Saturday, October 10, 2009

Parenting Advice Needed!

Believe it or not my adorable little 2 year old can be quite stubborn sometimes. Over the past several weeks he's become more and more stubborn and demanding about getting his way regarding snacks, toys, cartoons etc. He will argue with me that he wants to watch a certain cartoon when it isn't even on at that time, and throw a tantrum because he wants to watch it NOW. Two days ago we were driving down the highway and he kept trying to pull the handle on the door open because, as he told me "I want to drive in MY OWN car!" I had never checked to make sure the child lock was set on the door before, but it sure is now! I realize that all these things are just him trying to assert his independence and find out what he does and does not have control over, and while it's driving me crazy, I can handle it.

But, this new thing he has started has me at a complete loss on what to do. The past few nights he has refused to go to bed. He's been in his toddler bed for several weeks now, and doing just fine, but suddenly he won't stay in bed, or in his room (he recently learned how to open doors). He keeps running out of his room and asking me to cover him back up. Thursday night it took probably an hour and a half of taking him back to bed every 5 minutes before he finally went to sleep. Last night we started around 8:30 and finally all went to bed, in our bed, after 11pm and he was up bright and early at 6:30am. Then today, at naptime it took an hour and a half to get him to stay in his room. He's in there now, and I think he's sleeping, but I'm not totally sure.

I realize we probably did the worst possible thing by letting him fall asleep in our bed last night, but honestly, we've had a rough week, were physically and emotionally exhausted and we just couldn't handle it anymore, so we caved.

I've tried encouraging him that if he stays in his room during naptime/at bedtime that he can have a sticker/special treat when he gets up, which worked when we first put him in the toddler bed. I've tried just putting him back in bed without talking to him. I've tried leaving a night light on (at bedtime). I've prayed over him. Michael has prayed over him. We've prayed over him together. I've tried warning him that he'll get a spanking if he comes out of his room again - which isn't working at all because he doesn't seem to care (well, he gets upset when I spank him, but he does the same thing 2 minutes later).

So - all you parents who've been here before...what did you find that works? doesn't work? ideas? I fully expected him to act out a little after the baby arrived, but if he's already acting this way before she gets here, what should I be expecting in a few weeks?!


kari j said...

oh honey :)
i hope i don't come off at all like i'm trivializing it [cause believe me, i'm totally not! been there and it sure stinks!]
my hopes are to just make you feel a little more solace in knowing that this is so darn common. sorry if you've heard that a million times already :o)
i remember going thru the same frustrating thing with Derek - he did this off and on for an entire year [granted, the breaks might be a couple months, but then he'd be back to it again]
you're so right. it's a phase of testing you, of figuring out how much he can control and get away with, etc, etc, etc.
i think the one thing i'd totally lift up to you is this [and it's kind of a "duh"]: just make sure whatever you decide to say that particular time, stick with it. if you say "stay in bed and if you come out you will have a spanking because you're disobeying mommy" - then make sure to follow thru - and KEEP following thru since you already made the rule of the night.
but, if you are BEYOND exhausted which i can only imagine you are :) i, personally, don't see anything wrong with having him in with you as long as it's ok with both you and your hubby ;)
our kids co-slept [and ZZ still does a lot] with us since she sleeps so much better. i know i might step on toes of others, so i should state again this is only MY opinion :) i don't see anything wrong with some extra "snuggle time" at night if it helps you all to get a better night sleep. of course, if this is not your cup of tea then you're prob better off not letting him at all.
i'm sure he is definitely sensing the change that's going to come and some kids deal with it better than others. derek acted out more before mckenzie was born rather than after, and then he had another pretty rough stint after she turned a year old. i was like "what? she's been here a whole year! you're not used to her??" and then friends reminded me that their little worlds are really forever changing and sometimes it just gets overwhelming and/or scary - even when getting to exert their new-found independence :)
whew...didn't mean for this to turn into a book! sorry!
a few other thoughts:
-door knob cover
-baby gate
-shorten naptime down to 45min-1hr (maybe move it up too)
-more PARK time! or bounceU or what have get the energy out
-sometimes when derek would come out in the late evening, ben or i would just quietly and calmly lead him back to his room w/out saying a word and re-tuck him in - as many times as he came out. this worked great. if we never talked to him, there was not much exciting to look forward to! :o)

boden is unique and is a gift from God ~ He will help you figure out what to "do" with that precious stinker! ;)

Laura Stern said...

Hey pretty lady!

Ok, so I know I'm not a mom... but I was a nanny to a very stubborn 2 year old for a while so I can kind of see what you're talking about.

She always wanted her way or the highway. Always wanted me to know that she was boss. It was my job to tell her otherwise.

I watched Supernanny (yeah, I'm a nerd) and was getting some great advice.

She said if they continually get out of their bed, this is what you do...
First time he gets out of bed, you go in, put him back in bed, and firmly tell him "no. it's time to go to bed." leave it at that.
Next time he gets out of bed, you tell him a short "no" and put him in bed and walk out.
Next time (and every time after), you don't say a word to him, pick him up and put him in bed, and walk out.
I know it's probably so easy to get frustrated but she said that kids kind of like the game and excitement of getting out of bed. So, if you just do the same thing over and over, like not talking to him and putting him in bed, then he'll realize that it's not a game.
The first few nights may be tiresome and you will probably have to do it a lot, but it does pay off. I tried it myself and it worked.

Just don't make it personal when you put him back to bed... don't smile or talk or really even look him in the eyes. Let him know you're serious.

I definitely would suggest a baby gate of some kind or a door knob cover as well. So helpful!

You could also try the rewarding route right away. Keep a chart above his bed of each night. Every time he stays in his bed he gets a sticker on the chart. 5 stickers in a row equals a toy or a piece of candy or something.

I don't know, just some thoughts.

Sorry you guys are having a hard time :(

Wheelie33 said...

Danielle and I turned the doorknob around on Kyle's door and lock it at night. This is so he can't get up and wander around the house unattended. It's worked great so far. We have to just resolve to let him scream it out. I know when we deviate from his normal routine we have issues.

amandamoo said...

We also had to turn the door knob around on Judah and lock him in a for a little while to protect him from getting hurt traveling around the house in the middle of the night. It didn't take very many nights before he realized that he wasn't going anywhere, seeing us or anything so he might as well get back in bed. However, those nights of adjustment were not for the weak - yikes, the temper tantrums late at night when you are tired already are the worst! I feel for you and pray that God will reveal to you the best course of action to take with Boden. I know that everyone has given you some good ideas.

Resplendentquetzal said...

Che did the same thing. He is still doing it somewhat with the demanding of his "wants and needs" but it's gotten better.

After a certain point we made it very clear that we were not going to give in unless you can ask nicely, which includes a "please" in the request. We also didn't respond to the tantrums, and hopping around that Che seemed to do.

It was really hard to do at first because he would get so frustrated and cry and scream, but after a few weeks he learned. He still tries to demand things, but we don't give in. Sometimes we have to help him form the sentence, "Che this is what you should say," and then he does or doesn't dependent on his stubborness at the time. If he doesn't ask nicely and refuses to use a sentence (he's almost 4 so he should do a sentence), than he won't get what he wants.

I also agree with Kari J. Consistency is definately a must no matter how hard it is.

Have strength and good luck!