My analysis of a difficult child toddler's mind

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, May 7, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So tonight at work there was this little tyke, maybe 2, that was sitting on the bikes that we sell, and kinda playing. I am sure in his little mind he was thinking - wow - I am sitting on this bike. Mom is here buying things. This is mine.

    I am not sure of the dialogue between Mom and boy, except obviously she said that they were not getting a bike. Suddenly there was a deafening blood curdling scream - that lasted for quite awhile. Mom checks out, as the boy is screaming higher, louder, and more passionately than most 2 year olds, but about par for a difficult child. The Mom apologized to me, and of course I offer a boat load of empathy. (God knows how many times I have walked in her shoes.) But seriously everyone in the store is looking at this poor lady.

    So later I was thinking about little tyke's thoughts on this whole process. If he truly did have a processing disorder, or AS, or some other brain challenge - I can totally see how in his mind he suddenly assumed the bike was his, and to yank it away was almost cruel (Not to say we should buy difficult children whatever they scream for - obviously.)

    Perhaps it would go something like this.
    Here I am sitting on the bike of my dreams, all shiny and red, with a horn even! Mom is telling me this word over and over again, but I am getting a bike. This bike! It is mine. Now Mom is walking off and leaving me, and speaking that same word over and over again, now what am I gonna do? I have to choose between her or the bike. I am gonna scream as loud as I can because she is leaving me and my bike. My bike, my bike............

    I guess I had an epiphany of sorts about our kiddos. It is like they really do not even understand the logic of our words. They perhaps understand NO, but they do not understand how they could be sitting on what they want, and still get denied it. In their minds to deny them of the logical choice of riding and possessing a shiny new red bike is tantamount to showing them an ice cream cone, and not giving it to them.

    Not that I think there is any real solution to this, but I thought perhaps I would share my insight in hopes of others that were enduring a 2 year old difficult child might gain something. I guess this is why the Explosive Child talks so much about not saying no, but giving choices.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    When dealing with todders, which I've done alot over the years, I attempt to look at a particular situation like they might see it.

    Two year olds are hard. You've spent the first two years as a parent forfilling their needs and most of their desires. Suddenly as they attempt to assert themselves, this word "no" comes into play.

    I like your comparision to showing a 2 yr old an ice cream cone and the bike. To the child there likely isn't much difference between the two. I use the word No, then I'm quick to re-direct to something else or some other place in the store. Usually it works, even with a difficult child. But then I've had lots of practice. lol

    While easy child and I were in the GAP this weekend there was a mother with a 2 yr old daughter. Mom is pushing a stroller full of packages from other stores. Daughter asks for something I assume Mom had bought or perhaps a toy she'd brought along. Mom tells this 2 yr old that she doesn't deserve what she wants because she's been bad. Two year old of course is shattered and starts to cry and fall apart. Mom starts walking away from her but continues into a long spiel about how the 2 yr old's behavior wasn't good enough for what she wanted, and until she could tell her Mom why it was so important for her to have the object of her desire she wasn't going to get it!

    And I'm thinking to myself, Mom is an idiot!

    The little girl is sobbing and completely falling apart while Mom keeps demanding to be told why she deserves to get what she wants. By the time we got out of earshot I was ready to step into the situation because it was becoming painful to watch.

    easy child was so furious she was red faced and biting her tongue.

    That poor little girl had not a clue what her Mom wanted out of her. And if she did happen to understand (fat chance) she most likely didn't have the language skills to meet the demand.

    I do try not to judge others in those situations. But some simple redirection or even distraction probably would have put an end to the whole thing. Mom had turned a simple matter into a drawn out affair of making the little girl miserable.

    I've been coaching Nichole on re-direction and distraction. Nichole is becoming lazy in the dicipline dept and prefers to fuss at Aubrey instead of stepping in and putting an end to whatever behavior is happening. I keep telling her that just saying No isn't enough. Aubrey isn't able to read her mind. She has to be specific about what she wants the child to do or not to do.

    And every time Nichole gets frustrated because I don't have trouble getting Aubrey to do what I want, I explain yet again. She tends to think of Aubrey as a "little grown up" instead of a 2 year old.:dissapointed:
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yep............I agree.
    This Mom told the tyke as they were leaving.......well now you don't get the bike for 2 more days because you were screaming!
    Uh, yeah. Like the kid understands that. He picked his ear piercing scream immediately.
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    To a 2 year old, 2 days could be in 5 minutes or an eternity. They have no concept of time.

    That's about all I'm capable of at the moment (sleep medications kicking in), but I do have some thoughts on this I want to share. So, I'll be back. :cool-very:
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Two more days? Bet it feels like a thousand years to the little guy. And you know he didn't understand any of it. I hope he gets his bike soon, and that he doesn't remember the unpleasantness of today.
  6. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I see this every day in my job. Kids screaming in a grocery market because they can't have this or that. (Nothing worse than shopping with a screaming kid in the background.)

    Sticker Lady to the rescue!!! It's amazing how one small sticker can make a kid's day. I'll literally hunt them down in the store (not too hard to find as they are having a hissy fit) to give them a sticker. In one month I've gone through $60 worth of stickers. ;)

  7. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Okay, I understand parents have to take kids with them to some stores, just a matter of convenience....but I don't understand having/taking kids to stores where there is nothing for them--ladies clothes stores, or in this area we have a big outlet sale of womens gift bags/luggage and it never fails that women bring their strollers with young children to shop this sale. Unfortunately it is not a quick trip in to grab something and get out. I just cringe when I see this happening....If you can afford this sale you could afford a babysitter or make arrangements to trade something for childcare..... I just don't get it.... am I too old to figure out why people would drag children somewhere for them to be bored to tears and then act out when there is no other way to express their feelings? I'm not knocking single parents and understand sometimes kids need to go with parents, but this sale is a once a year happening with plenty of advance publicity.... Hope I am not being too intolerant, but just hate to see kids running around this big place looking for mom when she is obviously looking at merchandise and not looking for her kids.....
  8. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    We have a sterling silver jewelry store. I always wonder why a mom would bring a toddler into the store while she leisurely shops for a gift, or something for herself. I love the kids, and I have much empathy for the mom trying to do it all, but the kids always end up bored, then the bad behavior starts. Not long ago, we had a little guy in with his mom, he was probably 4 or 5. He was getting bored while mom shopped so he figured out what he could do. What he did, was get all five our charm cases spinning at the same time. :wildone:Mom was unaware till we said something. Silently I am chuckling because it takes mad talent to spin all 5 cases and have them spin at the same time.:salute: It looked like a poltergeist was at work. But, I don't want the kids getting hurt, so we tell the mom, "you might want to get him to stop" or we will just tell the kids to stop. We even had a 5 year old girl pull over our Christmas tree we had in the store a couple of years ago. Thank goodness she was OK. We did lose a bunch of ornaments though. It was the same thing, mom was busy shopping.

    We used to have a toy box in the store. That keeps the hyper/difficult child types occupied for about 5 minutes. The easy child types will play longer, but they would be ok without it, as I have seen many easy child types in the store that can handle it.

    My boys didn't do well errand running or shopping so I tried to do it without them at night when my hubby was home, or he would come with us. There were many times I had to take them though, and it wasn't fun.

    We also have a great big bucket of suckers out on the counter, sometimes the mom gives the toddler a sucker while she shops. :nonono: Now the toddler is happy, but we have sticky sucker hands all over our showcases. We are in a downtown area, and we have had one two year old run out the door while mom shopped. That means after the sidewalk, is a road. Yikes.

    I don't know what is going on in their minds other then they are bored and are too young to understand what is expected from them.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911


    It's HER fault. Seriously. If she had kept him with her, and said NO from the beginning she could have avoided this all. But it makes me wonder - WHY she would allow a child to sit on a bike that she never inteneded to purchase at that time.

    She could have avoided the whole thing by stating BEFORE she went into the store. 1.) You may not sit on the bikes - or 2.) You may sit on the bike but we can't buy that today.

    My difficult child is 17 and his whole world forever was bikes. But he NEVER EVER even at his level of dysfunction went blamo over stuff in a store. I stated the rules EACH and EVERY time we went in. And usually would say I have things to do and as a reward for your good behavior before we leave you can have 10 minutes to LOOK at toys, but we have no money for toys so please don't ask. And he GOT it. Even at 2.

    When I read stories like these - it really makes me know that I DID do good things when Dude was little. I've been thinking on an off for years I wasn't the best Mom I could be, and when I see stuff like this and the story Terry told? OMG I'm like- Dr. Spock -lol.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Why in the world wasnt the 2 year old in the cart? At that age kids cant understand
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I really wonder about some parents. Honestly. easy child 2/difficult child 2 comes home from work having seen similar interactions at her checkout. Because she's studying Early Childhood she of course knows it all, but it's interesting to hear her descriptions.

    Some parents, I believe, set these interactions up deliberately (subconsciously) in order to have a power struggle in which they will win. It's like they need constant affirmation that they are the boss because they are the tough ones and can control their offspring. So they need to KEEP controlling their offspring in order to continue to show themselves that they are in charge.
    These parents could see, if they thought about it, that a confrontation is likely. I've even seen parents like this (who I might be chatting to) quietly say to me, "He's going to want that bike, I'm sure of it. But he can't have it because I just haven't got the money today. And he'll just have to live with it!"

    I remember one of my SILs, taking her daughter to pre-school. I was staying with them and went along for the drive. The little girl was chatting to me, pointing at things out the window. Her mother had told me earlier that the little girl would cry every day when she was left at pre-school and it was really wearing her down.
    But on this drive - instead of taking advantage of my distracting presence and keeping the little girl happy, the mother interrupted our play to say to her daughter, Now, you're not going to cry today, are you? I don't want to hear from your teachers that you cried when I left. You know I will be back this afternoon to collect you. You will have a really happy day today, won't you?"
    Over and over. "Now, you're not going to cry, are you?"
    And of course, the little girl's lip began to quiver, and she began to cry. At which point, sister in law got exasperated and said, "I told you not to cry! Now come on, be a big brave girl, turn off those tears. It's not going to change anything, I am not taking you back home just because you're crying. What will those other kids think of you, crying like this?"
    On and on.
    I'm convinced it was a control thing, the mother wanting at some level to provoke those tears just to convince herself that her daughter really loved her and couldn't bear to be parted from her.

    I saw her and my brother do similar things to their older child, too. One time we were staying with them, my nephew was about ten years old and struggling at school (with hindsight, probable Aspie). I was there doing an assignment on their farm animals and spent a lot of time with my nephew and his pet cockatoo. We also all went to the zoo together, and had a great time. On the third day we were to leave and he had to go to school. We were chatting happily over breakfast. When his father said it was time say goodbye to me and husband and to go outside to wait for the bus, the boy just grabbed his bag sullenly and went outside without saying a word. I understood - he didn't want to cry in front of us because he really didn't want us to go. But my brother took off outside and dragged him back. "That was very rude - now you say goodbye nicely to Auntie Marg, what will she think of you, storming off like that?"
    I tried to quietly whisper, "It's OK, I'll miss you too but we had fun and next time we see you we'll have more fun," but he was just too upset.
    My brother was apologising to me, saying he didn't understand his son, couldn't follow why he was so suddenly rude, what a problem child he was at times.

    And of course, I could say nothing because we had no children at that stage so of course we had no credibility in his eyes on the topic of children. The fact that I was still close enough to childhood myself to remember, was of no account.

    I love my brother very much and I'd like to think that over the years he's learnt a great deal more compassion. But sister in law hasn't changed much and still sees herself as a different species, from her (now-adult) children. She must always be in control.

    Her parents were nothing like this - she was an only child who was indulged. I wonder if that's why she's like this with her children. Mind you, I do like her otherwise, it's just her parenting that annoys me.

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Steely, that was an excellent analysis of what probably goes through a 2yr olds mind.

    I truly don't get parents. I don't think KIDS are so much worse these days, I think many PARENTS are. We have a dad who is a police officer. He picks his son up from school each day.

    EACH day he WATCHES as a mom loads 5 or 6 kids into a station wagon (one child only goes with-her on certain days). She puts the older boys in the far back, with-o seat belts, and puts backpacks on top of them because THEY ARE BAD. WTH is she thinking?? And why, after over a year of this, hasn't the police officer stopped her or had another officer there to stop ehr?

    NONE of her kids is well behaved, but the older ones who are her "daycare" kids, actually are. I have been around enough to get to know them. I jsut don't get it.