Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Help!!! The Terrible 2's have returned!!!

So... I will start off this post for a request for any/all advice, words of wisdom, etc. Adam has reached a new stage of "The Terrible 2s". I actually read that this isn't too uncommon when kids actually hit 2.5 which he did a few weeks ago. In general, Adam is the most amazing little guy. Seriously. I know I'm the Mama and all, but he's a pretty cool kid. He's sweet, smart, lively, hilarious, fun, etc. He's the best. Now, that being said... he can also be very *challenging* at times. In a nutshell, Adam knows what he wants... and doesn't take "no" for an answer (or without a complete meltdown). Fortunately, at school, he's pretty manageable (or at least he has been... I SO HOPE I DIDN'T JUST JINX THIS!!!). Miss Lucette said last week that he's doing great... sometimes has trouble sharing.. but that's not uncommon with kids his age. She didn't seem that distressed about it so I wasn't either. Until yesterday. We were at a Halloween playdate with Adam's old buddies: Tomas, Addie, Asha, Benjamin & Nathan. At first, all went well and Adam enjoyed decorating pumpkins with his buddies:

For the first 2 hours that we were at Addie's house, he was pretty well behaved... some grabbing of toys/not sharing, but nothing too extreme & it seemed like all the kiddos were having this issue. Then, all of a sudden, Adam lost it. I was enjoying Stacey's baby shower (as part of our brunch/pumpkin playdate) and walked in the room to find Adam hitting Benjamin. Be still my heart. It seemed like Benjamin had a fire truck that Adam wanted and when he didn't give it to Adam, Adam hit him. OMG. Before I could even get to him, he went up to Nathan and tried to get his green truck. When Nathan didn't give it up easily, Adam pushed him. That was it... Adam said he was "sorry" without prompting (I guess my face said it all) and I packed up to go... but not before Adam went up to Asha and took the chalk out of her hands. Can you hear my loud sighs over the internet??? I was MORTIFIED and so very angry that Adam was acting this way!!! I'm a counselor, for goodness sake!!! (Deep breath). I realized once we got in the car that all Adam had to eat that day was 2 apple slices & chocolate milk (he was too excited at the playdate to eat). He devoured a bagel in the car. So I'm thinking hunger was probably a cause of his terror... but still. It's been 36 hours since the playdate and I'm STILL upset about it. We went to the library today for a class and he was great... until the end... when he, once again, hit somebody because "I wanted the bubbles".

Please, my lovely readers, any words of wisdom would be wonderful. I'm thinking of adopting a "Zero Tolerance" rule for aggression... as in, pack up and leave immediately. Any thoughts on that? Also, if you -- or anyone you know -- has gone through this, please do tell. Knowing that I'm not alone in this really helps. Of course I hit the Internet and the bookstore last night, reading article after article on toddler/preschooler aggression. Yes, I realize that this isn't too uncommon but when it's YOUR kid being aggessive... well, it's just so upsetting. Especially since Adam really IS such a sweetheart... usually. See?


McTriplet Mommy said...

Beth - I have some alarming news... you have a 2-1/2-year-old boy. They hit. They scream. They throw themselves on the floor and flail around while screaming because you deny them chocolate milk over white milk or because they (clearly) wanted the green shirt not the red one. They all do. It's being 2. :)

We had the same problem with Sullivan except that he never, ever did it at school/church/playdates EXCEPT with his brothers. (His teacher actually chuckled while telling me calmly how great he was at school and how she literally couldn't even IMAGINE him acting like that when I went in in tears one time asking for advice on how to treat his behavior!!)

I think a "zero tolerance policy" is fine - but don't punish the rest of the family! If zero tolerance is removing him from the situation immediately and putting him in time-out - great. If it means you miss out on a baby shower (or A gets exactly what he wants and gets to leave a situation he doesn't want to be in) it's not worth it!

Hang in there. I seriously can't tell you how much fun four (and I'm hoping five!!) is. At 2-3 (okay 2-3.75 or so...) I cried almost every day - I just couldn't take the stress.

Hang in there!!

E, SS and the Little Man said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone. This age is proving to be harder than 18 mos to 24 mos. Ugh!!

I'd agree with McTriplet Mommy that a time-out might help the behavior. If you're at someone's house, maybe a separate room so he's not around the other kids. We have given Teo time-outs at others' homes, and also at a play cafe (I took him to the tables outside).

It's so embarrassing when they act out in public. Sorry. I'm sure hunger had a lot to do with it. Teo gets extra beasty when he's hungry. I can't wait for the day when they can just tell us that they're hungry before becoming holy terrors. :)

Sarah said...

Ohhh, I do not look forward to that!!! I agree with the others, I think that it's normal behavior, but it must suck when it's YOUR kid who's hitting (or yours that's getting hit!) Try the time out thing, becuase I think you're going to end up leaving a lot of events early if you continue the 'pack-up-and-leave'. Good luck, and ((HUGS)) from me!

Nita said...

I'm in the cool 18-24 mos range and I do not like it in the least! I too would be mortified! You never want to be the Mom of "that" kid but it sounds like every kid is "that" kid.

I have put Ricky in time out a couple times and he loathes it. I think Adam is certainly old enough to understand why he is being punished. If I hear any awesome advice I will pass it your way. My biggest challenge right now is to not discipline him while I am angry just to make sure I am doing it for the right reasons.

{{Hugs}} Good luck!

Wendy and Karen said...

Hey Beth, I've been thinking of you and this post all week. My heart just went out to you as I was reading this.

I think time-outs are the way to discipline bad behavior but I had another thought as well. You could teach him a sentence like, "I must never hit" or something like that.

As I've been potty training Kylie, it's been so frustrating at times and I find myself thinking, "Am I getting through to her at all? Does she understand?" So we have this little mantra. I'll say, "Where does poop go Kylie?" and she'll reply, "In the potty." And a part of me will relax when I hear her. Because I know that many times, in order for her to understand something, she needs to say it out loud. Many times, just her saying this will get her talking about how she was busy or something. And then we are having a conversation instead of me just lecturing over her head.

Does this make sense? Each child is so very different which is beautiful and also frustrating because there are hundreds of techniques and solutions to choose from. Anyway, I hope this gives you a different slant on it and is a bit helpful.

Take care of yourself,