I'm finding it hard to like my toddler at the moment!

(14 Posts)
emzzzz Thu 08-May-14 16:22:10

Hi all. I was just after some advice. I feel we are going through a rough patch with our nearly 2.5 yr old. Just getting through basic, daily routines fill me with dread at the moment...I'm talking, getting dressed and shoes on to hopefully leave the house at some point! Everything seems to be a battle and ends up as a production to try and convince him or then ends up with me or dh getting cross so even a lovely day out ends up with us both frazzled. On Sunday we just wanted a walk in the woods, it was a glorious day (after several bigger days out ended in disaster, so we thought, low key, nowhere busy to overwhelm him) well, he wouldn't walk, he wouldn't use his trike, he didn't want a carry from daddy, just mummy (I'm 25 weeks pregnant so trying to avoid carrying the big lug)he just wanted to go back to the car! Which we did in the end as no one was enjoying a minute of it. Everywhere we go I see toddlers that are just carefree and happy in the moment. DS IS never like that, he is just so whiney and doesn't seem to enjoy anything, he has always been hard work, even as a baby we kept thinking "oh he will be a much happier baby when he can crawl/walk/talk" but all these stages have come and gone yet he is still such hard work! He is very shy in new situations and is so clingy to me, he will be a delight for grandparents all day then I will enter the room and he whines, clings and now has started hitting which is a new lovely development. I feel he is a happier little boy when I am not there.

Trying to distract and redirect doesn't seem to work when he is so intent on bad behaviour...eg yesterday I was chatting to my mum, he had lots of toys out and we were still involving him, asking him to make us cups of tea in his kitchen and what have you but he was systematically moving round the room doing naughty things. He started launching church candles from the mantlepiece, then kicking his kitchen, then climbed on the coffee. After several attempts to distract I normally attempt a "time out" which involves removing him from the situation, I stay with him but ignore him, which he hates and he will cry and want cuddles. I will say we can have cuddles when you have either picked up what you have thrown or started to play nicely or whatever the crime. Is that an appropriate way to deal with this behaviour? I feel I have no idea what I am doing and constantly making things worse. You know I thought I was good with kids, I have a class of 31 five year olds that I seem to handle better than the 1 I made myself! Do we just muddle on and hope he improves? I am getting very anxious about the new baby coming, if this is how he is behaving now I dread to think what will happen when the new baby is taking away his mummy!! (last week he had a major tantrum when my friends little boy kept trying to hold my hand!)

Sorry that was so long...first ever post...there's a lot to get out!!

emzzzz Thu 08-May-14 16:26:59

Sorry that was meant to say `climb on the coffee TABLE`

How's his sleep, inc naps? Could he be tired?

emzzzz Thu 08-May-14 16:50:29

Oh that is definitely his saving grace, he is a great sleeper. 12 hours at night and 2 hrs after lunch. I always have to wake him at naptime as I think he would happily have a 3 hour nap if I let him. He can go with much less if we are out for the day but I still tend to get him home for decent nap on my days off with him. Thanks for your reply.

NancyinCali Thu 08-May-14 16:54:21

How much does he know or understand about the baby coming? He may be reacting to that. This article talks about tantrums and a new baby on the way.
My 2 year old has been tantrumming a lot more lately and wants me to hold and carry her more and I'm 28 weeks pg so I've even wondering if is new baby related.

Georgethesecond Thu 08-May-14 17:00:25

Oh god the terrible twos. If you give him time out I would shut him in his room and give myself a break tbh. You won't traumatise him in five minutes. As long as you don't shout at him pretty much everything else goes. Have you tried bribery? Start charts, oasta jar, whatever?

emzzzz Thu 08-May-14 17:11:23

Nancy...Will have a look at the link, thanks. We have actually laid off "baby talk" as we did wonder if that was unsettling him, he does bring it up himself as far as pointing to my tummy and saying "baby" or he has actually cuddled my tummy and said "cuddle baby in mummys tummy"

Georgethesecond...bribery, yes! To avoid the inevitable tantrum about getting strapped in the car I preempt it with the possibility of a biscuit when he's all strapped in. Seems to help and distract. If not he will cause a fuss about ANYTHING and end up with a big horrid tantrum trying to get him strapped in. Transitions seem a big trigger for tantrums!

mrsmooms Thu 08-May-14 19:13:57

You mention that you're getting anxious about the new baby coming - I'm convinced toddlers pick on way more than we realise so he may be reacting to this and wanting more of your attention and reassurance. DS was 20 months when DD was born and definitely became much clingier and demanding while I was pregnant.

Instead of ignoring or distracting, personally I would do as much as possible to give him more attention now, more cuddles etc, before the baby arrives. We don't do time out but I would have thought maybe witholding cuddles until he has made amends for his behaviour might make things worse, as he's being denied being the one thing he really needs from you. Might seem to him that your cuddles are conditional on behaving a certain way iyswim?

It is really hard when you're pregnant and knackered but I think you'd be putting in some useful preparation now so that hopefully the transition to having a new baby around won't be quite so hard for him. DD is now a year old and I think DS is happy to have her around now!

AMI88 Thu 08-May-14 19:36:39

How about when a tantrum starts, try and completely disarm him by cuddling him really closely and singing very softly, or reading a book very calmly.
Toddlers don't know what to do with this and often shocks them into a state of tranquility! It's a very frustrating age- the 2.5yr olds I looked after (there was three of them!) got very emotional, they would throw themselves on the floor and cry, hysterically! One was particularly melodramatic, and when we were in tesco on afternoon, the tears started and the screamed at the top of their lungs "somebody save me, save me!"
They are now three and very happy and carefree! X

findingherfeet Thu 08-May-14 19:44:24

Could you try letting him sleep for the 3 hours in the day? My 2 1/2 year old needs her sleep without which she is a right grump, she tends to sleep 3 hrs sometimes longer after lunch and I was surprised to find she still sleeps at least 11 hrs at night. Even if it means bed time is a bit later.

The only thing thar saves me from a getting dressed meltdown is to dress her the moment she's up - still in bed and a bit sleepy reduces the battle!

thegambler Thu 08-May-14 19:46:38

Con him, for example the walk, if he walks off back towards the car, tell him the cars not that way, let him lead the way for a bit, if he doesn't come with you,leave him (get to a palce he can't see you but you can see him, bushes are great for this sort of thing).

NotaDragonsEgg Thu 08-May-14 23:58:33

Well this sounds exactly like ds and I'm not pregnant. He's just bloody hard work. I feel like I'm not handling it well.

thegambler Fri 09-May-14 11:26:12

If they hit, hit them back (proportionately obviously) and never make a threat your not prepared to carry out. If you threaten to bin a toy don't make it a favourite at first, let him see that you will carry out the threat.
When he wants a cuddle tell him "no, I still love you but you don't deserve a cuddle for being naughty before". Hopefully it works and then on the next cuddle tell him it's much better ciddling a good boy.

MiaowTheCat Fri 09-May-14 13:50:10

Think it's just two year olds (like you I could control a class of five year olds no problem... well, no real problems) in general.

Mine's currently sporting a corking bruise on her forehead where she threw herself on the floor melodramatically for a full-blown tantrum, forgot to check where she'd landed and walloped her head on the coffee table leg en-route to the floor. Then of course me checking she was OK was cause for a further tantrum... me breathing was again cause to make it even worse and I believe I dared look at her at one point which was just the absolute unspeakable wrong!

We get a LOT of the button pushing doing things for a reaction when she's tired though, or teeth are niggling (hurry the fuck up molars grrr) - her sleep needs at the moment are really really hard to anticipate and read.

If it's any consolation my younger one is just turned 1 (I've got 11 months between them) and sits there watching this with a "what the fuck do you think you're doing you daft sod" look on her face at her big sis!

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