Toddlers and teenagers.

Teenagers and toddlers.

I was chatting with another mummy at a birthday party today and we were comparing stories about our children. I was saying how my little miss is pushing boundaries like there is no tomorrow (hello tantrums ) whilst she was talking about her teenagers.

What we both found interesting was the similarities in behaviour and reactions. My stories also bought back memories for her, from when her children were younger.

I know this may sound offensive, especially if you are a teenager reading this, however similarities in back chat, attitude and general rudeness are uncanny.

During our conversation we shared many a laugh with comparing stories, yet also shared ideas on how we can deal with our situations.

Disrespectful or rude behaviour in both toddlers and teenagers is pretty common. Although these phases do eventually pass.

Not all toddlers or teenagers are rude or disrespectful, but some disrespect is a normal part of both toddler and teenage growth and development. Otherwise known as pushing boundaries.

This is partly because your child is learning to express and test out their own independent ideas, so of course, there will be times when you disagree. Which in return may cause arguments.

You will find that having your child develop their own independence is a key part of growing up and a good sign that your child is trying to take more responsibility.

We both agreed that our children’s moods change very quickly and sometimes for no apparent reason. My two year old can throw a tantrum over me giving her the wrong plate colour at dinner time whereas my mummy friend said her teenager can throw a tantrum with yelling, slamming doors, ignoring her wishes or grunting at her when she has asked for a simple task to be done.

Because of how our brains develop individually, your child isn’t always able to express their changing feelings and reactions to everyday or unexpected things. This can also lead to over-sensitivity, and over reactions that may be seen as grumpiness or rudeness.

Sometimes disrespectful behaviour might also be a sign that your child is feeling particularly stressed, anxious or worried.

As a parent, you might feel hurt, worried and unsure about why this behaviour is happening. Your child used to value your interest or input and perhaps be ‘closer’ with you, but now it seems that even simple conversations with them can turn into an argument. My toddler most definitely hates when I suggest she do something different to what she wants. According to my friend, her teenager has similar reactions when she asks them to make their bed or put their used plate in the dishwasher. My miss, will proceed to tell me ‘no, I not, I no likey you’ whereas her teenager grunt and moans at her over a similar request.

What we must remember though is that both toddlers and teenagers are trying to express themselves. Toddlers generally struggle with words or expressing themselves verbally whilst teenagers struggle with feelings and emotions. Toddlers throw tantrums when they feel frustrated whereas teenagers may feel unheard therefore they shut down and this behaviour can be mistaken for rudeness or disrespect.

Around the age of 13 a child’s brain start to think in a deeper way than it did a few years earlier, they can have thoughts and feelings they’ve never had before which they may struggle with accepting, while some young people seem to burst into the world with a conflicting and radical view on everything. This shift to deeper thinking is a normal part of brain development. As with most things, people will always deal with things differently.

What we both conceded was in both our situations, mine with my bossy, Indepandant, argumentative toddler and her with her rude, abrupt and disrespectful teenager is that if we staied calm during these outbursts the situation was fused quickly.

It is important if your child reacts with ‘attitude’ to a discussion that you stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say. By reacting with aggression or similar attitude, you may find that it escalates the situation. It can also confuse the child as to what behaviour is actually acceptable. If your irrational or aggressive, your child may think this behaviour is acceptable and behaviour in a similar situation.

In a difficult situation try to use light humour. A shared laugh can break a stalemate, bring a new perspective or lighten the mood and tone of a conversation. Being a lighthearted parent can also help take the heat out of a situation – but avoid mocking, ridiculing or being sarcastic. I find that with my kids, if she is in the thick of a tantrum, if I walk away she may escalate or if I change the subject and perhaps put her favourite show on TV it may diffuse her. Whereas my friend said that by Ignoring her teenagers shrugs, rolling eyes and bored looks it also diffuses the situation, but if she demands an apology for the ‘attitude’, it can be like adding petrol to a fire.

During these power struggles with your child, If you are feeling angry or frustrated try not to take it out on your child. They don’t understand what they are feeling and are most likely struggling with your emotions also. What we need to do as a parent is to teach the child, be it a toddler or teenager that their behaviour is not appropriate or acceptable. If you become defensive or agitated your child will then most likely react in a similar way.

Try not to take things that your toddler or teenager say personally. It might help to remind yourself that your child is trying to assert their own independence.

Even though you have more life experience than your child, lecturing them about how to behave is likely to have them stop listening to you. If you want your child to listen to you, you might need to allow them to speak freely to you also. Communication goes both ways and the child needs to feel respected in order to feel valid. Much like nagging, this is not likely to have a positive effect. It might increase your frustration, and your child will probably just scream at you or switch off. As with sarcasm your child may start to resent you and as a parent, I know that I do not want that type of relationship with my children.

Speaking with this other mummy today has made me feel like this ‘terrible two’ situation is easy in comparison to her ‘terrible teenager’. My eldest is only 4 but rest assured I’m planning on putting boundaries in place in hope that he won’t behave irrationally during his teenage years.

What are you experience’s of toddlers and teenagers?

Did or do you have a similar experience?

I’d love to hear from you.

Terrible twos!

The terrible twos!

Well let me just start with OMG….

My precious little girl has recently entered the ‘terrible twos’. Now I’m not one to ‘label’ people or stereotype, but after hearing stories about the ‘terrible twos’, I’m pretty certain that my little miss, has decided to join that club.

Let me start by saying that although I’ve had some questionable days with my 4 year old, nothing he ever said or did is even close to what my little miss does.

Maybe it’s a second child thing?
Maybe it’s a girl thing?

I’ve heard that girls can be more ‘bossy’ and also the second child learns from the first? My first isn’t badly behaved, although he can push boundaries, he is no where near as brave to push me to limits where my miss thinks it’s funny.

I really know when it started, but most days (of late) we have a tantrum of some sort and over petty things? – well things that seem petty to me.

We can have tantrums because I got her shoes that she didn’t want to wear.

She can throw a tantrum because she wanted to do her own hair.

Sometimes tantrums are because she wanted to sit on a particular part of the couch.

Or a tantrum can be caused when I open her snack when she wanted too.

Oh and let’s not forget when I get her the wrong colour cutlery for meal times, and the list goes on…

Anyway, each day is different and I’ve learnt not to expect 100% perfect behaviour all day long. Now I know that kids can’t be perfect, I definitely let things slide, but picking my battles is becoming more of a lifestyle choice.

I understand that tantrums are often sparked by a child’s frustration at their inability to complete a task or voice and explain themselves correctly. The child thinks that they should be able to do on their own things and their own way and when they don’t succeed, it seems like they have failed themselves and in return they throw a ‘doosey’.

On top of this frustration, toddlers quite often get frazzled doing simple things because they do not have the language skills to express their feelings which equates to their temper being shown, therefore throwing a ‘temper tantrum’.

I’ve learnt that tantrums are normal for the development of every child. Each child goes through this (maybe some not as bad as others) however These tantrums will decrease around age 4, once motor and language skills are better developed.

When it comes disciplining my little miss, during one of her many tantrums, I’ve learnt it’s important for me to remain calm and avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour. If I don’t, it makes her worse. Sometimes I feel like laughing of throwing a tantrum myself (merely from frustration) but I keep it together. I am the adult. 😉

If I keep my emotions in check, I find she generally calms down sooner. If my emotions escalate or I yell or get cranky at her, her temper is 10 fold.

I remember laughing at her once and it was like adding fuel to a fire. She laid on the ground kicking and screaming and yelling “I no likey you, go away me now”.

I try not to confront her. Instead, I walk away and do something else, basically I ignore her. I don’t make eye contact or speak to her, I simply wait for her to calm down. This has helped with ensuring her that I am not reinforcing her bad behavior.

After the tantrum finishes I go and provide her with reassurance and guidance. Speaking to her in a relaxed and calm tone and telling her what she has said or done is not appreciated or nice. Sometimes she is receptive, others she just sobs and ignores me. I guess I can’t expect too much, she is only 2.

With each tantrum I’m trying to teach her how to express her feelings through words instead of throwing herself around and screaming.

Reassuring her that I still love her, but not her tantrums then we move on to the next activity.

I thought that having a very stubborn boy was tough, honestly my little miss is so defiant, stubborn, head strong and loves to assert herself. I know it’s only a phase and will soon pass, maybe I will miss it (possibly not) but I know it’s all a learning process for us both.

Have you a strong willed child?

What are your experiences with tantrums and the terrible twos?

I’d love to hear from you. Xx

Growing up.

Growing up.

Today was a tough day for me. Emotionally.

Today I took my almost 5 year old to ‘transition day’ at his soon to be, ‘big School’. Yes my little man is off to kindergarten next year. (2018)

It was a big day for us both. I was emotional because I know he is growing up, and too fast for me. I was nervous for him as we walked into the unknown. The front gates of ‘big school’ that is possibly 10 times bigger than his current preschool. Not to mention the transition that he will discover from going to preschool 3 days per week, to going to kindergarten 5 days per week.

It feels like only yesterday that I held my 3.53kg bundle of love in my arms. Looking down at him longingly and adoring everything about him. From his teeny tiny nose, to his beautiful little fingers and toes and big brown eyes that still to this day, have me mesmerised.

Today showed me just how much my little man has grown up. He may only be 4 (almost 5, November) but, he showed me so much maturity that I was super proud. Im always proud of him, but today I was gleaming.

He took everything in his stride. He was not nervous, he was not scared, he was not sad. He was excited for the path that lay ahead. The smile on his face and his inquisitive eyes showed me just how ready he is for this next chapter.

My heart was bursting with pride for this little man that I am raising. He was such a gentleman when meeting his new teachers and peers and showed me that all the little things that I have been instilling in him, he has in fact taken on board.

Little things like looking at someone’s eyes when they are speaking to you, smiling politely and answering politely when spoken too, raising his hand when he wants to speak in a group setting and allowing his peers through doorways etc rather than pushing and shoving to get somewhere first, being respectful, thoughtful and courteous etc.

Today we bought ‘Big School’ uniforms and his school bag. Seeing him try on his new uniform definitely gave me a lump in my throat, holding back the tears as I didn’t want him to see me cry.

If ever I get a tear in my eye, he is straight away comforting me, asking me if I’m ok, hugging me and holding my hand tight. For such a rough and tumble robust boy, he is such a beautiful soul.

As he stood there examining himself in the mirror and asked me if he looked ‘Smart’. I told him yes and very handsome. He replied “handsome is good mum, but you always say that. I want to look Smart like I know stuff”. I quietly knew that, so confirmed to him, that yes, he most definitely looks “Smart”.

The emotions of being his mum fill me with happiness each and every day. I am not one to struggle with words, but words can’t describe my love and how proud I am of my boy.

I can not believe that my eldest and only boy (who will always be my little boy) is off to kindergarten. His kind soul and caring ways will hopefully see him succeed in whatever he chooses in his path.

Next year I’m sure I will have butterflies swarming in my tummy and tears rolling down my face as I bid him farewell as he walks through the front gate of his ‘big school’.

I know that within all my heart he is ready. He is eager to learn and is excited for his new chapter.

Although he is growing up, I’m very much enjoying watching my little boy grow and turn into such a sweet, humble, caring and loving person.

As his preschool chapter is coming to an end, his big school journey is beginning and I will always have memories.

Where, oh where, have the past 5 years gone? ❤️