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Behaviour Archives - Angelic Monsters

The 5 mistakes Big People make with their toddlers.

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1. They haven’t taught their little people to sleep unassisted.

So this guy comes in at the top of the list because sleep deprivation is TORTURE. It’s also the root cause of many other issues. Most of the clients I see are having trouble with some aspect of sleeping. Their Little People may be catnapping, waking through the night, demanding seventeen glasses of water at bedtime, not napping, napping too much, getting out of bed over and over and over again (or maybe just once to take up residence in yours).

If sleep is an issue in your house, make it a priority to sort it out. If you’d bitten the bullet a month ago, calculate how many extra hours of sleep you would have gotten. Now add a few more and recognise that this is the amount of sleep you will miss if you don’t fix it for another month. Kids don’t ‘grow out’ of sleep issues. They need you to teach them to manage it on their own.

2. They say more ‘don’ts’ than ‘do’s’.

Now, my Dad is a sailor and I have spent much of my life on boats. Perhaps you have too, but for just a minute I want you to pretend that you have never sailed.

Imagine I have invited you to come on an adventure around the harbour with me. It’s a beautiful day and you’re really excited to cruise around drinking champagne, just like in the movies.
Unfortunately for you, my boat is really big and the crew needs you to help get her around the harbour. You are given the job of ‘trimmer’. You’re a bit startled that so much is expected of you, and have absolutely no idea what you are meant to do. You sit where you are told to sit, and as the boat takes off you start feeling really anxious. ‘Grab that halyard!’ someone yells at you. You’re bewildered and pick up a rope. ‘Not the green one’. Errr, okay. You drop it and pick up another rope curled up nearby. ‘No, don’t touch that and get out of the way the boom is going to knock your block off!’.

Firstly, the people on my boat aren’t very friendly are they!
Secondly, it seem a bit unrealistic that nobody would pipe up and tell you rope is the right rope to pull (the red one, duh).

But as a toddler, who isn’t clear on exactly what you are supposed to be doing, it’s pretty likely you’ll hear a few don’ts. Don’t touch that. Don’t do that. Don’t hit me. Don’t you even think about it. Don’t poke the cat. Don’t make a mess. Don’t stick your finger in my nostril, especially of you’ve just been scratching your bum!

You get the idea. Try some ‘Do’s’. I love it when you draw pictures on the paper. Can you show me how you can make a square with these sticks? Let’s run to that tree! Ready, set, DO!

 

3. They try to control the uncontrollable.

There are two things you have absolutely no control over.

  • When your toddler sleeps
  • What your toddler eats.

‘What?’ I hear you gasping. Sure you control nap times and meals to a point. But only your Little Person can control when they actually drift off to dreamland. Same goes for what they will and will not swallow. The best you can do is create an environment that promotes the outcome you would like, and cross your fingers.

Remember: It is your job to provide good, nutritious food. It is their job to eat it. (Rejoice! Disengage from the dinner battle!)

4. They let their toddlers get hungry in supermarkets.

Replace hungry with tired, overstimulated or bored and you get the same outcome. Did you ever play the game ‘The Sims’? It was where you created a world full of characters and then looked after them to make sure their every whim was tended to (Sound familiar?).
I often think of this visual representation of core needs from the game:

gif mine sims the sims 2 ts3 needs ts2

If your Little Person hits the red zone in these core needs, they will have a tantrum. So would you.

(P.s. I love the word ‘hangry’. It’s when you are so hungry you get angry.)

 

5. They forget to look after themselves first.

If you were to choose 10 core needs and draw yourself a ‘Sims personal needs chart’, what would you include? How many would be in the orange or red zone?

I often forget to feed myself until after midday, but I’ve managed to keep Little People’s tummies full since sunrise. Getting deeper than physical needs, what about emotional ones? How is your ‘Personal time out’ bar looking? What about ‘mentally stimulated’ and ‘adult company’?

They say when the oxygen masks fall down on a plane, you must fit your own mask first, before helping babies and children. Why? Because if you manage to fit theirs first, and then pass out from oxygen deprivation, who’s going to save you and  your baby then?

If you have a breakdown because you haven’t been to the toilet alone for three years, then what?

Book yourself a babysitter. They are much cheaper than psychologists.

 

 

The three things every parent must be doing to be in control without dominating.

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BossControl. How to have it (and get it back).

Toddlers like to have the reins as often as possible. Their growing independence and ‘can do attitude’ is exciting to watch and often leaves adults pleasantly surprised and puffed with pride.

Sometimes however, the little ninjas seem to have one over on us and before we know it, they have run away with the entire horse and carriage leaving us wondering at what stage we should have taken the reins off them (and how on earth we are going to get them back now).

I meet many toddlers and children who are large and in charge. I usually meet them once the fun is wearing off though and they are getting overwhelmed and stressed with being the boss all the time.

If you think this may be happening in your house, here are three ways to get back in control.

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To dummy or not to dummy?

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That is the question!

Many new parents ask me what I think of Dummies. They ask with this hopeful (and simultaneously guilty) look in their eye.

Any person who has had an extremely distressed child screaming in their arms, car or just within earshot, who magically stops as soon as the plug is inserted knows the mystical powers of The Dummy. But is it going to be good for you and your baby in the long term?

I believe that dummies are a powerful tool when used correctly. When used incorrectly however, they are a downright pain for you and your baby.

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Why do children misbehave?

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“Why do  my kids seem to muck up all the time?”

“It feels like they are really trying to annoy me!”

When my clients say things like this, I  always think of the cycle of misbehaviour.

Children are true experimenters. Everything is new to them and they spend every waking minute doing experiments to learn about reactions and consequences. They use the data they collect to decide what serves them, and what doesn’t.
If I climb lazily up this ladder and fall, it hurts. If I kick the seat in front of me, Dad pays me lots of attention. If I say please and cuddle Mum gently, she is more likely to say yes. If I scream really loud for a long time, I will get what I want. If I eat my dinner quietly, Dad will chat with me and I can learn stuff.

Hands up if you have sounded lie this at the end of a long day…

“Ben, I asked you not to do that. Don’t do it! Ouch, don’t hit me, that’s naughty! Benjamin! I said don’t do it! Come back here right this instant! Ben! BENJAMIN!”
And once you go and retrieve your little monster, you know its just going to be more of the same.

So how can we redirect misbehaviour?

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“My child flies off the handle and I just can’t control him.”

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Tips for angry outbursts.

While we can teeter around our little monsters to a degree, sometimes they absolutely lose it and rage. I have seen some terrifying eruptions from little people. Throwing things, hurting others and scaring the people in the vicinity.

Anger is a really big emotion to feel. It can be quite overwhelming for big people who have had a whole lifetime to practice managing it. I have learned to channel my anger by calling a friend and (rather loudly) telling them about what is pushing my buttons. Sometimes I just scream like a mad woman in the car. I tend to become a rally driver when I’m really cross.

Anyway, kids don’t know what to do with that overwhelming surge of rage, until we teach them.

What do I think? Get a punching bag.
Teach them that anger is normal. We all get frustrated and overwhelmed sometimes. What we do with that energy is important. It isn’t okay to throw things at your mother, or scream at your teacher, or bite your friends. But it is okay to call timeout, stomp out of a room and lay into a punching bag till you get it out of your system.

 

The baby in the bathwater? Give your kids an angry space, where they can take their anger and discharge it. While you’re creating that space, perhaps you should consider making it somewhere you could blow off some steam sometimes too.

Just when you think…

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Just when you think you’re having an “I am really nailing this parenting thing” kind of day, your little monster throws an award worthy tantrum at the supermarket checkout.

Just when think you have your child settling well and sleeping through, daylight savings starts.

Just when you think you have finally won the dummy battle, grandma comes to babysit and brings a plug.

Just when you think you’re little one is a superstar veggie eater, he discovers that chicken nuggets are his favourite and won’t eat anything else.

Just when you think you have your routine solidified, your baby decides that one sleep, not two, works better for them.

Just when you think you’re ready for a nice long, quiet lunch while your little angel sleeps, they wake up sick and inconsolable.

Just when you think toilet training is a challenge completed, your little person has a very public accident.

Just when you think life is getting easier, and perhaps you’d consider round, two, three or four, your youngest turns two-and-a-half.

Little people are just that, people. Not robots.

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So your little monsters aren’t so Angelic?

Since when did obedience become the epitome of good parenting?

We all want impeccably behaved children, right? Well maybe not, says Annalisa Barbieri. Here, she questions why there is such a fashion for taming our youngsters

Two stories caught my attention recently. One was a report that breastfed babies are more challenging in their behaviour and the other was about a new book called French Children Don’t Throw Food: about how French children apparently behave really well, in restaurants and just generally.
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