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Difficult, moody toddler - advice/help needed!

(13 Posts)
BoBoKnows Fri 22-Feb-13 13:41:31

I'm new to mumsnet & online 'chat' to be honest so do excuse me if I'm doing it wrong!!

I wonder if anyone can offer me advice please. I have a 16 month old daughter who I adore but I'm finding really difficult to deal with right now. She (and we!) suffered from colic very early on, night and day. Although it's moved on from there, I still find her difficult to deal with most of the time. It's hard to describe her behaviour but I'll give it a shot: she 'whines' most of the time and cries A LOT especially when I leave the room, change her nappy, get her dressed etc. She also can behave badly with other children - snatching toys away from others, grabbing other children's hands and biting them. Sometimes she'll just sit in one spot and shake with anger!

Added to this, she seems to have a very short attention span, getting frustrated and angry very quickly when she can't do something (i.e. open a box, reach something). She can't walk yet and has only just managed to pull herself up (which she now does all the time). Instead she scoots round on her bum - although seems quite happy to do this!

I'm finding myself losing patience with her and flying into rages more and more which I feel dreadfully guilty about and I know doesn't give her a good example. I worry that it's my fault she's like this - I had some pretty nasty arguments with my husband when I was pregnant and I was very hormonal. My husband can also be pretty quick to snap, although it very rarely escalates.

I'm not sure if I'm looking for answers here or whether anyone has any advice? Is my daughter's behavior with the spectrum of 'normal' or should I be getting help? Any advice would be greatly appreciated... x

SarahD72 Fri 22-Feb-13 15:00:13

Have you spoken to your health visitor? How does she sleep? How independent is she? My DS was a terrible winge at that age, still is at nearly 5 and it drives me potty most days. I think you have to discipline her according to her age, when he is nasty to other children, remove her from the situation. Its difficult as she is still very young to make her understand how her behavior effects others. Also kids are very good at picking up on the atmosphere around them and if you are stressed this will make her act up more.

Elizabeth22 Fri 22-Feb-13 15:31:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notnow2 Fri 22-Feb-13 20:23:38

Ohh my dd 16 months is exactly the same - I think it is a very frustrating age for them before they can talk.

Bluemary3000 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:26:21

Sounds like my ds. He was a very frustrated child and still is at 3yrs. He is described as a determined child at playschool! He is moody when he wakes up, if you say no he escalates out of control. If he doesn't get his own way, he will scream at the top of his lungs regardless of where we are. He shouts constantly. He is a little shit!
However at 16 months to 2 yrs he was at his worse as he couldn't talk. My friend is a speech therapists for kids and taught him basic sign language and that worked wonders.
I would also add that a bum shuffler sometimes indicates that there are hyper mobility issues. Try seeing if you can find a drop in physio at your local family centre. My dd had this and finally walked at 2 yrs after some hints and tips from the physio. Now at 5, you would never know.
If you have a good hv have a chat and ask them about what services they have that can help.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 25-Feb-13 11:11:10

My son is nearly 16 months. He is a very lovely funny affectionate boy, but very strong willed. If he wants something he wants it really fiercely. If he doesn't want something (eg nappy change) he gets really really cross and strops like a teen!

You can't reason with a child this age (indeed you probably won't be able to reason with her till she's roundabout three!). Your key tool is distraction. If she's getting cross, distract her out of it.

The period of them trying to get to grips with walking is always hard anyway. They are frustrated about it and also anxious about it. Separation anxiety is at its height. Its not much fun for anyone. I am sure once she cracks the walking she will be a bit calmer! My son certainly was.

Practise distracting - as soon as you see her getting wound up, leap in with something exciting, pick her up and waltz, or sing a silly song, or leap around like an idiot, or blow a raspberry, lift her up and run to window shouting "look look look!" or whatever comes to mind. She will be distracted out of her strop, and you will feel calmer and more in control.

Good luck! It won't be like this forever ...

Bumpsadaisie Mon 25-Feb-13 11:13:22

PS my son is going through a phase where he likes to slap people in the face. I think he thinks its an affectionate thing to do! Totally normal. Your DD will grow out of it. Meantime, say no firmly when she does it, turn away and put her down. She'll soon get the message.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 25-Feb-13 11:35:45

PPS it is definitely not your fault. This is what 16 month olds are like, in general!

Keep your chin up, I am sure once she gets walking you will then have a relatively happy period between say 18 months and 2 ish, where she is walking confidently and enjoying her new ability to explore, and learning to communicate better all the time.

Then you'll hit the two's, but let's not dwell on that for now, ha ha! smile

BoBoKnows Thu 28-Feb-13 20:22:12

Thank you so much for your replies. They are so, so helpful!! Sometimes it feels like I'm surrounded by mums with bright, angelic toddlers so its good to be reminded that that's no necessarily the case.

As it happens, my daughter went down with quite severe chickenpox at the weekend which might explain the irritability on Friday. Poor thing has really been very poorly this week so I've pretty much let her stay in my arms 24/7. Weirdly, now she's feeling a bit better she's become very determined to pull herself up on everything and use her whole body a lot more. It's like she's had time to think and is ready to get going!

However, I think I will have a word with the HV to check on progress - just to make sure things are okay.

Thanks for the tips on the moodiness guys!! I think I'm going to have to learn to let a majority of it go over my head and use the power of distraction!

Elizabeth22 Thu 28-Feb-13 21:26:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TempusFuckit Thu 28-Feb-13 22:09:22

Ah, poor poorly girl - hope she gets better quickly.

Sounds completely normal though - you'd be hard pressed to find a child that age who doesn't snatch for instance. I was reading this today, which helps put the frustration into perspective - about tantrums, but helps explain slightly younger behaviour too:

Tantrums: Why Toddlers Freak Out About Everything

"If your universe were amazing and terrifying and frustrating and unpredictable, and you didn’t have good communication skills or a whole lot of experience or much of a frontal lobe, you’d freak the f*ck out every once in a while, too."

MrsDonnieDarko Fri 01-Mar-13 13:33:38

Just to say I feel your pain! My DS2 is 14 months and sounds exactly like this. He alsoo isn't walking yet which I am sure doesn't help with frustration. He whines and does this annoying whinge most of the day, even in between bites of food hmm .

He can be smiling one minute then something will annoy him or frustrate him and he'll be crying within seconds over seemigly nothing! He isn't talking yet (just a couple of words) and I am sure this isn't helping matters. He is known as being 'miserable' and has a bit of a reputation with all my mum friends for being the one who'll kick off outside school gates waiting for DS1, always seems to be on the verge of crying even when there's nothing wrong. He acts like he's permenantly tired even though (thankfully!!!) he sleeps 12 hours at night and has an hour and half nap a day. He is just not a content baby and never has been. We've been to paediatrician who diagnosed milk intolerance but he's been dairy free since he was 3 months but still the crying continued. We tried reflux medication, cranial osteopathy, trips to GP, everything but he's just grumpy. It's very hard to live with.

If it's any consolation at all, DS1 was exactly the same (except he could walk by now) but he was terribly difficult as a baby, tantrummed and whinged endlessly at this age until he could talk properly. He did mellow eventually I promise. Just to give you a bit of hope, he's 5 now and is a really placid, easy going, happy little boy. Hasn't really been a problem since he turned 3 so I am hoping DS2 turns out similar!

rrreow Fri 01-Mar-13 13:52:25

What helps a lot for my DS is talking through everything. It might make perfect sense to us that we need to leave the room for just a minute to go to the loo, and we know we're going to be back in a minute, but your DD doesn't necessarily know this. I can see a HUGE difference between me just walking out of the room and me getting down on DS's level, explaining I'm going to the toilet (or whatever) and will be back soon. If I do the first he'll be crying and trying to follow me, when I do the second he smiles and waves at me.

What also works for my DS is acknowledging his feelings. E.g. "You're sad/angry/disappointed because of xyz". It's not something magical that stops all unwanted behaviour, but at least it makes him feel listened to.

Same with things like nappy changes. Give some notice before picking her up. Acknowledge that she doesn't like it. What really works for my DS is if I mirror his feelings but in an exaggerated way. So I will pretend cry and wail "Oh noooooo, not the nappy change! I don't want the nappy change!" He thinks it's hilarious. Or do silly stuff like pretend you don't know where the nappy goes and put it on your head.

Generally role reversal games work quite well to help them with their feelings of powerlessness. DS loves to go outside the living room and shut the door on us. Then we pretend cry because he's leaving us and beg him not to leave. Every time he comes back into the room we act super happy. It helps him feel more powerful because this time HE gets to leave US and get some control over it.

Just remember that as annoying as it is, her behaviour is all normal and part of her learning process.

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