Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Everyday Struggle with a Twonanger

I'm not really sure how to say this without sounding like a terrible person, so I'm just going to get right to it: I love Callum like crazy with every single part of me, but, these last few weeks, I haven't really liked him. My sweet, quiet little boy has transformed in to some sort of stubborn, crabby, defiant monster.

We've moved in to a whole new territory over here, ladies and gentlemen. My two-year-old now has a big personality and lots of opinions, and he wants them heard now! See that face above? The side eye and the pouty lip. I've been seeing that one a whole lot more than the smiley one I much prefer. I'm well aware of the fact that these are growing pains as we move in to a whole new stage of development and independence. But, man, it has been hard.

It feels like I'm struggling with him every day over the littlest things. It's a fight to get him dressed in the morning. I can't get him to stop hitting the dogs. He throws a fit if I don't let him watch another episode of Thomas the Train. Every mole hill is turned in to a mountain. Callum is pushing his limits any chance he can get, and I just feel like I'm a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.

The other day, I came in to his playroom and asked him to start picking up his toys. He looked me straight in the eyes, held his hand out like a stop sign, and sternly said, "Stop talking, Mama!"

Whhhhhhhaaaaaattttttttt? How do I even respond to that? How do I explain to him that's not ok?

I am just starting to feel so overwhelmed by this new stage of defiance. Am I am discipling too much, or not enough? Am I damaging his psyche permanently by ignoring him when he acts out? Does he even understand that he's doing anything wrong? I am just so unsure of how I should be handling this sort of behavior. On one hand, I'm worried that I won't be able to get this behavior in check and I'll dealing with a badly behaved child until he's 18. On the other hand, I'm trying to relax, take a deep breath, and just remember that he's two and a half, and this storm shall pass.

So, tell me, mommas: Tell me this is normal, and all the screaming and tantrums and "Nos!" are to be expected. Also, what did you do? How should I be handling my difficult "twonanger?" What books did you read and advice did you listen to? I feel like I read a million books about what to expect the first year, but have no idea what to expect for the next 17.

One of my favorite pieces of parenting advice I've ever heard is: Just give them a hug. Through the tears and the screaming and the yelling, just give them a hug. Because, when it comes down to it, that's probably what they need the most. So, that's where I'm going to start.


  1. Ugh. I feel for you. Cohen has always been incredibly stubborn, always. He has some anxiety as well, so it's not always been fun. When he was about Callum's age we started using "the naughty seat" and it worked wonders. It's HARD and it takes time, sometimes putting him back over and over and over again until I wanted to cry. But, in the long run I was so glad that we did it, because he finally learned. Put him in a specific spot/corner/chair/etc (preferrably someplace where he can't hurt anything) for 1.5 minutes (minute per year of age). That's my best advice. And to get down at his level and be stern, but not yelling.. I truly wish that I could say that this will pass.. but, in all honesty it might last a while. After all, the 3's are usually the hardest. But, you're a good mom!! And he IS a sweet kid! Hang in there. I'm always just a few houses away too!

    1. My mom totally said the same thing about 3s being worse than 2s! Gah! We've tried time outs, but he does exactly what you said: he just gets up and leaves. We'll keep sticking to that and hopefully it will set in. Thank goodness for the gym these last few weeks! That break alone has been a life saver.

  2. I know with Squirt we are about choices and using Love & Logic. Today he didn't grab his gloves before going out--I told him to, he made the choice not to even with the warning that it is cold out and gloves/mittens help keep hands warm. The consequence...cold hands in the car, walking to daycare, and while shopping as well as Squirt saying he will put on gloves tomorrow.

    Callum is testing limits, trying to rule the roost. You are not being too hard on him, he needs limits and consequences. We use time outs (every body is different) but my son now knows when he gets sassy or does not listen the first time he gets a time out and puts himself in one--although it backfired when he tried to put us in a timeout for being sassy. A two-ager definitely will be difficult at times but the firmer you are now the better the three-ager in him will be. Three was harder for us than two because they talk more and can tell you what they are thinking more (fair warning).

    Hang in there strong pretty momma....this stage means you are doing it right!

    1. I definitely need to look in to love and logic. I've heard good things about it. It is good to know that I'm not being too harsh. I think that's my biggest fear. My mom said the same thing about threes being worst! I better look in to Love and Logic ASAP.

    2. Follow the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. on Facebook or there are some good quick reads on the theories and practices for parenting. Works well...its just training other people to use it with your child that can be difficult (i.e. daycare providers, husbands, grandparents, etc.).