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Home > Support > Mothering > I am having a difficult time disciplining my two year old son...
Question: I am having a difficult time disciplining my two year old son. He is very outgoing and curious, and friendly most of the time. I have recently tried taking him to our local library during the toddler reading sessions that are available, and he is not doing well with the other children. I know it is because he is an only child and he is not used to other children. My husband and I talk about having other children, but I am not a patient person, and I feel like God doesn't want to give us another child because of my temper. I try so very hard, but sometimes I feel as though I am ruining my son's life when I get upset. I want to homeschool, but my brothers and sisters have serious doubts that I will be able to successfully teach my son. I feel lost and like an awful mother. Sometimes, I can hardly believe that God has blessed me with even one child. I know that he must have a plan for us, but I am just not sure what.

Dear Mom,

I suspect that you are experiencing the crushing doubts that face all moms when they are facing challenges with regards to discipline. It is certainly normal to question one's ability to cope when the challenges seem to overwhelm our desire to believe in ourselves. Let's begin this letter with a prayer.

Jesus, in Your infinite mercy and tender goodness allow that we are able to hear Your words for us during those times of sorrow and challenge. Lord, remind us of the great love that permeates our spirits as a result of Your love for us. Lord empower us to seek Your face in times of doubt. Lord, we long to feel the embrace of your presence in our lives. Shower us with the grace sufficient to rest in Your presence and give our doubts, sorrows, and challenges over to You. Amen.

It is important to differentiate between normal frustrations with an active two year old and feelings that are a concern. Sometimes we become so overwhelmed with the parenting that we forget to look at the good we do. Do you feel that your frustrations cause you to act in ways that are dangerous or unsettling in the presence of your child? If so it is important that you seek the guidance and advice of your pediatrician or health care provider. It is not unusual for new moms to not adequately understand the discipline needs of small children. After all, you are a mom for the first time and you may not fully realize the special needs of such a young child. Speak to other moms whose parenting seems peaceful and fruitful. Watch these women and learn from their style of parenting. Read books on the subject. I would suggest any of the wonderful books written by Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. His parenting advice has been a comfort to me and his gentle and peaceful style is right in line with my feelings towards young children.

Please do not doubt the depth of your love for your child. It is in this great love that you will find the strength to do what is right for your child and for yourself. I would suggest that your feelings of inadequacy are more related to your faith walk and less related to your parenting. You see, when our relationship with Jesus suffers or is confusing then every relationship we touch will be affected. This is not to say that you are a bad person, quite the contrary. It is to say that you are a seeker and you are experiencing a season in your life when you may be feeling distant from the Lord. I would suggest that you allow yourself the great blessing of giving your spirit over to the Lord. Speak with your parish priest about your feelings, go to Eucharistic Adoration and rest in the Presence of the Lord. Give yourself over to the Lord and let Him heal that part of your spirit that is hurting.

Young children are unpredictable and therefore it is not unusual that your little boy would be so at the Library. Sometimes a two year old is just too young to take to a place as restrictive as the Library. Children as young as your son are not usually able to play well with children that are not familiar to them. They find more stimulation playing in the same room with other children but not necessarily playing with the children. It is not because your little boy is an only child but rather due to his maturity level. He is acting as normal as most two year olds and you shouldn't be concerned that he is acting out.

Take care dear mom. You are a loving and devoted parent. Let the worries of today be enough for your spirit. Take each day as it comes without thinking about challenges that have not come up. I will be keeping you in my daily prayers. Please consider praying the rosary each evening. In this beautiful devotion you will find comfort and peace.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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