Anybody Else Have a Child With a Tough Personality

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by sullivanre, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. sullivanre

    sullivanre Well-Known Member

    My son Eli is a very interesting child. I can already see that he's got a difficult personality to deal with. He's a little hesitant with people, but warms up to them eventually. That I can deal with; his father is that way. However, he also gets angry a lot, and it is not a temperamental toddler phase. It started when he was 5 months old, and he wanted to crawl. He would scream and bang on the floor for a good 20 minutes, and half the time handing him the toy or pushing him forward so he could reach it just made him more angry. I know this personality trait is good in some ways--he's determined, right. He's also extremely curious and very smart. I can't keep him out of things; he learned his ABCs and shapes at 18months, and now at 19 months he knows his numbers and basic colors. I know these are good things right, but he gets really angry if he can't do something. And when he's bored, he acts awful, and he gets bored easily. He's also a button pusher; if you don't give him attention, he'll get your attention by any means necessary.

    It probably doesn't help that Mark tends to be a charmer; moreover, Eli is totally stepping on Mark's toes and taking Mark's attention. It also doesn't help that many people who are close to me have commented on Eli's personality (not necessarily in a bad way, but it's recognizable to many other people who interact with him).

    So how do you deal with a kid like this?

    I have been successful with a few things--he loves to "help out" and copy adults, so I tell him take things to his Dad. He also know how to take out the trash, so we do that together. Any other creative suggestions?
  2. debfitz

    debfitz Well-Known Member

    Sounds like he is easily frustrated. He sounds like one of those kids that is soo smart they get bored easily and then act up in their class at school. I would just try to continue finding toys or activities that challenge him and get him to use his ability. Sounds like a bright child, and at this age I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. If he isn't talking yet, have you tried signing with him? Maybe it could decrease his amount of frustration if he could communicate better. I am currently using the Help sign with mine. If they are in a situation with a toy and getting frustrated, I encourage them to use the help sign so mommy can help. Just a suggestion. It might not hurt to ask your pediatrician or an occupational therapist for tips on how to deal with this appropriately. I hope it gets better for you! Wish I could be more of a help.
  3. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    :hug: Rachel. I'll write when I don't have a grumpy 2-yr-old on my lap! :lol:
  4. sullivanre

    sullivanre Well-Known Member

    That's exactly my concern, and the fact that he is so demanding, that Mark is left over in the corner playing by himself. I don't have much Mommy guilt, but that is one thing that does bother me.

    I'll have to look into the signing; his language is really good, but when he gets angry, he refuses to speak, and starts hooting.
  5. vharrison1969

    vharrison1969 Well-Known Member

    You bring up some really interesting questions, Rachel. I've read that it's good for kids to be allowed to get bored; that it inspires them to find ways to entertain themselves. I don't agree with that 100%, though. My main memory of childhood is boredom, and it's not a good memory. I suppose you could say I was a "gifted" child (could read at 18 months), and I got bored very easily at home and in school. Unfortunately my public school wasn't very good and I had a lot of problems.

    I worry about this for my boys too. I don't know if they're going to be "gifted" but I am nevertheless going to keep a sharp eye out for boredom, anxiety, and acting out.

    I think the idea of giving Eli things to do is a great one. Can you get a child-sized broom or dustpan set so he can help clean? Or even a rag to help dust? (Jack loves to do this.) Nate is a button-mashing gearhead (like his Mama) and he loves electronics. I have a cache of old remotes for him to play with, we got him a Leapfrog cell-phone thingie, and just recently brought up DH's old eletric piano from downstairs so he can noodle around with it (gotta love that Bossanova! ;) ). Does Eli like these sorts of things? How about toy cooking implements so he can "cook" with you?

    As far as signing, I used to be a big naysayer, but I think this is one of the best things I've done for my boys. DH borrowed the first 2 volumes of Baby Signing Time from a coworker and they're a huge hit. They both sign "baby" and "sign" constantly because they always want to watch the videos, but we only let them watch it a couple of times a week (they turn into mouth-breathing zombies when the TV is on :rolleyes: ). But we do consistently use the signs and I think it's been a wonderful thing. They both can say most of the things that they can sign, but their enunciation is still very poor so I can't always understand which "ba" is "ball", "book", "boat", etc. The signs help me understand what they want and (I think) reduce frustration.

    Anyway, sorry for the novel. I hope you get some good ideas about how to work with Eli, and if you find something that clicks, please let us know! :)
    1 person likes this.
  6. nateandbrig

    nateandbrig Well-Known Member

    I don't have one of those kids and I think you have gotten some great advice. The only thing that came to mind was maybe going along another path to intrigue him. What about a music class or arts and crafts? My ds Jake get's frustrated easily but it's because his language is a bit delayed (and we do sign) but singing helps with him. He LOVES music and anything to go with it, I swear he'll dance to just about anything and it instantly changes his mood.
    It sounds like you have an adventure on your hands with Eli and I look forward to hearing about it!
  7. cheriek

    cheriek Well-Known Member

    OMG Rachel, are kids are the same kid:rotflmbo: Charlotte is exactly the way you describe her and my oldest was the same way! at least i can tell you by age 7yrs he will be less demanding:rotflmbo: i got my grey hairs when Joshua was 2yrs old :laughing:, they are head strong, determined, smart but perfectionist, love to be in charge of everything and everyone -I cant wait to see how Charlotte takes on this role now as a "female Joshua" i think she is even MORE determined then he was at 20 months -:headbang: we are in for a fun ride with this extrovert personality!

  8. sullivanre

    sullivanre Well-Known Member

  9. sullivanre

    sullivanre Well-Known Member

    I was doing that for a while, and they changed the time on me, but you remind me that I really need to get back to the library.

    I should have said that he usually behaves wonderfully in public. Actually both my kids do--and I know it's the stimulation of a new environment. I think the fact that it's winter and I'm pregnant; is putting a damper on getting out, and as you ladies know, housebound babies get cranky.

    OMG, so I have to wait 7 years. LOL! I'll be all gray by that point.
  10. cheriek

    cheriek Well-Known Member

    LOL hey with twins it could be longer:rotflmbo:
  11. pamallhoney

    pamallhoney Well-Known Member

    I didn't read through all the responses, but he sounds gifted. I don't think any of my kids were doing what you describe Eli to be doing at this age. Maybe one of two of those things. Anyways, you might want to pick up some books on gifted children. Or even get him tested early so that he isn't frustrated once he hits school. Does he get alone time to himself? My sister use to give each of her boys 45 min. in a room alone to play. She would gate off the room, but basically ignore them unless they were hurt. She helped them to develop alone playtime and it really helped to break up the siblings each day.
  12. tfrost

    tfrost Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'm reading this thread just imagining what the next few months hold for my boys. My Andy is already leaning towards being my very demanding baby. And Will just lets him steal his thunder very time. Will is so easy-going and relaxed most of the time. Andy is already throwing little tantrums when he's bored, when he doesn't get his way, and like your Eli, especially when he's so frustrated about not being able to do something. They both just started pulling up and cruising, and if Andy falls down, he get soooo mad. Will just shrugs it off and keeps going. If Andy is playing with a toy that he can't figure out, here comes the loud scream. I'm hoping this will pass or at least calm down, but I'm afraid at 18 months, we'll have a very frustrated, bored, tantrum-throwing baby on our hands. Good luck and I'll keep watching this thread for more advice :)
  13. vharrison1969

    vharrison1969 Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I think this might be one of the hardest things about parenting for me. I'm keeping such an eagle-eye on my boys for the problems that *I* had, that I'm afraid I might be missing something else. I have to remember that they are their own individuals.

    Well, I think that every parent wants their kid to be "advanced", but it's really a mixed blessing. Kids definitely have an easier time in school and life in general if they have good social skills. Not (necessarily) so much if they are "smart". ITA with the suggestion of doing some reading about gifted children and see if you can find some strategies that work.

    On a side note, my mother had to deal with the boredom issue with my brother. He would totally be classified with ADHD now (they just said "hyperactive" back then). He had tons of energy and used to come up and say "what should I do, Mom" and she'd say "run around the house 3 times". He'd go outside, run around the house 3 times, then come back and say "what do I do now?" :gah: :laughing:
  14. mollyjm

    mollyjm Well-Known Member

    Sounds A lot like my Ella!

    I kinda skimmed through the other posts, so if I repeat something, sorry.

    Some things I have Ella do

    Help with the dishes (like the silverware. And it teaches sorting)

    anything really that is sorting helps. Sorting out clothes after they are washed.

    I also always try and push her one step further. She seems to really thrive off of that too.

    I have more, but breakfast is over and the children are calling :)
  15. sullivanre

    sullivanre Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to say thanks for your suggestions ladies. We are really working on this. I've been giving him lots of tasks, and since he wakes up before Mark from his nap, he's getting some one on one time (although I need to figure out how to work in one on ones with Mark).

    We've also started taking him to time out immediately when he starts tantrums--I used to give him a warning or two. Getting strict has helped with that problem--last week was pretty bad, but this week is much better, so we'll see.
  16. heathertwins

    heathertwins Well-Known Member

    While I don't think I have a gifted child, I do have a high spirited one, and a very passive one. To deal with this I often will read to them first thing in the morning. Reading seems to calm them down and it seems after that they are ready to play on their own. I have a library of books, some easy books some very hard rhyming books. I will often grab 5- 10 books sometimes. Then in the afternoon I will do it again. Even if they will not sit down next to me I know they are listening.

    I have them in a music class called Kindermusik which is world wide I think. I also have my high spirited going to daycare 2 days a week, which i started after my third was born. I too had that feeling of guilt when I was pg and dealing with a high spirited child. REading to them is a wonderful way to deal with any guilt you may have about not doing enough and the library is FREE. Even if they were difficult to read to in the past, try again and see how they go now that they are older. Oh and you can do it sitting down, which is nice for a pg woman to do with twin toddlers.

    Another idea is to get them outside. Wrap them up and send them out in the cold. Let them burn off some energy. My husband takes a double stroller and allows one at a time to walk the malls. I have found planning out my week with a bordom day on Monday, and then often set activities for the weeks keeps them busy. Even if it is for only an hour in the day.

    Just know that there are many WONDERFUL parents out there with poor adult children ..... while other POOR parents created WONDERFUL adults. Sometimes I think we need to shoot for being a "less than perfect parents" just so our kids will turn out just fine.

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