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Boys Don’t Cry. Except For All The Times They Do.

Aug13

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Dear Amy,

I am hoping you can help me. I have been a big fan of your blog since I was pregnant with my first child, now 2.5. My son has always been a clingy, needy child. He is mainly comforted by being held, usually at the most inconvenient moment “hold me mom! Hold me!” This summer we are in the midst of a shit-storm of chaos. He is 2.5, we now have an 8 month old with all of the jealousy and drama that goes with a new sibling, we have also moved out of our house for the summer due to some structural construction work on our house. Not surprisingly, he has had many more meltdowns in general, and specifically a very hard time going to sleep since we have moved to our temporary housing. He refuses to go to bed, pops out of bed again and again. We have resorted to one of us laying down with him until he falls asleep (which is much harder at naptime when I also have the baby to deal with).

The issue is my husband. Recently he just seems to have zero patience for the toddler drama– partly because we are all stressed and not getting enough sleep, and partly because his go-to method for dealing with stress and emotion is anger just in general. He is normally a very good dad, very hands-on and involved and previously surprised me with his patience, but no more. He gets frustrated with our son and yells at him which just makes the situation worse (could you go to sleep with someone yelling at you to just GO TO SLEEP?!) and he gets mad at me when I suggest to him that he is making the situation worse (I usually end up sending husband away and putting him to bed myself, but then I am trying to also juggle the nursing baby who frequently gets woken up by big brother’s crying about going to bed).

My husband also keeps telling him not to cry, that crying is not ok unless he gets hurt, and to be a “big boy.” While I concur that the (often loud, exaggerated) crying is terribly irritating, I really don’t like the message my husband is sending, that boys don’t cry and basically that emotions should be stuffed down (which is what my husband and his whole family do, incidentally)– and not that a 2.5 year old is even capable of controlling his emotions anyway.

I don’t know quite what to do, because I don’t really like it when he tries to tell me how to parent either, and I don’t necessarily have a good solution for how to deal with the tantrums either– I encourage my son to use his words, try to remain calm and soothe him, but it’s exhausting. It’s hard to know how much of the behavioral problems are from our move and how much is from just being 2.5, but it’s all very stressful and I’m feeling worn a little thin. Before we moved he usually went to bed without incident most nights, and asked to take a nap, now it’s very hard to get him settled– he often doesn’t fall asleep until 10 or 10:30pm by which time he is exhausted. Any ideas or resources on how to find a middle ground for parenting boys and helping them deal with their emotions and or adapting to change? I hope that all made sense.

Exhausted and Frustrated

Oh, but this letter hurts my heart.

Many of us have “been there,” after a new baby arrives (even without the whole “moving out of our house” thing). We’re tired and stressed and suddenly our firstborn looks HUUUUUGE and our exhausted brains can’t reconcile that this HUUUUUUGE-looking child did not actually grow up overnight and is not capable of the behavioral and emotional standards we’re suddenly trying to impose because OMG YOU’RE HUUUUUUGE STOP CRYING, GET YOUR OWN JUICE AND GO THE EFF TO SLEEP.

But your husband’s response is wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong and unbelievably unfair. 2.5 is not HUUUUUGE. 2.5 is not a “big boy.” 2.5 is not old enough to expect that a new sibling and household move WON’T completely rock his world and cause some (“some!” haaaaa) regressions.

And yet 2.5 is absolutely old enough to internalize chaos, parental inconsistency and impatience, and act out accordingly. I mean, that’s actually EXACTLY what toddlers are pretty much known for.

Your husband — a previously patient, hands-on dad — is suddenly yelling and scolding and shaming, and your son is letting you both know that it’s NOT OKAY. STOP IT. He’s not getting enough (or any) positive attention from Daddy, so he’s deliberately seeking negative attention, and the more your husband reacts negatively, the stronger the cycle becomes, and the more difficult it will be to reverse your son’s behavior. (Not to mention the growing friction/anger/resentment you’ll have for him, watching him lose his shit at your son and say asshole things to a toddler.) (NEWSFLASH: BOYS CRY. A LOT. EVEN BIG BOYS. WHICH YOUR TODDLER IS NOT EVEN ONE YET. My almost 9 year old still cries, dude. You’ve got a lot of tears and emotions ahead of you, so buckle up and get used to it.)

Here’s what I want you do:

1) You guys need to find a parenting class. Yes, you do. Yes, both of you, as you need to work on getting back on the same page approach-wise and presenting a fair, loving united front. Your husband needs a reality check regarding his expectations of your son’s emotional capabilities…and to realize the hypocritical unfairness of demanding total emotional control from a toddler while his own temper is clearly leaking out of his ears.

If you are (by any chance) in the Maryland/DC/NoVA area, I highly, highly recommend the classes offered through PEPparent.org. If not, they have a few similar options in other states on their FAQ page — otherwise, please call your pediatrician’s office and ask for a recommendation on courses/classes on parenting toddlers, toddler discipline, correcting toddler behavior, etc. There is most likely something similar being offered through your school district, early intervention program, or a local hospital or other non-profit.

There is no shame in attending a parenting class, by the way. This is not some kind of court-ordered “and here’s why we don’t feed Pepsi to babies” thing I’m talking about. These sorts of classes are incredibly helpful, and are designed for parents just like you: Good, well-meaning parents who are struggling with some specific aspect of raising young children, and who want to do better and above all — want to do better TOGETHER.

2) You need to attend said parenting class TOGETHER. Yes, I’m going to say the word “together” a lot. I could certainly rattle off a few book recommendations on parenting toddlers, but here’s the thing: You’ll probably end being the only one reading it, unless your husband recognizes that his behavior and parenting style is unacceptable and actually contributing to the problem. Which he probably doesn’t, and it certainly won’t help things if you were the one to point fingers and tell him that. A parenting class, on the other hand, puts you BOTH on the hook for recognizing your current shortcomings and requires both of you to say, “okay, this isn’t working, we don’t know how to fix this, let’s find a way to fix this, together.”

3) Said parenting class may require the hiring and use of a babysitter, or leaving the children with friends or family. Do it. Consider it an investment in your sanity and relationship. Call in favors with people who asked if you needed help when the baby was born, or they heard about your house upheaval. And then make it a date night. Go to dinner first, or a movie afterwards. You both clearly need a break. Like, in giant neon letters, your email is screaming WE NEED A BREAK.

Please please please do not feel guilty about TAKING A BREAK. Let someone else handle the bedtime chaos once in awhile — I promise your children will be fine, and likely your son will behave BETTER when there’s a neutral third party present, rather than two exhausted, stressed-out parents that he can pit against each other.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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23 Responses to “Boys Don’t Cry. Except For All The Times They Do.”

  1. Caroline Aug 13 at 11:45 am Reply Reply

    I managed to deal with this kind of thing without a parenting class actually – though I concur totally with you that your husband is NOT helping at all, OF COURSE he’s only 2.5 and is actually still a baby himself in many ways. However… he has learnt that by having a tantrum, you just do whatever to get him calm, i.e. lie down with him, setting up a habit that, if left, will take years to break. The simple solution is to put him in bed, nicely, and with the normal consistent routine and simply flatly ignore any protests and silently / calmly return him to his bed when he gets out. Of course, he’ll have a melt down, but that is tough. Back to bed. No shouting or bellowing at him (duh! Unhelpful!), no hysteria or visible irritation, just silently and with no communication at all, very firmly return him to his bed and walk out. No compromise. Not ever. The boundary needs to be absolutely enforced in a calm and non-unkind way, ignoring all nonsense. He will be angry that his routine is no longer working in forcing you to cooperate, but give it a few nights and he’ll be back to his usual good routine and you can put that little episode from your mind. The rest of the time, well, clinginess is normal in toddlers, especially as he has a new sibling so close in age, but it sounds like you are doing all the right things and ultimately he’ll run off and you’ll wish he’d just cling on a bit longer!

    It does sound like you are very tired generally, both you and your husband, and this will not be helping either of you to be firm and think clearly. It’s an exhausting time, this stage, so do get a babysitter or some trusted person to come and relieve you for a few hours each week and give you some time out, just for yourselves/ each other. Best of luck… it does pass, but consistency is key!

  2. Carolyn Aug 13 at 12:34 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t have any suggestions, per se, but I just wanted you to know that my son went through a similar stage so reading your post broke my heart. At about 18 months he developed a crippling stranger anxiety (best we can figure out, at least) and he’d just dissolve if anyone in public so much as looked at him. Going out in public was agony because he’d usually be a screaming terrified mess, which got hard for me to power through when I started having back problems while pregnant. My husband also responded with anger, and I think that was the roughest time in our marriage and as a parent so far. In any case, a friend at that time said her child had been through something similar and it seemed to resolve around age 3. I held onto that light at the end of the tunnel every time things got hard, and sure enough, around 3 things started to improve. He still has his rough days, and I think he will always be an anxious child in many situations, but his typical response now is to answer the person talking to him instead of freaking out entirely. So I just wanted you to know that, if he’s anything like my friends kid or my own, this might be a stage that will come to a close in a year or so, No promises obviously, but I wanted to give you some hope for the future :) Good luck, it is SO HARD, I know!

  3. K Aug 13 at 2:25 pm Reply Reply

    Long shot, but has your husband recently begun any new medications? I ask because I could have written this letter about 9 months ago (though my husband was more impatient than angry). Then I googled “synthroid” and “irritability” and realized that it was a well-known side effect of the medication he had recently started. Having a medical reason for it somehow made him more willing to improve and things are better now. Also, baby started sleeping, became a fun playmate and has generally been accepted as a permanent part of the toddler’s world.

  4. Rachel Aug 13 at 3:34 pm Reply Reply

    In almost the same situation, we made an appointment with a parenting coach. Almost like a one on one parenting class, but one that dealt with our specific issues on our schedule. It helped immensely on getting us (the parents) back on the same page and tuned up in terms of having reasonable expectations and coping strategies for our (then) preschooler + newborn combo. If you happen to be in the Bay Area, we saw Meg Zwieback:

    http://www.bringingupkids.com/

  5. June Aug 13 at 3:39 pm Reply Reply

    We went through something similar when our second was born but the age gap was slightly bigger. My husband and I had the same roles as you two, him flipping out over the whinging and crying and me getting upset with my husband. It took awhile for me to realize that yes, my husband’s reaction was not okay and not helping but that I was going too far in the other direction and catering to his every whine which was just encouraging him to perpetuate the behavior. We found a middle ground with a lot of talking that happened when we were far removed from the anger of the situation.

    I think Amy is right in her answer but it does sound like the blame is getting thrown pretty solidly at the dad which doesn’t seem entirely fair. I agree that this has to be solved by both of you and you both have to look at your own actions and reactions but the anger and blame at your husband is the road to some serious issues.

  6. Kat Aug 13 at 4:09 pm Reply Reply

    This is tough – big hugs to the LW. Sometimes my husband has a hard time remembering that our two year old is…well….two. We have definitely argued over whether whining/behavior is appropriate for a child (not just a boy, but a child of two) and what needs to be corrected. His family is the same way (no emotion ever, especially for boys), so I can see the effort my husband makes in switching that internal dialogue when he interacts with our son when he is upset. I guess all that to say, be patient with your husband. Take Amy’s advice, or at the very least take a break. Even if you just grab coffee. Do some online research about emotional development of toddlers, share that with your husband. Talk about the things you both bring from your childhoods into your parenting (you may be giving in too much/more easily because you saw that in your own household?). Recognize that some of those things are good, but maybe some of them are not ways that you want to consciously parent your own children. Good luck, be kind to each other and remember he’s your teammate :)

  7. An Easy World Aug 13 at 4:11 pm Reply Reply

    I went through something really similar when we had a new baby just as my son turned two. The tantrums were awful and the stress of having a challenging newborn made it so, so difficult to deal with in the right way. I know Amy shied away from offering book suggestions, but honestly, read How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. It changed my parenting. Hell, at that point I’d say it changed my life! I talked each chapter through with my husband as I read, explained the techniques and modelled them, and he quickly started using them too. Brilliant stuff and my son really responded, because we were empathising with him and taking his emotions seriously, but at the same time setting clear and firm boundaries. They also run workshops in the States, so maybe you could find one of those. 
    Mainly though, it gets easier. We’re just now hitting three and the tantrums have all but gone. Replaced by lots of procrastination and ‘debating’, but infinitely preferable to the mindless screaming. Good luck! 

  8. Mona Aug 13 at 4:21 pm Reply Reply

    Wow, this sounds familiar. And much like similar situations I hear of at work, where several of us have like age children. We feel like daddy is too harsh about every behavior transgression / whining / chatter, etc. Daddy expectations often seem out of line with the age- I don’t know if it’s more with boys (which is what we have), but I almost feel like they have some deep seeded fear that if they don’t get the child behavior under control RIGHT NOW, they’ll end up raising bad people.
    Ugh, it’s really hard to walk this line and figure out if we’re being too harsh, or not harsh enough. I get most upset with my husband when he yells (and he has a booming ‘yell’ voice that even startles me). But I know he’s got some other stresses (not an excuse, but it makes us all shorter tempered), we have two fairly challenging small boys, and he has this concern about making sure everyone is ‘in line.’ I lose it on occasion, too.
    So, no real advice here, just that I understand and feel like we are trying to balance this and figure it out EVERY SINGLE DAY. Our kids are very lovey, and we adore them and seriously shower them with attention and hugs and loves, but I still never feel like I’m doing it all quite right!

  9. Kim Aug 13 at 4:47 pm Reply Reply

    For me, attending parenting classes is like going to church.  I pretty much know what I’m going to hear, but hearing it over and over makes me a better person, and there’s always some little nugget that will resonate that day.

    It also helps to remember that we all fall back on patterns when we’re stressed – that the anger/emotion stuffing is the husband’s default mode.  Talking about that when you’re both calm and can bring more rational thought to the discussion Can be helpful.  For us, I had to point out that we are raising our kids under a completely different paradigm than we were raised, so expecting the same reactions to us from themwas just plain dumb.  

    This is really long, but I’m going to drop my favorite nugget now: use the phrase “right now” with /about your child.  Right now, your toddler is acting out.  Right now, your husband is yelling a lot.  Right now, you are all under a lot of stress.  But all of those things are subject to change.

  10. Mary Aug 13 at 5:42 pm Reply Reply

    My suggestion for bedtime is give dad the baby and you work with your toddler. Some parents have different strengths. My husband couldn’t deal with a newborn but our 2 year old (meltdowns and all!) are cake. You’re a team so play at your strengths and try to improve your weaknesses. Hope it all works out!!

  11. S Aug 13 at 7:07 pm Reply Reply

    I loved what a previous comment said about parenting class being like church. Hilarious and true! I think it was key seeing other parents and a teacher who had been there saying yup, I know, I’ve been there! We all lose it.

    I also have two kids, including one non-sleeper. Her dad and I both lose our shit sometimes. Like really lose it and say awful things in the middle of the night. Way more often than I’ll admit. Like you, I would just go and handle the situation myself when he loses his shit with a huff and annoyance and keep thinking about it. And, like you, I’d end up frustrated. What changed for me was one day when I lost it, he got out of bed and before taking the screamer from my arms, he put a hand in my shoulder and said, “I know. Go to bed.” And we both still continue to lose it because holy crap one day I’d love to sleep and not listen to screaming 24/7, but it has been important for me to remember that we’re in this together and both freak out. We try to rescue each other when we see the freak out. So maybe, if you can, shut down the annoyance on your next kid rescue, and think of rescuing your partner from the screamer. I know, logistics. Baby. If there’s an opportunity, is all.

  12. Amelia Aug 13 at 9:13 pm Reply Reply

    If your husband is the type who responds to research and evidence, get your hands on a copy of a book called “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.” It clearly explains why and how a child can be allowed to have his own emotions (while still managing his behaviour.) If you want a preview, this blog post (not mine) sums up the approach nicely:
    http://nathensmiraculousescape.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/emotion-coaching-vs-emotion-dismissing-parenting/

  13. Amy Aug 13 at 10:06 pm Reply Reply

    Amy is right about parenting classes and time away from the kids. Both as a couple and as an individual. If Dad isn’t getting some some non-work, non-kid time then I would suggest it. Mom too! Dinner with friends, work happy hour, golf, whatever. And I’ll second the suggestion to give dad the baby and get bedtime back to a predictable calm routine. If that means laying down with him for a week to get everyone rested then I’d do it. Then work on the problem. Some where I read about putting several pieces of tape on the floor and each time they got out of bed the door moved one more mark toward closed. Once the door got closed I would hold the doorknob till they gave up. Very CIO I know but it only took 2 nights and staying in bed became the norm. And since it was my plan my husband was removed from the process and I could calmly open the door and resettle the toddler and close the door again. Daddy was no longer responsible for solving the problem and that helped him dial back the emotions. The sleep stuff is the hardest part of parenting in my book. Hang in there.

  14. allistas Aug 14 at 12:27 am Reply Reply

    I think you’ve gotten some great suggestions above and hope that you can figure out the strategy that works for you and your family.  

    One other “tool” that I have used with my kiddos in the past (we just moved back into our house after a 3-month long renovation project as well!!) is to have a conversation with your 2.5 year old and tell him some of the things that you are feeling about the new baby and the move out of your house.  i.e. model healthy communication of emotions

    Saying things like, “I miss our old house and it makes me sad to be away for so long” and “I imagine that it is tough to be a big brother sometimes”  etc.  When I shared these type things with my similarly aged son, it opened up the door for good conversation about how he was feeling.  And, in turn, he felt more heard and understood.

    I also found that setting aside 10/15 minutes a day for “special time” filled my son’s tank in such a huge way.  During this time, he gets to have one-on-one time with a parent and gets to choose what we do (just no screen time).  with this strategy, he was getting more attention during this special time than when throwing a temper tantrum.  

    We use the bedtime strategy mentioned above… give no attention for bedtime tantrums, return kids to bed without a word, praise good behavior/staying in bed all night, etc.

    I’ve also found that both my husband and I benefit from having a plan.. a plan that we agree on and can coach each other through (side note: my.husband still laughs about the day one of my toddlers was throwing a tantrum and, when I heard my husband try to rationalize with him, I stuck my head in the room and calmly reminded him ” we don’t negotiate with terrorists”) It is when we don’t have a plan that we lose our tempers, yell, and/or say things that aren’t helpful (and, frankly, we don’t really mean).

    Hope you get some sleep soon and make some positive progress!  

    • Myriam Aug 15 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

      I second  the idea that you need a plan : a solid, detailed plan on how to handle tantrums and bedtime. Kids need a routine/structure. That’s very reassuring to them, especially when the environment is changing. Establish a routine, and don’t improvise until it is fully establish. Having a plan that your husband and yourself agreed to in advance will remove the “we don’t know what to do so we give in/lose our patience” out of the bedtime situation. Maybe get yourself a sleep training book. I really like the http://www.sleepyplanet.com approach, it is a 5-10-15 method that really works for us, and it offers a plan for all ages, so you can apply it to toddler and baby when the time comes. Good luck.

  15. Karen Aug 14 at 3:59 am Reply Reply

    ok, so 2.5 yr old – check. new baby (3 weeks) – check. living in a temporary place while house is under construction – check. 2.5 yr old used to go to be “ok” but now is having horrible screaming fits every night and generally behaving like a 2.5 yr old – check. I was reading your letter wondering if I’d written it.

    I have nothing for you but empathy. In my case, it’s me who can barely handle the kid. Everyone needs a breather. The kid, dad, you… A time to recharge and remember what you love about each other. Good luck, I know how hopeless it can feel.

  16. maree Aug 14 at 8:18 am Reply Reply

    I feel for you I really, really do.

    Over the years our family has had some times of stress and I find that one of the kids acting up is usually the sign that things are waaaay out of hand stress wise. I agree that you need to talk with your hubby about your (and his) frustrations. At times like this hubby and I like to strip everything back and start with the basics. Are we eating good food? Getting some sunshine and exercise every day? Some time for ourselves (normally a cup of coffee when he gets home from work and a 10 minute chat). Are the kids (or us) watching too much TV/too many screens? I work on all of this stuff first. These are easy steps that I can start with and they all help! After I have tackled this stuff for a week or so I normally find I start to make other improvements in life and the other problems seem more approachable. Is there an easy first step that you can make?

    Also I am just going to throw out there that men get depressed sometimes too? Is there any chance that the crazy amount of stress in your lives (moving! New baby! toddler!) is affecting your hubby or you more than you can cope with on your own? Maybe a chat with a doctor would be more helpful than a parenting class? Best of luck, I will be thinking of you and your family.

  17. slydegirll Aug 14 at 1:47 pm Reply Reply

    I wonder if Dad is getting upset both at the toddler and you, mom? I say this because in my marriage, the parenting roles are reversed – I’m much more likely to be inpatient. And I have absolutely been known to tell my 3-year-old to calm himself down and be a big boy – its OK to get upset, certainly, but once you’ve shared how you feel, time to figure out how to calm yourself down. Yelling = not the right response, however, if my husband were giving in to the screaming fits and (in my mind) perpetuating the problem, yep, I’d probably feel like yelling at the both of them just to get out my frustration at not only our lives being turned upside down in general, but now losing our entire evening to screaming fits and bedtime?? So I fully endorse the parenting class, and I would totally be reading books as well to get a handle on what might work for the both of us, then coming up with a plan (or multiple plans). But a quick alleviation of the tension for now, along with taking a break, would be to change the style of how you put him to bed. As other commenters have said – no emotion, just putting him back in bed over and over again, no cuddles, soothing, or getting upset yourself. he’ll get bored/sleepy eventually!

  18. Emily Aug 16 at 4:06 am Reply Reply

    All around good advice, however, I want to chime in from the perspective of someone for whom parenting classes were not an option both financially and because my husband would never in a million years agree to them.

    One thing that has helped my husband immensely is to be around other kids the same age as ours. My husband didn’t have a lot of interaction with other kids (I was the stay at home parent and the one arranging playdates and attending birthday parties). I started having more play dates over at our house (or inviting another family with same-age children over for dinner) and it really helped him see that all kids are, at some point, whiny, tantrumy, difficult little beasts. It has really helped him frame a realistic perspective of appropriate child behavior.

    I also offer a somewhat counter intuitive, temporary solution based on my own experience when we had a 2.5 year old (who would not go to sleep) and a newborn. Stop fighting bedtime. As long as he is not a complete mess shift his bedtime later – substantially later. You could still start “quiet time” at whatever time bedtime you think he should have but don’t force sleep on him. We did this with my 2.5 year old for 3 – 4 months when his sister first arrived. We read lots of stories, gave him books, and even his own “journal” and colored pencils to color in his bed. Also some special quiet toys only for that time of day. It was calm time without the pressure of sleep. Staying up later had the pleasant side effect of making him more tired during naptime so he would take a monster nap in the afternoon giving me one-on-one time and sometimes an overlapping nap (bliss!) with the baby. Honestly if you are in temporary housing any kind of sleep training has a high likelihood of getting screwed up again so you might not want to bother until you are back in your permanent residence.

    Good luck. Sleep issues really are a form of torture.

  19. Arial Aug 16 at 10:09 pm Reply Reply

    Let me start by saying I am not on your husband’s side here. But I also don’t think you’re giving your son credit to say that a 2.5 year old can’t control his emotions.  With my son (also 2.5) this is my mantra:  “It’s okay to be mad, but you can be mad without screaming at me.” or “It’s okay to cry, but you can cry without screaming at me.” etc.  Basically the message is: your feeling is okay, it’s okay to express that feeling, but you need to learn to express your feelings in a way that doesn’t hurt those around you. 

    When my son does his obvious FAKE crying (when you’re the primary care provider, you TOTALLY know the difference!) I say “If you are in a screaming mood, please do it in your room.”  He almost always instantly stops crying (providing me further proof that he was faking). Sometimes he does choose to go to his room, but when he gets there (no more audience for his drama) he sits on his bed quietly for a little while, and then comes back down to join civilization.

    Now, the middle of the night crying that’s legitimate scared/sad/worried….carry on soldier. He needs comfort, he needs reassurance.  The middle of the night is not the appropriate time to coach a toddler on life skills.  I agree with Amy’s advice 100% and hope you will follow up.  She’s a wise one. :)

  20. Shannon Aug 16 at 10:21 pm Reply Reply

    No husband advice, but we ended up dropping my daughter’s nap around 2.5y when she couldn’t fall asleep at night until 10pm. It was a transition & some days she still needed it but it made bedtime so much easier, earlier, & faster!

  21. MR Aug 18 at 8:17 pm Reply Reply

    We went through something similar. My hubby was simply expecting too much from our toddler (she could speak REALLY well, but that didn’t make her more emotionally mature), and there weren’t any good parenting classes in our area, so I couldn’t make him go. My mom told me that she had similar issues with my Dad (so, hey, we ALL go through this!), and that she found she couldn’t make him read a parenting book, but she could leave a book open to a page in a place he would see it, and he would look at that page or two. Sadly, that didn’t work for my dh. Instead, I had to read it, then sit down with him and say, “Hey, I’d like to talk to you about our parenting style with x. It seems like what we are doing right now isn’t working really well. I’ve been reading this book, and would like to run some things by you to see what you think?” That makes it your problem together instead of just him being wrong. Then I would highlight the main items, and we’d talk about them. Then I would follow up with, “Ok, so going forward, we will try this approach.” That way, the next time he forgot and just did the same old, I was able to simply remind him that we had discussed and agree to the new approach. That way, I wasn’t criticizing him directly, just pointing out we had agreed on trying something new and kind of enforcing the rule.
    For what it is worth, it sounds like your son is advanced and hitting the “terrific threes” a little early. That is SUCH NORMAL behavior for three. Happiest Toddler on the Block saved my sanity. It is super easy to read, so I was able to do that even with a newborn, and made it really easy to hand to my hubby to read a few bullet items. I highly recommend it.

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