have to figure out the balance that works for you. Good Luck!

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  22. I know how you feel - having active boys! Poor Cristin - trying to juggle the pizza and the 2 boys. I am willing to pay the difference and have a pizza delivered :)

    I was taught that if you do swat a child on the bottom, you do it for something important (i.e. your child running out into a busy street). You don't do it when you are angry.

    I know how you feel. I get tired of people telling me listen to Super Nanny or Nanny 911. Of course a child is going to respond quicker to a stranger, and I don't think the nannies know everything.

    I thought I knew everything about parenting until I started having kids :)

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  23. I think the employees at papa johns should of offered to help you out by carrying pizza to car (of course you didn't want to act like you wanted them to cause you would have had to give a tip)

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  24. I like the water in the face idea. It worked for Annie Sullivan ;). But I'm sorry it's so awful. I hope there's some good moments to make up for the bad ones.

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  25. Hi! I have read your blog, as a blog stalker I suppose, for a while. I have 7 kids myself - I have a 5 month old and that's how I linked up with your blog... we were pregnant at the same time.

    On of our kids is special needs, and his horrible behavior is one of the worst things I deal with in life. He is almost 13, but mentally about 2. Can you imagine having a child with behavior issues like your little guy sometimes has, like a complete tantrum meltdown in the middle of a restaurant with him kicking, hitting, screaming, etc. except that he is THIRTEEN? And NEVER going to grow up and out of it?

    I could go into some of the discipline stuff I try through email if you want -- I don't want to bog your blog with a huge comment that might well be quite boring to other people!

    princessof_light@yahoo.com

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  26. I was just blog stalking from Camille's blog (poor Kyle's cousin). I find your blog so humerous, mostly cause I have a 2 year old right now and can relate so much. I agree with trying to control your toddler during 3 hours of church (ESPECIALLY when its 1-4 when that's there naptime) I feel like I never get anything out of church as my daughter refuses to go to nursery, and watching my son who is too young still) they should really have a class where its a playroom for little ones and moms can have some kind of lesson while they run around and play around you.

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  27. In one of our wards, there were also lots of young parents who'd have to take their children or would walk around with their children in the hallways. They called those parents "4th Ward."

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  28. Hi Crisin!

    My heart goes out to you! I have been there (& occasionally am still there) & it is HARD to be a loving, patient mom sometimes, especially when others are watching the drama unfold.

    DISCLAIMER: Take my comments with a HUGE grain of salt.

    Is Luke like this 90% of the time, or just occasionally? This is why I ask - My Joshua did all of the same things you describe, & more. I had a lady at church once tell me that my 18 month old had "anger issues" & that he needed counseling. And I seriously thought about it, because I knew "something" was just different.

    From the beginning, Joshua (one of my twins) has been challenging, to say the least - extrememly active, daredevil, repetitive (wanted to watch the same video/read the same book/hear the same song over & OVER, repeated words & actions, wanted things arranged in certain ways, etc.), had a hard time with transitions, & seemed intent on doing what HE wanted to do, no matter how much I explained, bribed, threatened, yada yada...

    Long story short, my gifted, near-genius-IQ son was finally, at age 8, diagnosed as being high-functioning autistic. I had concerns about his behavior from the time he was 18 months old, & expressed them to doctors/preschool teachers, but none of them ever encouraged me to seek out professional help. "He's a boy. He's just active. He's a little immature, but he'll catch up." I wish I'd been more proactive when he was younger.

    So here's my advice: IF you feel like Luke is a little more extreme than other kids around his age, have him evaluated. Your pediatrician can recommend someone, there is free consults thru your school district... It can't hurt, & may just give you some peace of mind, either way.

    Hang in there! The best is yet to come!!!

    Big Hug - Angie

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