Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rough day

D: We've told people we practice 'Positive Discipline' to explain why we haven't used (over-used) the word "no" very often with the kids up to this point. When people hear this, I'm assuming they either think we then a) just give in and let the kids do what they want, b) never really set firm boundaries for the kids, or c) raise them in a bubble, with little opportunities to learn life's lessons.

On the contrary, Positive Discipline (or our version of it) is really quite difficult. It takes much more work to make sure that we are explaining the consequences of their actions, following through with those consequences, allowing them to have alternative options, and redirecting them with positive distractions. It's really much more work then just saying "no". And we do say "no" when they are in danger (going towards a dog, the street, or grabbing a knife, etc.).

And while this has been difficult for sure, it seems to be a good fit for our family, and we have really minimized the power struggles.

Up to this point.

In the last few days, something has changed. Maybe because W is out of town for a few days, and I'm feeling like I'm at my wits end, or maybe it's because it was Friday the 13th yesterday. But all of a sudden, our plan is NOT WORKING and I'm back to the drawing board.

My little strong willed boys are testing their mama's patience over and over and over again. Take yesterday for example:
For the first time in their lives, neither one of them had a nap. Instead, they were both in and out of their cribs (that's right... they've officially escaped) biting and fighting each other, tearing the entire room apart, and literally climbing the walls (the built-in book shelf). I tried to sit with them, singing softly in the darkness, but they weren't having it. I was in and out of their room probably 15 times until I finally gave up 3 hours into it.

The rest of the afternoon I was left with over-tired, wound-up toddlers that were doing and re-doing everything they KNEW not to do: dumping potted plants over in the living room, throwing my lap top off the table, banging on the flat screen TV, poking sticks at the cat in the yard, and finally, running (sprinting) in two different directions on the sidewalk in front of our house towards the street.

All in less than three hours. I'm not kidding.
Did I yell "NO"? Hell yes. Several times. And then we all cried.

I'm sure this will pass and it's probably good to stay the course and have confidence and consistency in what we are doing. And I guess I just needed to vent. There are huge changes happening with the boys right now (talking SO much more, learning new things every day)and I'm sure their little circuits in their brains just need to cool off a bit. And so do I.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 1:03 PM

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Hang in there Dana, your efforts will be rewarded, though they may come in bits and pieces.

Posted by Blogger Sara @ Saturday, March 14, 2009 5:22:00 PM #

you've describe our world for the past two months. in fact, since the day they turned two this has become our reality. BUT, it's getting so much better recently. i don't know what did the trick, but i feel as if some of the insanity has lessened. we've been trying to resolve a lot of this from two directions. the first, spending a lot more quality one-on-one time with the boys. every weekend we have 1/2 day dates with each boy. even though we spend less time as a family together, this is working out amazing. the boys need the one-on-one time with us, and it's amazing how much easier life is when you're only with one child. it's a break for us! ever since we started doing this, the physical fighting between the boys has lessened dramatically. i think they just need quality breaks from one another! on the second front, we're not punishing poor behavior so much as providing clear consequences for their actions. we give them a choice for continuing their behavior with the consequence, or doing something positive. this also seems to have helped a lot, although it's amazing how sometimes they choose the poor behavior with a less-than-fun consequence. so be it! on the whole, though, they are doing much better being in control of their destiny in this regard.

anyways, at the very least i empathize with you! and it sounds like you've got a really great approach to it all. it takes a completely new kind of stamina and patience, these terrible and brilliant twos!

Posted by Blogger t + j @ Sunday, March 15, 2009 12:12:00 PM #

My little one is 2 months older than your guys and oddly, he has recently made a similar personality switch. It has been rough and I too am challenged immensely. Like you, I know it's temporary. But that doesn't make it easier in the moment.

Posted by Blogger alicia @ Sunday, March 15, 2009 7:49:00 PM #

Now you know why they call it the terrible 2's! Splitting them up for a day as T + J suggested is a great idea.
Hang in there Dana you're doing a terrific job with those boys!!


Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Monday, March 16, 2009 8:19:00 AM #

From a fellow twin mom - It sounds like you are doing fantastic, so don't be too hard on yourself for those moments when screaming a good loud "No" happens. I also love the photos in your previous post. You might consider entering them in a photo competition. You have a great eye for composition.

Posted by Blogger pokettiger @ Friday, March 20, 2009 6:18:00 AM #

I too have been experiencing everything you described. We recently moved our boys out of their cribs because they were either going to break their necks from getting out or break their cribs from jumping on them so hard. I first put them into the same bed. What a nightmare. I should of known it wasn't going to work. Putting them to sleep took at least an hour and I had to lay between them. Finally I split them and put them in separate rooms. They each share a room with an older sibling and they have their own beds. I hated to do this because I just wanted them to be buddies so badly. But my bed time sanity is back. I can put them in bed and on an average they go to sleep within 15 min. Of course they test me and try to sneak into each others rooms but I'm their to redirect them. Hang in there.

Posted by Blogger camille @ Thursday, April 02, 2009 10:44:00 PM #
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