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Kids Behaving Badly

21 January 2008

I dislike writing about my hard times. I don’t like the idea of sharing negative stories on my website. But sometimes, I guess there is much to be learnt from hard times. And you need to experience the bad moments to appreciate the good moments.

These last two months my 2.5yo boy has been really, really hard to manage.

I have been exhausted. I am rundown, stressed and I’m quite lost.

Every single day it’s the same battle with the little one – defiance. He completely ignores my requests. Everything I want him to do will be met with a determined NO. If I dare to challenge that NO, there will be tantrums, tears, shouting, throwing, anger, rudeness and really scary rage that will last for hours.

Every moment of the day I find myself having to ask 5-7 times for both the boys to do something. Most days I can’t get them to do anything without raising my voice and threatening some kind of discipline and punishment.

They ignore me, talk back, speak rudely to me, complain and will look me straight in the eye and tell me to buzz off.

They fight, bicker, shout, and run around at top speed. I’m constantly growling, snapping, and shouting at them.

When they finally decide they WILL do as I say, it will be done with much procrastination, dawdling, complaining, grumbling. It will be done, but guaranteed, it will be differently to what I asked.

It’s not like I’m an intense control freak, or unreasonable… I just want them to do simple everyday tasks, like wash their hands or put on their shoes. I don’t see why I have to explain everything, or give them incentives or negotiate for every task to be done.

I’m stuck. I have no idea what to do. And I feel things are getting out of control.

I’m in this vicious cycle that’s spiralling downwards. I can instantly see my shouting coming back at me. My firm, authoritative voice ringing back in my ears. My angry stares looking me back in the face. My kids are copying me.

I do discipline them. Most times they are taken away from their current environment and have to sit in their room. Or they are not allowed to participate in the fun. Or no dessert. Or they just go straight to bed with no dinner. Or for really, really nasty displays of disrespect, they get a whack on the backside.

But problem is that they KEEP DOING IT. What’s wrong with them? Don’t they get it? Why aren’t they LEARNING? Why don’t they listen to me? I’m being consistent, why isn’t it working? I seem to be doing everything recommended by the modern parenting literature. I can’t be such a crap parent can I? What am I doing wrong???

Argh. Ok. I said it. Sigh.

I know that my kids aren’t bad. They’re energetic and playful. They’re strong and healthy. They’re at a developmental stage of experimenting with their boundaries and rules, and this is the time when foundations are set. So I don’t want to do a crap job. I love my kids so much.

I’m wondering if anyone can recommend any good parenting books, in particular, how to deal with discipline and kids. I just need a new perspective right now. I would love it if you can email me!

Edit: I want to thank EVERYONE who wrote to me! I am overwhelmed, touched, grateful and so deeply encouraged by all your messages, advice, recommendations, words of support and jokes! Thank you all so very much.