Terrible Twos or Terrific Twos?

The baby days are over. One minute they give you a kiss and a smile and in the next moment are screaming and hitting. How can you handle this situation with your toddler without throwing a tantrum yourself? What triggers this type of behavior and how can it be prevented? How can we turn the “terrible twos” into the “terrific twos”?

View Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Terrible Twos or Terrific Twos?
Episode 4, July 1st, 2012

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

Susie Walton: The baby days are over and your toddler is becoming a little person with thoughts feelings and opinions, sometimes all at the same time. They’ll give you a kiss and a smile and the next moment, they are screaming and hitting. How do you handle the situation without throwing a tantrum yourself? I am Susie Walton, Founder of Indigo Village and teacher of Redirecting Children’s Behavior. And this is Parent Savers, Episode 4.

[Theme Song/Intro]

KC Wilt: Welcome to Parent Savers broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host, KC Wilt. Parent Savers is all about helping new parents preserve their sanity by getting you expert advice for the baby years, through the toddler years. Be a part of our show. Feel free to send us comments or suggestions through the contact link on our website. http://www.parentsavers.com Or you can call the Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775. I’m a new parent myself, my son Carson’s now 15 months old and I’m also joined by three new parents here in the studio.

Terry Wood: Hi, my name is Terry Wood. I work in the IT Industry. I have one beautiful daughter, 18 months old, Carlotta.

Heidi Murfin: Hi. I’m Heidi Murfin, I’m 37 years old, I’m an environmental economist and I have one girl, Kyla who is 14 months.

Jane Park: My name is Jane Park, I’m also 37 and I am a part-time fund raising consultant and stay-at-home mother to my three children. I have one girl who is 5 and one girl who is 3 and a 12 month old boy.


[Featured Segment: Ask The Experts]

KC Wilt: Before we start today’s show, here is a question for one of our experts.

Erica: Hi Parent Savers. My name is Erica from San Diego, California. I have a question for your expert Amy Goyal, the special needs physical therapist. My child is 17 months old and he has no interest in walking on his own. He will finally walk while holding someone’s hand and he does cruise all over the place. He can stand up easily when holding on to something and will also walk on his knees. He just has no interest in doing it on his own. Is this normal? Do we need to see someone? Thank you.

Amy Goyal: Hi Erica, this is Amy Goyal. You’ve asked a great question. Many parents actually wonder the same thing, so here’s my answer. Your son’s actually moving outside the typical age range for learning how to walk. Now just because kids are moving in this direction, doesn’t actually mean that there’s anything wrong. You told me he’s already doing a lot of pre-walking skills like cruising and walking with one hand held. All of the things you’ve described to me tell me that he’s on the path to walking on his own. My recommendation now to you is to pay attention to your son’s progress. Look to see if he’s doing this month than the previous month. Now here’s some examples of what I’m talking about. Is he walking faster this month than last month? Is he covering more distance? Does he require less support now that more time has passed? Can he adapt to a variety of settings? As long as he is gaining confidence in different environments, that’s a good sign. I’d also suggest that you have your pediatrician take a look at him. Most kids have a well-baby visit around 18 months and that would be a great time to ask if there’s anything to be concerned about. If after you go to the appointment and you still have concerns? You may want to consult with a Pediatric Physical Therapist. I hope this helps Erica and thanks for calling.


KC Wilt: Today on Parent Savers, we have Susie Walton from Indigo Village helping us to make the choice between the Terrible Twos or the Terrific Twos. So Susie, what makes a Terrible Two? Does it start earlier than two because I have a 15 month old, and I swear, he’s like 15 going on 3, so…

Susie Walton: Well, the experts say 18 months but we are going to let you start at 15 months and these Terrible Two ideas can go up to age 5!


Susie Walton: So it’s a big range here. For you to have a couple of kids in that range, you are going to have a lot going on! Because it’s such a power surge time for kids developmentally, it’s when they are starting to feel their own oats. And think about it too, all of a sudden, you know they were the center of the universe, but now that they are crawling or walking, you know, you’re letting them have more independence and they’d like that on one hand, but they’d still like it to be all about them. Their favorite words are “Me” and “Mine”. You know, another favorite becomes the word “No”, and I personally feel like they say “No”, to everything because we are always telling them “No”. So they hear it from us, so they start saying “No!” And they actually love the reaction they get from us parents when they say “NO!”. Then you go “Don’t you say that to me!” “NO!” And emotionally, their emotions are all over the place. You know they love sameness and routine, so if routines start getting a little whacked out, it kind of whacks them out. So there’s a whole lot going on for them in this stage.

KC Wilt: When I wonder, I feel like sometimes my son, you know, he just doesn’t have the words to verbalize what he wants, but yeah, if he could…., see each stage for us has been easier. The crawling stage – great! The walking stage – great! Because he’s now able to like get to what he wants. And he’s got opinions on everything. Where does that come from?

Susie Walton: From you!


KC Wilt: Great! Thanks!

Susie Walton: You know, you said you have kids with strong opinions, you should have parents with strong opinions. You know, it’s really, it’s what we, it’s who we are, they watch us, they know us, they know us better than we know ourselves.

Terry Wood: The scary thing is, I have told my wife a couple of times now, that in a couple of weeks, my daughter will be smarter than I am. Just takes everything in and she’ll let you know!

Susie Walton: You think it’s a couple of weeks?


Terry Wood: Come on!

Susie Walton: I know, they are brilliant and you guys, you were the first kids! You know, it’s such a new thing for us! Everything they do is brand new! And as parents, we expect ourselves to know what to do all the time, but we don’t. And so that’s another thing too. Lower your bar a little bit, you parents of the first borns and realize, you know we learn best through our mistakes. I have four sons. I used to tell my first son, “You are my guinea pig”.


I was so honest with him. I was like “I don’t know what I’m doing with you! I just know, what doesn’t work for you I’ll do differently with your brothers.” He was like “Thanks mom!”


KC Wilt: That’s brilliant. So what’s the developmental stage? What are they going through when they go from 1 to 2 and does a baby behavior come on because of the age or is there triggers in the environment and how I react?

Susie Walton: Both. I mean really, once again, you know they are gaining their own independence. You know, and they are trying to figure this whole thing out and the still want to be the center of the universe so they still think they can do whatever they want. And they can grab things that they want, they can take things, they can do whatever they want, they think, but now they are learning there’s limits. Because they are so mobile with their crawling and their walking, whereas, when they were babies, they just sat there in your arms. So, it’s a whole new discovery program for them, so to speak to, and that we always want to remember that, you know, mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. I always say, the more mistakes your kids make while they are growing up, the less you worry about them when they are adults on their own. We can’t learn unless we make mistakes. So when your kids make a mistake and pour their milk on the ground, its, its…, they are not doing it out of spite, they are just trying to figure out, “Why is it ok that I can do cups of water in the bathtub, but I can’t do cups of milk when I’m sitting in my highchair, so to speak. I can’t tell you how many parents, it’s only the two year olds, take out…, they are outside hosing down with the hose. They open up the door of the house and they start hosing the house!


Seriously! And parents like freak out and I’m like “Well, how are they supposed to know the difference?”. Right? So it’s a whole new world for them.

Heidi Murfin: So I have a question about say for example, at 14 months, setting appropriate limits. Like what should limits be? Because for me, I feel like there’s a lot of things that she does that I’ll see other parents say, “No, don’t do that!” But I think, “Well, what’s the big deal?” Like for example, she loves having my phone and playing with it. Well, you know, she’s exploring, she’s trying something new. I don’t really have a big problem with her doing that at this point, but I know at some point, as she’s getting older, there have to be more things that’s she’s just not allowed to do. It’s not hers or whatever. So how do you decide?

Susie Walton: We are all our own best expert. So I love the idea that, you know, you allow your daughter explore and you know, I’m not big on the phone just because of all the…. stuff around the phone….

KC Wilt: Calling 991, accidently…

Susie Walton: Electromagnetic stuff around the phone….., so in general, you know, the same thing with remote controls. I mean, I don’t know if you guys saw that article about there is more and more deaths of infants now, because they are playing with the remote, the modian and the battery comes out and they swallow the battery, which is something most, like I didn’t have to worry about because, when my kids were little, there wasn’t a thousand different remotes, so you know, just a side note for you parents, and I’m not saying that’s going to happen to the phone, but I would keep a phone away from the baby as much as possible just because it’s a phone. But in general, letting them crawl around, let them explore. I would suggest that parents have cupboards in the kitchen where they can just go in there and take whatever is out of there because it’s all Tupperware or something and let them, you know, kind of fall down the next step, so they have the idea that “Oh, there’s a step between this room and that room and you know, I’ve got to be aware I’m going to fall!” Because it’s not going to hurt them. That’s what we call Natural Consequences. And Natural Consequences to me are the best teachers in life. If you are an overprotective helicopter parent, that’s never allowing your child to have a bump or fall off a couch or kind of fall, whatever, we are not allowing them to start realizing, “Oh, I need to start taking control over me and how I do the world,” so to speak.

KC Wilt: Okay, so, I ‘m very much in that line of…., we have stairs, my son learned to crawl them. He’s fallen down them several times, you know things like that. And, well…., that’s sounds pretty bad….


Terry Wood: No, not at all.

KC Wilt: But he’s awesome at the stairs now. So, the other day, he got stung by a bee. Okay. I didn’t get stung by a bee until I was an adult. So of course, I flipped out, watching him, oh do I have to go to the hospital. Everything was fine. Within a hours he’s back at the bush, grabbing the bees. I…, and then a day later, back at the bush, swapping at the bees. And he literally got stung because he picked one up, off the plant, like he pinched it and it you know, stung him. How is that a Natural…., how will he learn…., he doesn’t seem to…., I mean a bee sting hurts!

Susie Walton: Right, so the thing is, he’s only 15 months old, so, he got the experience once, but he doesn’t get that. He just loves the flowers and he loves these little flying bugs running around, right? So, parents, you get to own your problems. But when you keep…., you want to stay away from saying “Don’t go near those bees, you might get stung!” That means absolutely nothing to a child and most kids will say “No I won’t!” I say “Jump in the bushes and get stung by bees.” So this will save you all through your life time, raising kids. Especially those teen years, only by saying “I”. “I’m not comfortable playing in the flowers with the bees. So I’m going to take you somewhere else.” But you have to use the word “I”, and then you just remove him. If he goes back again, now you start removing him with no words. And you do that with any redirect, when you don’t want him doing something. That you’ve already told him once, “This is not okay with me, I’m not comfortable with you doing it”, you know, “I’m not okay with you falling in the pool”, or whatever it is, you know. So they get near the pool. You keep taking it away with no words from that point on, and eventually he will just play with something else.

Terry Wood: I was just going to ask, that in a situation where it’s not grave danger, if you were to just say “If you do this, something bad may happen”, and just tell them what it is that may happen and let them make the decision, you are giving them the ability to have the opportunity to explore, in somewhat of a controlled environment and they can learn that way. I’m not suggesting that you let Carson get stung repetitively …,


Terry Wood: …but is that model, is that mind-set, is that relatively successful?

Susie Walton: You know, its okay. But I like to say, let the consequence do the talking, not you. So, for example, my kids, when my two little boys were babies, we had a swimming pool. And this is…, I actually did this because I had been a swim-instructor and stuff and I always had this fear of babies and pools and I actually let them crawl to the edge of the pool. I didn’t say a word and they both, in their own time, they looked, leaned over and fell in. In the deep-end. And so, I got them into the pool, grabbed their big diapers, pulled them out, dried them off, didn’t say a word and again, they crawled to the edge of the pool, and they looked and looked and then they turned and crawled away. And it was such a beautiful moment for me. I was so happy!

KC Wilt: Yeah! They learned!

Susie Walton: I had been there for that experience. So I’m not saying what you are saying is bad. I mean, if you want to say, “Listen, if you choose to do this, something could happen that you know, may not feel comfortable or may hurt you a little bit, but it’s up to you”, if you are okay. Or, just let it happen and let them experience themselves. Either one.

Terry Wood: Makes sense, that makes sense.

Jane Park: Would you say that how your children behave during the Terrible Twos is a reflection of what to expect during the teenage years?

Susie Walton: First of all, Yes! Because, they are only Terrible Twos because we don’t know how to discipline in a way that makes it, you know, more Terrific Twos. Which we will get up to in a moment. But your kids, when I hear this stuff from most of you parents is you’ve got Power Kids. They are assertive, they have opinions. They have, you know…., that’s another thing too! There are not…., you know, when things grab things or kick, they are not being aggressive, they are being assertive. They are going for what they want. They just haven’t realized yet that they can’t just have all that they want they want. So, that’s another thing, I want to guys to reframe being “aggressive” or “being a “brat” to being “assertive”. And yes, they have opinions. And so, we don’t want to take that away from them because, I know you all want your teenagers to be able to stand up from themselves and say “This is what I believe in. This is what I need for me”. And at the same time, they need to learn that other people have needs too. So one of the beautiful things you can do, when your kids start getting a little more older and more verbal, two and a half on up, is to say, “How do you want to make this work for both of you”, when its two kids fighting over something. And that’s another whole thing with that toddler thing. They are not supposed to want to share. That is not developmentally normal for this age group. So when they do, count on it as a blessing, but don’t count on it again. And I also suggest you use the words, “Taking turns” versus “Sharing”. Sharing almost sounds like “Here, take a part of me with you.“ “Taking turns” is very concrete. And you can actually teach them that by having a smoothie with one straw, so to speak, and you take turns out of it, so that the kids say “Oh this is fun taking turns!” So when I’m getting to two, is when your friend…, you child has a guest over, please never say, “Let her go first, she’s the guest today”. Because what we are teaching our kids then, is that other’s people’s needs are more important than theirs. And one little three year old said one day to his mommy, “Mommy, can I guest for a day?”


Susie Walton: She felt sad. And then another mom told me she heard her…., she said she was so embarrassed her five year old was in someone’s house and she heard him in the other room say, “I get to go first, I’m the guest!” So embarrassing.

KC Wilt: Oh, I think I’ve done that when I was a kid. Really, you learn that way.

Susie Walton: Yeah, so it’s not how you two going to make it work for both of you. Even with the guest. Okay. Keep them in the same boat. Because, yes, they are assertive, they know what they want, but we want them to know that other people need to get what they want too.

KC Wilt: Okay, so, my son. What do I do in a situation where he’s biting, he’s kicking and I put him in a time out and I was telling a couple of you guys earlier, was that I found, yesterday. I had an epiphany. I put him on the changing table and he was kicking and everything else and finally before I just…., my, you instinct is to just swat him and I don’t want, I don’t want to have that behavior as a parent. So my, like when as soon as I went to go swat him, I grabbed his hands, held them down and I counted to 15 to 20 and all of a sudden, he calmed down, I calmed down, he stopped kicking me, I stopped wanting to swat him and all the like the throwing out the window feelings dissipated. So I think that was good. But what…, what do I…, how do I do that? Like, I mean, I feel like it was for more for me. What do you feel about that?

Susie Walton: I believe time-outs are for parents. You know. We usually get to that level of frustration, when we don’t know what to do? And then our kids feed off our energy. Parents you know this about kids. They feel our emotions. They know, when we’re stressing up, they stress up. You want to cause stress in a kid’s life? You want to have a tantrum? Get them to be in a hurry. It’s like their least favorite thing is when they feel rushed. And you know, we are always feeling rushed with them because they never do anything that quickly. They are not supposed to, right? So, but I loved the idea that, what you said KC, is that you held his hand, you didn’t talk, you just counted to 15. That was actually very good.

KC Wilt: Oh good! Yes! Score!

Susie Walton: And the thing is, you don’t want to swat your kids guys, because I know there’s classes out there that say, “As long as you are in control, it’s okay , and don’t use your hand, you can spank a child or swat them but, it just…., remember, 95% of our kids are learning by watching. So here they are hitting us! So what we do? We spank them! And say, “Don’t you hit me”, if we hit them! It actually makes no sense! And that goes with a flip too. This one mom once asked me, “Is it okay to flick your kids?” and I’m like “What is a flick?!”


Susie Walton: So she told me, it’s like this little thing you do to your cheek.

Terry Wood: Oh, a thumb, like the thumb.

Susie Walton: And it’s the thumb, yeah. So another mom said, “Don’t flick them because my older daughter is flicking her little sister”. Because it’s what we model to them.

Terry Wood: Wow.

Susie Walton: You know, so when you are getting to that level of frustration, I say, parent, take a break yourself. Walk away and say to your child, “I am so frustrated right now and I don’t know what to do. I’m going to walk away and count or breath”. What a beautiful model. See, I don’t think road-rages were ever taught to walk away. I think they probably had parents that just got right in their faces and yelled, yelled, yelled and now these road-rages are out in the street just, you know, in people’s faces. They don’t learn to walk. And I thinks the best gifts as parents that you can do is when you are feeling frustrated is just say, “I got to take a break and I’ll be back when I’m calm”, not “I’ll be back when you are nice or you behave”. Don’t put it on them.

Jane Park: So basically converting the concept of time-out into creating a comfort…, comforting time or …..

Susie Walton: Yeah, take a break time, when you can actually create an area…., kids can help you create a little corner of the room or you can use a pup tent and have a travelling self-calming, the pup tent goes around the house or, they love little hide-outs. For you with little kids, you can create a bag that says “Self-Calming Bag” and then you put for them some of their favorite race cars or books or color pens in there that they can…., you can hang it on a hook and they can grab that self-calming bag whenever they need to take a break. Normally, they will use it even when they don’t need a break. And then you anchor it by saying, “Hey, looks like you’re taking a break! Way to take care of yourself!” And then they’ll go, “Thank you, daddy”, or “Thank you, momma”. You know, but you’re anchoring. This is a good thing, to take a break once in a while, but parents, you’ve got to model it first. You can’t expect them just to do it because you just told them.

Heidi Murfin: And at what age do you think they can start grasping this concept?

Susie Walton: Well I think they can start by 10, 15 or 18 months because they understand it. They can’t really, you know, say it back to you, because they are not really speaking yet. But definitely, and then by the time they are 2 or 2 and a half, they’ve got it, pat down!

KC Wilt: Well, on that note, we’ll take a break. Right after this, we are learning ways you can turn those Terrible Twos into Terrific Twos.

Susie Walton: Yes!

KC Wilt: We’ll be right back.


KC Wilt: Susie! So, how can we avoid the pit falls of Terrible Two parenting? What are some mistakes that parents make?

Susie Walton: I think, first of all is educating yourself into the developmental stages of two year olds, on what’s normal and what’s not normal, so that you know that your kid’s behavior , you know like the annoying behavior of not sharing: it’s all normal. The No’s, the Me’s and My's are all normal. So you don’t have to get so caught up in it when they are doing that. You know, when they are hitting and biting. That’s very normal for a Kinesthetic child. We redirect that but we don’t get upset with them because we don’t want it to last as a button, so to speak. I think its most important to acknowledge their feelings. I think it’s really important on how we parent them, like how do we respond to the situations. You know, in our parenting class, we talk of three styles of parenting: Autocratic, Democratic and Permissive. And in the Democratic realm, you are both firm and kind at the same time. So you say, you know you say “It’s bed time? Do you want to hop to bed or you want me to carry to bed?” You know, they say, “I don’t want to go to bed”, you pick them up and you carry them to bed. But they say, “No, no, no, let me hop!” “You didn’t choose. I chose. You can try again tomorrow night”. Okay, and so you stick to it because it’s a boundary that you set. But you are still being kind about it because you are giving him a choice. But once you’ve set that choice, you don’t then give in to them because then they are learning that, your boundaries really mean nothing. And the sad thing is, you guys, your kids know by age 3 if you are actually going to stick to a limit that you’ve set.

KC Wilt: Wow, age three!

Susie Walton: Yeah, it’s really young!

KC Wilt: We don’t have much time!

Susie Walton: No, you don’t!


Susie Walton: You know and always, and always ask for what you want, versus what you don’t want. You know, because really, the brain doesn’t pick up the word “Don’t”. So if you are saying Don’t hit your sister, don’t throw your food, don’t get out of bed, the brain hears, Hit your sister, throw your food and get out of bed. Plus, you’re not helping our kids work with us because we are not even telling them what we want in the first place! If you want kids to co-operate, then tell them what you want. Keep your hands to yourself, keep your…., you know, stay in bed tonight, keep your food on your plate, keep your booty in your car seat, you know, keep your hands on the rail when you are walking. Just tell them what you want. It just makes life so much easier for them . And that they know a lot of frustration comes from you not even know what you want. Like this little d…., this dad kept telling this little two year old, “Quit running round the block!” and finally, the two year old, you know, just got so frustrated and said “Daddy, what is a block?!” You know, that’s another thing. You want to make sure they even know what you’re even talking about! Not assume. So its acknowledging feelings, being firm and kind with them. Remember that all misbehavior is communication. Okay, they are not out to get you. They are not coming from a bad gene pool, okay?

KC Wilt: Have you met my son?

Terry Wood: Really 50% of the equation!

Susie Walton: But if you can look at misbehavior as a form of communication; basic human needs of all human beings is to loved, feel valuable, feel powerful, to feel like they are contributing members. Okay. It’s who we are, its human. So, if your child is misbehaving, then one of those needs are not being met. It doesn’t mean they still go to bed or they don’t clean up their toys, but you as a parent will handle in whole different way. Because it’s just like “Oh, he’s communicating something’s not working for him. I’m not sure what that is.” But you will handle it differently. And parents, how you handle their crying situations now when they are in this stage, this is how it’s going to impact them, how they want to come to you when they are teenagers. I know you with baby and you think teenagers! That’s another century! I’m like “Oh no its not!” Its overnight!

Jane Park: Yeah, I can see it around the corner.

KC Wilt: Don’t say that!

Susie Walton: You know what, it seems like those first 7 years, these kids are like Cling-ons and you know you are like “Can I just breath by self!” And all of a sudden it goes from 7 to 17 and they graduate from high school and you are like “What happened?”

Jane Park: That’s what I keep on telling my husband. He complains about all of our kids come into our bed first thing in the morning and they make all this noise playing. And why don’t they just go to their play room and play? I look at him and say, they want to be with us. Be glad that they want to be with us because its right around the corner that they are not going to want to no more.

Susie Walton: And it’s what they get to get used to. So I’ve talked to some teens and like 20 year olds about the things they like most about their family when they are getting along. I can’t tell you how many kids said “We love getting into our parents’ bed in the morning after we’ve come home at night and share stories and just talk about what went on at the parties and stuff. And I know this one family in particular because they’ve been doing this since the kids were little, the kids were always jumping into their bed and many nights they were all in the same bed all night. So tell your husband, “Hey, let’s take this 10 years up. Our girls are now coming home from parties or they are coming home from hanging out with their friends. Don’t we want them coming in the next morning and jumping into bed with us and saying “Hey, this is what happened last night, it was really fun, it was really cool”.

Terry Wood: It’s a great idea.

Susie Walton: It’s teens! This is why gangs are so prevalent. This is how bad we want to belong. And if our kids don’t feel like they belong to us, they will find something to belong to and it’s not always in their best interests. And I know that I’m taking you guys years ahead, but what you do….

KC Wilt: I know, it’s good.

Susie Walton: …., now has such a huge impact!

Jane Park: It’s perspective.

Susie Walton: And you know what? Whenever you are ready to give in, or do something that you know; Think, how do I want my child to do this in 10 or 15 years? That always kind of puts it back into perspective and allows you not to give in because you are “Tired!”

KC Wilt: My mom always keeps telling me, oh, the problems you have now are so small in comparison to the problems you will have.

Susie Walton: Or not. As long as you have a healthy relationship with them, you know, the kids learn best by doing. You know, I always my one son, if you make it age six, you’d make it to 106! You hear them all the time “Oh my gosh!” But, he’s really, he’s probably going to live to 106! He made it!


KC Wilt: So Susie; Dealing with crying. This is something I have a bit of a hard time with, so I think it’s especially, because for the first while, when they are babies, crying, you learn you need to respond to crying and you are wanting to make them feel secure and so it’s always responding, responding, responding fairly quickly to their cries because they need something. Well now, they’ve transitioned into a stage when they are like a year, over a year, where they are crying, not necessarily because they need something, but they want something.

Jane Park: Oh yeah my son practices it in the mirror as he walks by.

KC Wilt: Yeah, but they do a lot of crying! But I still have that really uncomfortable feeling now with crying and all I want is for the crying to stop! And I can see where that’s going to go, now they are two or three and you just want the crying to stop, so I guess that’s why parents will just give them whatever they want, but I don’t want to go down that path. So, how do you deal with it? How do you….

Susie Walton: First of all remember the cry is a form of communication. So if you can remember that, there’s something that’s just not working for them and actually and how you respond, again, to their crying is how they will choose to come to you as teenagers. And you know, get more entertained by it. I think their level of frustration comes because you think you’ve done everything, you don’t know what to do next and that’s okay. It’s to say, “I don’t know what to do next so I’m just going to let you cry!” I watched this with my own grand-daughters. I promise you guys, you would let them cry and they have their meltdown and then they are done. Actually too, what I’ve been hearing a little more lately is sometimes, let your babies cry. They are still, they are kind of going through a healing process. Maybe from the birth or just even before. It helps! Sometimes even on the way to the Doctor appointment, they start crying and it helps the healing around whatever situation. So even if you can look at it, you know, in that realm. It’s just another way of communicating. Especially toddlers. They know what they want but you are not understanding. So they get frustrated so they go right to crying.

Heidi Murfin: What about whining. I’ve got a whiner. How do you re-direct whining?

Susie Walton: Drink more wine!


KC Wilt: That will make everything seem better!

Susie Walton: Whining is a form of stress. You know and so the best thing you can do is teach your kids when they are whining, whether it’s take a deep breath or pretend they are blowing a feather. And so you get a feather before-hand and teach them to blow a feather or blow bubbles. And so when they are whining say “Breath, blow the feather, blow the feather. Now what is it you want?” And it’s amazing as they get used to this. And I want you again, once again, model it. Parents, over 95% of what your kids learn is what you model. So you practice, when you get a red light you didn’t want to stop at, to breath. “What are you doing daddy?” “I’m breathing, I’m calming down.” So the more they see you do it, the…, you know but if you’re just telling them to do it…, “No, I’m not breathing because it’s stupid!”, because they don’t even see you do it. So the breathing is a beautiful thing. Because remember that whining is just a form of stress. They want something and they are not really sure how to get it.

Terry Wood: So how would you recommend we go about trying to get that terrific two type kid?

Heidi Murfin: Where can I find one of those?

Susie Walton: First of all sign up for Redirecting Children’s Behavior!

Terry Wood: Oh, okay.

Susie Walton: There will be a lot of tools in there! And like I said, the other thing too is studying, you know, learn about developmental stages of what’s normal and what’s not normal. Because when you realize that the hype, the crying, the biting and the me and the mine and no’s are all normal and sharing is not normal, you feel more comfortable. You are like, well I just got a normal kid and this is okay, right? And see it as in their quest of growing, that they are all, they are just on a journey and they are going to make plenty of mistakes doing it. You are there to help bring them back up, pull them up. You know, I always say, it’s like kids are constantly learning how to walk into the world. And when your baby is just learning to walk, they never just stood up and walked, you had to help them up, they took a few steps, they fall, you help them up, hold them, let them go, see how they did. You know, it was a continuum of learning how to walk. So your kids will always be learning how to walk into new stages. And these little guys, man, this is a huge stage for them, from going from when you carried them, they are with us pretty much 24/7 and now they are kind of branching out on their own. So this is a little scary for them. So this is where a lot of their melt-downs come and not understanding and if you don’t your child saying “No” all the time, then quit saying “No” to them. You know if they are climbing on the stairs and you don’t want them climbing on stairs, instead of saying “No!” say Hey, I’m not okay with you climbing on the stairs, I need you to come down now”. You know, “I’m not okay with you throwing things.” Just own it too. Now we are teaching our kids to be accountable for what they need in their life by saying the word “I” versus “You need to stop that”.

Heidi Murfin: So what if they keep throwing the thing? What if they keep hitting, you know….this isn’t appropriate?

Susie Walton: Then you remove them and say “This isn’t okay. I want to have you take a break. I want you to sit here until you can keep your hands to yourself or you can keep the books on the floor” – or whatever they are throwing.

Terry Wood: So you can’t throw it back at them?

Susie Walton: Optional? No. It’s not optional.

Jane Park: I’ve tried that.


Jane Park: With my spirited three year old, where I’ve tried to remove her and I’m learning the time-out maybe remarketing time-out would be effective with her, but we’ve kind of gone down that road already, where she just does not want to be removed. She just doesn’t want to be told what to do. She calls the shots. This is…., she’s just that type of kid. And she becomes even more defiant. And up until about 4 months ago, she would pee on the floor deliberately and bang on the door if we tried closing it. All that kind of stuff. How do you navigate that?


Terry Wood: Sounds…., if I may, you might want to get her a litter box because she seems like a kitty cat.

Jane Park: I kept on telling my mother, “No , we do not need a new rug for the bedroom”.

Susie Walton: Oh gosh, so she’s assertive. So yeah, she doesn’t like to be told what to do. So start asking her questions. There was this four year old. Every time she was in the bath, she would splash and always, mom would be like “Quit splashing. Close the shower curtain!” “No, no, no!” Finally the mother got smart enough to say one night “What can you do to keep the water in the bath tub?” And the little girl said, “I could close the shower curtain.” Now mom had said that a million times before, but it was always her.

KC Wilt: Yeah, on her terms.

Susie Walton: So I want you to start asking her “What can you do?” “What do you need to have on your feet before we go outside?” Rather than “Come on, we’ve got to go outside, get your shoes on.” “No!” Start asking. This is how we create critical thinkers, parents. If you are telling your kids what to do all the time, when to do it, why to do it, where to do it, you are raising robots. You do not want your teenagers of today to be robots. They’ve got to create thinking for themselves, but you’ve got to implant that by asking questions so their critical thinking skills get tuned up now, especially your power kids. They will say no just for beauty of it. Okay, so start asking “What do you need to do?” That way when you have to say “No!” they honor it a lot more too, because it’s not a constant anymore. It’s all of a sudden, “here it is!”

KC Wilt: Wow! I want to keep talking with you. Can…., we’ll have you back, please. That’s fantastic. Thank you so much Susie for helping us learn how to handle those tantrums and turn them around. If you want to know more information on Indigo Village or Redirecting Children’s Behavior, go to today’s show on our Episodes Page, on our website or visit http://www.indigovillage.com. Thank you so much.

Susie Walton: Thank you. Great questions parents. You guys are awesome. Keep it up.

Terry Wood: Thank you, thank you very much.

KC Wilt: Thank you.


KC Wilt: Before we wrap up today’s show, here are some great breast feeding remedies for new parents.

[Featured Segment: Breastfeeding Remedies - Treating Engorged Breasts]

Robin Kaplan: Hi Parent Savers, I’m Robin Kaplan, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and the host and producer of Parent Savers sister show, The Boob Group. I’m here to offer you some advice on different breastfeeding remedies; such as “How can I treat my huge and engorged breasts? I remember the first time I knew my milk had come in. It was 4 am, my son was four days old and I woke up to my breasts looking like I had visited the local plastic surgeon a few hours prior. I immediately woke up my husband and announced with pride, “Take a look at this cleavage!” Even without a bra, I had cleavage. It was amazing. Several hours later, those top perky breasts had become quite sore and I was searching for any remedy to help soften their powerful fullness. I knew that they weren’t engorged but I also didn’t want to them to get to that point of challenging return. So, what is engorgement? Well, breast fullness between days 2 to 5 postpartum is normal. Your breasts should still be somewhat pliable though. Think of a full balloon. While a balloon is taught, you can still squeeze it and shape it. This is how your breasts should feel as your body transitions from making colostrums to your fuller milk. Engorgement is much more severe, and a lot less common. When your breasts are engorged, they can feel heavy, tender and painful. Sometimes, engorged breasts will look tight and shiny as if the skin is being stretched beyond its elasticity. Engorged breasts can also become so congested, that it’s difficult to even remove the milk. Engorgement is most common those first few days, postpartum or as your baby gets older and begins to sleep for more consecutive hours at night. But what actually causes this engorgement? Well engorgement is caused by milk stasis, which means that the milk is not moving out of the breasts. There are many reasons that a mom could become engorged. Several birth interventions can cause engorgement as they often result in lots of IV fluids in the hospital. Also if your baby has a poor latch, he or she may not remove your milk effectively. This is a definitely a reason to see a Lactation consultant. Subsequent children can also cause engorgement as your breasts have a memory and know how to fill up a lot more quickly with each additional child. I was a lot more full with baby number two than with baby number one. A few other reasons could be that your little one slept a little bit longer at night or you just skipped a feeding. And also low immunity caused by lack of sleep, stresses a new mom and the stress of going back to work can wreak havoc on your body. Can you imagine that? So, how can you reduce that breast fullness or engorgement? First and foremost, breastfeed frequently and effectively from both breasts. In those first few weeks, your baby should be breastfeeding 8 or more times in a 24 hour period. Actively sucking for about 30 to 40 minutes per breastfeeding session. And if your baby cannot latch because your breasts are so engorged, you can try reversed pressure softening, which pushes the excess fluid away from your nipple, helping your baby latch more easily. You can also hand express or pump on a low setting before latching your baby, to help your breasts to become more pliable and easier to latch on to. To reduce inflammation, treat your breasts like you would a swollen ankle. Use icepacks or frozen peas in between feeding sessions to help reduce the swelling and then you can use warm compresses right before breastfeeding. The warmth will help open up your blood vessels and hopefully, help your milk to begin dripping, thereby making it easier for your baby to latch on. Take a warm shower and lean forward also. The gravity and warmth can help reduce inflammation. Use very gentle massage only, as deep massage can actually cause more inflammation. And remember to take good care of yourself and your immune system. Rest, drink lots of water and eat immunity supporting foods. Lastly, ask your doctor or holistic practitioner for recommendations for inflammation reducing medication, herbs and homeopathy. For more great information about different breastfeeding remedies, check out my blog at http://www.sandiegobreastfeedingcenter.com/blog and be sure to listen to the Parent Savers and The Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.

KC Wilt: That wraps up today’s episode. We’d love to hear from you if you have a parenting topic you’d like to suggest or if you have questions for Susie about today’s show, or the topics we discussed, call our Parents Savers hotline: 619-866-4775 or send us an email through our website: http://www.parentsavers.com and we’ll answer your question on an up-coming episode.

Coming up next week, we’ll talk about Child Care Options for Working Parents. Thanks for listening to Parents Savers. Empowering new parents, everywhere

Disclaimer: This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information materials contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though such information materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
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