Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Toddler bleg

Anyone have any practical tips for dealing with toddlers who fight tooth and nail, especially when mom is tied down nursing the baby? Noogs and Babs are big enough and active enough to leave scratches and bruises on each other -- they both look appalling. And of course neither of them take it very seriously when I'm sitting in the arm chair trying to get the baby to sleep and quietly bellowing, "Both of you stop it right now! I mean it! If I have to count to three and get up, you two are in Big Trouble!"

14 comments:

David L Alexander said...

Plop them in front of a TV.

Just kidding. Actually, I had only one child, so I can't claim much expertise here. But I remember calling other parents at their homes, and within about two seconds after their picking up, the melee at their end begins. So it seems to me that they are competing for your attention, which is clearly tied up in nursing the littlest one.

If the older two were boys, for example, sometimes their teasing each other is a way of showing fraternity or affection, believe it or not. Sometimes an activity will distract them enough for awhile. My son used to be very good at entertaining himself.

This probably isn't worth much, but it may get you and Mr Darwin started on a conversation. Or maybe serve as a starting point for someone who actually knows a thing or two.

Any takers?

Jay Anderson said...

Call Sarah. Y'all can compare stories, but you won't come up with any solutions.

I know we're going to sound like horrible parents, but the TV idea (offered tongue-in-cheek, I know) will work if all you need is a short respite. Sometimes Sarah puts on the boys' favorite movies whenever she needs a break to nurse the baby, but that will only work for 5-10 minutes. Then they're back at it.

Rick Lugari said...

Have you tried locking them in separate closets?

Bridget said...

I feel for you! Sometimes I have a hard time just keeping Audrey quiet and entertained when I'm tending to Lily. I'm scared to have a 3rd!

rhonda lugari said...

Have you ever reached "three" when counting? I hate it when that happens, because then I have to do the discipline thing and I'm not always in the mood.

You could try bribing. You know, "Whoever can be the quietest and best behaved, I will love the most."

:)

Big Tex said...

A good 'ol fashioned spanking might work...

MrsDarwin said...

Rhonda, I'm reaching "three" more often than not these days -- I don't know if they're defying me purposefully or just ignoring. Sometimes they quit, sometimes the one sister just keeps pounding the other.

The thing is, I know when they want attention or when they're tired. This current behavior is not just acting out. It's actual fighting. And I have spanked them, but I don't want to be spanking or yelling all day long, and they fight several times a day. The problem is not just that they're arguing -- they're hitting and scratching and leaving marks. Both of them have scratches on their face (and I just clipped their nails!). They also have bruises from being shoved or hit. This is unacceptable, and yet I'm not sure what the best thing to do to curb it would be. I'm willing to let them grow out of a phase, but they can't be damaging each other. And disobeying me about not damaging each other.

And people think that girls are gentle and mild-mannered!

Rick Lugari said...

Actually these types of things are tough because people have different ideas about what is proper methods of correction. So take this for what it's worth.

Fortunately, we have had a huge problem with physical fighting. We're not on there butt for every little grab or push, but when there is an angry hit, kick or bite, we jump on it immediately.

There are different circumstanes to consider too. If one child is teasin the other by taking a toy away and the "victim" dishes out a minor retribution while taking their thing back, I just give them a scolding about keeping their hands to themselves, and not teasing or taking things from others...blah blah blah (that's what they generally hear).

Genuine fighting would result in a a slap on the butt, very brief and forceful scolding on how we don't hit others, and then send them to their room for X minutes. And they can't come out until they apologize.

Our biggest problem along those lines is that Jude (5) likes to tease...and he's damn good at it. He'll get into ruts where his sole purpose is to tease Bridget. She overreacts and whines and acts all goofy.

I start out by teling him to stop it. He does it again, he goes to his room. Does it yet again, spanked and to his room, etc. Here's what I found to be most effective with him though.

I warn first - then I go to spank mode - then I tell him that I am making him responsible for Bridget's happiness. That he better make sure she is happy and that if I hear her whine or cry he will get a spanking and have to stay in his room for x (which is usually a lengthy period in kid's time - usually meaning they are going to miss something they like).

It's worked great for us, except that I have found that I have to do spank mode first (apparently because if I go straight to the "happiness" part he questions my resolve - hah!)

FWIW too, I have learned that when it comes to something persistant, you have to be totally resolved to deal with it swift and surely EVERY single infraction. You will bust the bad behavior very rapidly that way. It will probably emerge again in a week or month or something, but then you crack down again. Good luck with it...

Rick Lugari said...

doh! Fortunately, we have had a huge problem with physical fighting.

Should read: We haven't had...

Father Martin Fox said...

Duct tape has so many uses . . .

Rose said...

Tsk. Surely you want something kinder and gentler. Like tupperware.

Rebecca said...

I have no idea if this will work in your house, but I put out the full on guilt trip. "Did Jesus ask us to love our neighbor or hit them?" "I don't think God is at all happy when you fight with each other. I am sure He is very disappointed." "We do not treat anyone that way especially people that we love."

MrsDarwin said...

I haven't tried the guilt trip yet, probably because I remember my mother doing that sort of thing -- funny what we carry from our childhood into our parenting style! What I've been doing lately is separating them when they fight and putting the offender (or over-reacter) into a separate room. I don't know if they take this punishment into account when they start rumbling, but it has the advantage of breaking it up right away, and then they generally play nicely for a while when they're reunited.

I'm with Rick on stopping teasing quickly. I'm the oldest of six, so I know how it is when a younger sibling pesters you and then you get mad and dish out a little retribution and then the baby goes whining to mama. Both the instigator and the instigatee get in trouble here.

Fortunately we haven't had a tattler in our bunch, but I've had to baby-sit tattlers, and man, is that a pain. I'd almost rather have them settle it among themselves.

CMinor said...

Duct tape?!!!
Making nursie time story time or game time might help to keep 'em busy, if you don't mind doing a couple of things at once. As they get a little older they might decide they can do this without your help, but at least at first you will probably need to be involved. It's probably a good idea to keep the books or games you use for this purpose out of reach so they can only be used at this time.
Back in my younger days, I tried combining nursing with Ride-a-Horsie and wound up with a case of sciatica that still nags occasionally.