My goodness. When everyone warned me about the terrible 2’s and “this is your payback for all the stuff you put your mom through”, I really had NOOOOOO idea! I thought maybe a tantrum here or there. Maybe even a tantrum or two daily. But no. I was rudely awakened within the past few weeks of just how terrible the 2’s really can be.
My daughter just turned 2 back in April. The meltdowns and ups and downs have mostly been at a minimum. Her knack for tantrums, though, has really reared its ugly head over the past few days. I kid you not: screaming…crying…wailing…kicking…biting…slapping…throwing…all being done by her for the past 11 hours today. Minor moments of peace while we ate breakfast and lunch, and now a moment of silence while she sleeps (so far longer than her usual nap, THANK GOODNESS). Yesterday and the day before were not much better (Thursday, 7 hours / Friday, 8 hours).
I can assure you that I do not give in to these wild fits of “testing the limits”. I stand firm on what I expect her to do or what I am willing to do for her. And up until recently, I felt as though I was doing a pretty good job at setting limits and being quite the authoritative figure. Now, though…I just don’t know. I feel as though I’m failing when it comes to this.
Her dad is in the picture and he sees her every 1st and 3rd weekend of the month. When he has her he’s not much help in the disciplinarian role. And anyone else who’s offered me up some shred of advice has either not dealt with a child who reacts the way she does, or I try their advice and still fail at it miserably. I’ve tried the timeouts but they aren’t effective because she hurts herself when in time out. For example, I put her in the corner yesterday and she kept banging her head against the wall, so I had to take her out of the corner. Or I put her in a “timeout chair” and she’ll throw herself all over until she falls out of it or hurts herself in some other way, shape, or form. I’ve tried taking toys/movies/privileges away; I’ve tried getting down on her level and the whole “I understand you’re mad” tactic; I’ve tried swatting her hand, or a spank on the bottom. Yet nothing seems to modify her behavior.
How do I get through this? How do I keep limits in place and keep my sanity? Because with all the other life stresses and her tantrums being the icing on the cake, I just feel like I can’t find a moment of peace these days. I love my daughter very much and I do my best, but I feel like my best isn’t working. I need some idea as to how to get both her and I through this very difficult stage without the two of us having meltdowns.