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When you're at the end of your tether

How can you reign yourself in?
I've become quite adept at being able to retain clarity and calmness during conflict, but I'm being severely tested by a two-year-old who is aiming for total household dominance. I often remind myself that everything is a lesson in patience, as that's something I truly believe, and that's usually pretty successful in calming me down. But lately I find my fuse is getting shorter and shorter.
Any helpful tips on how I can remain as calm as possible during the Great Toddler Temper Tantrums?

CromeYellow

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I feel for you. I think you will enjoy reading this - and hope it can help you:

    https://www.parenting.com/article/terrible-twos-myth

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There's a reason they call it "The Terrible Twos".
    It is around this time that children gain a knowledge of separation and spatial awareness. Up to now, everything that has happened to them, has been implemented by a grown-up. Everything they have needed, or wanted, has been provided for them. One cry, one whimper, and there has been someone there to attend to them.
    Now, they suddenly realise the reality of detachment, in the physical sense. He - or she, I will say 'he' for the sake of convenience, and lgnorance of the child's gender - sees that in fact, there is a separation between him and the adult(s) and that in fact, they are not joined to him or a constant presence, there for his convenience. This sets up an unconscious panic mode, and the child attempts to control the separation by demanding attention, in whichever way they can, however disruptive it is. It's attention, in whichever way he can get it.

    Reward the good, ignore the bad.
    Set up a quiet corner. The moment the child gets out of hand, do whatever it takes to keep your calm, and put him there, until he calms down. It can be in the same room, or certainly within eye-shot - but keep your voice calm, your movements firm but not fighting (in other words, place, don't 'manhandle', if you see what I mean) and insist he stay in that place until he has calmed down.
    Try to not yell. That just reinforces their loss of control, and makes them 'panic' more.

    To begin with, you will need the persistence and patience of a whole host of saints, but at one point, it will work.

    @silver's article is good, and in fact, it confirms what I have just written.
    At teo, they're fully mobile - so therein lies this realisation of 'you and me'.

    And praising good behaviour is vital, to make them see what they need to do to get positive results.

    Hang in there - this too, shall pass!

    BunksJeffreyelizabetlilianKaydeekay
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @elizabetlilian welcome to newbuddhist :)

    When it comes to dealing with a child's mood swings/tantrums ....there's no magic bullet...Like all things Dharma, one must focus on one's own reactions, thoughts and feelings regarding the situation...Understanding/exploring the so-called self and its aversions & desires one can (so I gather) help one find an antidote to adverse feelings that tend to arise from within...

    Also "this" (not quite Buddhist) technique maybe of some help in bringing mind & body back into the present moment...

    Or you may want to explore mindfulness in more depth...

    May you and your family be well... :)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    That 'not quite Buddhist' minute meditation, is just about as Buddhist as you can get, @Shoshin !
    Lovely little video!

    Shoshinlobster
  • @silver Thanks so much for that article. It's spot on! Two year olds are so much fun, especially watching him grow and reaching new levels of autonomy and independence, but when it's 3am and that independence is making him want to run around the house screaming, it's not so fun :(

  • Thank you so much @federica This is all so encouraging. We've tried 'time outs' in his room when he gets too aggressive but he ends up trashing his room. Might have to try a quiet corner where I can still see him. And that advice about yelling is so helpful too. I can see when I yell it just makes it worse, and the situation just snowballs. It's completely counteractive, but I still struggle not to yell sometimes even knowing this!

    Bunks
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    It is a tough gig @elizabetlilian. It may not be that helpful to you but it does get easier.....

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    As others have already mentioned...Tomorrow's another day...A day perhaps when because 'of' your two year old, you're now overflowing with love, affection & the joys of parenthood and just can't get enough of him/her...

    There will be many days like this to come...along with the 'other' days...

    Welcome to parenthood :)

    If I knew back then what I know now...with Dharma tools to help tame/train the mind, child rearing would still at times have been difficult, but a lot less stressful....ie, not so much of a 'self' involvement... trying to call the shots...wanting things to be different from what they are.

    No doubt in years to come you too will be dishing out similar advice to those who find themselves in the position you're in now....


  • @Bunks On the contrary, knowing it does get easier is very, very helpful! This is just a season of life and I know I'll miss it once it's gone. Now if only I could remember that during the meltdowns!

    Bunks
  • @Shoshin Thank you so much for such insightful advice. I definitely struggle with removing the 'self' from the situation when everything goes to Defcon 1, and I become reactive instead of taking that extra second to read the situation instead! It's all a learning process. I'm just grateful there are places I can turn to for advice - like here. And thank you for that meditation video. I will definitely be checking that out today!

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    You're welcome @elizabetlilian ...

    When it comes to reaping the benefits of Dharma practice ...persistence and insistence are the keys...never give up....

  • nubuddh4nubuddh4 Unknown New
    edited April 3

    You are wiser than the child, you should have compassion. Also not all children behave like this, sometimes culture can have effect. Perhaps if you want to know your child better, know yourself more or your partner more?

    If your child is very energetic have them focus that energy into a task or hobby.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The hobby of two year olds? Screaming and tantrums?

    Are muzzles and restraints for toddlers still illegal ... also drugging them is frowned on? >:)

    Hope you find some equitable solution ... πŸ™πŸ½

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    My Mother's favourite phrase?
    When you've reached th end of your tether - tie a knot in it, and hang on!

    @nubuddh4 said:
    You are wiser than the child,

    There are some children who can teach adults with an innocent wisdom far beyond their years...

    you should have compassion.

    Compassion comes with the territory. It is impossible to be a conscientious parent without it.

    Also not all children behave like this, sometimes culture can have effect.

    A child that does not have episodes of this kind, is not mainstream or usual. The vast majority of children experience a phase of this kind.
    Having worked closely with children for at least 5 years, and having brought up two of my own (and now a grandparent) believe me, culture has very little to do with it.
    The only children I have seen with an absence of this behaviour, are those living under dominance or in fear.

    if you want to know your child better, know yourself more or your partner more?

    Being a parent teaches you more about yourself than any self-reflection ever could.

    If your child is very energetic have them focus that energy into a task or hobby.

    Are you a parent?
    Focusing a two-year-old on anything for any period of decent time, is a full-time task in itself.
    A 2-year-old is all-consuming. They demand or require constant attention, entertainment, distraction and involvement.

    dhammachickKaydeekay
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    A task or a hobby for a two year old? You clearly don’t have kids @nubuddh4 πŸ˜€πŸ™

    nubuddh4
  • nubuddh4nubuddh4 Unknown New

    @lobster said:
    The hobby of two year olds? Screaming and tantrums?

    Are muzzles and restraints for toddlers still illegal ... also drugging them is frowned on? >:)

    Hope you find some equitable solution ... πŸ™πŸ½

    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    No, not all children behave like this and you all must be those people who say kids have some kind of disorder like ADHD when they are just being kids. If you as a parent do not know how to raise your child and come asking for advice on forums like this lol. And yes I have two sets of twins 2 year olds and they are not in fear but respect their parents unlike some other cultures.

    lobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @nubuddh4 said:

    @lobster said:
    The hobby of two year olds? Screaming and tantrums?

    Are muzzles and restraints for toddlers still illegal ... also drugging them is frowned on? >:)

    Hope you find some equitable solution ... πŸ™πŸ½

    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    No, not all children behave like this and you all must be those people who say kids have some kind of disorder like ADHD when they are just being kids. If you as a parent do not know how to raise your child and come asking for advice on forums like this lol. And yes I have two sets of twins 2 year olds and they are not in fear but respect their parents unlike some other cultures.

    So you have four two year olds? Sheesh....you are a glutton for punishment!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @nubuddh4 said:

    @lobster said:
    The hobby of two year olds? Screaming and tantrums?

    Are muzzles and restraints for toddlers still illegal ... also drugging them is frowned on? >:)

    Hope you find some equitable solution ... πŸ™πŸ½

    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    That's a kind of judgemental remark, isn't it?

    No, not all children behave like this and you all must be those people who say kids have some kind of disorder like ADHD when they are just being kids. If you as a parent do not know how to raise your child and come asking for advice on forums like this lol.

    That comment is bordering on rude. And no, the 'lol' doesn't make it humorous.

    And yes I have two sets of twins 2 year olds and they are not in fear but respect their parents unlike some other cultures.

    so you have four 2-year-old children? Isn't that quadruplets, or have you had two sets by different partners? Good going, I'll say.... Which particular 'cultures' are you referring to?

    Btw: Just to advise you, if you choose to flag a post, the 'done thing' is to refrain from responding to it, and letting the moderators take care of the situation. You can't flag a post seeking Moderator intervention, then go on regardless. it makes a Moderator's job extremely difficult.

  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    @nubuddh4 said:
    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    I'm always intrigued by folks who cannot (or refuse to) detect verbal irony and make sure that everyone else knows it. I suggest easing up on the 'Post' button unless you're sure what you're replying to. Your first day here seems to have been rather uneven.

    Kaydeekay
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    I was under the impression that @nubuddh4 was just making a joke relating to @lobster's warped sense of humour post .....but I could be wrong... :)

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited April 3

    Let us all have a recap on Right Speech from AN 5.198:

    1. Is it spoken at the right time?
    2. Is it true?
    3. Is it spoken affectionately?
    4. Is it beneficial?
    5. Is it spoken with good will?
    ShoshinelizabetliliandhammachickKaydeekay
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 3

    @nubuddh4 said:

    Some people should not have children and I think you are one of them.

    Indeed B)
    Personally I think the Buddha was also lacking in parental responsibility. :3

    Where did I go wrong ... don't they have these for two year olds?

    BunksShoshindhammachickKaydeekay
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    I thought it was terrible twos with my hyperactive 2 year old... until he turned 3 and took it up another couple of levels! He does not stop from half 5 in the morning until an hour after bedtime. Which is fine except when you have a 9 month old as well who is prevented from sleeping, or doing anything without his whirlwind big brother terrorising him constantly! Joys of parenthood!

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 4

    @lobster said:

    Jokes aside @lobster :) Some parents of toddlers have them on a leash and in handcuffs literately ;)

    Different strokes for different folks... I guess :)

  • @nubuddh4 Your comments are not helpful or supportive. Implying I shouldn't be a parent if I've come to a forum asking for advice is just not a nice thing to do. Please remove yourself from this thread, I don't wish you to respond to me or continue with any further input.

  • @Lee82 You know, I keep being told that the three-year-old stage can be even worse than the twos! It's really unimaginable, I must be in for a wild ride with this kid. We're about 6-8 weeks away from having a newborn, so things are about to get even crazier I think!

  • @Bunks Thank you, a very wise and necessary comment!

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    We're about 6-8 weeks away from having a newborn, so things are about to get even crazier I think!

    Eh ma ho (How wonderful) B)
    You are doing good <3

    I will dedicate my morning practice to you and your children. May all be well. <3

    Om Mani Peme Hum

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Now knowing a second little bundle of joy is iminent, it's little wonder you are feeling the pressure, both physically and emotionally! Pregnancy plays havoc with the entire system! Being a grandma myself now, here's my advice:

    Rest, whenever you get the opportunity. I am deadly serious. Dust may pile up, the place may look like a bomb's hit it, but the childhood years are precious, and your health trumps everything else. Tidying the house means nothing if you're lying in bed suffering from nervous exhaustion.

    It takes the body up to 3 years to recover FULLY, from childbirth. You're carrying a life for the best part of a year (don't let anyone tell you it's 9 months - it's not, it's 40 weeks. That's 10 months, to you and me - and the last 2 weeks feel like they take a year on their own! )! Give yourself time to get 'you' back, and don't complain in 2 weeks that you baby-tummy is still there. Who cares - !? You're a mum, not a cat-walk model! Don't be body-shamed by anyone, or anything!

    Don't be afraid to ask for help.
    Don't be afraid to admit when it all gets too much.
    Don't be afraid to complain.
    Don't be afraid to admit it's not what you were expecting.
    Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and argue against people who tell you what you 'should' be doing, if it's not what you want to be doing.

    I don't know how your partner is, but some women are not fortunate enough to have a supportive and understanding one. I well remember my husband, left in charge one night of our little girl, admitting to me, at our reunion the following day "Well, I don't know how you do it, but she had me in tears within an hour." Our baby was 7 months old, never mind 2! :lol:

    Leave the kids with your partner for a day, and go out on your own. Let him bond with them as a real and present parent.
    Leave your mobile 'phone at home.

    It's all too easy for a woman to lose herself in the wife/mother role. You become someone's wife, and someone's mother, but you run the risk of losing 'ElizabetLilian'. I know this to be true.
    Hard as it may be, find, develop and indulge in a hobby. Gain an interest. Study something. But keep hold of that 'you'.

    Above all, remember:
    This Too Shall Pass.

    Fill 'this' with glorious memories, not wishful regrets.

    BunksdhammachickKaydeekay
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Shoshin said:

    @lobster said:

    Jokes aside @lobster :) Some parents of toddlers have them on a leash and in handcuffs literately ;)

    Different strokes for different folks... I guess :)

    In a suburban or countryside environment, these are pretty unnecessary. In a busy urban metropolis, they can be an absolute god-send.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Been there...
    just remember: This too shall pass. The screaming will end. as the children get older, the testing of boundries change. but the challenges of parenthood are outweighed by the rewards. especially when you enter Grandparenthood, =) <3

    elizabetlilian
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    If I may "balance things out" I think it is worth saying that every woman who has become a mother, isn't always cut out to be a woman who has become a mother.
    Consider just how many countless millions of women have had children. Can they all honestly, hand on heart, be happy?
    The shame of admitting such a thing, shouldn't be a shame, shouldn't be taboo and should be more openly and honestly admitted and accepted.

    These women are honest, but roundly and heartily condemned for being so.
    That's not fair.

    I think it's a brave and noble thing to admit. And any woman who admits it, shouldn't be vilified, ostracised or singled out for condemnation.

    elizabetliliandhammachick
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited April 4

    Well said @federica.....I feel that pressure at times as a father too (not to the same degree as a mother).

    It has become harder in some ways too now that I am a single father....it's all or nothing!

  • @federica Amazingly insightful advice, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. And yes I absolutely agree - in fact I know many women who readily admit they don't enjoy motherhood. Luckily I've been able to enjoy it and grow from it, much to the surprise of everyone else (including myself), as I really was not the maternal type beforehand...

    But too often mothers are just meant to keep quiet and not admit to struggling. It just creates a trap of unhappiness that no one should have to deal with. Which is why I think I was so negatively impacted by a few comments from a user here, because while I'm coping reasonably well, if I were feeling as lost and alone as I have in the past, that just would've made me feel worse. And as you say, admitting you need help should never be met with judgement or condemnation.

    Thank you as usual for your incredibly wise words.

    lobsterBunks
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator

    I remember being on the coiled wrist tether when I was that age when we went out to the mall. I was quite the wanderer.

    Bunksdhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    It's all impermanent and you will be amazed how fast and how suddenly it changes. I swear just yesterday my 2 year old dumped a bottle of baby shampoo on the floor in the store, and then threw his happy meal on the floor at lunch. Just yesterday. Except he just registered for his senior year in college.

    What I found helped for the young ages (our youngest is 9 so we aren't that far removed from them) is to really get down to their level in how you interact with them and in trying to view how they see the world. When you think about everything there is that we learn it really is an incredible amount of information. I still want to have a tantrum some days, so, it's no doubt that a fairly new being who is just started to see the world outside of themselves is extremely overwhelmed!

    These books are more on general parenting, but they might help even now. They have been among my favorites:

    Raising Your Spirited Child - Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
    Conscious Parenting and Awakened Family both by Shefali Tsabary (she is fantastic)
    Here she is in a short TED talk

    She focuses a lot on us and where we get our parenting from and how to revisit that and how it applies to our children. We are very much conditioned by our upbringing and use it to do the same to our children, but there are ways to be more open to who our children are versus trying to form them into someone else. She won't tell you what to do with your toddler. But she will tell you what to do with yourself.

    KeromelobsterKaydeekayyagr
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay Explorer

    Contrary to someone else's somewhat rude post suggesting you are not a good parent because you are asking for advice on how to parent your child, I think this seems like a quality of a great parent. You want to do what is best for your child and to keep your calm, and your desire to parent sanely and compassionately means that you're driven to ask for help. I think that is wonderful. I am not a parent and do not have anything helpful to add to the wonderful answers here, but hope that such a remark didn't make you feel too bad =).

    Bunks
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