Friday, January 12, 2007

At Wits End With My Habitual Spitter

Cheeks spit in my eye a minute ago. His saliva dripped down my lid and into my eye ball. I just about lost it.

Then, during his consequent time-out, he spit all over the floor. He even spit under the door as I held it shut, all over the tops of my bare feet. He also hit me and kicked me while I re-explained why he couldn't come out of his useless time-out.

I don't think the word "challenge" fully describes how I feel about Cheeks during his many fitful, spit-ful rages.

After he gut-punched his big brother because he didn't want to play Matchbox cars with him any longer, I sent him to his room for the night. He's been there ever since, thrashing and screaming loud enough for the neighbors to potentially alert the cops.

Too bad, I say. You hit, you spit, you lose. You go to your room until tomorrow. I've had enough of his bullshit, young kid or not. There's only so much hitting and spitting a mother can take. No respect.

Do any of you have a spit hurling, raging three-year-old like mine? When time-outs and taking away toys fails, what do you do? What works for you? I don't think any of you will admit to spanking via comments, but do tell what succeeds in curbing such bad, completely unacceptable behaviors.


At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Estella said...

I've had a similar night. Except with a 14 month old. Now tell me...did this spitting preschooler start off as a climber? Because if so, I plan on taking notes on the advice you get here. And also, if anyone has any tips on a toddler that won't stop climbing, I'll owe you my life. And then some.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Desiree said...

Reading this makes me so grateful that mine are now well into the teen years! My daughter and my son both had really wild tempers. I used pull them to the floor wrap my legs around theirs, cross their arms and wouldn't let go until the calmed down and then I would count to ten and let them go. It was wild but it worked! My oldest daughter was the worst. I can't tell you how many times I had to take her out of the stores and abandon my shopping cart full of groceries in the middle of the store because of her temper! This year she is graduating High School. She still has a bit of temper, seen when she fights with her sister but she really has blossomed into a wonderful young adult who I am very proud of. So chin up! Someday you'll look back and remember these times with a chuckle. Just keep reminding yourself they do grow up. LOL

At 3:46 AM, Blogger Mary said...

Desiree idea is good, just watch out for their head being flung back onto your chest. It's something I've used a lot and it does work, as they are unable to calm themselves down when they get to that point. Good Luck!

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Iris said...

I agree that Desiree's idea is a great one and works really well for out of control kids. It won't keep you from getting spit soaked until he calms down though.

You stated that you didn't think anyone would admit to spanking.....well, let me be the first then. I have absolutely no problem swatting my 3yr old on the butt if he is misbehaving. My 8yr old as well. Sometimes it is just what she needs to remind her just who is boss. The older boys are outgrown of this, for the most part, but if they get to fighting (physically), I will get between them and restrain one of them. Of course, this has gotten WAY better since the 15yr old completed an Anger Management course.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dang, Iris beat me to it!! I am not ashamed to admitt that we spank. Only as a last resort though. Sometimes they need something to get their attention, and let me tell you, a spanking will. I'm not saying beat them. You don't even have to do it hard. I do understand that some people are very against it though. For them I have no idea what advice to give.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Adventures in Baby Fat said...

Let's hope someone has some great suggestions for you because I'm going to watch for the same advice. I have a 2-year-old that has a crazy wild temper. I've come to the conclusion that her will is much stronger than mine -- a fact she must never know!

I've tried swatting (which works perfectly well with my 4-year-old son as a last resort -- the perfectly well-behaved son that has been in multiple time-outs but been swatted only once in the past year!). Swatting only makes the beastie crazier so I am content with the thoroughly ineffective time-outs until she is semi-rational again. Incidentally, the holding her still and tight one drives her beyond mad and I think makes her head spin so that definitely never works.

The problem is my daughter has a strong will AND an incredibly high pain threshold so my little swats on her padded behind are ineffective in the face of what appears to be the Incredible Hulk wrapped up in a petite, cute, curly-haired, blue-eyed little body. What's a mom to do?

I recently brought this temper issue up to her ped who chuckled at the thought that my little, sweet, tiny girl -- this ANGEL -- would have a temper. No, sir. She is a devil in disguise.

Good luck either way. You are not alone!!! I also have thought that the blood-curdling screams bouncing off the walls in our little house has warranted a call to police or CPS. They must think she is being beaten. Little do they know it's the other way around.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Qtpies7 said...

I absolutely spank! My strong willed, out of control child, who is now 14 and coming around, will tell you that HE intends to spank his children because people who don't spank are "stupid". The reason he thinks that is because when he was spanked it got him back in control of himself. He hated it, and fought against it, but it always helped him get in his right mind faster and he thouroughly believes in it. He was one of those "spank once a week if he needs it or not" kids because if we didn't he would get completely out of control.
Spitting is a complete insult to a person. It sets blood a curtling in an instant. Something in us knows this even at 3. It really, really has got to be dealt with severely. Even if you don't spank, there shouldn't be a warning, just immediate consequences. At the very least, complete separation from human contact if it is doable, meaning you aren't in a store or something. But, the fury will fuel the fire, so it has to be dealt with calmly so he doesn't get the reaction he wants. He WANTS to have an impact on a person. "Spitting on a person is not only gross, but it is very mean. Mean people do not deserve to be around others. I'm sorry you've chosen to act like that, now you'll have to sit in your room alone." And do not let him out until he has been quiet and accepting for 3-5 mintues. If he screams for an hour, oh well. Step in every 10 minutes or so and let him know that when he wants to be calm and quiet you will come back to get him. When you open the door pretend you didn't know he was still screaming, "Oh, your still screaming. I guess you are still wanting to be by yourself. I'll come back when you've been quiet for awhile." He won't figure out that you can hear him screaming but can hear him not screaming, hehe. In the beginning this could take hours, but you will see a change over time.
Personally, I'd spank and then send him to be alone. And I would spank until he stopped fighting me and spitting on me. Every spit would get a swat, then he'd be off by himself until he calmed down.
There is a book called To Train Up a Child by Mike and Debi Pearl. It is very pro spanking, so don't bother if you are against it. If you want alternatives, I think Lisa Welchel has a book on discipline that is not pro-spanking. I haven't read it though.
Good luck, and remember what the Bible says "and it came to pass.." One day it will be over, really.
Two other things that REALLY helped were I started my son on Chlorella supplements, which detox the body and also are a whole food,, and we took him to a chiropractor. IMMEDIATE changes in his behavior and school work! The chiropractor after 2 sessions completely eliminated violent and mean-spirited behavior!

At 1:28 PM, Blogger chickenone said...

I made my habitual spitter spit into a cup and fill it half full. He had been warned and knew I would follow through if he spit again. There was all kinds of drama and tears but it worked. He hated filling that cup! Good luck.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Loralee Choate said...

Time out in the corner with his face to the wall was always sufficent punishment to stop most bad behaviors in both my boys.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger liv said...

Have you heard of a book called the Explosive Child? My son drove me MAD for a long time. And it took all of everything I've got not to either kill him or myself. Yes, he even got a spanking once or twice. It went against everything I thought I believed in and then finally I felt like I'd used every other strategy to no avail. I don't even know what finally worked. Time passed. I had a therapist recommend that I spray him with water when he spouted forth bad words. Worked for a while, btw. Time out seems to be the best idea over all. It takes a while to make sense to them and they seem to want to scream, cry and physically remove themselves from it, BUT I have found that if you stick to it calmly (easier said than done) for the allotted Cheeksy 3 minutes no matter how long and how many times it takes to keep him there, it slowly but surely works. Have I rambled? Um, yeah. And if you have any sage advice for getting a 4 year old to stop assaulting his 15 month old sister, be sure to pay me a visit.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am posting anonymously. I've tried to word this post to be neutral and non-inflammatory, but failed miserably. I'm a chicken shit.
I am amused/horrified that parents are endorsing spanking in one sentence and in the next mentioning their teen children's anger issues. Do you not see a correlation? The seeds of adult and teen behaviour are sown during childhood. If you teach your child that punishment comes in the form of spanking or physical restraint, they will never learn internalized self-control.
Time-outs work for me. I don't have a spitter (and holy flying fuck that would piss me off), but a child who laughs and smirks and refuses to show any remorse no matter how severe her/his transgression. We do one minute per child's age. Then say she/he can come out of her/his room once she/he is ready to apolgize. This must be sincere. It works really well.
I really like the book 1-2-3 Magic. It outlines the 8 types of behavior that children use to get their way. The keypart of thebook is to not display your anger, but remain neutral. Kids generally play off your anger and enjoy the power of getting a reaction out of you.
And Lisa Welchel was Blair on Facts of Life. She is an evanglical, borne-again Minister and her book recommends tongue-spanking, which means putting hot sauce on the kid's tongue. I find this just odd.

(goodluck, Domestic Slackstress. sorry to be go all lurker like on you.)

At 9:29 PM, Blogger BethGo said...

I have no advice as my children are both rascals and I can very much see one of them goin into a spitting phase at a moment's notice. I just wanted to tell you that I just found your blog and I've enjoyed looking over it. Thanks for helping me see that once again I am not alone.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger Eli's Mom said...

I do not have a spitting/raging three-year-old (YET), but I will be reading all of the comments to see what advice you get because I too would have been at a loss regarding any other punishment than the one you gave. Good luck!!!

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