Sunday, October 16, 2011

Such a strong personality!

At 14 months old Madeline has a VERY strong personality. This is nothing new; she has known who she was from day one. But now that she's getting older, bigger, stronger, louder, etc. There are a few challenges that we've been dealing with. Things that I know are common and routine for toddler-hood, and while I know the psychology behind why she's doing these things, I don't know how to make her feel validated/secure/understood so that she doesn't make these undesirable traits into habits.

1. Hitting. If she's not happy with someone/something she hits it/them. It started with her just swinging at it/them, but has now turned into full on slapping or today - close-fisted hitting. Not cool, dude.

I try to catch her hand/arm before she makes contact, bring it down to her side and tell her either in her ear or in her face while looking directly into her eyes, "No ma'am. We don't hit when we're mad."

2. Head butting. This usually happens if she's sitting on my lap and reaches (repeatedly) for something I won't let her have. IE: A knife at the dinner table. If I have already told her not to touch something a million times and then restrain her hands - usually by holding her hands in mine - she gets frustrated and will throw her head back into my throat/chin.

Again, all I know to do is to tell her "No ma'am. We don't do that. That hurts." If she continues to do it I set her down on the floor (if we're at home) and tell her that if she's going to act that way she can't sit on my lap.

3. Yelling/screaming. Usually if I'm not letting her do what she wants - playing in/eating the dog food for example - and I keep removing her from where she wants to be she'll walk around yelling, "NO!!" or other baby-words that I can't understand, but her sentiment is quite clear. She's pissed and letting me know about it.

I normally don't do anything in this situation because yelling at her isn't going to get her to stop yelling and I don't feel like I need to do the whole "inside voices" schpeal yet since she doesn't really do this out in public.

don't make her angry - she'll cut you!


I want her to be able to express herself is she's upset, and I want her to feel comfortable doing so, but I don't know how to get her to do that without being hurtful.

I'm sure some of your kids have/do act this way when they're upset. What do you do in similar situations? What words of wisdom can you give me?

Thanks!!

3 comments:

Melissa said...

Oh Maddy Jo. Be nice to your mama. You know I have been through this as well. These hulk babies man, they have their own style. It sounds like you are doing all the right things though sweetie.

Consistency is key. Thing about strong willed children is that you can't ever let it slide. Not even kind of. The good news is, once they learn something isn't working, they move on.

Try reading her some kids books about anger management. Sounds corny but seriously, she understands way more than you think. The "Llama, llama" series is great but there are a ton out there. Its helped us a ton to have a little quiet time and read those books when he gets all worked up and starts toddler raging.

As for the screaming, just ignore it. Seriously. Tell her "no screaming. when you can settle down we will talk about ___ and why you are upset." and then walk away. Its so hard (especially in an apartment) but the more you feed into the screaming, the louder it will get.

*hugs* my dear lady friend. It will get better. I have told you before, the only way I stay sane and madly in love with these boys is to find the humor in the crazy.

Its me.. Amy said...

Oh Maddy Jo. Be nice to your mama. You know I have been through this as well. These hulk babies man, they have their own style. It sounds like you are doing all the right things though sweetie.

Consistency is key. Thing about strong willed children is that you can't ever let it slide. Not even kind of. The good news is, once they learn something isn't working, they move on.

Try reading her some kids books about anger management. Sounds corny but seriously, she understands way more than you think. The "Llama, llama" series is great but there are a ton out there. Its helped us a ton to have a little quiet time and read those books when he gets all worked up and starts toddler raging.

As for the screaming, just ignore it. Seriously. Tell her "no screaming. when you can settle down we will talk about ___ and why you are upset." and then walk away. Its so hard (especially in an apartment) but the more you feed into the screaming, the louder it will get.

*hugs* my dear lady friend. It will get better. I have told you before, the only way I stay sane and madly in love with these boys is to find the humor in the crazy.

Amber said...

My best piece of advice would be that instead of saying things like "no, we don't hit" change it up and say "we are gentle with our hands." Turn the negative to a positive. Toddlers have a hard time with negation. They hear the word HIT. They also hear NO, but they don't really get how that negates it. Does that make sense? If they are hearing the positive words "gentle", that's what they will process. Also, that tells them what they CAN do. So while you are telling her she can't hit, she may not know what TO do instead. :)