Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don't Get Mad, Get Perspective

The thought struck me the other day that Lukas is nearly 2 years old, but I have yet to get mad at him. Don't get me wrong, I have had my moments where I was plenty frustrated at the course with which certain child raising situations have played themselves out. Who hasn't been at that point after a long day, perhaps working on very little food or sleep?

But for me, those situations have not manifested themselves into my getting mad, or angry, at my son. So far, no matter how trying a situation has been, it has been very apparent to me that none of them have been any attempts by my son to push my buttons, or act out in a way that he knows he shouldn't, but does anyway.

Given that, how could I be upset with my little guy for being tired, or not feeling good, or wanting attention when it may be inconvenient for me?

Mrs. LIAYF and I have gone out of our way to try to give Lukas the communication skills, the proper rest, and the attention that a toddler requires to mitigate the frustration level that comes with the day to day struggles of someone who is trying to learn the ways of the world. And he has shown us that he is a genuinly good boy, who is kind and generous not only with us, but with other kids he encounters as well.
What I am wondering from those of you who have been there before is, is it too much to expect that I can maintain this perspective with Lukas for the forseeable future? Or does the point inevitably come in all toddlers where they discover all the right ways to test your patience, ultimately resulting in your being mad more often than you are comfortable with?
I think I know what your answers will to be, but am curious to hear your perspective anyway.


Mike said...

As a father of three teenage daughters, the answer is a resounding YES. As they grow and learn the lesson they pick up quickly is what "button" to push to get Mom or Dad over the top.

Your lesson is to learn that they will do this.

That and not to let them see the fear in your eyes....

Scary Mommy said...

Yes, my friend. It is WAY too much to expect. And it's going to start sooner than later!!

Anonymous said...

I got mad at my son the first time around that age. I was sleeping on the couch and I was awakened by him breaking two of my teeth with the remote control to the telvision. That REALLY hurt.

Anonymous said...

Don't want to scare you, but they don't call it the "Terrible Twos" for nothing! ;o)
Having said that, mine are 15 and 13 now and teens are masters at button pushing!

Dan said...

I found three years old harder than two.

I've had thoughts about this myself as I get mad with my 5 year old relatively frequently, yet hardly ever get mad with my two and a half year old.

I think it's a matter of consciousness. Amy _knows_ she is doing something wrong, or whining or something, whereas Evan hasn't got that social and intellectual capacity yet.

I really hope you do manage to maintain your track record of not getting cross with Lucas. But I honestly think it's unlikely. so don't feel too guilty when one day you launch into a screaming tirade because he refuses to behave himself next to a busy road.

SciFi Dad said...

I think that the line between being mad or angry and being frustrated is razor thin, and arguably almost non-existent.

For me, I've been pushed to my limits with my daughter, although to date she has only stumbled across the buttons accidentally. It wasn't at the age Lukas was at, but it's definitely been since she turned three.

I think expecting you to remain like this forever is unreasonable, unless of course you plan on being on "happy pills" for the rest of your life.

Steve said...

Terrible twos ARE trying, but I think they are made more bearable from being able to see that 2-year olds are programmed to demand their own way and clearly have little control over their emotions and desires.

Whereas 3-year olds know better right from wrong, can turn their bad behaviour on and off more easily, knowingly "pressing your buttons", which makes it harder to take. I have had much more trouble keeping a lid on my frustration since my son turned 3, but then I always feel rotten after "shouting" at him and try to make up for it. Not ideal but not yet cartoon villain.

FilmFather said...

My younger one saved up all his Terrible-Two behavior for when he turned 3, which is what we're dealing with right now.

Taking deep breaths and speaking to him in a calm voice helps. Well, it helps me; the affect on him has been mixed...

Eric said...

Ouch... I read the reply from the morethanelectrician and just can't get past it.. that would pretty much make me mad too... immediatley sent to the naughty chair, spot or corner. But, at this time Mauldin isn't old enough to consciously make me mad... check back with me on that. :)

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Mike - Lol! I could not hide my fear if I had 3 teenage girls.

@Scary Mommy - That's not encouraging.

@MTAE - Ouch! Hmmm...that might do the trick.

@Dan - That's really the reason I am not getting mad. He is not doing things on purpose so I know better. Not sure how I will react once that all changes.

@Scifi - Can I find those happy pills online? I may need them from what I am hearing.

@Steve - So, I am hearing that 3 is the new 2.

@Penelope - So from 2 or 3 on, they can master what makes you steam. Wonderful.

FilmFather - Ha! I will have to start practicing my breathing now.

@Eric - yeah, that hurt just to read. Not likely to happen to us, since we read about it happening to someone else, if you believe that sort of logic.

Rob said...

I can only tell you what I know from our limited experience with a two year-old.

We've found it to be trying at times, but we've been able to adapt. As he gets smarter and learns better how to manipulate, we learn tricks as well.

Toddlers' minds aren't scrambled with all the crud that adults have to deal with, so I think their ability to read people and find weaknesses is much more finely tuned. I think it helps keep us on our feet, become more clever in the process.

The bottom line is that it's been a ride for us. When Cooper turned two, it's as if a genetic switch turned on that made him start acting out in ways we hadn't seen before. For me, it's required me to develop some limited abilities to think on my feet in efforts to redirect his temper, or accept the situation.

I think your perspective will change, but not in a negative way. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your stories. Personally, I think it will help you in other areas of life. It's helped me deal with clients who act like toddlers :-)

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Rob - I'm sure it will continue to be an adventure. I just hope I can keep from getting too angry with him for as long as possible. It helps that I am not an angry person at all to start with.

That's a great point that parenting a toddler helps to deal with adults who act that way too. I have had a few such incidences myself. So true.