Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tired? Teething? Or Tantrum?

When you have a newborn baby and they cry you can pretty much assume it's because they're hungry. Once they grow into the baby stage, tears usually mean hunger or sleepiness. But then, of course,  you have the curve balls - teething, colic, gas, illness - the things that cause your baby to cry {usually hysterically} with little to nothing you can do to help. Now that Kenley is officially a toddler, I find myself wondering, is she crying because...

she's tired?
she has a tooth coming in?
she's not feeling well?
she's going through a growth spurt?
Or, DUM DUM DUM, is this a tantrum?

Kenley is very much at the age where she's testing the limits. She wants to know what she can and cannot get away with and she is pretty vocal when she doesn't get her way. I know this is part of the learning process and all kids go through this stage. But, what is terrifying is that it's up to me and Jason to handle this phase in such a way that results in a good kid - not a snotty, spoiled, tantrum throwing child. 

According to our doctor Kenley has gone through a major growth spurt since her 9 month appointment. She also sprouted THREE new teeth the week of her birthday. So I know at least some of her irritability is coming from pain. She also has a limit she hits when she's tired, and you can tell she's ready for a nap or bed. But still...what can you chalk up to teething, growing and sleepiness and what is straight up attitude?
Kenley knows the word "no" and will shake her head when you tell her "no", and has been doing so for months. For the most part, if you tell her "no" she will stop whatever naughty thing she is doing and move on to the next. But then every once and a while she'll keep at it and when you remove her from the situation she'll slam her arms to her side, go limp and cry....that my friends is not teething.

Again, I know all kids do this at some point or another, so I'm not concerned right now. I'm just concerned about handling it right. Right now I just let her throw the fit and not give in. I also talk to her and explain why she can't do or have whatever it is she's angry about. Whether or not she understands, I don't know, but eventually she will so might as well start now. Right?

I guess my biggest worry about all of this is that Kenley is a VERY fortunate and loved little girl, she has two parents, EIGHT grandparents and countless Aunts and Uncles who think she is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm not kidding - the kid sneezes and everyone goes crazy. I am so happy that she has so much love and support and I know she will grow up with no shortage of self esteem BUT I don't want her to get such a big head that she thinks she can just do whatever she wants.

I'm getting off track. My point is that I have now reached the point in parenting where I need to start teaching discipline and I'm not excited about it. There is a lot of pressure on a parent to raise a "good" kid and it really starts with discipline.


When did you mamas start to deal with little tantrums? How did you handle them?


20 comments:

WinterBenson said...

Harper is only 9 months old so I have no advice from experience, but this is something I thought/worried about since before we even started trying to have a baby. I talked to a lot of trusted friends, and their advice to me was this: It doesn't matter what type of discipline you do, as long as you DO it consistently and most of all, follow through (Don't make empty threats).
That's the best I got! Good luck! This stage is coming for me soon!

aintnodramamama.blogspot.com

~Dawn~ said...

I love that you are not giving in. Tantrums are no fun, but kids are SMART. They know our breaking points and will cry until we let them get the best of us and give in to whatever it is they are wanting. They need to know that the parents have the upper hand and teaching that at a young age is essential. I also love that you are 'talking' to her. Just saying 'no' maybe stops them in their tracks, but it's not allowing them to learn why you said 'no'. I've learned over the years that at no matter what age, your kids always understand more than you think they do. Keep talking to her!! :)

Carolyn said...

I know Kenley pretty well, and I know you and Jason really well. I can tell you straight up that you're doing an awesome job! But I totally get the scariness of it. Keep it up Beeb! You have great instincts!

Ashley said...

You know how I feel about teething - it's a total bitch.

As for the tantrums, our Families First program visitor suggested exactly what you're doing! She said the best way to avoid tantrums when they're older is saying something like "please don't touch that Kenley, it's hot! It will hurt.' or 'Kenley please stop climbing on the chair, it's not safe, you could fall.' It gives them an explanation, instead of just 'No Kenley!!'

You're doing a great job, Kristin!

Ashley @ Words About Waverly said...

Gosh, I was getting ready to do a post on this! Waverly sounds EXACTLY the same way right now, and I worry about it too! We are doing pretty much the exact same thing. I am also reading a book called "Happy Toddler, Happy Life" and I feel like it is helping! Kepp it up, momma!

wordsaboutwaverly.blogspot.com

Kelly B. said...

it shouldn't be funny, but that picture of her crying is hilariously adorable. She's just SO dramatically sad!

This is my #1 fear with kids. Not only discipline, but as they get older having the right combination of "friend" and "guardian"...the scariest part for me is you can do everything right, or try, and either they'll follow it and get great grades and be a good kid, or totally rebel. It's finding the line where they WANT to do the right things and make you proud, vs. just resent you. ACK. scary. I'll follow your lead! haha!

P!nky said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! I think so many people can't stand their children crying so they give and and poof, entitled child. I'm not a mom so I can't say I've been there done that in any shape or form.I just know I see bad kids and kids that are tired and can tell, which parent is actually disciplining their child.

You've got it mamam.

Allison said...

We've been going through tantrums for a few months now. It probably started at 11 months and it's TOUGH. My only advice is to redirect, communicate and try to be patient (or drink a lot of wine). You're a great momma!

{Jessica} said...

Caleb is only 6 months old, so I am not there quite yet. But I am dreading it a bit - because you're right, it's a huge responsibility to make sure that we raise good, well-behaved children. I'm glad to hear that you are not taking it lightly. The fact that you are concerned about it tells me that you are already headed in the right direction, sweet friend! I think many children who grow up to be snotty and ill-mannered were products of parents who just didn't care!

Melissa @ i carry your heart said...

My daughter is 2.5 and in the middle of the worst of the Terrible Twos (at least i'm hoping this is the worst - haha). It's amazing how smart they are at some an early age. I'm constantly worried about if I'm reacting the "right" way. You just have to follow your gut when it comes to picking your battles, ignoring their behavior, and/or disciplining them. Some days you will feel like you are doing everything right and then the nex day, everything wrong. ha!

hello erin said...

ha. little tantrums totally test me! around here they're usually over something totally weird and random. i think the hardest part is trying not to laugh! and discipline is SO HARD. we're at the "every time mom and dad seem mad at me or attempt time out i think its HILARIOUS stage". its seriously so hard figuring out the whole discipline thing. BUT i'm right with you. . . it has to be done!

Britni said...

This is the exact thing we are dealing with right now too..

I don't want to use the excuse, he is too young he doesn't understand because he does but at the same time how do you discipline a 15 month old??

I feel ya on the grandparents part, when we are trying our hardest to not have him throw his sippy cup, grandparents think it's the cutest, funniest thing. :)

Kara Frank said...

Mollie is at the same stage and we ignore it if it appears to be a tantrum about nothing, or redirect her attention towards something else. We really try not to give in and give her what she wants if it's a pouty tantrum.

Jamie said...

I started with time out at about 18 months. Some days are harder than others :)

ajs {of MN} said...

yicks, i am dealing w/ the tantrum phase right not. amazingly enough they all know how to turn it on and then how to turn it right off, so i am learning her limits while she is testing mine.

i know her best right now, i know exactly how she will react so for the most part- i am prepared and can brace myself... now based on where we are or what we are tantrum-ing over has A LOT to do with the outcome.

Kate said...

Discipline has never even crossed my mind. Now I'm worried. This parenting thing is so damn hard sometimes. Today I realized that Trace is cutting his first 2 teeth. He's not even 5 months old. Today is the day that shit's gotten really real - thanks to your post and his teeth. Oh man... I'm. A. Mom!

Jess Beer said...

Abbie is just starting this too...cries when we take things away or tell her no. I think it's so important to be firm, and think you're going about it the right way. Even though she doesn't understand it yet, she will soon and it's good to start the example now.

Celeste said...

Oh, how I dread this. I just know myself too well, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be great with the discipline. But I think the worst thing EVER is a spoiled little tantrum throwing child, so it's one of my biggest fears. Obviously I have no advice for you, but I sympathize and know it's coming for me too. So if you figure it all out, please pass along your wisdom :)

Confessions of a Northern Belle said...

Is it bad that I love the picture of her crying? She is still so cute doing it!

Anonymous said...

You have a great handle on this Kris. I plan on spoling Ken Mou but in a good way. I promise I will be consistant with your style of disipline. After all, it is pretty darn close to the way I raised you! xo m