View Full Version : Need mom help/advice/etc.

01-04-2008, 11:24 PM
I have a little girl who will be 3 in 2 weeks. I love her to death and would do anything for her. But she is such a brat and horribly frustrating at times. I get so angry because she will scream and cry about the littlest things sometimes and I don't know what to do. I am a single mom, and young, so I feel like maybe I am doing something wrong? Is this normal for kids to act like this and be stubborn and kinda bratty? I mean, most of the time she is a sweet, funny, loving little girl... but it is during those times that she is screaming and pitching a fit that I think, Satan sowed his seed in me...

Any words of encouragement or advice or stories about similar issues would be most welcome and appreciated...

01-04-2008, 11:38 PM
Hang in there! Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals and every one of them requires a different set of instructions. My son is now 16 and I tell ya I would rather be dealing with the temper tantrums than the indifference. :thedolls:

I will tell you what worked for us and it may or may not work for you. My son was very mellow and easy going but for some reason at around age 2-3 he started throwing little screaming fits. My husband and I decided that our strategy would be to totally ignore him when he acted that way. We did not acknowledge him at all. No punishment, just ignored him. We would talk or watch TV and pretend we heard nothing. He acted out for a couple weeks and then he stopped. I think he realized that these fits did not earn him attention so what was the use of it. We would actually just step over him if he flung himself on the floor. The hard part for us was not looking at him or yelling at him to stop it. Anyway, that worked for us. We were just lucky that he saved these episodes for when we were at home. It would be much tougher to ignore in public. Good luck and remember all mothers have bad days and days when we second guess every decision we ever made. It just comes with the job description. Just count to ten and remember how sweet your baby looks when they are sleeping. (Although that is getting tougher now that my "baby" is 6'1" and has a beard ;))

01-05-2008, 12:27 AM
I agree, the first thing to try (and stick with it - it may take a while) is to completely ignore the screaming fits. Hopefully when your DD realizes that she's not getting what she wants by pitching a fit, she'll stop. Unfortunately, her behavior is completely normal - most kids go through something like this at one point or another. Hang in there!

Madame Leona
01-05-2008, 01:07 AM
I have to agree with the ignoring idea. My son will be 2 this month and has started the terrible 2s. I will ignore his fits at home unless he is harming himself, me or a household item of importance, then he is sent to his room for a time out.
The one thing that I've found is if you issue a punishment, be ready to stick by it and make sure it is reasonible. If my son acts up in public (which rarely happens) I will tell him if he doesn't stop we are going home. I have left stores in the middle of shopping trips without blinking an eye. He usually ends up either in a time out when we get home or going down for a nap. It's hard because when they are this young, you usually have to punish yourself at the same time you are punishing them.

01-05-2008, 01:36 AM
This is a tough age. The first thing to remember is that the behavior is NOT a reflection of your parenting skills. It's your little girl figuring out where her boundaries are. The second thing to remember is that she won't always act this way. My son is in this stage right now - he'll be 3 in a few weeks. His older sister went through it as well.

We do a variation of the ignore thing. We tell our kids they have the right to be angry, but they do not have the right to disturb others. If we are at home, we take them to their room and tell them they can come out when they can be respectful/calm. It is not a time-out, it is getting them in a comforting environment where they can put themselves back together. We don't interact with the tantrum-thrower, unless they are doing something that could hurt themselves or others.

If we are out, we remove ourselves from the environment if necessary. We NEVER stay in a place, such as a restaurant, where such a disruption is unfair to other patrons, even if it just means stepping outside for a few minutes before returning. I have, however, been known to buckle my child into the shopping cart and continue about my business if it wasn't a full-blown meltdown.

We also look for meltdown cues and try to head them off at the pass. Both my kids can get mean if they are hungry, so I try to keep high-protein snacks on hand. DS will start crying/whining as a first stage, and often just reminding him that that will not change anything will soothe him enough - although it took a while to get to that point, and consistancy was the key. Also choosing your battles and having an alternative can go a long way - as in "I want to watch TV." "Not right now, but we can read Curious George if you'll help me put the clothes in the washer like a big boy."

Just keep repeating to yourself "I will get through this stage." Just the fact that you are concerned about it shows what a great mom you are!

01-05-2008, 10:05 AM
I have kinda tried the ignoring thing but have never stuck to it... I get mad pretty easily (I am stubborn too, as is she so that definitely adds to it), and she and I live in one room. So I don't have anywhere I can put her or go myself to get away from it. I guess I didn't give the ignoring thing long enough to work. I'll start trying that more aggressively and I'll see what happens.

Thank-you everyone for answering... All of my friends locally are college kids like myself and haven't even begun to think about having kids. So asking them for advice just draws blank stares...

01-05-2008, 11:31 AM
I have kinda tried the ignoring thing but have never stuck to it... I get mad pretty easily (I am stubborn too, as is she so that definitely adds to it), and she and I live in one room. So I don't have anywhere I can put her or go myself to get away from it. I guess I didn't give the ignoring thing long enough to work. I'll start trying that more aggressively and I'll see what happens.

Thank-you everyone for answering... All of my friends locally are college kids like myself and haven't even begun to think about having kids. So asking them for advice just draws blank stares...Makes it tougher that you don't have a place to get away from it and that you don't have any friends who understand. I lose my temper pretty easily too when it comes to the kids so I understand where you're coming from there! Always remember that we're here for you - many of us have been there, done that and we're always full of advice!

Nurse Kim
01-05-2008, 12:05 PM
I know how you feel. I have a set of twin girls and my son was only 2 when they were born. It was not fun at all. My kids are older now and back then I didn't think I would ever get through it.

Having two going through the tantrums at the same time was insanity. It's very hard to ignore them but if you don't stick to it they will figure that out especially if sometimes you give in and others you don't. They will try it because they might get by with it this time. As others have said I have left the store in the middle of a fit. I didn't yell at them I just got down on their level, looked them in the eye and said this behavior is unacceptable.

Can you safely leave her in the room and step outside the door to ignore the fit? I know it does make it easier if you can leave them room. I always left the room (not move them) when I could do it and know they are safe. It was funny because mine would stop crying and look to see if I was looking at them. Good Luck and this will pass even though it doesn't look like that now.

01-05-2008, 03:13 PM
Remember that consistency is one of the best things you can do for your child and yourself. I compare behavior to a slot machine. The bad behavior is a pull at the machine and every time you give in your are reinforcing the behavior making the behavior more ingrained and harder to break. I commend you for recognizing the behavior and wanting to change it. It can develop into very manipulative behaviors for later life which can really be a pain.
I'm not going to say that parents don't do anything wrong b/c we do the best that we have considering the lack of training manuals that are attached at birth. If only they had washing labels like clothes. I just say that pencils have erasers b/c we do make mistakes and we correct it and move on. I'm no perfect parent either but I work on it.
I'm a single parent too and it is difficult and you will have more trying times so you are smart to get a handle on it now.
You are lucky in one respect that hard times can result in a better future. We struggled for many years and now they are all college graduates w/ great jobs b/c they knew about "delay of gratification" (waiting and working for what you want or even need). The struggles I went through brought us closer together and kept my kids focused on becoming independent healthy adults. There are many very successful ppl out there that came from single parent families. Iacocca is the first that comes to mind. Hitler too but that's the other end of the spectrum.
:soapbox:I work w/ parents who think that b/c they don't have they have to provide their child w/ all the luxuries and none of the basics. As in all of life it's a balance.
So again, I think ignoring is good. I used to let my kids throw a fit but they had to go to their rooms b/c I didn't want to hear it. If a child is throwing a tantrum before dinner then I let them have a healthy snack like cheese and crackers b/c obviously they are hungry and can't wait. But if it's a fit for candy at the supermarket....to bad.
I don't buy into the "that's how my parents did it" mentality. When my kids were teens we talked about everything but you also have to be fair and open and be prepared to hear things you really don't want to hear. I train parents on how to talk to teens so of course I know it can be done.
:pixie: for confidence in parenting... One trick I find helpful too is I always used to keep changing my rewards system for kids to keep it interesting and age appropriate.

01-05-2008, 07:06 PM
I think part of my problem is with second guessing myself is the fact that my mom tries to act like the 2nd parent most of the time. We are over at my mom and step-dad's every day and my mom, while I love her to death, I think really oversteps her boundaries with the whole parenting thing. I have told her so much but it just results in a fight. My mom and I are completely different people and have completely different parenting styles. She tries to say, "I wasn't involved with you guys becaseu your dad left, etc." but then she says "I see all these mistakes you are making with Emma." It is so frustrating, because I need the break I get everyday when we come over here, because I can work on school stuff, or just breathe for a second, but I HHHAAAATTTTEEEE hearing all this stuff from her about my parenting and having to deal with her trying to play mom to my daughter.

01-06-2008, 12:51 PM
I have done the ignoring thing as well. but I would add that when things are calm between you and your daughter you could talk to her about her behavior, not confrontational but explain that when she acts that way tell her how it makes you feel. Then ask her how she would feel if YOU acted up like that in front of her friends in public. etc.
On occasion when my youngest starts acting like that (he's 13and still does it occasionally)
I will turn the tables on him and raise my voice and tell him very loudly
He does not like it and will immediately stop his behavior.

Just asked him what he thought you should do and he said "well, if she's like me she doesn't want the attention and will stop":blush:

As for your mother overstepping her boundary's tell you you appreciate her "constructive criticism" but you need to find your own way and would appriciate her giving you the same space that her mother gave her then smile and walk outside.