In the months that led up to Mr. E’s second birthday he became increasing challenging- nothing out of the norm, it was all very much developmentally appropriate and I would have been worried if he wasn’t testing us, after all it’s his job.

As a stay at home mom, I needed to find some coping skills fast.  I felt frustrated with how much time we spent struggling and fantasized about going back to work. It took me a while to figure out I needed to reconsider how I related to him, to question why I responded as I did, and reconsider my reactions to his behavior.

The more I listened to him, and his seemingly absurd tantrums, the less we struggled.  Literally getting down on his level, eye to eye, helped to even the power struggles.  Repeating back the feelings he expressed helped him to see I was in tune with what he was experiencing, and letting him occasionally win deepened his trust in me.

We still have our moments and there are plenty of things that are non-negotiable, but over all my new approach has resulted in fewer tantrum on his part and far less frustration on mine.  I say “no” less often, and try to work a way to accommodate his wishes.  For example, the other day his toy dinosaur wanted to drink from my water glass.  Not wanting to go down that road, I asked if the dinosaur might prefer his own bowl of water, to which Mr. E excited exclaimed YES!  It was an easy solution providing a yes instead of a no, which would have resulted in a struggle, me moving my drink and not being able to drink from it, and him crying.  Some days I feel like I get the parenting game, and it feels damn good!

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