Struggling with toddler bad behaviour


Struggling with toddler bad behaviour

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Dozzer
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My nearly 3 year old son is developing very poor behaviours and both myself and my wife are really struggling to manage him.  He can be the sweetest little angel when he wants to be but more often than not, at home especially, his behaviour is very bad.  Some examples:

* Over the last year, he has developed a habit of not sleeping until at least midnight.  We have tried everything including all lights out with the rest of the family sleeping in bed but he will still run amok until his energy is gone and then he will finally lie down and sleep quite quickly.  Some nights it's been getting to 3am in the morning before he will sleep.  His days are very active and full of activity.  Monday-Friday he is in day-care 9am-5pm.  So he is woken up at a regular time, has a regular routine and seldom naps for more than 1-1.5 hours during the day.

* At home his behaviour is getting very bad and oppositional to both of us.  Any normal routines like eating dinner, brushing teeth, putting on clothes after a bath/shower turn into hour long battles where he refuses to cooperate.  We've tried picking our times when to be strict and when to let things slide but that hasn't helped.  I've tried being more firm but also not seeing results from that.  I really don't want to smack him to get his attention but have resorted to that 3-5 times now when he's been aggressively physical with me such as kicking in the face, punching in the face, etc.  Strangely, when talking to his day-care centre they say he doesn't have any behaviour problems there.  Based on that advice it seems to only be at home.

* I'm more keen to draw lines in the sand and say 'no' whereas my wife is more lenient with him and doesn't like me being so firm.  She likes to bribe him with sweets and lollies to get him to cooperate but doesn't seem to understand this is setting us up for future pain - which I can already see : he is beginning to only want to eat sweet things at home and wants to avoid meals.  Whenever he whines, my wife prefers to please him to stop the whining, ultimately guaranteeing our son sees whining as a good method to get what he wants. I'm really finding this difference in opinions on parenting styles when its patently obviously the 'softly-spoil-no hard rule' approach isn't working.  Also this lack of consistency undermines my stricter approach of no meaning no.

Otherwise his development is going well.  When he behaves well he loves his parent's - I can't get away from the day-care morning drop-off without accepting his offers of a kiss and hug.  The lack of sleep doesn't seem to be bothering him - he is full of energy and happy to go do day-care most mornings.  He also doesn't seem to be over-sleeping at nap times.  His spoken language is coming along in leaps and bounds and he loves have long descriptive conversations with me.  Counting and vocab such as colours, days and months are all good.  He is sleeping independently now in his own room after we get him asleep.  Toilet training, while not complete, is going well with most of the day in undies and only using nappies for sleeping.  We both use positive re-enforcement of good behaviours.  The day-care he goes to (Montessori based centre) does an absolutely wonderful job of providing a nurturing learning and development environment.

But even with all those good things, I'm dreading evenings because of lack of sleep, the constant fight to get any cooperation from him and the disagreements with my wife on how to approach the issue.

A key factor here seems that this bad behaviour only occurs at home, so it's likely the home environment and how we parent that has led us to this point.

We are are single income family so don't have much disposable income to access experts.  How do I get help?  How can I get an external opinion on our parenting techniques and feedback to improve?  I really feel we need to get someone to articulate good parenting so I can get my wife to consider whether her preferred method is a good approach or not.

While we always hear about the 'terrible twos', I feel this is a little bit beyond that.

*help*


tassi32
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Dozzer - 03/03/2017
My nearly 3 year old son is developing very poor behaviours and both myself and my wife are really struggling to manage him.  He can be the sweetest little angel when he wants to be but more often than not, at home especially, his behaviour is very bad.  Some examples:

* Over the last year, he has developed a habit of not sleeping until at least midnight.  We have tried everything including all lights out with the rest of the family sleeping in bed but he will still run amok until his energy is gone and then he will finally lie down and sleep quite quickly.  Some nights it's been getting to 3am in the morning before he will sleep.  His days are very active and full of activity.  Monday-Friday he is in day-care 9am-5pm.  So he is woken up at a regular time, has a regular routine and seldom naps for more than 1-1.5 hours during the day.

* At home his behaviour is getting very bad and oppositional to both of us.  Any normal routines like eating dinner, brushing teeth, putting on clothes after a bath/shower turn into hour long battles where he refuses to cooperate.  We've tried picking our times when to be strict and when to let things slide but that hasn't helped.  I've tried being more firm but also not seeing results from that.  I really don't want to smack him to get his attention but have resorted to that 3-5 times now when he's been aggressively physical with me such as kicking in the face, punching in the face, etc.  Strangely, when talking to his day-care centre they say he doesn't have any behaviour problems there.  Based on that advice it seems to only be at home.

* I'm more keen to draw lines in the sand and say 'no' whereas my wife is more lenient with him and doesn't like me being so firm.  She likes to bribe him with sweets and lollies to get him to cooperate but doesn't seem to understand this is setting us up for future pain - which I can already see : he is beginning to only want to eat sweet things at home and wants to avoid meals.  Whenever he whines, my wife prefers to please him to stop the whining, ultimately guaranteeing our son sees whining as a good method to get what he wants. I'm really finding this difference in opinions on parenting styles when its patently obviously the 'softly-spoil-no hard rule' approach isn't working.  Also this lack of consistency undermines my stricter approach of no meaning no.

Otherwise his development is going well.  When he behaves well he loves his parent's - I can't get away from the day-care morning drop-off without accepting his offers of a kiss and hug.  The lack of sleep doesn't seem to be bothering him - he is full of energy and happy to go do day-care most mornings.  He also doesn't seem to be over-sleeping at nap times.  His spoken language is coming along in leaps and bounds and he loves have long descriptive conversations with me.  Counting and vocab such as colours, days and months are all good.  He is sleeping independently now in his own room after we get him asleep.  Toilet training, while not complete, is going well with most of the day in undies and only using nappies for sleeping.  We both use positive re-enforcement of good behaviours.  The day-care he goes to (Montessori based centre) does an absolutely wonderful job of providing a nurturing learning and development environment.

But even with all those good things, I'm dreading evenings because of lack of sleep, the constant fight to get any cooperation from him and the disagreements with my wife on how to approach the issue.

A key factor here seems that this bad behaviour only occurs at home, so it's likely the home environment and how we parent that has led us to this point.

We are are single income family so don't have much disposable income to access experts.  How do I get help?  How can I get an external opinion on our parenting techniques and feedback to improve?  I really feel we need to get someone to articulate good parenting so I can get my wife to consider whether her preferred method is a good approach or not.

While we always hear about the 'terrible twos', I feel this is a little bit beyond that.

*help*


hi there, whilst i am not a parent, i have 10 years experience in childcare, working 8 out of those 10 years in a toddler room 2-3 years. i know that being a parent is extremely different then working with children during the day from 630am-630pm, but in saying that i do have a lot of experience working with toddlers and their challenging behaviours. i think thats actually why i chose to work in the toddlers room, because they have the most challenging behaviours, gotta love a challenge right. 
 i would suggest the first thing to do, is for both you and your wife to get on the same path as far as behavior management goes, showing a united front shows the child that he cant play dad and mom against one another. Agree on the strategy or discipline method and try very hard to stick to it. 
The other thing to think about is why is the behavior happening at home and not at childcare, maybe ask what behaviour strategies the childcare centre uses, or if they in fact have any strategies that you could implement in the home environment. Also with the no sleeping until late at night, maybe he could cut his sleep out at childcare, or limit it to 1hr if he does fall asleep. he is having a long and extremely busy day at childcare, perhaps if he didnt sleep during the day he may go down earlier of a night. 
i would maybe introduce a rewards chart for the routine jobs throughout the day. he gets to put the sticker on the chart, making the routine job a fun thing to do and the use of fun reinforements is a good way to encourage the jobs to get done. also recognising all the postiive behaviour he shows is a good way for him to continue in doing that behaviour. by telling him what a great job he did at brushing his teeth or putting his pjs on all by himself, encourages the behaviour, and gets him attention that he may have been craving. most of the time there is a reason behind the behaviour. 
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Dozzer - 03/03/2017
My nearly 3 year old son is developing very poor behaviours and both myself and my wife are really struggling to manage him.  He can be the sweetest little angel when he wants to be but more often than not, at home especially, his behaviour is very bad.  Some examples:

* Over the last year, he has developed a habit of not sleeping until at least midnight.  We have tried everything including all lights out with the rest of the family sleeping in bed but he will still run amok until his energy is gone and then he will finally lie down and sleep quite quickly.  Some nights it's been getting to 3am in the morning before he will sleep.  His days are very active and full of activity.  Monday-Friday he is in day-care 9am-5pm.  So he is woken up at a regular time, has a regular routine and seldom naps for more than 1-1.5 hours during the day.

* At home his behaviour is getting very bad and oppositional to both of us.  Any normal routines like eating dinner, brushing teeth, putting on clothes after a bath/shower turn into hour long battles where he refuses to cooperate.  We've tried picking our times when to be strict and when to let things slide but that hasn't helped.  I've tried being more firm but also not seeing results from that.  I really don't want to smack him to get his attention but have resorted to that 3-5 times now when he's been aggressively physical with me such as kicking in the face, punching in the face, etc.  Strangely, when talking to his day-care centre they say he doesn't have any behaviour problems there.  Based on that advice it seems to only be at home.

* I'm more keen to draw lines in the sand and say 'no' whereas my wife is more lenient with him and doesn't like me being so firm.  She likes to bribe him with sweets and lollies to get him to cooperate but doesn't seem to understand this is setting us up for future pain - which I can already see : he is beginning to only want to eat sweet things at home and wants to avoid meals.  Whenever he whines, my wife prefers to please him to stop the whining, ultimately guaranteeing our son sees whining as a good method to get what he wants. I'm really finding this difference in opinions on parenting styles when its patently obviously the 'softly-spoil-no hard rule' approach isn't working.  Also this lack of consistency undermines my stricter approach of no meaning no.

Otherwise his development is going well.  When he behaves well he loves his parent's - I can't get away from the day-care morning drop-off without accepting his offers of a kiss and hug.  The lack of sleep doesn't seem to be bothering him - he is full of energy and happy to go do day-care most mornings.  He also doesn't seem to be over-sleeping at nap times.  His spoken language is coming along in leaps and bounds and he loves have long descriptive conversations with me.  Counting and vocab such as colours, days and months are all good.  He is sleeping independently now in his own room after we get him asleep.  Toilet training, while not complete, is going well with most of the day in undies and only using nappies for sleeping.  We both use positive re-enforcement of good behaviours.  The day-care he goes to (Montessori based centre) does an absolutely wonderful job of providing a nurturing learning and development environment.

But even with all those good things, I'm dreading evenings because of lack of sleep, the constant fight to get any cooperation from him and the disagreements with my wife on how to approach the issue.

A key factor here seems that this bad behaviour only occurs at home, so it's likely the home environment and how we parent that has led us to this point.

We are are single income family so don't have much disposable income to access experts.  How do I get help?  How can I get an external opinion on our parenting techniques and feedback to improve?  I really feel we need to get someone to articulate good parenting so I can get my wife to consider whether her preferred method is a good approach or not.

While we always hear about the 'terrible twos', I feel this is a little bit beyond that.

*help*


Dozzer - I think every parent everywhere can share in the frustrations you have.  I don't want to cite everything in your post.  every parent, kid, style, etc is different but in GENERAL - my wife and I (at her urging) embarked on something called gentle parenting.  our little girl is almost 4 and our little guy almost 2.  we co-sleep.  me with my girl.  wife with the little  guy.  that's the start of it.  you can look up the benefits of co-sleeping on line.  in terms of the day-to-day behavior... gentle parenting is HARD.  I sense it will be hard for you.... as it was for me... but the reward is in the response your child will eventually have from it.  I would spend some time and look up: www.handinhandparenting.com and www.janetlansbury.com to get the professional low-down on how to begin. 

I come from a family of REALLY BAD TEMPERS.  This was more evident in our little girl - and perhaps worse so than your little one.  Patience, listening, verbage and response that these 2 sites will offer was VERY hard for me to adopt but now on the other side of it, it has become second nature.  has helped to create two mature, well adjusted and highly sensitive emotional children with the ability to articulate feelings and adjust their own behavior.

liken this to a work out... especially if you never have.  its going to SOUND AWESOME.  its going to be REALLY HARD to adopt.  with self discipline, you will see the results.  I promise.

 

melc25
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tassi32 - 08/03/2017
Dozzer - 03/03/2017
My nearly 3 year old son is developing very poor behaviours and both myself and my wife are really struggling to manage him.  He can be the sweetest little angel when he wants to be but more often than not, at home especially, his behaviour is very bad.  Some examples:

* Over the last year, he has developed a habit of not sleeping until at least midnight.  We have tried everything including all lights out with the rest of the family sleeping in bed but he will still run amok until his energy is gone and then he will finally lie down and sleep quite quickly.  Some nights it's been getting to 3am in the morning before he will sleep.  His days are very active and full of activity.  Monday-Friday he is in day-care 9am-5pm.  So he is woken up at a regular time, has a regular routine and seldom naps for more than 1-1.5 hours during the day.

* At home his behaviour is getting very bad and oppositional to both of us.  Any normal routines like eating dinner, brushing teeth, putting on clothes after a bath/shower turn into hour long battles where he refuses to cooperate.  We've tried picking our times when to be strict and when to let things slide but that hasn't helped.  I've tried being more firm but also not seeing results from that.  I really don't want to smack him to get his attention but have resorted to that 3-5 times now when he's been aggressively physical with me such as kicking in the face, punching in the face, etc.  Strangely, when talking to his day-care centre they say he doesn't have any behaviour problems there.  Based on that advice it seems to only be at home.

* I'm more keen to draw lines in the sand and say 'no' whereas my wife is more lenient with him and doesn't like me being so firm.  She likes to bribe him with sweets and lollies to get him to cooperate but doesn't seem to understand this is setting us up for future pain - which I can already see : he is beginning to only want to eat sweet things at home and wants to avoid meals.  Whenever he whines, my wife prefers to please him to stop the whining, ultimately guaranteeing our son sees whining as a good method to get what he wants. I'm really finding this difference in opinions on parenting styles when its patently obviously the 'softly-spoil-no hard rule' approach isn't working.  Also this lack of consistency undermines my stricter approach of no meaning no.

Otherwise his development is going well.  When he behaves well he loves his parent's - I can't get away from the day-care morning drop-off without accepting his offers of a kiss and hug.  The lack of sleep doesn't seem to be bothering him - he is full of energy and happy to go do day-care most mornings.  He also doesn't seem to be over-sleeping at nap times.  His spoken language is coming along in leaps and bounds and he loves have long descriptive conversations with me.  Counting and vocab such as colours, days and months are all good.  He is sleeping independently now in his own room after we get him asleep.  Toilet training, while not complete, is going well with most of the day in undies and only using nappies for sleeping.  We both use positive re-enforcement of good behaviours.  The day-care he goes to (Montessori based centre) does an absolutely wonderful job of providing a nurturing learning and development environment.

But even with all those good things, I'm dreading evenings because of lack of sleep, the constant fight to get any cooperation from him and the disagreements with my wife on how to approach the issue.

A key factor here seems that this bad behaviour only occurs at home, so it's likely the home environment and how we parent that has led us to this point.

We are are single income family so don't have much disposable income to access experts.  How do I get help?  How can I get an external opinion on our parenting techniques and feedback to improve?  I really feel we need to get someone to articulate good parenting so I can get my wife to consider whether her preferred method is a good approach or not.

While we always hear about the 'terrible twos', I feel this is a little bit beyond that.

*help*


hi there, whilst i am not a parent, i have 10 years experience in childcare, working 8 out of those 10 years in a toddler room 2-3 years. i know that being a parent is extremely different then working with children during the day from 630am-630pm, but in saying that i do have a lot of experience working with toddlers and their challenging behaviours. i think thats actually why i chose to work in the toddlers room, because they have the most challenging behaviours, gotta love a challenge right. 
 i would suggest the first thing to do, is for both you and your wife to get on the same path as far as behavior management goes, showing a united front shows the child that he cant play dad and mom against one another. Agree on the strategy or discipline method and try very hard to stick to it. 
The other thing to think about is why is the behavior happening at home and not at childcare, maybe ask what behaviour strategies the childcare centre uses, or if they in fact have any strategies that you could implement in the home environment. Also with the no sleeping until late at night, maybe he could cut his sleep out at childcare, or limit it to 1hr if he does fall asleep. he is having a long and extremely busy day at childcare, perhaps if he didnt sleep during the day he may go down earlier of a night. 
i would maybe introduce a rewards chart for the routine jobs throughout the day. he gets to put the sticker on the chart, making the routine job a fun thing to do and the use of fun reinforements is a good way to encourage the jobs to get done. also recognising all the postiive behaviour he shows is a good way for him to continue in doing that behaviour. by telling him what a great job he did at brushing his teeth or putting his pjs on all by himself, encourages the behaviour, and gets him attention that he may have been craving. most of the time there is a reason behind the behaviour. 

Hi, 
I agree with the above regarding consistency. Consistency is required. Children need to know what to expect. It helps them to feel safe and secure. Be prepared for his behaviour to escalate as he tries ever harder to get his way. When he realises that he won't get his way his behaviour will de-escalate. However, if there is even one moment of inconsistency, his behaviour will escalate again and will take even longer to de-escalate this time as he will believe that he will get his way eventually. 

If you are not sure why the behaviour is occurring only at home then I suggest taking notes. For instance, fill in an ABC chart. Column A= antecedent (what happened before behaviour, such as saying 'no' to a request for lollies). Column B= behaviour (what behaviour did you observe, such as kicking). Column C= consequence (what happened afterwards, such as punishment for the kicking). This will help you identify what triggers the behaviour. Also note down what time it happens and how long the behaviour occurs for. Do this for 1 week then see if you can identify patterns, for instance, it almost always happens after you have said no and your son knows he can get his way anyway. Once you identify any patterns, you put in place a plan. For instance, when you see 'good' behaviour (quietly reading etc) without it being a battle for him to be engaging in that behaviour, praise him. Provide him with positive reinforcement (your attention) whenever he is doing something well. You could pair your attention with a small treat and then gradually phase that out but that might be problematic. 

Does he get enough attention at home or does he engage in this behaviour because he doesn't get enough? Maybe he is exhausted after child care? Lack of sleep can cause children to be unable to sleep. Conversely, maybe he doesn't need to nap during the day and he is not tired at night. If he is not tired, perhaps you can set up quiet reading, drawing etc in his bedroom with a dim light at night. He can (hopefully) get himself to bed when he is tired without engaging in aggression etc. 

Do you provide options? Such as him choosing which pyjamas he wears, when he brushes his teeth (before bath or afterwards), which bowl/cup he would like to use etc. These options are not problematic for you but would provide him with a sense of control. Could he be entrusted as a helper? Eg. helping with dinner preparation (washing the vegies, cracking an egg, stirring etc). I know Montessori education centres promote independence in children so perhaps he feels independent whilst in care but when he gets home he feels he is not trusted. 

Does he have any winding down/relaxation time before bed? Eg. TV off, other devices off, quiet activity time (reading, drawing, cuddling with mum or dad etc). 

As a side note: whining is actually seen as a sign of intelligence in children. 

Hope this helps!


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