Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - "The one where ....."

Taming the Goblin

It's the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts, old or new, anecdote or treasured tips, happy, sad, good or bad. Please don't link kids activities, they can be linked to the kids coop.
(Goblin is 43 months)
Goblin has been testing the boundaries recently and I have to admit its probably the hardest period of parenting I've gone through so far. He is utterly delightful as long as he is getting his own way and doing what he wants to do, but the second you ask him to do something - even if its putting his shoes on so you can take him to an activity he has asked to do - he will start screaming "no", throwing himself on the floor, kicking, hitting, bellowing. Well wow! There was me thinking smugly that Goblin's two year old tantrums had been rather mild, when actually they just hadn't fully arrived - he was obviously a late bloomer in the full mega meltdown stakes.

I feel slightly out of my depth as to what to do with him. I've read lots of Positive Parenting books and follow all the blogs. I know the theory and on a good day I can put it into practice.
On a good day I can stay entirely calm while he is having a tantrum, but it doesn't seem to actually make a difference. He still has it and it still lasts a long time. At least I have learnt not to worry about what other people think, so I can quite comfortably sit on the floor in a shop while Goblin screams hysterically and rolls himself about on the floor because I won't buy him yet another Hot Wheels. When I feel the tantrum might be abating I offer a cuddle, which sometimes sends him back to screaming, but sometimes calms him and allows us to move forward. So that's what I do on a good day when I am able to implement my Positive Parenting ideals.

But here is what I did the other day when I entirely failed to use positive parenting techniques.
Goblin had taken over an hour to get his clothes on. I had known it would take a while so I'd got started early. We needed to leave the house at 10am to get to the farm where we were meeting friends. After an hour of him failing to get dressed while messing about down stairs I kinda lost the plot. I grabbed him and carried him under my arm to his room where I threw his clothes in and shut the door yelling "You can come out once you are dressed". I then stomped off to my room where I tried to calm myself down.

To my amazement he got dressed really quickly - which actually only served to irritate me as I'd been trying for an hour to help him. But he then refused to leave the house. He said he didn't want to go to the farm, he wanted to go to the steam trains instead. I agreed to check to see if they were running. When I checked on line they weren't running. I tried to explain this to Goblin and was met with "yes they are".
Well what do I do with that? 
"No Goblin I checked, they aren't running, we can go tomorrow" his response "Yes they are running" Scream, shout, hit.
Not knowing what to do I told him to go to his room to calm down. I hate the idea of sending a child to their room. It feels wrong to me on so many levels - first because its where they sleep and I don't want sleep associated with punishment, second because I don't think kids are good at calming down on their own, I feel 'time in' is better than 'time out'. But to be honest I was losing any patience I had. All my knowledge of what positive parenting solutions I should use where out weighed by the fact that I couldn't calm down. It was better for the both of us to be apart.

Goblin went to his room and when I felt I'd calmed down I went to find him to try once again to explain that we couldn't go to the trains but we could go and see his friends at the farm. I knew if we didn't go to the farm he'd ask in the afternoon and then get upset when I told him we'd missed it.
But I was met by more screaming that the trains were open.
I went and sat at the top of the stairs and sobbed. I was out of ideas. I don't want to fight with my child. I don't want to scream and shout but sometimes I get worn down and 8am is not the best time for me even on a good day.
Eventually I decided my only option was to be tough and stop offering choices. I went and picked him up and informed him we were going to the farm. "You are three, you don't get to dictate what we do".
He shouted and fought as I marched to the car.
By the time we were half way to the farm he'd calmed down, I'd calmed down, we'd both said sorry and we had a lovely morning at the farm. 
But it didn't last long. The afternoon was pretty much more of the same.
Why does it have to be this hard?
My top five from last week are

And now to the linky


  1. Trust me, we ALL have parenting moments like this. I remember the first time I yelled at my son - he was only about 22 months old and I had just come off a 3 week vacation - 2 of which were spent without the help/support of my husband and then I returned home to another week of single-parenting because hubs was on a work trip to Germany. I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. I yelled. And the look on his face was enough to tell me that I never wanted to look like that in the eyes of my child again. I STILL feel guilty about it and I've had bad moments since then. Remember to take time for yourself. I also find it helpful to tell my son that I need a break, it helps him understand how to handle his emotions, I'll say, "I'm starting to get really angry now, so I'm going to my room to calm down, I'll be back in a few minutes." You may say it while fuming and clenching teeth, but it's still getting a positive message across. Good luck and hang in there, Mama!

  2. Your not the only one, trust me!!! In my eyes it shows that you are a good mum because you care about what has happened.
    Not to be unpopular but I don't believe in parenting books which "tell you" how to raise your children. One thing which I have learnt with my children is every child is different and to an extent need to be treated differently. When my eldest is having a temper tantrum I send him to sit on the stairs or send him to his room as the only way he can calm down is to completely remove him from the situation and leave him to calm himself down, otherwise it will just go on and on. With my second child there is no set rule with her (unfortunately) as sometimes she will have a temper tantrum just because she wants one!!! I have been known to do everything from cuddle her tightly to ignore or shout at her. The only time I ignore or shout at her is when I think its the best thing to do, as sometimes she does them just to be spiteful to her sister!!!
    My point is what you did, even tho it was done in annoyance might still have been the best thing, sometimes children need to know that something is going to happen no matter what.

  3. Christopher also had more tantrams at three then two... I have been thier and am sure I will be again one day. I also don't use time outs much but in a case like this it is SAFE and no one gets more angry or hurt which is the best we can ask for in times like these.I am impressed that you have the temperment to even allow goblin dress himself on a day when you have plans.. I still dont allow that at 4 It is just toooo time consumeing..Christopher has also had meltdowns this year but they seem related to not eating when our family dose and getting hungery and tired all at once.YOU DID NOT Fail at all... you did just fine.. We all have a limit.. to what we can handle and sometimes is in the best intrest of everyone ( includeing the shoppers at the grocery if we remove the child to a quite place so that we and them can regain some balance) I have left full carts of food in isles and headed to the car to sit a tanram out. It also help me not feel the eyes of the world on my back as Christopher screamed and cried.He was safe in a car seat and I was deep breathing in the front... the time out was for us both and with in a few moments we were fine and He learned that a tantram was not a effective way to get what he wanted... that he was not able to use those tools to get his way.. I hope you are feeling better and keep up the great Job!We mom are to hard on ourselves and need time outs too!

  4. I have so many moments and days like this lately with J. I too try to stay positive and talk instead of punish. However, since J has turned 3, it's been more difficult to be the kind of parent I want to be. He used to be so easy and would listen to my requests of him. Lately, he's been refusing more and becoming more emotional. I try to stay calm and patient but sometimes it's hard, especially when I'm tired, stressed, or in a hurry. I can totally relate to you sitting on the stairs crying...I've cried in my bathroom on more than one occasion. I always try to be honest about my feelings and am quick to apologize. I have made many mistakes, and will continue to do so. I am ever so grateful for his kind, forgiving heart.

    Stay strong, Mamma! I love reading about your thoughts on parenting and how you (and Hublet) are always trying to be the best parents you can be.

  5. We all have been there. Big hugs, Mama.

  6. My personal take away is that we can't parent like the kids are the only people in the equation. We grown-ups have good days and bad days too. Our feelings get hurt. We get mad. Sometimes we can ignore our own deals (we're adults after all) but not always. So to me parents need "time outs" or "quiet time" or whatever too, to calm down before doing or saying something we'll regret, just hopefully not as often as our little people.

  7. Oh poor you. My daughter is just a few months younger than Goblin and we also struggled big time with the getting dressed / getting ready to go out thing. I now just "cheat" - I know there is no way I can make getting washed and dressed the first thing we do when we get up, (however much I would like it to be), and that trying to get back upstairs after breakfast is as bad. So I now keep morning wash stuff in the downstairs cloakroom and bring the clothes downstairs so washing and dressing happens downstairs seconds away from whatever activity cannot possibly be stopped to get dressed. Hair is brushed in front of Charlie & Lola / Ben & Holly etc. Not exactly positive parenting. Not exactly what I would like to happen. But it kind of works xxx

  8. awww... sweet girl. we, too are going through this. it's so comforting to hear that i'm not the only one. i'm having to deal with family/friends telling me that it's all due to my AP style and letting him have too wide of limits.... it's utterly frustrating. i wish i could offer something that didn't sound cliche or trite. i lose it at times too. but i think that how i deal with it afterwards tells my son alot. i explain to him why i lost it and how i felt. i apologize, then we hug it out.

  9. So hard and what a beautifully honest post. I think it's hard when you feel like you are doing everything that you can and it feels like it isn't working. Two things about that: 1) it IS working most of the time 2) some things are just out of our control and have nothing to do with what we do or don't do. I also feel like it's ok to butt heads with your child sometimes. It's unrealistic to think that you won't and that's just how the world is sometimes. It's good that children learn that we don't always agree and get along. The other thing that is good to learn is how to make up and repair the relationship when it has momentarily gone awry. You did this, so brava, Mama!

    And, thanks for the feature! I'm glad my post made you laugh! :)

  10. Im sorry its tough at the moment, we've all been there, I have far too many parenting moments im not proud of. But, I do find that behaviour goes in seasons and im sure youll be in for a good spell soon.

  11. I'm right there with you with my little Pie! His current thing is to want something, like, say, another piece of bologna...when I tell him he just ate the last piece, he cries and whines as if his crying will make more bologna magically appear. Ugh. It's exhausting.

  12. I have so been there, Mama! Heck I AM there! But mine are 4 and 6. Still similar defiance and tantrums and a frustrated mama. I, too, found that the 3's were much worse than the "terrible" twos. No great advice from me; just a "hand in there" and an "I understand!"


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