2 year old won't let dad do anything!(25 Posts)
My 2 year old won't let her dad do anything for her. The main problem is bed time & 1st thing in the morning, while I'm happy to do most things for her most of the time- 2 years of doing every bedtime, every night-time waking (which is frequent even now) and every early morning is wearing thin and taking its toll on our marriage. Its a major problem if I want to go out for an evening, (I don't go out very often, we're talking once a month-ish) the past few times I've been out I've had a panicked phone call when our daughter has woken up and her dad can't calm her down. He does his best but she really is a strong willed little girl who completely throws a major tantrum (and I mean really major!) until I show up. My husband is now saying he can't cope with this any more and either I have to make another arrangement for her (eg. Getting my mum to babysit) or I can't go out. This seems totally unfair to me - but am I being unreasonable? Does anyone have any tips on how to help our little girl be more accepting of Dad or to help her Dad cope? Is it fair of my husband to say I can't go out? Am I being unreasonable that I would like the odd evening out? Thoughts??
Your daughter will get over it once she realises she doesn't rule the roost!
He needs to step up, which means you can step back.
If noting changes, are you going to do your child's bidding forever? She's 2,
you're the parents, be in charge!
She is two? Two year olds don't get to choose! He's her dad. Step back and let him do stuff with and for her everyday. That way it's normal and she won't freak if you're not there.
Why on earth is he never there in the morning or to put her to bed? Doesn't he live with you?
We have literally just got though the exact same situation. I was exhausted!! We put our foot down and showed her who's boss and it was awful! I cried so many times when I heard her screaming for me but we persevered with it and she got out of it.
Thanks all, I know you're right but doing it and sticking to it seems so hard! How long did it take you BeautyQueen88? Did you try any half way steps or just cold turkey?!
Surely the answer is for him to do more, not less, with her!
He really shouldn't be calling you back from nights out!
I'd say to him "she doesn't settle for you because neither of you are used to it - you are on bedtime duty for the next month. You both need to learn how to deal with each other".
Go out of the house at bedtime and eave them to it.
If he can't handle his own child why is it your job to find a babysitter?
He's acting pathetically, would you do the same to him?
Why does your child prefer your mother to him?
His attitude socks. It basically sounds like he views her as your responsibility that you have to deal with.
She's 2 so you need to put boundaries in place. Tell him he's doing the bedtimes for a week. If you can't stop yourself from stepping in when she gets upset go for a walk so you don't hear it.
We found having one night a week when DH does bedtime enormously helpful. If we're both in DD will still ask for me but she's now totally fine with DH too. I think familiar routine and knowing this is the deal help.
Before that we started getting DH to do the story and I began to pop out of the room and gradually stay away for longer.
Out almost 3 year old is like this, although he will settle with his dad he always asks for me to take him up. I suggest getting dad to watch what you do with the routine and then to do the same on his own at bed time for a few nights consecutively if possible. Then to keep it up 2 or 3 nights a week. One thing we don't do is give in. If my son plays up for dad I don't intervene as he needs to learn. Good luck.
My DD was like that. We took strict turns to do bedtime, one night me the following DH. She is a stubborn little thing but so am I. It was the most horrendous 4 or 5 years (sorry, OP but she didn't grow out of it until school age). We are talking screaming, tantrums, uncontrollable sobbing (even in her sleep), having to physically wrestle her off my arms when I needed to go out. Not pretty.
In hindsight it was a kind of extreme separation anxiety from me, more than her not liking her dad. She adores him now at 7 yo.
Was it worth persevering? It was for my own self esteem, although I did stop going to my evening class for years as the stress of leaving the house with all the angst was too much for me (and DH). But practically it didn't charge her behaviour. DH knew to let me have the final decision as it was unfair for one of us (me) to do everything for her.
You may have to wait it out, I'm afraid.
Thanks for all the replies, this is the 1st time I've posted and I've found it really helpful. Can I ask another question? Is there anyone who can see it from my husband's point of view? He says it's really really hard, he can't cope and I need to help him... Is there any way I can help him??
I did think for a second "how would I feel if I were him" and this is what I then thought:-
1 - shame on me for letting my child get to 2yo without knowing how to parent her
2 - embarrassed that her granny can handle her and I can't
3 - like I would if I had a new task to learn at work "I can do this, I just need to practice practice practice"
The thing is OP deep down I reckon he either can't be bothered to parent her or he sees you needing to as a way of controlling you.
I don't always jump on the man-eating that can happen on these threads, but in this instance I think he either doesn't give a shit about dealing with dd or doesn't give a shit about making your life easier.
I can see your husband's point. It IS really hard, and he can, apparently, opt out of it. So why should he have to step up and cope?
Could you both start doing bedtime together for a while? Maybe have you both get up when she wakes, but have him cuddle her instead of you for a while, or have you both cuddle her together? Try to transfer that soothing feeling she gets from you onto him by association?
I mostly agree with NapQueen. DD is both yours and your DH's responsibility.
Now, I also do know it is hard and very upsetting when your child seems to hate you. Hate is a strong word, but DD really, really, really disliked being with her Dad (at least when I wasn' there). In fact it is the emotional side of this behaviour that is extremely draining. People who've never had high needs kids or whatever you want to call them cannot possibly understand.
My DH was upset about this, but eventually learned to live with it and give her time/space when needed. He also learned (or perhaps I taught him ) that it was equally distressing for me. We are both her parents, the burden of any practical action and any emotional stress MUST be born by both partners equally.
You must be firm on this, or it will really drive a wedge between you. Don't let him get away with not pulling his weight. It's just as hard for you as it is for him.
Do reassure him that it will pass, and the more contact and patience he has with her, the sooner she'll come round to it.
To this day we have no idea what it was that made DD have such extreme reactions to being left with her dad. But he gritted his teeth, was as patient as possible with her and that loooong, horrid phase did pass. But he didn't give up on it. And I didn't let him give up.
It is hard but your husband is her parent you have to cope why did the both of you decide you would be default parent why do you both think this is ok why is it a womans job to cope and babysit and settle children because this is the pattern you both have fallen into. Imagine you fell ill tomorrow and couldnt do it all he would have to cope and calling on granny is weak and pathetic your Dh is being feeble and pathetic and you let him why I dunno but you both need to stop doing it.
Our dd was the same and is still very much a mummy's girl. I'm afraid the only answer is he needs to spend more time with her (without you there). She needs to get used to it and if you give in it will only get worse. I'm sure it feels very painful for your partner so reassure him it's not personal and actually very common
I can kind of see it from your husbands point of view. My DH does mornings with the kids (early risers!) but also sporadically works away for 2-10 days at a time. Doing mornings when he has been away has been hell (thinking specifically of 2 yr old DS throwing pillows / duvet on the floor looking for daddy at 5am, looking in the bath, cupboards, and finally sitting on the floor and screaming) but I just had to get on with it. If he had been here though and just nipped to the shops or something...no I don't think I would have called him home. I probably would have sat on the floor too and said 'daddy is away, daddy is coming back. You are upset he's not here, and that's sad. That's ok'
I am a big believer in it being a good thing for toddlers to experience 'big feelings'. I get upset when DH isn't here too. The solution is not to tell myself not to be upset, its to learn to deal with the feeling. It's a really positive thing for your DD to learn that mummy goes away sometimes and that makes her sad. Being sad isn't nice but nothing bad happens. Daddy is there for cuddles and mummy does come back.
Janet Lansbury podcasts are good, as is the book 'how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk', although the book is meant for older kids it explores the same themes of allowing children to experience and process their feelings rather than just trying to shut down negative or upsetting experiences.
Thanks all. When I'm in the middle of something I find it so hard to see what's reasonable/unreasonable and you've all confirmed my gut feeling is right. I think we'll try doing mornings & evenings together for a while and see how we get on, I'm also going to insist he has some quality alone time with her a few times a week - hopefully she'll get used to him being the main carer sometimes. Fingers crossed! I'll let you know how I get on!
I was really harsh on you but your Dd needs to have a good relationship with her dad it really is important for them both or she might grow up thinking she has to come to you for everything and your husband might end up saying ask your mum so he mills about in the background while you shoulder all the responsibility and decisions that isnt fair.
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