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?


kathe davidson said...

i am sorry to hear J has hit the meltdown stage.
really wait until he hits 2! no i hope it isnt that bad. my kids never got really bad at 2. . we would have days that were worst them others.
i just wrote you like three pages of stuff that my kids did and how we dealt with it. really i dont think it will help all. so i cut it all out. it is normal for kids to get this way. it could be changings in their lifes, it could be that they are growing up and trying to figure things out on their owns. it could also be that they just dont know what to do. they havent been able to process that inforamtion yet.
whatever you and angela are doing is right you are his parents and you will know what to do and what not to do.
i know we have never had the day care issue to deal with. so but we both worked outside of the house so the time we got them we tried to make the best of it. if we ended up having to walk out of somewhere and explained things to them 1000 times like no putting food in your sisters hair then we did and they come out know how and what to do when they get a bit older.
so i guess all i have to say is hang in there pretty soon it gets better and then they will hit another stage.
try not to compare them to other kids. no one is the same.
also as bad as you think your kids are there is someone out there that will walk up to you and say you are doing a great job or your kid is prefect at the store ect. so just remember you are doing a great job as a dad dont give it up.

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MDB said...

Although I am late to the 'show' in posting a comment, I hope you're feeling less frustrated at this point. My experience is that consistency seems to be key. I don't know that my household operates a 'good cop/bad cop' facility, but there are days when each of us play our role. Staying consistent, while difficult (often quite difficult), seems to be the best approach. Perhaps the resulting stability created by consistently dealing with recurring issues helps make the days coming up more manageable...and the recurrences less and less frequent. :)

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Lisa said...

I just stumbled across your blog while viewing other blogspot blogs. But I had the same problem with my girl at that age. She was also in daycare full time from 6months old to 12 years old. Kindergarten was rough and the teacher would call me often. But it didnt last much longer after that. we come to find out that she was really smart and bored so while the other kids played, we had the teacher give her lots of work to do and even homework. THis made her also feel big. She turned out being a straigh A honor roll student her whole school life and now is now in her 3rd year of college making A's and B's and has never been in trouble and is a sweet girl. So, just hang in there, its just a stage. Oh and we spanked some to. Time out would not hold her. Good luck.