Monday, January 30, 2012

Challenges

When I was young, I remember being in a church - probably my grandparents' church - and all the little kids were sitting up front.  One by one, we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I said I wanted to be a ballerina.  Now, maybe I'm remembering this incorrectly, but it has always stuck out to me that the lady replied, "Oh, you can't be that; pick something else!"  I can't recall what my response was, but I knew in my head that YES I COULD BE A BALLERINA IF I WANTED TO!  My parents had always made sure I understood the age-old saying, "You can do anything if you put your mind to it."  I am hoping this is something I can pass on to Ava.


What do I want to be right now?  A good mom.  But in the midst of a two-year-old-asserting-her-independence, making the right discipline decisions is hard.  I've read countless articles and have talked to lots of moms, but knowing what to do in the heat of the moment is a challenge. 

Ava has gone through a hitting phase off and on the past year.  She doesn't hit her friends at day care; she hits us.  It almost always happens when we are trying to get her ready for bed.  I know it's been a long day; I know she doesn't want to stop playing; I know it's a way to express the feelings for which she doesn't have words.  But how to deal with it is another story.  We have tried time-outs: she comes back from time-out and hits again.  We've tried threats: "Okay, hitting means straight to bed!"...but then we still have to finish putting jammies on and brush her teeth so the consequence is not immediate.  We've tried holding her hands and not letting her use them for a period of time, explaining that we don't hit and since she hit us, she can't use her hands right now. 

And, I admit, I even tried hitting her back.  Just a small tap on her head, but she cried.  I asked her if it hurt and tried to explain that it hurts me when she hits.   She went to bed, I came downstairs, and sobbed.  Yep, never doing that again!

We make her say sorry and then have a hug, but the next night, she'll be at it again.  I'm not sure what the magic answer is in this hitting situation.  Not to mention, an added challenge - not just to the hitting thing but to disciplining her in general - is that Jeremy and I have different patience levels.  This presents a whole other challenge.  I want to maintain a calm but firm demeanor and I strive for that in most situations where she is acting out.  Jeremy has a harder time with this and from talking with friends, it seems that most men do.  They are quicker to lose their tempers and it's harder for them to understand she's only two years old


I'm sure these are challenges that a lot of parents face.  I know each age is going to bring on a whole new set of behavior issues and that we are constantly going to question ourselves.  But that's good.  If we didn't question our decisions, I would be worried.  And for now, we'll continue to read articles and talk to other parents!

If you have any suggestions about this hitting situation, feel free to share!  I'd love it if you left a comment directly on my blog so that others who may be in the same boat can read it (whereas if you leave the comment on Facebook, not everyone can see it).  Thanks!   

6 comments:

  1. We are going through a hair pulling phase with John. I admit to pulling his hair in response one time after all else failed and we both ended up in tears. Not the method I have used since! Good luck with the hitting- you are a good mom because you obviously care enough to worry about this!

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  2. Heather Royalty WhitakerJanuary 30, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Hi Alicia. Sorry you're going through this. We had the same problem with Laila when she was two. It will go away. I tried all the things you've tried including hitting back. In the end, the only thing that worked was completely ignoring her. Finish what you have to do in silence, kiss her good night and walk out without any words. Laila loved the attention she got which included my discipline. I don't know if this will work for you or not but just thought I'd share. Good luck!

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  3. totally agree with the no attention ... no positive, no negative ... everything with no emotion ... she might realize that she isn't getting attention and drop the habit!! so sorry ... this age is rough! maybe she is preparing you for when the baby comes home ... unfortunately, 3 weeks after jackson was home was the worst time for us and it lasted a good month till we had a turn-around ... not to be a debbie downer or anything!!

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  4. We went thought this with Quinton. We did the no attention thing. I think it was advice given to us by our pediatrician. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Ignoring him hitting me in the face and then pulling my hair was almost impossible. It took many, many times before he saw that he wasn't getting any attention (good or bad) from doing it before he stopped. Good luck!

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  5. You guys all have SUCH good ideas...thank you! I think we will try the no attention thing. May take a while but hopefully she will get the hint eventually. :)

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  6. Ugh, this blows. Sorry to hear she is hitting or misbehaving at all. She is almost 3 and she is letting you know it! My suggestion is to reward her on the evenings she does NOT hit. At the end of the evening reward her with something that she loves but doesn't normally get. Maybe have a secret treasure box to let her pick something out of on those evenings. Introduce it the first night and tell her that you are so proud of her for not hitting at all that evening and that she gets a surprise for being so good. She will be so proud of herself. The hard part is on those nights where she isn't acting out, you have to remember to point out to her that she was well behaved and didn't hit. It is easy to forget to reward her on the good nights and much easier to punish her on the bad nights. That takes a lot of effort on your's and Jeremy's part. Ella was never much of a hitter, but we tried this with her bad behavior and quickly found that she was reminding us when she was good because she was so proud of herself and wanted to tell us. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, just thought I would share my philosophy. Timeouts only work in our house when Ella is really upset about something, then it gives her a chance to cool off, but it doesn't really help if we are punishing her for doing something bad. I have always noticed that rewarding for being good works better than punishing for being bad, especially at this age. Good luck!

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