Thursday, August 23, 2012


Over the last week, Grey has become UNBEARABLY naughty. I don't know what to do!
He is constantly, hitting, hurting, head-butting, and otherwise attacking his brother. He spends all day climbing on to furniture like the bookshelf, the kitchen table, the tv stand, and the counters and then throwing everything off the  bookshelf, the kitchen table, the tv stand, and the counters. If Micah tries to climb up and join him, he pushes his brother over the side! It's driving me crazy!
He turns and looks me in the eye before throwing full bowls of food on the floor. He hits and kicks, and screams like a banshee if he isn't given what he wants, and immediately. And he refuses, refuses to have his diaper changed, but squirms and rolls and screams until there is poop everywhere. 
And apparently, there is no punishing him.
Saying (or even yelling) "No," is ignored, and if I try to explain or speak to him, it's usually while I'm being head butted.
Spankings are hilarious to him, and I think I would have to hit him a lot harder than I'm comfortable with for him to even notice. *
Time out? A JOKE. He sits in time out and laughs his head off. He'll sit in there for 15 minutes, because I tell myself, "He can just stay in there until he feels some remorse." Not happening, folks.


I feel bad for our neighbors, because I'm pretty sure that all they hear, all day long, is Grey screaming, Micah crying because Grey hurt him, and me yelling "GREY, absolutely not! Get off the table right now!"

We play outside almost all day. We do puzzles. We read stories. We run around and go on walks and explore. We play with friends.
It's not like he's being cooped up and forced to burn energy by breaking off the ends of all the blinds!
Help me, Mamas! I don't know what to do about him!

*A few words on spanking: I was spanked as a child, and I think I turned out okay. I didn't grow up to resent or hate my parents, and even as a child - I usually knew that I deserved being spanked.
I wasn't paddled. I wasn't whipped. I wasn't bent bare-bottomed over my dad's knee. But every once and awhile I got a swift smack to the butt. No permanent harm done. 
I know that it is an absurdly taboo thing to admit to doing these days, but sometimes, when I just don't know how else to handle the maniacs that are my children, I give them a spanking.
And then, just to piss me off even more, they usually laugh hysterically and try to get me to spank them some more. 
So. I don't think that it's doing them any damage, and I don't want you to accuse me of abuse, deal? Deal. Thank you. 

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Party of Three Heads said...

THat was the same thing that happened with my son, Colston. Now, when I spank him I smack him across his upper thigh, because clearly the padded diaper cushions your slaps. But ultimately, he will grow out of this behavior scheme... Give it time Momma, but continue to be stern and let him know you mean business!!

Angela said...

I don't have any advice as I've not truly dealt with such a strong-willed child. HOWEVER, my sisters were both strong willed children. My younger sister threw her first fit (holding her breath or screaming) at 6 weeks old. My mom read the book The Strong Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson. It helped HER know what to do and how to handle herself and in turn, be able to handle Kristin and Hannah when they're misbehaving.

Here's a link to the book.

Can't hurt to check it out, right?

I'll be praying for you and this situation!


P.S. You don't need to defend yourself. Spanking, when done correctly, is effective for some kids. Period.

Elizabeth said...

Poor Becky! I feel for you! I really do! My mother in law helped me years ago with a problem I was having and it has universal application.
You have to find Grey's currency...
Now what do I mean by that? You have to find what will drive him to do the right thing.

Like say Grey LOVES his daily popsicle, tell him that if he doesn't do what you said he gets no popsicle. Make sure to repeat it often that his actions and bad behavior will result in no popsicle. Allow him to correct his actions and behavior (not just one thing either, it has to be consistent). Then when popsicle time comes, Grey gets no popsicle and Micah does. This will cause lots of fury and outrage! Be prepared! But IGNORE IT! If there is no attention he gets nothing out of it (maybe make a dedicated spot for when tantrums occur like his bedroom or crib- place him in there and close the door with a reminder when you are calmed down you can come out; the key is silence! No attention- so when he comes out of his room screaming, quietly with no words put him back!) When popsicles are done and his tantrum is done explain that he lost his popsicle because he was naughty. This will take several long days but you will see a difference.

I'm not advocating taking away dinner or withholding food or love or hugs or kisses from them, just take away the little treats. Popsicle was just an example- it could be no scooter time, or no sandbox time or no iPad or one less story or a favorite toy being taken away. Either way make the point that children who behave get rewarded, and there are consequences for those who don't

A forewarning, kids have no long term memory. this has to start anew each day so clean slate everyday. Or maybe there has to be a morning treat and an afternoon treat. You are teaching them that they have a choice but with that choice comes consequences good or bad.

I don't know if it will help. It worked with my kids. But its not 100% there are still days where i want to duck tape them to the wall so they can't destroy everything. (that's a joke! I don't duct tape them to wall, I just imagine it in my head)

If this doesn't work, maybe time outs need to be in an isolated spot with no toys, mom, dad, brother, anything to entertain him or distract him. There can be NO attention paid to him. Aurora spent 3 hours one day in time out because she kept getting up and keep screaming. The rule was she had to sit there quietly for 2 mins (that was her age- one minute per year old they are)- Doesn't seem too difficult right? Wrong! I had to constantly bring her back and set her down and reset the timer (visual cues are good for punishments)- while not talk to her the whole time. FINALLY after 3 hours she was still and quiet. I went over and hugged her, told her I loved her and told her what she did wrong. Aurora is my stubborn child, always has been probably always will be. 3 hours seems like a lot and it was but its her personality and it taught her mom will be consistent! I will not back down, I mean what I say. She still challenges me everyday and pushes back at me everyday, like I said she's stubborn.

Or maybe having talks multiple time a day about behavior and expectations would help. Maybe lots of attention and praise could be given to good behavior, including to when Micah is being good and Grey isn't and vice versa. Let them be the good examples for each other.

Again, I don't know if it'll work for you or your boys, I just dumped all of my best, most effective ideas down in hopes something helps you! Good Luck!

Emily said...

Don't have kids yet (still waiting on my first...any day now) so i can't give experience from my own kids, BUT i used to work with difficult kids doing behavior therapy, and the way we delt with stuff like that is we would:

#1) anytime they are calm (not in the moment of a crisis or when they are misbehaving) talk to them about what it means to "control your body". you can play simon says, head shoulders knees and toes,or follow the leader to make it fun, then talk about at home, we control our bodies by soft touches, eating your food, etc.
#2) when they misbehave, say "I need you to control your body." if there's no change (which there probably won't be), say "you are choosing not to control your body, so I will control it for you" then you put them in a full body hold (there are several, you can look them up. my favorite is you sit on the floor, legs out straight. sit him on your lap. cross his arms across his body and hold his hands. if needed, cross your legs across his.) hold him there until he is calm, stops struggling (controls his body) and agrees to control his body. once he's free, if he stays chill, tell him "you have a calm voice and you are controlling your body, awesome job!" if he misbehaves again, repeat from step 2.

It may take 10 times the first day, but after a while he'll figure out that he better control his body or you will. Like I said, I don't have toddlers of my own or anything, so maybe i'm way off, but it worked for the kids at the clinic, so try it if it sounds like it would help! good luck!

faeriequeene said...

Others have given good suggestions, but one thing you might consider looking in to is if he has an ear infection. My cousins would never present with a fever or being tired, but they would turn into little monsters when they had an ear infection.

I hope that everything gets back to normal soon; two little ones always keep things interesting, and normal is greatly appreciated when it comes to interesting :)

Betsy Hite Reddoch said...

You've gotten a lot of good advice here, and hopefully it's just a stage that will pass quickly. I would just echo that consistency is key. Prayerfully decide what you will use for discipline and then be totally consistent (you and Travis).

Another thing that helped us is going "split squad" when possible. Meaning, I take one kid and Nick takes the other kid. We either go into different rooms of the house, or I'll take one to the grocery store while Nick stays home with the other, etc. Togetherness is great, but sometimes they just need some one-on-one.

Good luck!

T said...

I have no advice - just a fist bump of commiseration. Those toddlers, eh?

However, I read this really interesting article about spanking (it's pro-spanking) and thought I'd share it with you. The comments are particularly interesting, I thought, but lots of debate so be warned.

Karaleigh Garrison said...

A good punishment i have found to a temper tantrum is being held. Im talking arms pinned down, hand over mouth, even put your leg over theirs if they are kicking. I do this with my daughter (2) while calmly telling her that as soon as she can stop screaming she will be free.
As for diapers, sometimes i have a ridiculous time changing my 1 yr old boy. I sit in on the floor with my legs in a V with him in the middle to change him. If he wont let me, i pin each arm down with each leg, leaving my arms free to change him and him unable to roll over and get away.

Katie B said...

Okay, so they still pick on each other a bit but it used to be so bad between Liam and Dash. They were constantly pinching and biting and pulling hair, then looking so proud afterward. After a while, my sister suggested something she used to do, a different version of a time out (it sounds much like Emily's comment above)- turn the offender around (away from the action) and hold his torso tightly so that he can't move his arms around and tell him very briefly what he shouldn't do ("You may not bite") and what he should ("We give kisses"). Keep him held for 30 seconds and repeat your statements every few seconds. Our boys really really didn't like being confined. I don't know if they were already fading out of the Mean Phase or if that did the trick, but it seemed to help. We also always have the offender give a kiss to where they hurt the offended. Now they like to give kisses to each other's owies all the time.

P.S. I'm pretty sure we're naming our next kid Grey. It's a rockin' name.

Joanne @ Our ABC Life said...

I am not into the whole spanking thing too much but for punishment I flick the top of my daughters hand and that seems to get her attention. With a diaper it is way too padded for spanking. Also taking privileges away works well for my 2 yrs old so your boys might not fully understand but it is worth a shot!!!

Celia said...

The only advice that I have is that different children have different forms of discipline that work for them. Eliza is EXTREMELY strong-willed. I remember carrying her out of Walmart while she had a temper tantrum (while I was pregnant with the twins) and doing my best not to spank her. I agree that spanking can be effective for some children and that you don't need to defend yourself. We all know you are awesome.

That being said, Eliza responded well to Love and Logic. She is all about negotiating. Eliza freaks out on me when we take away possibilities. Limiting statements and/or saying "no" to her are the worst thing ever because they mean there is no chance for HER to take part in the decision making process. Therefore, we have devised a logic game with her where we give her two options (both of which have a favorable outcome for us). She can either choose to have a cookie after her meal or choose not to have a cookie at all. Those are the only two options given. She has responded AMAZINGLY well to this.

When we have used logic and she is beyond reason, we stick to time out. She HATES them. At first, we had to put her in her room 5-6 times before she would actually stay. Now, she knows when her actions have warranted a time out and accepts the punishment.

These ladies have great advice! That is my two cents :)

Miriam said...


Read him a book!! Write yourself a tale in which there is a boy with a twin brother and... Sometimes it works!!

Kristy said...

Ditto "love and logic." It has worked well with my strong-willed 4 year old and we're starting it on my almost 2 year old now. We've also had some success with 1-2-3 Magic. The gist is that you give him the choice to stop and then you calmly remove him from the situation. No talking, no explaining, no trying to reason with him. Time outs in his crib were the only way I could discipline my now-4-year-old. Good's so hard to find something that works for each kid!

Kayleigh said...

i don't know that i have advice, but all i can say is the hallelujah to your asterisked paragraph. it's how i grew up. no hate or resent to the parents. nothing. so no judgment here. glad someone in the world still believes it.

Angela said...

" Unknown said...
A good punishment i have found to a temper tantrum is being held. Im talking arms pinned down, hand over mouth, even put your leg over theirs if they are kicking. I do this with my daughter (2) while calmly telling her that as soon as she can stop screaming she will be free.
As for diapers, sometimes i have a ridiculous time changing my 1 yr old boy. I sit in on the floor with my legs in a V with him in the middle to change him. If he wont let me, i pin each arm down with each leg, leaving my arms free to change him and him unable to roll over and get away."

I highly recommend NOT doing that. Well most of it anyway. Covering his mouth is a BAD idea as it can cause strangulation/suffocation. (Not saying that's the intent. Just saying that it is all too likely.) Holding the child down is an older way of thinking that is highly frowned upon these days for psychological reasons. They don't even allow it in therapeutic foster care anymore.

I pass no judgement on whoever wrote that comment. I just thought I'd throw in my two cents since I've recently learned about that method.


Allyssa said...

I'm not sure what they understand but with kids around 18 months development (special needs kids that I've worked with), you need to have an immediate punishment or reward. Maybe try the treat (popsicle/whatever) thing but maybe popsicle time comes right after you tell him that he won't get a popsicle if he doesn't calm down/be good/whatever then Micah gets one to eat in front of him... if he does, they both get it immediately.