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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Hi, im a mother of 2 boys, one is 2.5 y.o and the other 8

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Hi, i'm a mother of 2 boys, one is 2.5 y.o and the other 8 months, my husband works interstate and is away for 4 weeks at a time, comes home for a week and then flies out for another 4 weeks again. Most of the time i cope ok with my boys but some days i really struggle with being able to control my temper, especially at my 2.5 y.o.
I grew up in a family with a lot of yelling and although i swore i'd never repeat the same within my own family, on the days i am tired and run down and frustrated, i find myself yelling at and being quite aggressive towards my 2.5 y.o. when he acts up. Examples of his behaviour include resisting and wrestling with me trying to change his nappy (every time), doing the opposite of what i ask (i say put that down, he doesnt, i say pick that up, he doesnt) playing rough with his brother, spitting, throwing, screaming tanturms, not going down at nap time, and just being generally defiant. He is a very smart boy and very energetic, sometimes he can be a bit wild. Examples of my responses are to ask nicely, then to yell (i seem to go from 0 to 10 very fast) then to threaten him with being put in his room or losing a toy, often he will rectify his behaviour just long enough to avoid the consequence then start with something else equally as naughty. A lot of his behaviour seems to stem from seeking attention from me when his younger brother is around. I do notice that when the baby is in bed or it is just the 2.5 y.o and me that his behaviour is more subdued and compliant.
I am desperate for strategies on how to control my anger and deal with these bahviour issues in a more constructive way, i feel so guilty after i lose my temper, but at the time i feel completely justified in my actions which worries me.... it worries me that my rage towards my 2.5 y.o feels justified when i know it is not after i have cooled off.
My 8 month old has been a very difficult baby since birth, he is still waking several times a night and is teething terribly which is making him more irritable and less easy to soothe.. the combination of a demanding baby and a toddler who misbehaves so often gets overwhelming and the lack of sleep just compounds it... if you have any advice i'd really appreciate it, i really want to change this behaviour before it screws up my kids the way i feel it screwed me up, Thanks
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
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Dear friend,

You are doing a remarkable job considering that your toddler is so defiant. He is a bit small tor therapy. You have to learn how to deal with his misbehaviour. For this I can recommend two books. The first is at and is

How Do I Stop Losing It with My Kids?
by William P Smith

The second one I can't locate in Australia but I'm sure you could find it (it is at or and its called:

Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate by Elizabeth Pantley

Since you have an 8 month old child you may be suffering from postpartum depression and this may make you very irritable and can explain why you lose it so easily. You are also faced with a lot of strain and stress, and no husband at home most of the time. If you believe that this is what you have, then I would also recommend another book available at collins:

Postpartum Depression For Dummies by Shoshana S. XXXXX, XXXXX Jo Codey

Your toddler is very jealous of the baby. That may be the crux of the problem. You have to give him more attention, and have him help you do things for the baby, like you two were conspirators, working together to help the poor helpless baby. Give him rewards. Make him feel more secure. He is no longer the only child and only center of attention. I recommend a couple of kids books for him. I don't see them at collins but you can get them at (and pay a bit more for postage but it is worth it).

What's the Matter With A.J.?: Understanding Jealousy (Stepping Stone Stories) by Lawrence Balter and Rosalyn Schanzer and


Toddler Story Book: What About Me?
by Helen Stephens

Finally, it would make a tremendous difference if you could get a babysitter once in a while to give you a spell. She could even come over for the baby's sleep time and you and the toddler could go for a short outing. This would help restore his sense that he wasn't being totally abandoned or put in second place.

There is a lot you can do. Get those books an use them to your great advantage, and think about someone who could come in to help you as well.

I wish you the best.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
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