Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cry, Baby, Cry

The past few months have been rough for me in my dealings with our son. His mood can change drastically at any moment, it seems, from fun and laughing to a complete meltdown in a matter of seconds. Some of the triggers seem to stem from him not getting his way, or not getting what he is asking for or wants. The results of these meltdowns or tantrums often come in the way of throwing things, tossing his food on the floor and/or pinching and hitting us. No matter how much we explain to him that his behavior is not acceptable, or how much we try to teach him how to act properly, we have not yet been able to get through to him.

Because of his actions my mood also changes with his. While I can't get enough of him when he's being sweet and playful, I can suddenly sour as soon as his meltdown or bad behavior ensues. As hard as I try to remain calm, I usually resort to hollering and trying to force our son into better behavior, though of course this rarely does the trick. My wife tends to go with the calm tone, trying to talk our son through the issues, but I don't feel that works either. Is this really just a phase, or are these behaviors we'll have to somehow deal with for years to come? I know meltdowns are typically at 1.5 years, of course, but the frequency of his are what bother me. I couldn't have imagined it would be a daily struggle coping with his multiple meltdowns.

Our son sleeps through the night 95% of the time, he eats well and we do our best to engage his mind with activities as much as possible. I don't know if he is bored with his toys at home. His daycare has had a lot of turnover recently in his classroom, with several different "teachers" handling him the past few months. We feel this could be a major factor in his recent behavior, not having that structure he had the first year at his daycare. Even still, he eats well there and he sleeps well during nap time. As far as we know he gets along well with the other kids in the room. We're not sure if he has learned certain bad behaviors at daycare, like dropping food on the floor and biting, though is seems likely, and we're not sure how much he is being taught correctly. While we have issues with how the daycare might be providing some services for our son, he knows the place well and should feel comfortable there (I guess).

So I don't know if my rash way of dealing with him (some tough love) are having some ill effects in his behavior. Is the good cop/bad cop technique I feel is sometimes employed in our house any better? Are the 8+ hours he spends at daycare five days a week that much more shaping than the hours he spends with his parents? Does having a "problem child" now (a vague phrase, to say the least) mean he will be a problem the rest of his life? What can I do to lower my expectations and accept how my son is instead of thinking how he "should" be? Does anyone have any clues?