Wednesday, July 18, 2012

confessions of a new mom {tantrums}

I want to start off this post by giving a little disclaimer.  I always hesitate to blog about anything parenting related.  I am a new mom, and with that comes lots of joys.  There are also lots of struggles I face and I often wonder if I am the only one facing these battles.  Luckily, I have 3 great friends that have boys the same age, so I know I'm not alone.  However, I still get this churning in my stomach when I think about publicly displaying my struggles.  I'm worried people will judge me and think less of me.  I'm worried that people will comment or say things that I honestly don't care to hear.  I'm worried that there will be that one mom that says.."I can't believe your child is doing that, my child would never do anything like that."  Trust me, they are out there.  As much as I hesitate to put my thoughts out there, I occasionally decide to do it.  I am an avid blog reader.  I love reading blogs of other moms that often struggle with the same things I do.  I don't want to read blogs of moms who think they have it all figured out.  That's not the kind of mom I am and I just can't relate.  I want to hear the true struggles and triumphs of motherhood.  

Kason has been challenging lately.  Don't get me wrong, I am SO thankful that  I get to spend my days with him.  I cannot imagine starting school again next week and working full time again.  As sad as I get about not getting to have my own classroom this year, I still don't regret my decision even on the worst day.  That being said, I am fairly certain we have entered the terrible twos early.  Call me naive (or dumb) but I had no idea the tantrums started this early.  Holy cow!  I'm talking, hitting-mommy-because-I'm-so-mad-tantrums.  It seems that every time he doesn't get his way he loses it.  The hardest part about this is figuring out how to help him understand what is appropriate behavior and what isn't.  This is where I am at a loss.

I think that this age is hard because when Kason does something I know is wrong (i.e. throws food, hits me or someone else, throws a toy at another child's head, etc.) it's hard to figure out how to let him know that his actions aren't right for the situation.  Developmentally, he is too young to understand time-out.  If he throws food on the floor I've tried tapping his hand and saying "no" but he them just taps (slaps) me back.  It used to be that I could firmly tell him "no" and remove him from the situation.  He would then move on to something else and forget all about his previous activity.  Nowadays if I remove him, it seems he often goes right back and does the same thing I just asked him not to do.  I don't want him to think that inappropriate behavior is ok, but at the same time, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to communicate that to him.  I know he knows what "no" means, he is just being a little defiant and ignoring me.  I don't know where he gets that. :)

I feel like I'm just rambling, but I hope you get the picture.  I just want to find a way to communicate to him that when he does something inappropriate, he needs to not do it again.  It seems that each day this struggle becomes greater and the amount of "no-nos" he does grows. I hope that each day he begins to understand why I am saying no and that it is only out of love. I'm hoping by asking for help, you can let me know what worked well for your little ones at this age.  I know that everything I'm doing is shaping and molding Kason, so I think that is why this stresses me out so much.  Do I just ignore tantrums?  Do I just tell him "no" over and over again when he is doing something wrong?  What do I do when he throws a fit and hits me?  Ugh, I'm a parenting disaster.  The only thing I know to do is pray.  I pray a lot for guidance.  A lot.  My doctor also assured me that this behavior is completely normal.  Yep, I'm "that mom" that asks the doctor every question under the sun. 

One last thing before I end - I wrote this post in hopes of advice, or in hopes of letting someone else that's going through it be assured they are not alone.  I did not write it to hear "Oh just wait until....".  I am well aware that these behaviors are minor compared to what the future holds.  This is the season of life I'm in right now and that last thing I want to hear is "Oh just wait....".  I know that Kason is going to give me a run for my money.  He has a spit fire personality and I absolutely love that about him.  It will make him grow to be a strong willed person who will be able to stand firmly for what he believes in.  There will be many more tantrums and struggles in the future, but I'm glad God chose me to be the one that to help him through them, to teach him, if you will.  God is teaching me so much through this little person and I am so thankful for that.


  1. I just want to start with - I love reading your blog posts! You are so incredibly honest, open and inspiring! Although I view "life from afar" as a "blog reader" I can see and know that you are a wonderful mother, wife, friend, etc!

    With that being's my little tid-bit of advice. Take it or leave it, it's what sometimes works for me! (And believe's a game you just keep learning the rules think you have one thing figured out and it totally changes!) I started using time-outs with my kiddos when they were starting to talk/walking - roughly 16-20 months old. I use the rule of thumb - 1 minute in time out per year you are old. So at that point they were a measly 60 second time out. And at that age, it was like putting myself in a time-out too. I sat them on the couch and sat right next to them. Then I explained that they were in a time-out, set a timer for one minute and when the timer went off we talked about what the time out was for...ex. "You are not allowed to hit people. That hurt Mommy when you hit me and I did not like it." I would always reassure them with "I want you to know that Mommy loves you. I don't like it when you hit me, but I will always love you." As they've gotten older I've expanded that so they know that I will ALWAYS love them...but I do not love the behavior they are exhibiting.

    Wow! That was really long-winded and such a silly little thing I did, but I hope it helps you as you figure out what the appropriate way for you to teach Kason is. Every parent and every child are different...but hopefully you'll get lots of tips and ideas in response to your post and you'll be able to sift through them to find what works for your family! :)

  2. One thing to try when the tantrums start is to remove the audience, which is you! If you are somewhere where you can, walk away and say something like "Mommy can't talk to you when you are screaming". he is trying to get your attention in his own unsophisticated way. If you don't give him the attention he wants, he may stop. If you keep it up for a while, he may begin to realize that the tantrum isn't a good strategy.

    What works great for one mom doesn't always work for the next, so be willing to try different things and see what happens! Good luck Kelli!

  3. You are such a sweet and loving mommy to Kason. It is a joy to follow your life with him. I agree that every child is different, and what works for one won't necessarily work for another. I thought I had things figured out because we had already raised Ted. So when my three littlest ones came along, I was blindsided because I realized (and still do! :) that they are so different and what worked with Ted won't always work with them. Yikes! It was kind of a shock! Ask Ted! :)

    The thing that I have found that does work the best for us is to be consistent. That is so hard on those days when they are testing, testing, testing. I know what you mean about always saying, "No, no, no," all day long. When I look at them in their beds asleep at night after some of those "No" days, it makes me teary to think of the day we had and how very sweet they look fast asleep. But eventually if I stay consistent in the boundaries I put on them and follow through with whatever discipline works for them, they will stop that particular behavior.

    Time outs work for us. Also, sometimes the days I feel they are acting out the most is the time they need the most hugs (not hugs for bad behavior, but hugs between the bad behavior). Now if I would only remember that on those hard days, everyone at my house would benefit! ha, ha! Humor and diverting their attention when they were younger would work at times, too. Kevin shared with me a long time ago what he would do in teaching that made such a huge positive impact was to go back and explain behavior and good choices and how much you cared about them after the explosive behavior was over. I saw that advice in the previous comments, too, and it is a good one.

    Eventually my littles get it about not doing a particular behavior. Of course, sometimes by then I have felt like pulling my hair out in frustration, but eventually we see change!

    thanks for blogging about these topics. All parents deal with these issues, and it is good to see what other people do and what works for them.


  4. You are totally normal and so is kason!!! I hope that makes you feel better. Every child is different and like kason, ivy was a strong willed child and started the 2's early. (maybe it is a first child thing- who knows??) we started time out at 14 months and have always stuck to the number of time out min being equal to age. It can be tired and draining but consistency is key. In retrospect- I wish I would have focused on 1 behavior at a time. It was overwhelming to try to correct little things (like touching the tv) when we had big issues (hitting). If I could redo I would try to ignore when I could ignore, next remove and distract, and save those early time outs for the big things. Good Luck on this stage of your parent journey- we have all been there!!! I promise!!!!

  5. Kelly you're so great. We all go through it! It's what makes us better moms in the end. So I used time out starting at 10 months old. I read it in a parenting book and thought it was crazy, but it worked. I picked the behavior that bugged me the most and focused only on that. At the time it was throwing foodon the floor. When she did I picked her up and out her in her crib for a minute. I made it super different then when I put her to bed. No hugs or kisses. No talking except to say "no throwing food" and then I left the room and left the door open since it is usually shut when she sleeps. I was worried she would think of her bed as a punishment but she didn't. She knew something was different It took nimbler of times before she put two and two together, but she did even at 10 months.

    Also you are going to see some more behaviors because he is at an age where he is starting to understand more and have mire opinions, but can't express them yet which is super frustrating for him. I know it's hard. If being a parent was easy then you wouldn't be doing it right :).

  6. Thanks for all of your help! It's so reassuring to know that I am not alone and that others have been right where we are. I think I will start trying the time-out thing. Kason was much happier and less defiant today. He must have heard the I blogged about his behavior! :)