Saturday, September 27, 2008

And I Thought College Was Hard

We are halfway through our week without Curtis. Today was a really hard day. "Really hard" as in no one in my family is in the hospital, we are all dressed and fed, the bills are paid, but I still had a hard time counting my blessings and not being pitiful. I cried three times. Mainly, I am emotionally exhausted with Jackson's discipline issues, which for a couple of days were intensified by the very welcome and much desired presence of my sweet friend Bonny and her two sons in our home. Bonny is like a sister to me (we lived together for three years) and both of her boys (3 years and 7 months) are precious. Here's the deal: my son hates sharing his toys. When we have other kids over, a terribly ugly side of him comes out. We've had three very tough experiences with this in the last few weeks. I can't even tell you how much this breaks my heart, embarrasses, and discourages me. The constant need to discipline him makes me feel like a mean, angry, ineffective mommy.

Bonny and her boys left at lunchtime. By then I was at my breaking point with Jackson. I was in such a funk that didn't want to go anywhere or see anyone for the rest of the day. But my friend down the street had invited us to dinner at her house with some other families from our church. I wondered if we should even try to go. Maybe it wouldn't be so wise to put Jackson in another situation of sharing when we really needed some peace between us. Since I knew we could easily walk home at any time, we did end up going. It was wonderful. Jackson did great. Of course, he was getting to play with another child's toys and wasn't having to share his own.

When we got home we had a very sweet time getting him ready for bed. It did some healing work on my banged up heart. I'm so glad God gave me and Jackson a chance to succeed together before the sun set on this day.

If anyone reading this has ever been in my shoes, I welcome your advice. I have a very active, lively, expressive, strong, two-year-old son who can't handle sharing his toys. He shares others' toys relatively well. But I am to the point where I feel like not having company again until he's five. What is going to change his unwillingness to share his toys? Time and age? Or inviting others to our home as much as possible until he gets it right? I need some help!

Well, I've gotta run. I have a date with Dobson and The Strong-Willed Child.


jennyhope said...

Sounds like we had the same day. My man has been in Kansas this week and I have been at the end of my rope. I felt horrible getting on to her ALL DAY! She kept trying to run into the street at the drs office. She ran from me around our car at the mall...and so many other things. Your child is not the only one with sharing issues. My child is always EVERYTHING IS MINE!!!! Ahhh!! She wouldn't even share a fry with me at chic fil a. I had to remind her who bought it.

I am glad I wasn't alone in my guilt for having to discipline her all day!

Unknown said...

I don't have any advice for you but I'm curious to see what everyone else has to say. I have 3 boys (4,3,1) and my middle is very strong-willed. He's like 3 children all by himself some days. And my Hubs is gone for a month(military) and I've noticed he is alot more agressive right now. 2 more weeks to go....anyway, I feel your pain and hopefully someone out there has some great insight/advice for those of us with strong-willed kids. I've checked the Dobson booked out from the library 2 or 3 times now and never have the chance to sit down and read. You'll have to give us a mini book report or something when you're done. I have prayed with my son (his prayers are basically repeating after me at this point) that God would soften his heart. Doesn't always have the instant results I want nor does he understand fully but I figure it's a start.

Unknown said...

I often feel this way lately with my four-year-old daughter. She's even been having screaming matches with her one-year-old little sister over toys. One thing I remind myself, especially when she tells me she hates me, is that it doesn't matter if she likes me or not... God does, and it's His opinion that matters. God shows us how to love our children, not just "be their friend" all the time. It'll get better. In the end, I know she'll respect me for being what the world would call "strict". We all have days, sometimes even weeks, where we feel crappy. Allow yourself to feel that way, and then (as trite as it sounds) let God pick you up and dust you off. I love your blog. Keep it up.

Shauna said...

Oh, sister, I feel your pain. Lately, my girls have been fighting over every little thing there is. Well, the 2.5 yr old will fight for anything the very second her little sister picks it up. It has tested my patience to exhaustion. How many time can a child get sent to her room and then repeat it the moment she returns? I have been told that consistency in the key. We're still muddling through. One of the things we have started doing is taking away whatever object is causing a fight. If the object is valued over the person/relationship it gets put away until another day. Then they can try again. Praying for you. Those days are hard. As missionaries to Africa, my husband goes without us a few times a year for several weeks at a time. It's just hard, but those are the times that I cling to Jesus more than ever before. Hang in there sister. Grace and peace for this leg of the journey.

Anonymous said...

Galations 6:9 - "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."

The two's with my daughter were very, very hard. Yet I tried to remain consistant and not to give up. Now that she's three I'm starting to reap a little of those rewards of my hard work.

There were many a day when I was at my wits end with her and thankfully I would call Grandma and she would pray for us.

Leslie said...

Oh Amanda, it gets better. Somewhat, LOL. I went through the same thing with all of mine. I tried different approaches-- such as letting them select toys ahead of time that are special-- we put them away and they didn't have to be shared. Of course, there were times when they decided everything was special, but we somehow got through it.

My youngest is 5 now and we still deal with these issues, but not all the time like the toddler years.

In addition to Dobson (love him!), I recommend the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. He talks about not just changing behavior but getting to the heart issues. Jackson is a little young yet to comprehend it, but you can begin to lay the framework now.


Danana Banana said...

My daughter has the same struggle. What's worked for us is practicing sharing & taking turns with toys just between the two of us when there is no pressure and its just fun. When a friend is coming over, we talk ahead of time about sharing. I also put away any toys that I know are especially hard for her to share.

It really does get easier! As their communications skills increase its easier for them to talk to each other & talk to you.

Shannon Morrison said...

I am a long-time blog-stalker but first time commenter. I am right there with you. My 3 year old Audrey absolutely cannot share her own toys. What has worked very well for us lately is to say, "That's ok A. You don't have to share. Go up to your room and you can play with it all by yourself." She will usually hand it over within 60 seconds or so. Sharing is great for teaching the Golden Rule too I've found. "Did you like when Johnny shared his toys with you?" Anyway he is a little young but they understand so much more than we think they do! Take heart! Treat every ugly action as a God-given opportunity to show Jackson his need for a Savior.

Michelle said...

Dear, Sweet Amanda, the fact that your 2 year old is acting like a 2 year old does NOT mean that your parenting is ineffective. A friend once told me that "just because your child misbehaves does NOT mean that you are a bad mom! And just because your child behaves does not necessarily mean that you are a good mom, either!" They all have their own temperments,and children are immature, still learning right from wrong, and some lessons take time to really sink in. The fact is that 2 year olds don't always understand the whole sharing thing. I honestly think that often adults put too much pressure on young children to "share." But really, little ones don't understand that if another kid plays with his/her toy, he/she is not taking it away forever. It's really a concept that is hard to grasp. I think that as grownups, we don't have to share TOO much...we all have our own stuff, you know? And if we do choose to share something, it's our own choice to do so, and we understand the perameters of the sharing...unlike a child, who all too often just hears the command "Share, share your toys" but the child has no control over that situation...and those ARE his toys, and he didn't have to share them yesterday, so I sometimes think that maybe he's thinking "why is there suddenly a kid here who is trying to take my stuff?" I think it's stressful for a kid. It will take a while to understand the concept. I think that Dr. Phil says that kids don't even get it until they are more like 4 or 5,(?)I also think that as humans, we are more willing to "share" a thing if we are able to do it willingly, not out of having it enforced upon us. I think that our society's tendency to enforce the sharing thing often comes out of our culture's often unhealthy issues with co-dependance,because I think that there is a lot of co-dependance taught in our society that is passed down as moral and good, but it's not necessarily healthy or biblical, even. Look it up; Sharing is not one of the fruits of the spirit. It may be a result of the fruits, but it's not one of the fruits. I just encourage you to pray for wisdom on this one specific to your own child and your own situation.
BTW, when my 1st born was 2, at her party, I was horrified when she started yelling at anyone who touched her new toys. I,too, felt like it reflected poorly on my own parenting. But it's just not the case. She's now almost 9, and guess what? She eventually DID get it. It just takes time and maturity.
You are a wonderful mother, and you need to hear that. You are doing everything you can for your son, and providing everything for him that he needs. I pray that God will pour out much wisdom into your heart for your son. Many Blessings to you!

Smelling Coffee said...

Bless you... I well remember that stage with my son. I also remember the discouragement and embarrassment when he wouldn't act the way I knew he could. I, too, read Dobson's The Strong Willed Child. I also found two other books that were extremely helpful: Gary and Marie Ezzo's "Toddler Wise" (actually, the whole "wise" series... I'm reading Pre-teen Wise now), and Mike and Debbie Pearl's "To Train up a Child". You may not agree with everything in their parenting methods, but they gave me a place to start and a hope that we were actually doing some things right.

I also wanted to tell you that one day I was complaining to the Lord about my strong willed child, and I truly heard the Lord say to me something like this: "You've asked me that he be strong, able to stand against peer pressure, and be a mighty man of God. His strong will is how he will be able to do it. If you keep asking me to change his strong will, it will change all of the other things you've asked for in his life." From that moment on, I became thankful for his strong will. We learned to train his will to bend toward righteousness, and now that he is a pre-teen, we've watched that will be put into action for good. It wasn't always easy, but it was definitely worth it!

Don't get discouraged. This stage, too, shall pass as he grows. I promise. :-)

Profbaugh said...


Been there. Done that and I've come out on the other side to let you know, you will survive!

In the meantime, "The Strong Willed Child" is a fairly good read. I've got to admit, as much as I respect James Dodson, I didn't agree with everything in the book. But it did help. . some.

We also put away many toys (especially his my case all the Power Rangers) before others came over and had certain toys like Legos to "share." When my oldest wouldn't share, he got pulled out, put in time out (and he screamed, and screamed. . and at times I cried and cried, especially when I was like you, preggers with #2).

You are correct. He will grow out of it. And trust me. You're a great mother even if it doesn't always feel that way when you're correcting and others are around. Some kids (like my first one) are just more active, passionate and stubborn than others. Hang in there. I'll be praying for you and Jackson. Remember, this too will pass. And yes, you will eventually be able to have others over and actually have a FULL conversation without any interruption. Yes, that day is coming, just hold on.

From one older mom to one younger mom,

SeaShellMom said...

Hi Amanda! I am one of your loving "lurkers". I read your blog all the time and I love your sweet family, your mom, and usually read anonymously, sending up prayers, laughing, and fretting over you guys. Anyway, I am up late and can't sleep due to giving in to the temptation to steal a sweet cuddle nap with my youngest. I just wanted to encourage you and Tachi on your sharing adventures. I have three older boys, and I am thrilled to be pregnant with my fourth, but I can still remember going round and round with my oldest son over certain issues when he was that age. And calling my mom at work at my wits end. A lot. So proud of his determination and curiosity, yet certain I was not being the steward that I should with these precious qualities that were coming out in ways that left me anything but cool, loving and encouraging.

Sounds like you are doing such an excellent job of building up his spirit and teaching him to bring his will under God's authority. Keep up the good/hard work. In due time, you will reap a harvest! If you can step out of the moment and realize that Jackson's generous heart will one day melt yours and make these hair pulling memories into a touchstone of God's faithfulness on your road together, it will help you to make it through. That is one of the things you will enjoy about your second. Many of the same issues, but a different perspective.

Also, remember, Jackson is just getting used to the idea of sharing you. This hard sharing phase will pass so quickly, thank God for allowing you guys to work through it before the baby comes!

Anonymous said...

Two year olds believe that if someone takes their toy, they're not going to get it back. Ever.

Have you considered changing your terminology from "sharing" to "taking turns?" Somehow knowing they're going to take turns with a toy, the same way they take turns on the slide helps, in my experience. :)

Karen said...

Time, age, prayer and consistancy. You are doing the right thing.

Just hang in there girl. This is the first of many times when you will feel like the meanest mommy on earth.

However, you and I know that we do what we have to do to help our children to grow into the people God would have them to be. It's not easy. My children are old (20 & 16) and I still find myself in situations like this. (meltdowns and all.) They are fewer in frequency though and over things other than their toys. (like wanting to stay out too late, not being wise stewards of their time-insert homework here, and not honoring their possessions-insert "hurricane-hit" room here.) :)

I will be praying for you and Jackson. It's only a season.

Deanna said...

Hi! Just wanted to encourage you first by saying: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! As a mommy to two "very active, lively, expressive, strong...." sons (ages 5 and 2) I am right there with you. It can be so discouraging to feel as if you are attempting to teach THE SAME lesson over and over and over again. It will get better as you continue to be consistent and remind him to share (we have just started time outs with my 2-year old for not sharing.... it seems to be helping). Playdates ARE hard at this stage though; I often have the thought, "What was I thinking?!!" afterwards! Hang in there!

lori said...

Awe Amanda, your heart is so sweet. I dont know what advice for Jackson right now, but I will say whne I had my second child I stopped letting toys be one or the others and just all toys are both of theirs, so my girl had to share barbie world with her brother and her brother had to share dinousours with a girl. It's so hard at two to know what he will "get" When my friends two and a half year old refuses to share a toy she gives the toy away, and so She knows if she does not want to share a toy mom will ask should I give it away and so far she shares every time

Anonymous said...

I'll say this, you are not alone. My sweet little girls "hit" at that age. Not a mean-spirited, knock you on your hind end hit, but a little swat nonetheless. Even being around friends didn't make me feel better as it felt like other parents weren't having to "deal" with this issue.

What I'm learning - parenting is humbling! And I should be thankful for the oppurtunity to discipline these issues when my children are young so their tendancies towards certain sins are exposed. Then me, my husband and the Holy Spirit get to get to work!

I read Dobson's Strongwilled Child. Personally I felt like Priolo's Teach them Diligently was excellent...also have heard WONDERFUL things about Ted Tripp's Sheperding a Child's Heart (he also has a new one called Instructing a Child's Heart)

This is a heart issue. Don't let the world tell you it's a stage. It's sin. Selfishness. Bound up in the heart of a child. Prayer works. Scripture. Acts 20:35 is good and simple (It's more blessed to give than receive), Galations 5:22 (fruits of the Spirit) is wonderful too. My daughter knew that in about a week at Jackson's age with just a bit of prompting.

Modeling is great. Play with him and require that he share. PRAISE and throw a PARTY when he does cheerfully...oh and "God loves a cheerful giver" (can't remember the reference right now) is simple too for Jackson's age.

I am passionate about raising godly children! I am realistic that it is the HARDEST thing I will ever do and my husband and I are RESPONSIBLE to God for it. These are my arrows.

And just a note...I still get a little nervous dropping my three and a half year old off in a chaotic childcare setting. I cover that girl in prayer. We discipline if we have to...but before and after we teach and teach and praise and praise when she shows she is following God's way...not her own path which leads to foolishness.

This is a VERY underdiscussed topic and I encourage you to ignore worldly advice that just adressess the behavior and embrace BIBLICAL advice that addresses the heart. I'm done with Supernanny and Love and Logic...I want my kids to love Jesus with their hearts and minds and souls and I know that they actions will reflect that. That's what the bible says, that a person's actions reflect their heart and I believe that.

Your mom taught me this in my last study of hers on the Psalms of Ascent. I pray for a DAILY outpouring of the Holy Spirit...I need it to get through the day with a 5, 3.5 and 16 month old (I also homeschool). And since I've started doing that my days have been amazing. Not super easy, but rewarding, challenging, and very within my God-given ability.

One last thing, some godly advice I got about a year ago. "Don't worry about others seeing your children disobey...just let them see you dealing with it in a way that glorifies God."

Sorry for the book. This is a topic of which I am truly passionate about. Love to you. Willow from Nashville, TN.

Unknown said...

Hi Amanda,

Do you have any 'sharing toys'? Jackson must have some absolute FAVORITE toys, right? Explain to him that he gets to pick out his very favorite toys and those toys are absolutely OFF LIMITS to company, and when company comes those toys will be hidden away so no one (including Jackson) will be able to play with them. The rest of the toys can be the 'sharing toys'. He can also change his mind each time BEFORE a playdate, in case one of the sharing toys has become a favorite. Also, if he has a special blanket or teddy bear or whatever security object, I WOULD allow him to HAVE that DURING the playdates, and simply explain to the others that that is Jackson's special lovey and only he may hold it. I see nothing wrong with that.

During the playdate if an incident arises, remind Jackson that those are the sharing toys and all the children, including him, are allowed to play with them.

I would also play along with your own things. Do you own something valuable or special that you don't want broken? Perhaps you could make a big deal of putting it away when company comes, and then making a point of explaining that you WILL be sharing the pillows on the couch with a friend, sharing some snacks, sharing some drinks, etc. Model the same behavior for him and maybe even exaggerate it when your friends come (with your friends in the know so they don't think you are wacko!) and exclaim, "Oh Sue, let me SHARE some cookies with you!" "Lisa, I would like to SHARE this book with you!" etc.

Also, when Jackson gets upset make sure to remind him that while he must allow 'Bobby' to play with his truck, it still BELONGS to Jackson and will STAY here at Jackson's house. Bobby will NOT be taking it home, just SHARING it while he is here. And JACKSON is also allowed to play with the truck and perhaps Bobby and Jackson can play with it together! You could also explain it to Bobby INSTEAD of Jackson..."Oh Bobby, I see you want to play with Jackson's truck! That's fine, you may play with it while you are here, but it does belong to Jackson so you can't keep it or take it home." That kind of lets up some pressure on Jackson since you are talking to Bobby instead, yet giving Jackson the same message.

You could begin the playdate in the same manner..."Children we are so happy you could come to play! Jackson has chosen some toys for you all to share and play with, but they are JUST to play with, not to keep or take home." They make look at you like DUH! but again, it's for Jackson's sake, and you can explain ahead of time to the moms so they don't think you are criticizing their kids ahead of time and assuming they are about to steal all his toys, LOL!

Heather said...

First of all, know that this is a phase and this too shall pass! And know that you are not alone in feeling like a mom who is always getting on to her son and Jackson is not the only one to not share his toys ... I know you know that already ...

One thing we did with Ryan when he was in his not sharing phase was we would tell him if he couldn't share that the toy would go away and no one would be able to play with it and I would put it in a visable place so that he could see no one was playing with it ...

One other thing I did was take "special" toys to him and put them away before anyone came ... I figured that if he was having a hard time sharing, I wasn't going to make it harder so I put toys that were the hardest to share away before friends came over to not set him up to fail. Then in time as he began to learn to share I would leave them out ...

We also would use a timer to help facilitate the sharing.

Basically, I tried my hardest to set him up to win in these situations so that he saw sharing as a good thing and not as a time where I was constantly getting on to him.

did this always work but it did work more often than not and he eventually moved out of this phase and onto another one :)

Angela said...

My son was on the receiving end of a little boy almost 3 who didn't want to share his toys. His mother said her child has a fear of the other children taking his toys home with them. So each time to settle the child down his mother said "He isn't going to take your toy home, just play with it here. Why don't you show him how it works." And if that didn't work the child bit my child, thus teaching my child to bite back. Oh the joys of play dates.

Vicki said...

Try not to get too discouraged as you have a strong willed child just like my daughter does. Remember tho he is strong willed he has the potential to be a born leader. He knows what he wants and stands up for it. Keep doing what you are doing---laying it before the Lord and redirecting your son and standing firm on sharing. It will soon pay off!

Denise said...

My son Matthew (who is now 6) would act the same way that Jackson did when someone came over to our house. It was like someone was invading his space and taking all of his toys and I couldn't make him understand that the other kids were just here to play. He got better over time. It helped when I could get him to understand that the other kids were excited to play with his toys because they don't have them at home just like he would be excited to go to their house and play with their toys. Hang in there! It does get better. But I do remember days that I thought I'd never be able to go anywhere and keep my sanity!

Deborah Kirby said...


With your precious daughter on the way, I would recommend you "challenge" your son and if you will permit me, I would like to share a specific challenge I used on my first son when I was expecting my daughter.

I have three children ranging in age from 12 to 7 years old. One of the things I know the Lord led me to do when I was pregnant with baby #2 was to sit in the floor with my son as he played and take a toy he was interested in -- while saying "share". I gave him no choice, he was going to share with me. My action was simultaneous with my words. He was already "sharing" when he heard my word "share". In other words, I didn't say, "share" or "please" -- and then wait for his response to "permit" me to have the toy. I LED the sharing exercise. This exercise was done many times during the week. My husband would also do this as time permitted. He would be the "wild card" that would stretch our son more because husband wasn't always around, but required the same compliance.

I prepared the way for his playmates and his siblings by using my maternal authority to set the precedence. I continued to do this regularly, even after my daughter was born until she started crawling and playing with toys on her own accord. By this point, he was well-seasoned in sharing.

Of course, when I first began the process, he protested. When he pitched his fits after I took a toy to play with, I continued to play with the toy. I am big enough to handle the fit, but continue with the object lesson, applying correction when needed if he should continue his fit.

What began as a testing became habit - and habit produced surrender and compliance. By the time my daughter came along, he was very use to sharing. Peace had settled in the house. It was also an excellent daily exercise to remind him mommy and daddy drove the parenting car (even in his "turf" - ie: playroom, toy spots, etc) -- and that WE set the conditions of the house --- not him! Your home can become a wise tool -- an intended training ground, if you will.

I want to encourage you that small steps done regularly equal big payoffs. His sister will thank you. His playmates will thank you. HE will thank you!

Blessings to you and yours!

Angela Baylis said...

Hey, Amanda!
This too shall pass. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I hate to say it, but he is a normal little boy. I remember it like it was yesterday. He will learn to share. He really will. I will pray for you in the meantime. You don't have to be embarrassed. All mothers will understand if not today, than in the near future when their kids go through this stage. This is like your mother puts it... when the rubber hits the road! I'll pray for patience during this time. You a GREAT mother! Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. It's hard. I understand! Much love and prayers for a better day today!
Angie xoxo

p.s. By the way, don't you just love when you see him sleeping later and he looks so sweet and innocent? Precious. I'll never forget.

Sara at Miller Moments: said...

My two oldest are just 21 months apart, so I can't really remember a time when my girl didn't share - she has grown up sharing with her younger brother. I betcha that when that baby comes, his heart will fill with love for the preciousness of her and be eager to share with her.

I always have a hard time reminding myself that what my children do is not necessarily a reflection of my parenting. But the world leads me to believe it is so, and therefore, I too battle with this daily. I think - "oh my goodness, they were just ugly to someone at church, what will people think?!?!" But those who matter know your heart and know that you are working your buns off to be the godly mommy you've been called to be.

We're all in the same trench with you. God bless you!

Mel @ Studio MCA Designs said...

My first child was, I mean IS, a very strong-willed child. I remember crying at night (many nights) because I had disciplined her so much during the day. I stayed very frustrated with her. On the other hand, she was a very sweet, loving likable child. It was sort of like Jekyll and Hyde with her. I am not sure what advice to give for this current situation. Possible reduce the amount of play dates at home til he passes this phase. Maybe meet at the park with friend or places like that. Maybe have special toys that are for play dates only, and tell him they belong to the other children. Ha!

However, I can encourage you in the correcting and directing of this strong willed sweetie. Mine is just as strong willed today but in her determination NOT to follow the world and what other teenagers are doing, and in her love for Christ. She is just as head strong but in the right direction. So, try not to grow weary in the daily dilemmas and set your mind on the Godly direction and path that you want to help Jackson stay on. It helped me to focus on the kind of adult I wanted her to turn out to be. What steps do we take along the way to get there.

Remember that this particular will pass, and another will come and take its place. Hopefully, there will be some time of rest in between.

I always say that God gave me this child first so that I would not think that I could the parenting thing on my own. I am a perfectionist so I might have thought that I had the whole parenting figured out, especially if I'd had my second child first.

He is loving and sweet too, but does not have strong-willed bone in his body. I have more concerns for him being swayed by the crowd than the older one.

Try to enjoy even the frustrating days. It sounds like you already do that. 18 years pass really fast. If I could go back and do it over, I probably would have some things differently.

I don't know if this helps at all, but I have been there, got the T-shirt, and I actually survived. The child that caused me so many days of frustration and nights of tears is now a beautiful adult woman ON FIRE for the Lord.

lavonda said...

You know, this is really a hard one. I'll have to think about it and get back with you more.
But just off the top of my head, one thing I remember doing when mine were this age and 'learning' good behaviors, was telling them they could have the toy for 5 minutes (set a timer) and then their friend can have the toy for 5 minutes (timer) and then they can have it back - and vice versa. This way, they get the premise that it's not being taken from them permanently, and can see they get it back after sharing, and see their friend's joy in getting it too. Children just don't share naturally at that age. It's definitely something they have to be taught. And they'll learn it best when it's done lovingly, instead of angrily or out of frustration from us. (been there too) :)

The older they get you can set the timer longer, but at this age, they'll usually tire of the toy quicker, so if they share it between them for shorter increments, they get the idea better over time.

Hang in there lil mama, you're doing a great job!

If I think of something else, I'll come back after church!
(My children are both being baptized today -- at their own request! They brought it up a couple months ago and asked if they could. I feel so full inside seeing them be so happy about Jesus living in their hearts.)

take care,

Anonymous said...

I go with the (painful) theory of do it until you get it right. Many times we had the same situation happen, and I would IMMERSE my 3 kids in the situation until they got it right. As older kids, my kids were awful in church week after week. We sat together but something always was not in my long arm's reach of the law. So I told them we were going to "do church" until we got it right, And that we did. We went to the next service that day, and the EARLY service the next and by the third service the next Sunday, I had some rather compliant kids. It was torture for me but they got the message. HOpe this helps. And the other thing is the best piece of advice I got years ago: I had a friend whose favorite verse(s) in the Bible were "And it came to pass..." She liked it very much that it didn't say "And it came to stay!" Love to you, sweet friend, Annette

Sarah said...

Hey Amanda,
Sorry you had a rough day. I do know the feeling. Two of my three are more strong-willed than I am...and I'm not a wimp. Before I got to your post I was going to recommend a book called The Strong Willed Child, Dobson. But I see you are on top of it. Other than that book I don't have any advice except that other mom's do struggle with the same thing AND this too shall pass. You should have seen the 30 minute melt down my 2 year old had in the mall yesterday. I'll spare you the details....but it was a doosey!

Big Mama said...

Sharing is hard. In fact, I have this whole theory about it and the short version is that what if P invited over some girl I didn't know very well and then told me I had to let her wear all the clothes in my closet? I wouldn't be happy about it.

But, yes, they have to learn to share. It has helped us in the past if I let Caroline pick one or two special toys that she doesn't want to share and we can put those in my closet while her friends are over. It helps her protect what she thinks is special, but the rule is she has to share everything else in her playroom.

And some of it is that he's two and a half. If they were totally adorable at every age then we'd just keep having babies. It's population control.

Bless your heart, it will get better.

Unknown said...

Oh Amanda - I've been there and you're right - it's no fun. When my now 16 yo was 1 and her Daddy was away, she didn't like me AT ALL and let me know it by crying. I don't mean a wee little cry either. I mean a full out, holy smokes who are you woman, where is my daddy and I don't like the color of your eyes (it was that irrational) cry. Nothing, absolutely nothing, I did would make this wee child happy. I finally called a friend, who luckily lived around the corner, and she babysat for me while I got out of the house. I guess all she needed was someone other than me for a little bit because all was well when I got back home.

Phew that makes me wanna curl up in the fetal position and stay there to even think about it... Of course that little angel is now 16, just got her license and a car, and is so precious that I don't even have words to express it.

Can you have peeps (hee hee) over for maybe an hour to help him learn how to share toys?

I'm trying to remember what I did during that time, because I do remember it happening, but I guess in retrospect, they (I've switched to having 1 child to have my 2 who are now teens) still fight over things (THAT'S MY SHIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT!!!!!!! SHE'S WEARING MY EARRINGS!!!!!!!!!!!)

I assure you, Amanda, that you are not a bad parent and you are doing a great job with Tachi (There was a teacher one time who taught about not living with the labels we give ourselves - so don't wear the BP ~ bad parent label. Great study - Believing God - maybe you've heard of it?)!

Amanda, it has taken me forever to write this in between watching my dogs chase each other, watching TV and fetching coffee that I've totally lost my train of thought and I think I'm just a rambly monster! I hope you can make some sense out of this garble.


ChaChaneen said...

Ah sweetie, I feel your frustration. Time and age will definitely resolve a lot of this because his capability to "reason" will grow. Another big plus is siblings, in their face all day long. ha ha In this case a sister! She'll have different toys and they will be cross playing with them. If you have a trusted friend(s), share your frustration and invite them over for a play date for the sole purpose of working on this behavior. Both Mommies are present and are in agreement of sharing. He'll also be learning one of the golden rules... treating others the way you want to be treated. For my family, the most effective change in their behavior came when we have taken away ALL their toys and I do mean ALL of them. Here's how it worked.... I get several huge garbage bags, the big black colored kind and all the toys go in it and into the shed. We explained while they themselves are good and super loved by their parents, their behavior is bad. Emphasize on the behavior being bad, not themselves. When they have good behavior, they earn a toy back out of the bag. Even at the tender age of your son, he will understand consequences of taking away priviledges and that good behavior gets toys back. You can bet he'll probably throw a fit when all the toys are gone but as soon as he shows good behavior get him a toy. Since both of you are home most of the day, it could be you ask him to help you do something. All the while, repeating that because of his good behavior he will earn the toy and when he does, you follow through on it. Then, when things go south and bad behavior returns, take away one toy and so on. It's a very visual learning thing. Because they aren't old enough to comprehend when you verbally say it, they seem to understand it visually. Hope this helps! Have a great day!

Kelly said...

Bless your heart. Reading this took me immediately back in time to those nights when I would tuck the girls in, and then collapse, so drained from the battles with toddlers and feeling like a mean failure of a mommy. I learned that if I was "doing parenting right" it often left me feeling depleted, but God somehow graciously re-filled my reservoirs for the next day. Praise Him for that!

One thing that I found helpful for sharing toys was prepping them as much as possible before playrgoup at our house. I would allow them to choose a "special" toy or doll that was their favorite, and put it away ahead of time, so they would be secure knowing their favorite toy would be intact at the end of the day, after their friends left.

At this age they are so desperate to control some aspect of their life, and their toys are pretty much all they have to control. If they get to decide ahead of time that something will be off limits to others, it gives them back some sense of that control, and gives them some toddler security:-). (I also made sure that if one of the girls was refusing to share a toy with others, the toy was put away. After losing a few things they quickly realized it was better to share than to lose everything!)

Hope this helps...

Ashley said...

Amanda, I've been there. And sharing is something that has to be learned. At two...the world revolves around them and they truly believe that it always should and always will. They don't know any different. I promise it will get better as he gets older and matures. He is still trying to learn a sense of self. Try taking turns instead of sharing. At this age, he can't grasp the concept of sharing. I have done the one minute turn or two minute turn. After about 2 turns, both kids are done playing with the toy.

Another thing is teach him how to ask nicely for a toy if he wants to play with one someone else has.

Kendra White said...

girl i am right there with you. my son John Hunter and Jackson are only a few months apart. I struggle often too. Is it that hard to share.... I have the power to take all the toys away!!! Dobson and I have spent some time together as well, both in the book form and literally. I called the Focus Hotline the other day because I had a time out question... how lame is that! they suggested creative correction so I brushed off my copy and am diving in. My sweet husband reminded me I wont ever be a perfect parent, so I should not be so hard on myself. But sharing toys is like mommy 101... good luck to you. We'll be praying for you if you will pray for us!

Tracy: said...

Wow, every mommy in blog land is saying....WE HEAR YOU SISTER! We are saying, "yep, hmmm, oh yeah, been there, done that" I'm sure you'll get some good, sound, wisdom from many women, but all I want to say is...this too shall pass! I know that doesn't help now, it's so true! It really is DAY BY DAY! Your precious two year-old is getting some good training, love and discipline right now....and all those times of correcting will sink it..what I'm trying to say is, he won't go to Kindergarten with two year-old behavior. I remember many events I had to skip or leave because of poor behavior from my darling "angel" IT'S SO HARD...but so short lived! Praying for you!


Amy said...

I have two little girls... and never really had this problem.

But I know people who have... and I heard this from one of them and filed it away in case I ever run into this in my home. But my friend said to "tell the child that so and so is coming over to play and that you (the child) needs to go around your room and pick out toys that all the kids can play with and then put away your personal toys that you don't want to share) It is suppose to give the kids a sense of ownership as well as help them understand what is about to happen.. someone is coming over to play with their toys and you get to pick out some stuff to play with... the child has already released those feelings of "mine" by putting away what they don't want to share and picking out things they do want to share. Hope that helps!

ChaChaneen said...

Oh yea I forgot to add... it took several months before most of the toys from the shed were retured. We didn't rush the learning and in the end there was still 1 bag left that we ended up donating to charity - nice toys too. My hubby and I also learned something from this, in that we gave them too much stuff - too many toys. Now most toys comes from happy meals, birthdays and Christmas - and it's definitely enough! :)

Lori, Landon and Logan said...

My MIL is a preschool director and says that children under age 4 are not fully able to understand sharing. I usually don't make my youngest share his toys. I ask him to share and praise him if he does but I try to understand that their little brain cannot fathom the concept. When friends come over we just put away toys that they won't share. I usually say "let's put that away for now." Around age 4 they are expected to start sharing and understand it. My five year old doesn't always want to share though, (especially with his brother.)
I've read The Strong Willed Child at least twice!
Dave is working from 7-9 each day for another month so I am feeling like a single mom and I feel ya for Curtis being out of town! The best thing for me is to count down the days until life is normal again!

The Milams said...

I remember having my friend from Houston come to stay with me at about the same age for my oldest. I cried when she left and felt like a total failure of a mother for the exact reasons you have described.

Here are two things we have discovered at our house and have worked pretty well:

First of all, a 2 year old really doesn't 'get' the whole sharing thing. It's so frustrating, but I am sure you will agree...they just don't get it and expecting them to is just unrealistic. It makes for a very grouchy mommy, too!

Secondly, as my boys got a little older, I allowed them to put away toys that they weren't willing to share. (Yes, sometimes I had a closet FULL of toys!) But once their friends or cousins arrived anything visible was fair game. We still use this with my 5 year old and it works beautifully most of the time.

Hang in there! He is only 2 and he will get much better as he gets older and more mature. The other good news... you're next will be a pro at sharing because she'll never know a day without having to do it!:)

Toknowhim said...

Sweet Amanda, (I am leaving some resource information for you..if you feel it is too long you don't have to post comment)

I have been in your shoes 3 times actually. I have 3 boys. My first son has Autism, and my other two are super emotional and very strong willed, all to say that I have experienced probably about every emotion you are having plus others.

The sharing issue is so common, and sadly it continues (or at least with my kids) even when they get older. I know that doesn't make you probably feel better, but know that it is not just something with your Jackson...It is human sin nature I believe.

Recently, I have come across some resources by Ginger Plowman that have been a gift from God to me. Ginger's resources are based around the whole idea of "reaching the heart of your child" when discipling. It is scripture based, and is just what I have been looking for.

I don't know if this is a problem with Jackson, but she also created the "No Whining Kit" which can help your child stop whining. My five year old is a whiner :(..

Anyway, I don't know if this info will be helpful to you, but you have given suggestions from time to time about good resources out there. Ginger's book is called "Don't Make Me Count to Three". If interested just google "Ginger Plowman" and you will be directed to her site.

I can assure you one thing though... God will use all of these situations in your parenting to help you become more like Him. I think I have grown most because of being a wife and mother. God has taught me so much through these two life experiences.

On a lighter note, I just saw the movie "Fireproof" (From the makers of "Facing the Giants"), and it the best Christian movie I have ever seen. You will laugh a lot, and probably cry a lot too. It is a great movie to see with your husband, but if you need a cheer up before Curtis gets back go see it with a friend.

I will say a prayer for you...

Be encouraged in our Great God!!!

From one mom to another, Kim

~ Laurie said...

Something that worked for us was having toys that we didn't have to share ~ special things that are kept in the bedroom or wherever, when guests come over. Our daught got to pick what it was, and go place it (or them) in her room. That made sharing the other items 'easier'

Linsey said...

I know what you mean about feeling like a mean mom. We have had to get stricker with Gage lately as he has been spitting on (yes, I said spitting), sitting on, almost hitting, yelling at his sister more and more...brace yourself for your little new one. But it will get easier.

About sharing. Try letting him put one toy away, a very special toy, when other kids are around. No one can play with the "special" toy, but he has to share all of the other toys. I know that explaining that to a two year old is not easy, but soon enough our twos will be threes and they will be that much smarter.

Know you are not alone (even though Curtis isn't there) in your struggle. Jackson will be a better man because of your consistancy!

Kara Akins said...

Try taking him out to buy some sharing toys to keep at home. These are toys he picks out to share with his friends when they come over. Maybe you could store them in a large gift bag that can be brought out as a sharing "gift" for Jackson to give his friends while they are over his house. When finished they can place them back in the gift bag and stored away in the house so Jackson can have them to "give" them each time he has friends over. Eventually, you can transition to him sharing his own toys. Maybe he can place a few of his own toys in the "giving bag" before his friends arrive. He can decide what to share in advance and experience the joy of giving.

The Martins said...

Oh, I feel for you. My 6 year old son is the SAME WAY! And, he's SIX! My husband and I took "Growing Kids God's Way" this spring and I think we were the only ones who flunked - if your children's actions are any kind of grade card. I really hope you get lots of advice, so that I can benefit from it as well!

Michelle said...

i don't have ANY advice and i wish i did...or at least knew what i was doing. keegan has officially hit the terrible twos in the last two weeks and i am left at the end of the day asking God to give me strength and to forgive me for my mistakes. i think prayer is the ONLY thing that will get us through this...and being a tough mommy. :)

i am back in town, so if we can...let's try to get together this week....we can shut them in a room and let them fight over the toys. :) maybe we will not be embarrassed if both our kids are acting that way!

love you...

Anonymous said...

Hi, AJ. Not sure I've ever posted here but I can relate so much to this. My boys are 3 years apart and even at 8 and 5 we have sharing "issues."

My advice is to say.....Before you get too aggrevated at Jackson, remember that you don't share your fine china, favorite shoes, engagement ring with people just b/c they show up at your house. To him they are his possessions (and treasured ones), to us they are simply toys.

I realized this somewhere along the way and it helps me not be too hard on my guys. Now, this doesn't mean I encourage selfishness but instead before friends come over I try to have them pick things they "want" their friend to play with while visiting. This helps. You also could just put away things you know he is really attached to and take them out of the mix. Also, get new $1 store toys for everyone to have when friends arrive (this is good if you are expecting company).

Blessings, Jill

PS Regularly my two fight w/ each other over happy meal toys or bouncy balls so I get your frustration. I'm blaming this on crazy boy behavior. Gotta love little boys!

Lina said...

My first comment on your blog... but please know that the behavior exhibited by your son is so very typical given his age and also the changes to come (a new sibling). We think they don't understand but they DO sense changes. I have three grown kids--a firstborn son and two daughters. My son was (is) strong willed and active--he is now in the military. He was deployed for 15 months to Afghanistan and survived numerous roadside bombs. He also survived being stationed in upstate New York during the winter--he was born and raised in California. My point in sharing this is--strong, active boys grow to be strong capable men. My son, our precious firstborn, still manages to turn the household upside down when he visits for a long weekend. He doesn't mean to, he just DOES. He's messy (where is the Drill Sergeant when I need him?) and everything seems to naturally revolve around him.

Now, what to do about the immediate issue of sharing. Approach it the same way you do with an over-excitable puppy... keep exposing him to friends and sharing opportunities. Praise him when he does well and talk to him when he doesn't. Maybe during a quiet time with him you both can choose some of his toys to put aside just for sharing times. Or, buy some inexpensive special toys for playdates--two of the same--and give one to him and let him give one to the playmate.

God bless you Amanda!

Sitesx6 said...

Oh Sister, I feel your pain. Well, not fresh pain, but I remember feeling it. My twins are 10 years old now, but I so remember what you describe.

My kids wore me out at that age. I should have had the best legs in town, because I NEVER SAT DOWN and when I did, I was right back up again, having to discipline CONSTANTLY.

But.....I promise you, it gets so so much better (age 4) I know that is a long way away, but just know, if you focus, stay consistent now, it PAYS OFF! Now my kids are a DREAM. Rarely causing me to get off the couch at all! :)

Take deep breaths, pray through the hard times (I know you do) and vent as much as possible.

Bless you, keep up the good work. You are not alone. It is normal and you can DO IT.
Kelly S. (Michigan)

Sarah said...

I wish I had some advice for you, but unfortunately we are dealing with the same issue with my 2 year old - plus a lot of other discipline issues. I'm interested to see any advice anyone can give, as I definitely need it too.

Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

Bless your heart! Those are the days when you just want to pull the covers over your head. Discipline issues are always the hardest and that age is especially hard. It was much harder with my son than my daughter.
I don't have any great advice for you. The only thing that comes to mind quickly is maybe have him select toys he wants to share and put them out to play with. Have him select a few special toys to put away while friends are over. He then has a little more control yet you've had a chance to talk to him ahead of time about sharing with the friends that are coming.
I look forward to reading what everyone's advice is!
It's good you ended on a good note. Sometimes that's all it takes to turn the day around. There have been many times I thought to myself "Am I the ONLY mom whoes children don't mind!?" Then later all goes well, they behave and listen to me and I realize that there are just bad moments for everyone. Man, it's rough in the moment though!

Jody said...


Hang in there! I didn't read through all the comments so I apologize if someone already posted these ideas. 1)I always let my kids keep their special toys put away when people are coming. Even now my oldest is 9 and I remind her that if anything comes out while company is here, it is to be shared. 2) When my kids would say, "Mine" or "It's mine." I would come back with, "It is yours to share." 3) Try making a big deal when you share something with Jackson. For example, you have a big bowl of ice cream and he wants some. Tell him it makes you feel good to share and give him some of yours. Make sure you point out that you are "sharing." (I know I don't like to share my ice cream either, but you get the idea.)

Phil and Lori said...

Hey Amanda. My advice is just stay consistent. It does get better, I PROMISE! Don't avoid having to share toys because that does not teach him anything. I have two boys and my youngest (who is 9 now) was the more difficult one. There were days that I loved him dearly but did not like him at all! I remember having a meltdown at McDonald's after having to spank him several times because he would not tell a little boy that he was sorry for hitting him for no reason! Just stay consistent. We are finally seeing the fruits of our labor. He has turned into a very obedient boy who loves Jesus and tries to please Him. Hope you are encouraged.
Lori Todd

Patty said...

I have read the comments and I have to agree that this will pass. You are a great mom and we all go through or have gone through times like this. My oldest loved to share his toys BUT my youngest did not. Any time he thought of not sharing I would take those toys and put them away. I think it is something you have to address quite often until it passes. I think it is a great idea to continue to have children over because it gets him prepared when your sweet little princess siesta comes home. :) I loved Mel's advice, put a few toys away that he absoultley loves and when another child comes over tell him he can have them back after company leaves as long as he shares the other toys. I am praying for you and Jackson. :)

Holly said...

Not good advice necessarily, but a I've been there experience...

When Noah (our oldest) was Jackson's age, we struggled so much. Somedays, Chris came home from work and I looked beaten down. I told Chris, "I have spanked Noah in love 20 times today--restored him each time. And I'm tired honey. I'm tired of being mean. And yet, he is so strong-willed." Some days Noah cried on one side of the door in his room, while I cried outside the door for him, for me.

I didn't have a great example in a mom--so I struggled with am I doing this right, Lord?

I kept on hanging in there...asking for prayers from friends, asking my husband to keep encouraging me and beggin the Lord to show me how to deal with it rightly. Today we have a mighty, young man of God, who will give everything he has to help and share and care for others. He is a "just" child, as well.

Keep holding on, friend. I am praying for you. You ARE a great Mommy, Amanda! You love him so deeply and you see beyond the tantrums to the young man Jackson will become.


Kelley said...

I want to take the time, at some point, to read everyone's comments as I feel sure that many of us are saying the very same things. My first thought is, "what Mother has NOT experienced this?". My second thought is...I wonder how often my Father in Heaven has these same thoughts toward me (his daughter) who, even at 41 years of age, still struggles with the "mine" syndrome. Thirdly, I encourage not NOT discipline him. It is what you've been called to do and it will have a pay off...someday. Lastly, my sons are 10 and 15. I'm sorry to advise you that, though it's not exactly the same as when they were 2, this will always be a struggle in some shape, sort or fashion (again to that 41 year old me). My youngest son is worse about this than my oldest. He just didn't seem to grasp the concept of sharing (anything EVER) easily. As he got older (and Jackson is definitely not there yet but I just wanted to share - no pun intended), I began to warn him or gently remind him and actually, on more than one occasion, made him GIVE the item to the other child (when he continued not to share). His inability to share and give hurt my heart. I want him, as I'm sure you do, to be thankful for what he has been given and willingly share it with others. Keep on keeping on, girl. You are doing a mighty work in that little life. By the way, having a baby sister in the house will help with some of this also.

katiegfromtennessee said...

Oh Little Momma:)

I'm not really in your shoes yet, but I've started a book called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp I think is his name:) I started it like a yr. ago, but I'm gonna finish it, I promise:) So far, it is very good read. You are soo not an ineffective mommy!! OK, God loves you and you are Little Momma!:) And, it looks like you care a whole lot about your child and the state of his heart:) I've heard of that book too. I think I'll have to get it as well~:)

Love in CHRIST,


Carri said...

If you haven't read it...Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim's not going to change what's happening, but it will change your perception of what's happening. It will get better!

Lindsay said...

When my boys were going through that stage, before we had friends over, I would ask them if there were one or two special toys that they really didn't want the other child playing with. Most of the time they would pick something and we would put it in a special place only to be taken down when we were home alone again. That helped a lot.

Of course there were still issues with other toys and that is when I would break out the 5 minute rule. Sam gets it for 5 minutes, then it's Gabe's turn for 5 minutes. They would usually lose interest in that toy and move on to something else.

Robyn said...

Hi Amanda,
Many of us moms can totally relate, however I am able to relate on another level. My man is also in India. He is there for a month on business but has also hooked up with a missionary from the IMB and is serving with him in his spare time. My kiddos have been acting so out of sorts, behavior issues I never dreamed of! I'm hoping it is all related to their daddy being gone and not my lack of disciplinary measures stemming from my total exhaustion from being a single mom. So we headed out of town to see my best friend and her kids for a week so we can take our minds off of missing daddy!

Hang in there, subsequent pregnancies are always more difficult, especially with toddlers! However, the outcome is marvelous and this little girl will change your world for the best!
In Christ,

Heather said...

I'll just say this: When you are the "single parent" when your hubby is gone, it is HARD! I am married to a football coach and I have 3-4 days/nights of the week like that and it will wear you out! My son has gone through some of the same things...but honestly I don't remember a "fix" for it. I do think he will probably get better with "practice" so to speak. And with age. That doesn't make the meantime any easier, though.

Christie said...

Is it only certain toys that he doesn't like to share? If so, put those away while other kids are around. Sometimes a kid's most favorite toy is the hardest one to share. And every kid should have some stuff that is all his own. It allows him control over a few things, without allowing him to be a terror. Or before the kids come over, let him choose a few toys to put away while the other kids are there. That might help.
I understand where you are right now. My almost 3 year old has had a very rough couple of weeks. And we both cried this morning while getting ready for church (a common occurance lately).

PartyofFive said...

I remember those days so well.

Here is a suggestion to try. When someone is going to come over to play ask Jackson to pick a few special toys that he doesn't want to share. After he picks them out, put them away so they are unseen during the playdate. Explain to Jackson that he doesn't have to share those toys, but all other toys will have to be shared. You may have to remind him of "your deal" a few times during the playdate. This seemed to give my kids a sense of control, while still learning the important lesson of sharing.

It is a hard thing because he is still so young and is still really trying to understand what sharing is all about.

You are not alone--hang in there!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Well, I am in my mid-fifties with three grown kids and a grandchild so it "seems" that I should be able to offer you some advice. However....I remember those hectic pre-school/toddler days with my own kids....even though it was 20-something years ago!....and I don't know anything much to tell you except just HANG IN THERE!

Kids are gonna be kids! But I always wanted mine to be little adults with perfect manners and ya just never happened! Which left me an emotional wreck!

Sounds like you are doing a finer job than you think with Tachi. Some children are just more strong-willed than others. My Dad told me that he had to constantly be discipling one of my (much) older sisters but that he only had to point his finger at me and I would stop what I was doing and start crying! I'm still afraid of anything that says "Boo!" at me! ha

You try to not worry so much. You're not being a bad Mama when you have to correct your little man. I remember hating to have to correct my kids so much. It's just one of those "parenting things" that has to be done. So don't beat yourself over the head when he doesn't act just like you'd like him to. I'm sure it just seems worse to you cause you notice it more.

Not sure if I helped or hindered but I can empathize with what you're going through. I had 3 kids in 3 years and for a while there the going was really tough! But now that it's been almost 10 years since the last one moved out of the house it seems like they were little for such a short time.

God bless you Pregnant Girl.


For Over 29 Years... said...

amanda, I am desperately trying to pour out a little sister love over the internet. some of the worst discipline times happen when it's just us Mommas with the kids don't they? My kids are 10 and 6 now, but I remember those days you just described so well. I had twin girls and one was so awesome about sharing and would rather give away her toy to make someone else happy. All that did was help to fuel the other twins desire to have everything. Finally I got some advice that helped me so much. Whenever we had friends coming over, I explained how I understood that these toys were "your" toys and you were very proud of them. So proud that you get to choose one very special toy that NOONE else can play with. They we could put up that one toy in my room. During the playdate, I encouraged her to be proud of her things and happy that she didn't have to share everything. If it ever got to a breaking point, I just would remind her that I could bring out the special toy. HOpefully that will work for you!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, Amanda!

How I've walked in your shoes. My son will be 13 in about a month. I remember the first time I heard your mother either say or write that Melissa nearly killed her - I knew exactly what she meant. My son has nearly killed me as well. OH how I love him, but he has brought me to my knees too many times to count.

Here's my advice as a mother of a downright respectable man-child who nearly killed me . . . . did I mention that already? Please know that I am not accusing you of anything, but if I say that with every sentence, it'll get old :-)

1. Never, ever ignore his bad behavior. Even if you've gotten on him 34 times in one day. Even if you feel like all you do is discipline him all day long. He will eventually get it. I PROMISE.

2. Our children aren't perfect and neither are our friend's children. Oh how I wish they were. It would make life so much easier. You and Jackson are in a very big transition time. He is going from being 100% dependent on you to seeing that he has his own free will (darn that thing). He is seeing that he literally can run away from you . . . . and if he's like my son, he likes it. He's spreading his tiny wings and hobbling along on the road to manhood. Yes, even now.

3. You were right about time and age. As long as you don't ignore the bad behavior he will grow up, mature and know that life has boundaries he has to stay within.

4. He is so far ahead of the game already. He has parents who are wholly devoted to him, who take things with a dose of humor and who love him completely. Never, ever forget how important that is.

So keep on keepin' on. He is acting like the vast majority of children do before the younger ones come on the scene. I remember praying that I would be around to see the first time my daughter fought back when my son took one of her toys. I was. She slapped him right across the face with all the fury of a 14 month old. My son cried, "Did you see what she did to me?" I said, "Yes, right after I saw what you did to her." He got it :-) But don't worry, I have a feeling Jackson will "get it" long before his sister has to take such drastic measures, my kids are a bit closer together in age.

Tonight I'll pray for God to grant you the endurance to run the race set before you. I can't promise overnight change with your son, but it will come. Of this I'm sure.

Much love from Washington state.

Anonymous said...

After reading another comment I have to add something I did with my son that helped tremendously. I allowed him to have a few toys (3-ish, it changed now and again) that he didn't have to share with anyone. Hey, we as adults don't share everything we have, either. I used to show them to him before kids came over and we'd put them somewhere safe and out of sight. Or if we forgot, I was more than okay with explaining to the friend that those were special toys and Austin would be happy to share one of his other 500,006 toys. If Jackson is strong willed like my son (and I'm guessing he is) he needs to have a sense of control over something in his life.

Anonymous said...

When my kids were smaller and we had friends over, I would sometimes give them the choice of putting away one or two "special" toys that they did not want to share, and I would remind them that the remaining toys were being left out for everyone. They felt they had a little bit of say over who touched their stuff and (hopefully/usually/not always) were OK sharing the rest. Hope you get some good suggestions...

SeaShellMom said...

I forgot to add, try to monitor yourself to see if you ever tell him, "No, that is Mommy's. Do not touch that, it is Daddy's." There are a million things to touch that are dangerous or not for children and I had catch myself and remember to say that things are "not for children" instead of "no, that's mine".

Also, invite a mom you feel totally comfortable with if you want to practice the sharing thing. It is hard to be completely un-self conscious and focused on your baby as you discipline with someone who is just getting to know you. But if someone knows you and your Tachi and that he is a sweet boy that is just learning this new skill, it gives you the freedom to learn your new skill before your Father.

MamaBear said...

I know this probably won't bring you much comfort, but this kind of behavior is so typical of kids Jackson's age. The fact that you are dealing with an unwillingness to share does NOT mean that you are a bad mom or that you're doing anything wrong. It means that Jackson is a very normal two-year-old boy with a sin nature just like all the rest of us.

In my experience, time and age really do go a long way. When my children were younger (they are now almost 9, almost 7 and just turned 5) and they didn't want to share their toys, I allowed them the privilege of choosing to put away three special toys before friends came over to play. I explained to them that it was okay to have "special" things that were kept somewhere else but that anything that was kept out they had to be willing to share with friends. This approach didn't solve the problem, but it certainly went a long way toward letting my little ones feel a sense of control over their environment.

You probably hear this all the time, but I just want to encourage you that you are doing a great job and not to give into the defeat that satan wants you to feel in the area of motherhood. It will seriously only be short time before all this is a distant memory and you will wonder where in the world that little toddler went.

Praying for your peace and sanity while Curt is gone!

Elizabeth Angelo said...

My twins just turned three. I do think that sharing is especially hard at this age! Here's some things that have worked for us:

1. They each have one thing that they NEVER have to share no matter what the circumstance (special or bear)
2. Before friends come, we talk about sharing and remind them how much they hate it when kids don't share toys with them.
3. Set the timer. Kids are so into fairness. Give guests the first turn and then switch when the timer goes off. Much less arguing with this method.
4. Regularly share outgrown clothing, extra food, toys, etc with other families - make it a lifestyle.
5. Remember that 'this too shall pass'!!

valerie said...

I'm so sorry that you had a rough day. I agree with some of the time he'll learn to share and he'll get better.
My kids are 19 mo. apart so they always shared because they had to and didn't know any differently but I've seen lots of "only" children who have trouble sharing.
I bet when "Baby Girl" comes along it'll get better. I also bet she's the sweetest, gentle thing. ;)
It's hard though and I can remember having two little ones and sometimes when they were both fussy and I was tired....just feeling like I wanted to run away.
I'm keeping you in my prayers. You're a great mom! Hope James Dobson was a little more help.

Unknown said...

I sure wish someone had suggested "Strong Willed Child" by Dr. Dobson to me when mine were little! Sounds like it might have helped us both out quite a bit.

Unknown said...

Oh shucks - I wasn't quite ready to end. I meant to also say - I'm glad you got a lot of good advice from folks other than me, because I had no advice...just rambles!

I hope you're having a better day.

mariel said...

#1 cure for un-sharing children...A LITTLE SIBLING!!!

Praise Jesus you have the cure in the making!! The first year Jackson will win...but when Secondborn catches on the fear will be instilled to MR. Firstborn!! Hold on tight, mama..the 'best' is yet to be!!

Anonymous said...

Micheal Pearls "To Train Up A Child." really helped me. Although at first I thought it was REALLY harsh but when I read the WHOLE book I took some GREAT advice from it!

If you google it it has some horrible reviews by unbelievers.

I don't agree with everything but I think it's very helpful.

Maria said...

You are not alone! We all often ask ourselves "how do our sweet little babies become monsters and then return to being the sweetest ever all in a matter of minutes?" I guess it's because they are little sinners too but I can't wait to ask God that one.

One technique that works at our house is choosing a few toys that he doesn't have to share. Put those "special toys" in his room before the play date or before company comes. When he feels like he needs a break from sharing, he can go to his room and play alone with his toys for a while. He must share all the rest of the toys.

Erin said...

sister...the only thing I could think to suggest was Dobson but you're already on it! I've read my Mom's copy MANY times.

Beverly Wooley said...

Precious Amanda - as a 63 year old mother of three grown children and grandmother of eight, let me assure you there is not a mother alive who has not worn those same "shoes" at one time or another! You just keep nurturing and mothering in the sweet way you are - yielded to God - and your very normal all boy little boy will keep learning and growing. One day you'll be watching him try (probably to no avail) to get one of his little boys to share his toys and you'll get to giggle to yourself because you'll know - this too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Darling Amanda, looks like you've got a lot of advise here and a lot of the risk of just being a number here (not really) how encouraging it is to not be alone! When I was a new mother to a beautiful perfect son we had the BEST time together. I loved him as much as a human heart could. I looked at mothers who were overwhelmed with their little ones as though they must have something wrong with them,...then he turned one and I became pregnant, the strong sin nature that reared it's ugly head sent me into a tail spin. I was very consistant and taught him for the next few years as he and my new little one just took me for a ride of craziness. I worried that I was going to damage my children or that I was simply not cut out to truly be a mother...Here we are and my kids are 10,8,7 and my oldest who was defiant oohhh he was defiant, gets the biggest kick out of studying scripture with me and his little heart desires the deepest things in scripture! Yes we aren't at the parenting finish line yet, but I see that the seasons are just that, seasons. they pass and they serve great purposes in my kids, and my own heart. At the risk of sounding together, because I'm not, I'm thankful the Lord is bigger than me and He has patience to guide me through my seasons with discipline and overwhelming love. Your a beautiful and loving mother even on your worst day! I love you Amanda

Kelly said...

I think every mom can relate!
We have all had those days where we feel defeated. Luckily, His mercies are new every morning!
We have small group in our home each weeks, so we faced this battle quite a bit with my 3 kids (6,5,2), so we talked through with them sharing their toys ahead of time. We also let them put a few toys up that they did not have to share. We also emphasize that toys are just stuff and it all belongs to God, anyway. We have had to part with a few toys when they have given them to their friends! They remind us that it is just stuff!
Hang in there! I have found the age of 2 with our son much more difficult than it was with our girls! I feel your pain!

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

I wanted to offer some encouragement. Not really because I have brilliant advice, but more because I have walked in your frustrated, tired, discouraged shoes. Let me give you some hope. I spent the entire second year of Park's existence disciplining and wondering what on earth I was doing wrong. Many a play group I left embarassed and defeated as to how I would ever mold him into a functioning member of society (Just ask Sunni if you need to verify:)

But, lo and behold age three has come in all its glory. I suddenly started to see some fruit from all my labors the previous years. Self control, kindness, and an ability to take turns is slowly emerging. Now, don't get me wrong. Park is still strong willed, impulsive, and a work in progress, but then again so am I! Keep disciplining as God lays on your heart and know that it is not in vain. Celebrate the small victories and above all, know that God specifically chose this child for you because you are equipped to mold and shape him into the man of God he is intended to be (regardless of how you may feel in the moment). You are not alone, my sweet friend.

One more thing. Trading off with a timer worked somewhat and I also allow Park to put away anything he feels he can't share before a guest arrives. However, it isn't fool proof and some days are better than others. Keep your head high and know that those who judge you are just asking to give birth to their own strong willed child at some point in the near future:)

Sally said...

I've got 4 kids 6 and under so I understand what you are going through. There are a few things that may give you hope. He is only two and may not understand fully what you explain to him, but know that you are laying a foundation for him to stand on. I always try to explain to my kids that we are very blessed that we have toys and should be thankful for what we do have not what we don't. The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, including our toys. But at age two what you must do is let him know that not only are you his mommy you are his BOSS. God has given you authority over him. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the reality. You call the shots not him. The best time to train him is when it's just you and him(like at home), and especially during times of nonconflict. It will be hard to train/discipline with a new technique when there are guests or when your are out in public--church, the mall, etc. Sometimes you may have to "create" a scenerio--like Deborah wrote. Right now you are trying to focus on the behavior, but as he gets older you will also have to worry on the heart behind the behavior.

Tabaitha said...


I'm praying for you. My son is only 14 months old, but I understand where you are coming from. Mason isn't really big on sharing and we are expecting our second child in March. He is fine, as long as it's not a toy he wants to play with, but of course he watches one of his buddies grab the toy and he automatically wants to play with that toy and then throws a mini fit. It's exhausting and like you said, it can be embarassing. But I have to remind myself that I'm not a bad mom and discipline is the right thing for him and he will learn eventually. My husband was out of town for 20 days over the last month and it was so draining. Not to mention dealing with the fact that he was in Houston with the rest of our family during Ike. I think I cried a total of 6 times in one day. Hang in there and no you aren't alone.

Annika said...

Amanda, I feel the same way. I have three kids under the age of three, and my older two seem to just take turns disobeying and sometimes I feel like all I do is spank, correct, scold, etc. and it makes me cry at the end of the day. I feel like saying, "I am such a pleasant person, and have so many fun things in mind to do with you! Why must you misbehave so often and require me to discipline you over and over again? When will you learn?" It is often in this moment that I feel the Holy Spirit touch my heart and say--"I am a kind, loving, fun Person, too. Why must YOU disobey so often, that I am required to discipline YOU over and over again?" VERY humbling. Hang in there--I don't have any great advice but I will pray for you as I think of you, especially while your husband is out of town!

Jerry, Lauren, Kaylee, and Isaac! said...

I don't have any advice sweetie except lots of prayer. I am dealing with this with my 2 year old daugther. No nap today and she was drivng me up the wall. It's so hard sometimes and I feel like I am dicipling out of anger when i am mentally exhausted. I am praying for you. I know this must be really hard with curtis out of town.

KB said...

My "little one" is almost 9, but she has the will of a brick wall. When she was about 2, I clearly remember the day when I thought, "Is God punishing me with this unbreakable will?" I read all the books and tried all the tricks. In the end, a lot of face time on the floor, crying out was a necessity. Another "must" for us was a little book called, "Shepherding Your Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp. I think it's an older book, but it was powerful. I actually just pulled it out again the other day. The premise is--the heart of the child must be "Godward" even from the very beginning. Understanding and laying the groundwork of understanding that we (as parents) are working for God...and that our little ones are directly disobeying Him. HEavy for a 2 year old, but they break it down by age in ways little ones can understand. Anyhow...the strong willied gig is tough, but God has a plan for that strong will. It's just somethin' else to parent it!

Anonymous said...

Since I added that bit of controversial information above I would like to add that I OBVIOUSLY do not condone abusing children. I liked reading the Pearls Christian aspect of child rearing.

Some other books I like are ”Bringing up boys” and “Nanny 911”.

I don’t have it all figured out!!

I know by experience that on the day’s I am 100% consistent life is GOOD!

Consistency is KEY!

Too bad Nanny 911 can’t come live with us:)

P.S- I don't think that they magically get easier when they get older. It takes lot's of training on our end! A whiny 2 year old will only turn into a whiny 4 year old. It's harder to train a 4 year old then a 2 year old since all of their bad habbits are formed.

connorcolesmom said...

We have been sick over here so I am a bit late on the comments
It looks like you have a ton of advice :)
I am not sure if you have gotten this advice yet or not but here goes:

My oldest was a lot like Jacks and I use to prepare Connor for a playdate by having him pick out a few "special" toys that he did not want to share and then I had him put them away/up.

That gave Connor the "power" over which toys he was choosing to share

Then I would remind him that all the other toys are to be shared with his friends

Also I would remind Connor how nice it is when he got to a friend's house and he played with the other child's toys

It worked really well for us...

Good luck :)
Praying for you while Curtis is away

Stephanie Kay said...

My guys are 5, 3.5 and a girl who's 2. We still have issues about sharing. My suggestion would be to select the toys ahead of time for playdates. Have him help you pick out "special" toys to share with his friends. Also, keep the toys you know are dear to him put away. It's harder to share the things you care most about than to share stuff you don't usually play with. If you often have people over, you might have a tub with toys just for play dates.

pinkvictorian said...

Amanda, This is not a short term fix, but take comfort in knowing that the perfect remedy is on the way: his baby sister!! I am a firm believer that the best gift that parents can give to a "strong-willed" child is a sibling! In short time he will have abuilt-in playmate to practice sharing with, and I predict that his big-brotherly protective nature will kick in right away. There's just something about bringing the baby her toys and helping Mommy that helps a little one step outside of himself and become a giver.
In the meantime, you might consider challenging Jackson by suggesting that he give some of his toys to a friend. You can make an occasion of it by wrapping them up and making a card, shipping it, etc. I DON"T recommend having him deliver the gift personally, as toddlers don't usually get the "No backsies" idea.
Anyway, those are some thoughts gleaned from my time raising our 5 urchins thus far.
Do remember that you were divinely appointed to be that Little Man's mama and you can be thoroughly equipped for the task by God's Word alone. View any parenting books through that lens, and spend more time tying heartstrings than moving bookmarks!
I am tempted to say, " Just hang in there," but rather, "Mother victoriously!".
Praying from here....

Amber said...

hey friend. i have thought of you alot while curtis us gone...i TOTALLY know how it is when Daddy is out of the house...not only out but OVER SEAS!
I wish i had brain power to write all that i am thinking right now, but we just got back from the Desiring God conference in MN. and my brain is fried! hehe! We came back a day early because titus has been vomiting all day. We had planned to stay an extra day to celebrate our 5 year anny...but oh well. (you know you are nerds when for your 5 year anniversary you wait two months and go to a DG conference! hahaha! we are weird)

Sooo...i will prob call you tomorrow, not because i have anything wise to say but because i feel your are doing a great job I am SURE of it.
If you have the book "dont make me count to three" by ginger polowman she talks a lot about getting to the heart of sharing. Also its a catagroy on her chart "wise words for moms"
Love you friend.

Elizabeth said...

My son had this problem and we solved it by practice sharing. I would play with him and tell him to "share" his toy with me. He would give it to me and then we would praise him and tell him how great he just did sharing with Mommy and that this is how we would share with his friends. Also a little something was said about having a "happy heart like Jesus" and he really wanted that "happy heart" so we talked a lot about that!! Funny now b/c if he sees someone disobey he will say, "Mommy they just don't have a happy heart like Jesus!"! He is almost 6 now.
Oh and if he didn't share then we took the toy in gave it away...only took once!!

Shelley B. said...

It will get easier, I promise and I have 3 boys and 2 who do not like to share. :) We used the word switch a lot... you might already do that for some reason my boys responded better to that word than share. Then after sometime we would switch back. Baby sister will also help a lot!

PLUS... I found that while I was expecting and trying to discipline my almost 2 year old it was SO hard just cause I wasn't myself...It will get better. You are a great mommy amanda :) don't lose heart.

Shelley said...

Oh Amanda. I feel your pain. My son, my third child, just turned 2 last week. He's a challenge, as was my first born. So here's my advice...

Don't stress too much. He's acting his age. And as wonderful as many of these comments are, remember, what works for some might not work for you. Some of these comments would have sent me OVER THE EDGE with my first child. :)

But I love Big Mama's comment. And I totally agree with it. I noticed a few others said something similar. But the "population control" part made me absolutely crack up!!!

The B's said...

Girl...I'm reading all these comments too...we are both "dating" the same book. Ughh...I can't WAIT to get through this "all about me" season of her life! You are in our prayers.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I wrote a big ole comment the other day and then it disappeared. Looks like you got plenty. :) I still struggle with the embarrassment thing; remembering that my girls' behavior and choices and selfishness is not because of my parenting; it is because they are sinful little people. :) Any mom (who has been a mom long enough) understands and has been there.

I think finding a punishment that fits the crime is key. :) Taking away/giving away toys they can't share; not being able to have the blessing of their friend's company if they can't treat them well, etc.

We used a "circle of blessing" on our fridge. If the girls' magnets were out of the circle, they missed out on blessings. (I think I adapted it from Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart.) It was visual, and the girls could be reminded even hours later that their behavior earlier in the day meant they couldn't have ice cream, etc.

You're doing great. :)

AugsburgDaisy said...

Your prayers will not go wasted. You ARE a GOOD MOM! He will, with your consistant (and exhausting) discipline and prayers, grow to be a child who shares (among many other fantastic traits). My son is now 4.5 and we're *beginning* to see some fruit! He's strong willed as well. The fruit will come! Praise God!

Emily said...

Since all kids are different, you may want to try all the advice!
My 4 yr old daughter plays best with her cousins; sharing isn't an issue. When it comes to having friends over, well, that's another story! She got in trouble 4 times for not sharing, and even not playing with her friend she'd been begging to have over! I was horrified!

Britany said...

I think I had your week last week. With my husband travelling 6 out of 7 weeks (last week was his one week home), I have been at the end of my rope. I, too, was looking for the Strong-Willed Child book at the library yesterday and ended up with a different Dobson book. The Strong-Willed book was lost, probably in some poor mother's stack of papers somewhere. Meanwhile, my frustration is over all the conflicting parenting advice (esp. regarding moral/non-moral choices - just compare the Ezzo book Childwise to the book Love and Logic). But one big help for me came on Saturday as I poured my heart out to God. He led me to Proverbs where I spent a good year reading my "Proverb of the Day" a few years back, and I found verse after verse about parenting underlined. The Ezzo book talks about a child being wise in his own eyes, so I included some verses about that. Anyway, it encouraged my heart to remember how seriously God views my role as my son's disciplinarian. I hope you are having a better week this week.

Anonymous said...

You are doing such a good job! There are some great ideas here from what I have read. The only thing I could add is that we have used an egg timer to teach both my child and the friend that we can share. Setting that timer for 1-2 min with a toy and then letting it be passed over and then back again reinforces that sharing is giving and receiving for both kids!

3girlsmom said...

Girl. I am sitting in the middle of WW3 between my 3 year old and my 2 year old daughters. One second they're getting along beautifully. The next second they're screaming and crying and fighting with each other. Can't WAIT till they're teenagers! ;)

You will be shocked at how helpful this new baby will be to Jackson. Yes, he'll love her, yes, he'll be jealous of her, and yes, it will teach him a lot about sharing. He won't have a choice - sharing will become part of his life. He has been the center of attention (grandparents, too) for as long as he remembers. 2 year olds live in a "mine" world and have to be taught constantly how to act. Not just your 2 year old. It's going on with all of us and we have cried many many times. The trick is to stay consistent, not over punish bad behavior, but not overreward good behavior. Once he knows exactly what will happen with every behavior, it will level out. Plus, as he gets a little older (even months older) his brain will develop more and he'll begin to lose the "mine" mentality. When baby sister comes, consistency will be essential because he'll try to get away with more. This is definitely when the "don't overreward good behavior" part comes in. He will begin to understand that his normal good behavior reaps great rewards and his bad behavior will be accentuated.

Stay consistent, let him know that you love him (which I know you do), and exactly what you expect out of him. He'll get it. And you'll be thankful when he's older.

Love ya - praying for you while Curtis is away. It's SO hard, I know.


Ben and Kristen said...

How I understand this! I am trying the approach of making sure he knows before friends come over that he will need to share, and when we go to someone else's house he has to choose one of his toys to take and share while we are there. Don't know if it's working yet, but I'm trying.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how helpful, or even correct this is, but as far as the sharing is concerned there are a few things I try to keep in mind.

My four year old is barely mature enough emotionally to understand these concepts. My two year old can't comprehend them at all. This is not an indictment of me as a parent or my child's intelligence or her future moral welfare. She's two and her little brain is not developed enough to understand why she has to share. She does not intellectually fully understand what's nice and what's mean. We're teaching that.

My 4 year old is just now coming to understand how and why sharing with her sister and not screaming at her is a better way to operate. The screaming still happens far more frequently than the sharing. So from a developmental standpoint, I have to constantly remind myself that it isn't a calculated decision to be a brat. By five or six it's a different game altogether.

When my older child fights me on the food she eats or the clothes she wears it's more about having control over her environment and to see what kind of control she has over me than a particulr shirt or vegetable. So there are elements of those things I let her have control of. Rarely is that enough for her so that's when the boundaries come into play and it's made very clear what the consequences will be if she doesn't work within the parameters we set for her.

With the two year old, who doesn't care about control issues yet, it's a about permanence and what stays consistent in her little world. So we take turns with sharing so she understands that even tho' sissy gets the toy for a little while she gets it back to play with. It takes a lot of time. And I can't respond emotionally to her or it just accelerates her reactions. We're working on controlling her little red headed temper too! The impulse to haul off and deck her sister is the one we're working on now. I can see her getting frustrated so we're working on redirecting those impulses as well as teaching her sister how to not tease her and make her angry. That the 2 year old isn't that verbal yet makes it even more difficult for her b/c she has a hard time expressing herself. It's definitely a challenge, but I have to remember that at these young ages, there isn't an emotionally manipulative component involved, at least not much of one beyond testing their boundaries. It's hard to remember that though, when I'm tired and fed up with being the referee!

Before you know it you'll be beyond this hurdle and onto the next one! Which might be good news, or it might not! :)

Jill said...

Read Have a New Kid by Friday. It helped me with my strong willed Miss Priss! It has a lot of tips for older children, but gives you an end in mind. It is by Dr. Leman. Good luck! (I read your blog because of Becca Calvert!)

Elizabeth said...

Was that post about my son? I think I already told you this but I love reading your blog. It reminds me that my child is not abnormal. Carter does NOT share at our house, go somewhere else and he is good to go. Our issue now is not listening. I feel like I repeat myself 5 million times a day. He just does whatever he pleases. He has been spending lots of time in timeout and obviously is isnt helping. Any suggestions for that one?
I need that Dobson book!

judy said...

I think it helps to have a little "away time" from mother and child, too. Right now with your hubby gone, that makes it harder dealing with your little guy.

The others' suggestions of putting certain toys away when someone comes sounds helpful. Worth a try maybe to do now BEFORE someone comes. Then when someone is there and he has trouble sharing, you can tell him, 'hey, you have your special toys put away. These are all the OKAY toys for everyone to play with.'

Oh my, I'd forgotten all about "The Strong Willed Child." I thought it was only written for MY child. :)

Now where is my copy....I want to get it out for that child of mine who is pregnant with her first. Hope she doesn't need it. :)

This too shall pass.......

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Just so you know...Ava embarrassed me beyond measure a couple weekends ago because she was SO RUDE to my friend's 13 month old. Ridiculous! It's the age--so egocentric!

melanie said...

i don't know if this works all the time, but i know having a baby sister really helped avery learn to share. she really hated tatum for the first few months of her life, but once tatum was big enough to sit up and play, avery started thinking it was fun to bring her toys, and teach her how they work, etc. hopefully you can stick it out a few more months and maybe jackson's baby sister will teach him a little about sharing!? good to see you yesterday in class. we drove around your neighborhood yesterday looking at houses... don't know if we're really ready or not yet, but we love your area! see ya soon!

Mel @ Studio MCA Designs said...

Looks like you no longer need James Dobson! LOL!

Beki said...

Amanda- Thanks for sharing!!! Makes me feel like I'm not a loner-ha!! I feel your pain girl!! My little boy just turned 3 last weekend & it seems like from your description you have spend some time with him. Thanks also for reminding me that I need to read a book entitled Dare to Disciple by Dobson. And I may check out the one you are reading too. I'll be praying for ya and please do the same for me too!!

Jennifer said...

Oh, Amanda, I feel your pain! When I was 8 months pregnant with Levi, my husband had to go to Singapore for a month to work. I don't know how single moms do it!
I have a book called _Parenting with Scripture_, and in the section on sharing, the author (Kara Durbin) says to try a sharing tactic and let one child play with a toy while you set the timer for a couple of minutes, and when the timer goes off, they switch. She also says to praise them when you see them sharing!

It's hard for all kids at this age to share their own toys. I have to struggle to praise Caleb (age 3) in order to account for the constant discipline and timeouts! Whenever I apologize to people for the way Caleb acts, they always look at me funny and remind me that he's 3. That's how they are at 3. Just KEEP up the discipline and don't let him get away with it. I'm told it will eventually sink in! My MIL says they turn back into human beings at age 4. :-)

gomomyourock said...

Sharing is hard for big kids. Almost impossible for a little one like Jackson. Speaking from experience (4 kids), I have several suggestions:
1 - have him put his special toys away before a playdate so he knows he won't have to share those;
2 - have a special share box of toys that only come out to share with friends;
3 - praise him every time he shares;
4 - remind him how he liked sharing thetoys at so-and-so's house;
5 - don't be discouraged or embarrassed - this is so normal and he will come out of it.

good luck. take or leave any or all of these suggestions...

Missy said...

Honestly, the best way to teach your kid to share is to have another baby. Then he no longer has a choice.

You're on the right path, sister.

Kathleen said...


I wish I had seen this earlier, not even sure you will read this one. I am on the other side (but still dealing with) a strong willed boy. I have two, 14 and 11. My first was so difficult and and we are just now seeing the fruit of all the years of consistency and prayer. I am 44 years old and have worked in ministry since I was 18 mostly with youth and now with women. Though we have been on the public school road, our kids were always involved with us in church youth group, and Young Life. I always thought mine would follow right along in our footsteps, but the road has looked a wee bit different. Both boys are wonderful, they have made good choices over all, and mistakes along the way, but God has shown Himself so faithful. Amanda, my oldest was hard hard hard headed. In play groups I would always be the one disciplining. Funny now, but we would be in grocery store and he would look at ladies and exclaim, "you are a very bad lady." He didn't like to share. He fought us on everything, I mean everything. Now he is emerging an amazing, thoughtful, wonderful wonderful young man. God has worked through his nature in struggles and disappointments. My youngest is the opposite, everything has come easy and he is easy. So on this short is my cousel...keep consistent, immediate in discipline, always teaching, keep working at having him around others, especially those with whom you can be okay no matter what happens, give choices, like "Jackson you can share this or this..." it will start to enable him to take part in the choice. So much I would love to share. Create opportunities by which he can suceed, and then affirm him lots. We alwasy talked about the preciousness of others in every every situation. I could go on and on if you want more specifics or have questions, you can email me. I started a blog site and am trying to get back to is crazy busy. I will send thoughts as they come to mind. I will tell you this....boys are all kinds of fun, I am telling you it is the ride of a lifetime, I love it! I haven't had the privilege of girls, but I have worked with so many, that I know that will be a blessing in itself.

Blessings sister...I know you are doing a great job.


rachellechaseblog said...

i just found your blog, and was interested to read about your struggles...i have 2 boys (7 and 5) and have SOOO felt exactly how you felt! i am very passionate about child discipline because i have seen so many moms try and quit because of discouragement!! mothering is such a tiring job! i just wrote an article for the moms at my church, and would love to share it with you if you are interested!! just keep being consistent. that is the main thing. sometimes i would sort of "make up" situations at home when it was just me and my son. then i could discipline properly without feeling intimidated by others around me! highlight all the verses in proverrbs that talk about child discipline. trust me, it is so worth all your hard work a few years down the road!! :) praying for you right now!

Sarah said...

I think I could've written this post when I was pregnant with Grayson, and Caiden was 2 1/2. I cried just about every day because I was convinced he'd end up in jail. My journal is proof!

I'm very happy to say he turned a corner (gradually) around 3 and got better every month. Now I'm on child #3 in the terrible twos, and I'm determined to win! I feel your pain, sister!

So take heart, know that there's no way he'll end up in jail, and in the meantime, eat an extra cookie :)