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I am a father of two, a four year old girl and a two year…

Hi Pearl I am...

Hi Pearl I am a father of two, a four year old girl and a two year old boy. I would like to get some advice on how to calmly handle my two year old. He is quite a handful, and it gets especially frustrating at bedtime after a long day. My son just refuses to fall asleep, and I do not know how to handle it without losing my temper. I dont like or want to make him scared of me, and i dont like spanking him (although sometimes i just feel like i have to). I have tried to be tough and it just doesnt seem to work.

Expert's Assistant: I should have chatted with the Psychologist on a daily basis with my two kids. And maybe about my brothers, too. You are so doing the right thing getting in touch with one of them. Is there anything else the Psychologist should be aware of?

In general things have been tough at home between my wife and I. thanks

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Answered in 20 minutes by:
1/3/2018
CounselorJules
CounselorJules, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 821
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Verified

Im Jules, a LPC. I am reviewing your question. If you have any other information, please feel free to share and I will be back shortly with a reply.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
As of late my son has been staying up until about 1130-12. I usually put him to bed while my wife takes care of my daughter.

I am also a parent and going through the woes of toddler parenting can be tough. They have strong bursts of energy at times and it often feels like when we, as parents, don't have the energy level to match it. Let me ask you a couple of questions, you briefly mentioned that things have been tough at home. Do you think that your son possibly is aware of any conflict that occurs in the evening after he has supposedly fallen asleep? If he has heard any fighting, it could be that he attempts to stay awake to deter such? That is one simple thought? I will wait for your response on that and be back to further the conversation.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I dont think so. Typically after the kids sleep my wife just goes into the bedroom and sits on her phone. Very little interaction.

Oh I see. So, let's rule out a few things. Do you feel like your son is having too much television time or any sort of overstimulation right before bed?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
he does go on the phone and watches kids videos, but not right before he goes to bed. He usually eats and then showers, followed by bed time.

Kiddos in his developmental stage notoriously seem to become a bit more stubborn and you naturally notice more opposition from them. This is likely due to their desire to be more independent and autonomous. They begin to notice more about their abilities at this time and so they seem to think that their ideas are even better than ours as parents! ha. I think that maybe you could use that to your advantage and consider maybe creating a "bedtime routine" that he is in charge of? Something that promotes the idea that he is a "big boy" and it was all his idea. Do you think something like that would be useful for you guys?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
its worth a try. Honestly though, I dont see it working.

This is an interesting article that is in "sleep-training." I will send the link to you.

http://sleeptrainingsolutions.com/2014/03/how-to-make-a-bedtime-routine-chart-work-well-for-your-child/

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
thanks

Do you think that your son is taking naps a bit too late in the day or sleeping too late? My daughter always fought her sleep and this started at an early age. I had to actually use a pediatrician's advice of doing both a routine and 0.5mg to 1mg of melatonin to help her rest initially. You also may simply have a strong willed child that could be a bit oppositional in personality at this time because he simply wants to spend more time with the adults.

this is also a sample schedule that may work for his daytime routine.....

https://amotherfarfromhome.com/2-year-old-sample-routine/

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I know it is not always easy to be consistent with a schedule or routine though. It also does affect relationships when you are busy playing man to man defense with kids rather than getting to have that time with your spouse. I hope that you guys can remember that relationships and parenting definitely has its ebbs and flows. Right now you have a precocious little man that is into self exploration and pushing boundaries while your daughter may have a different personality. Im not sure of the marital issues that may exist, but connecting and being on the same page will definitely be important for you guys. I truly hope this helps. I will be looking at some other resources as well :)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
When he doesnt nap, he goes to sleep a lot easier. The issue is that he goes to preschool and they have naptime. We have told the teachers many times not to put him to nap, but it doesnt seem like something they can or want to do. We have found that even a small ten minute nap will affect his sleep at night. Ive been thinking about asking the pediatrician about potentially giving him something, but I feel like itll be as if im asking the dr to drug my child.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Yeah, it doesnt seem like i could be on the same page with her about anything lately. I could bring it up but she will most likely just brush it off.

I had the same issues. When my kids were with grandparents or at the sitter, I would really have to stress that my daughter could not sleep too long because I would not be able to keep her schedule at home and she would fight it all night. I believe they make specific pediatric doses of the melatonin and it is naturally produced in the brain. however, there are differing opinions about efficacy and safety. However, the melatonin does help someone fall asleep more quickly but does not guarantee that they will stay asleep. It is naturally produced in the brain and can be stimulated by darkness. I think it is something that you can talk to your pediatrician about without guilt. It is not something that would suggest that you are drugging your child, but instead that you are making sure that your child is well-rested for the day to follow.

I had to lay down with my child in the bed until they fell asleep for periods of time and then I would leave the room. Then eventually, I could sit on the floor beside the bed, or sit at the doorway, etc until they know longer felt that I had to be in there for them to fall asleep. My kids' dad actually had to hold my son's hand until he fell asleep at times. It was around the age your son is as well.....

What if your son thought everyone was going to bed at the same time? Would that help? So he doesn't think he is missing out on anything?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That could be helpful I do feel as if he just wants to hang out and isnt ready to go to bed, Right now, my wife lies down with my daughter (although she does so while on her phone) and I lie by my son. We just moved and both kids are in the same room , so that is an adjustment too. In the old apartment he would be in a pack and play by our bed so he would lie there and i would lie in bed. The adjustment to the new room could also be a factor. I have been laying next to him, but after an hour or so with no progress i just give up.

Oh yes, adjusting to the new environment is likely a factor. One thing that I did, which may sound absolutely silly, but when we moved into a new home I allowed my kids to walk through the house with Lysol at night spraying for anything that may keep them awake (their imaginations were a bit much) and then we read a book or I made up a story. Sometimes I would even turn on children's audio books for them and we would watch that together and then they became conditioned to knowing when that short 5 minutes was over, it was time to rest our eyes. My kids are 9 and 8 now and still sleep in the same bed together. They like to be near each other and it seems to provide some comfort. He may just be adjusting which is actually a good thing and not a sign of a chronic issue :)

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I hope so. I will keep trying to hammer out a routine as well as try showing that its bedtime for everyone. I also think its worth asking his pediatrician for a temporary boost if anything.

I have read about what they call the "jack in the box" syndrome about moving a child out of a crib or pack and play into a "big kid" bed and how it leads them to persistently get back out of the bed over and over. You can try the "silent return" to bed where you silently bring them to bed without engaging in any kind of power struggle or any sort of reaction that engages them to be more reactive themselves.

I also meant to suggest the book, "Goodnight Moon" where you say "goodnight" to everything in the room. Maybe that would help him establish his own comfort and routine as well.....

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You sound like a really good father who is hands on with his kiddos. I am really glad that I was the expert who was able to help you out today :) I hope this works and remember it may not be perfect initially, but persistence is key-- especially being more persistent than he is. lol

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks a lot, it means a lot. I try my best, ***** ***** im doing enough and not messing them up!

Nah, you're not messing them up! They need love, security, attention, and YOU. Sounds like you offer those things :)

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I hope that this has been helpful and that you will provide a positive rating (3 stars or better) for the answer or information that you have received. You can do this by clicking on the rating button and providing a score. The communication does not have to cease if you provide a rating, but it is the only way that the experts receive credit. My goal is to provide with you excellent service. I wish you the best and if you need further clarification, please feel free to ask more questions. I can also send more specific resources if necessary for you! I truly hope the suggestions work and your little man and you can both get some sleep soon!

Thank you! Jules

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