This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Help me be a better mum to my toddler please!(25 Posts)
Today's been a rough day.
My 21 month old now refuses the pushchair so today while at the garden centre he decided to continually pull everything off the racks, shelves etc despite me telling him not to.
I tried to put him back in his pushchair but he just screamed so I let him carry on waking.
DH says I should let him scream instead of giving in but I find it embarrassing when tea like that as nothing will calm or quiet him down.
I find myself analysing everything and timing things as best I can to make sure he won't start screaming. Sometimes I even sit for ages knowing I need to pee just to prevent a meltdown because he's unhappy I'm leaving the room etc.
Should I be letting him scream the house down or am I right to he tiptoeing ?
I have no idea anymore.
Strap him in the pushchair and leave the shop until he calms down? Is he hungry? Bored?
I think if you give in to him now you are setting yourself up forever! It's hard but I can honestly say when I hear/see a child screaming the place down when out shopping etc I can totally relate and therefore will not judge! I'm just glad it's not mine 🙈 he needs to know that what you say goes and he can't get away with it by having a tantrum. Trust me it will be harder to manage the older he gets! Just try and explain that he has to sit in his pushchair for the time being and if he is good he can get out and walk when you leave the shop or are walking to the next shop etc. Hard at that age but they do understand. A favourite toy or book could be a good distraction.
Let him walk until he misbehave then instantly into the pushchair. This may involve wrestling! He will quickly learn though. It seems horrendous at first, like everyone is looking and judging, but it really doesn't take long before they learn that "walking nice" is the way to go. You must be firm though and stick with it. You might have to leave somewhere once or twice if you really feel like you can't stand the tantrum but it won't take long, honestly.
I never realised how rubbish I am at all this until now 😰
@munchkintrouble you're not rubbish. Parenting a toddler is really really hard.
Let him scream and man handle him if you need to. Mine was 2 in September and he is strong willed and throws some epic tantrums, but if ignored, they actually don't last that long - although it feels like an eternity in public. Sometimes he's throws his strop and then quickly does what I've asked happy as Larry. Other times, when he's a tad more upset, he tantrums then when he's ready we have a huge cuddle and we move on. It's a tough phase but he's definitely learning that this is not the way to get what he wants and also that I won't give into him just because he screams.
You're not doing rubbish op. Toddlers are little tyrants. They're brilliant but unreasonable and some days parenting them is really hard. But, if you're firm now, it will pay dividends later xx
I always go by the rule of 3 for minor things:
A nice instruction, a warning of consequences, consequences. So the first time he took something off the shelf I would say something like “no touching, put that back please” then if he did it again “if you do that again, you have to go back in the pushchair and we’re going home” and then follow it through the next time.
It literally isn’t possible to raise a child to be a decent person if you give in to screaming every time - toddlers have no sense of logic or safety and get it into their heads that they want or need the daftest things sometimes. I remember my 2 year old goddaughter having the mother of all tantrums because we wouldn’t let her drive the car. My DS has one the other day because I wouldn’t let him paddle in the sea during a massive storm. It happens, the only people who are going to judge are idiots who either don’t remember or don’t know what parenting a toddler is like.
You are not rubbish, stop saying that.
I have a 20 month old and can relate to everything you have said, the mental drain of guessing every move to ensure it goes well is exhausting.
We had a phase of car seat refusal and it was so embarrassing, she screamed blue murder, it would be random so I never knew when it would happen. At first I just got upset, put her down, let her run around and tried again (usually unsuccessfully). Now I put her in and I know if she even thinks about refusing I spread my weight gently but firmly, hook her arms in and somehow just get her in. She'll scream for a minute until she realises she's fine and there is no point.
Ditto on the occasion she has screamed at bedtime (very few occasions but all recent) as soon as she is out she's fine so I have learnt to be there but stick it out, she is not getting me to do what she wants through crying (unless unwell or hurt obviously).
I think we have to realise we are in control, and that they are using tantrums and their voice to figure things out. Try to be consistent. A short sharp no and remove or distract, forget everybody else.
Maybe get a little life bag with the reigns on, my DD loves hers and she learnt controlled walking really well.
If you are going in a shop give them a treat to occupy/distract, not ideal but it might help get you over this phase.
You are doing great, 20 months old are hard work!
Also, believe in your ability to parenting and judge the situation. We've seen a real development in our DDs ability to 'play' us. She can now ,pretend to fall and will then cry whilst side eyeballing us to see if we're reacting. Toddlers are tyrants that we are emotionally invested in and love....madness really.
Let him walk until he misbehave then instantly into the pushchair
That won’t work long term though as he will learn to Associate being put in the pram with being a punishment.
I can’t give much advice really as I stopped using the pram for both my kids around that age as it became a battle. Youngest will sit it in occasionally now but only for short bursts- it’s a pain!
@munchkintrouble you aren't rubbish at all!
You're learning on the job I have five dcs and it was only by no4 that I worked the walk nice/ pushchair thing out ! With my pfb he ran rings round me! Although he was a lazybones so it was getting him out of the pushchair that was the problem
You're doing a good job, honestly.
Some kids are harder than others, it's not you. I have two pretty standard children and although they have their moments occasionally they are pretty easy to manage, but I also have one who is incredibly difficult and he's much like you describe. It's not my parenting, it's his personality really and I have to adapt to that.
Saying that, between 18 months and 2 is a really tough age. They seem to get better once they can talk properly and a lot of the 'bad behaviour' at that age is about not being able to communicate as well as they want.
So, it's not you, it's a tough child at a tough age.
My SIL (flippantly, not to cause offence) likened that age to living with an abusive partner. Walking on eggshells because you never know what's going to set them off and being terrified of getting something wrong and causing a tantrum etc. With DS I would panic if I cut his toast up the wrong way because I knew he would kick off!
I don't think it's helpful either to tiptoe around trying not to upset them, or to leave them to their upset as though it doesn't affect you at all. There is a middle way; empathetically accepting his feelings (which doesn't mean that you wouldn't try to mitigate the effect on other people). I really like Janet Lansbury on this, if you're generally quite a kind hearted person it can seem like the kind thing to do is to try and avoid them being upset, but this isn't really helpful to them in the long run. Instead she argues that it's beneficial for them to be allowed to have "difficult" feelings sometimes, so that they learn it's safe and OK to feel disappointed, sad, angry, etc and people won't stop loving them or be upset with them.
But also, it is important to prioritise your needs too - if you're holding back on things like not going for a wee, you will find that you get burnt out, and that will affect your relationship with him. It's good to show him that you have
This would be a good starting point. I like to listen to the podcasts when I'm cooking or sorting washing or something like that. You can also read it if you prefer
Only go to toddler friendly places. Yes, this is boring for you but at least it's less stressful.
I'd have never have taken a toddler to a garden centre and expected them to stay in the buggy.
Just head to the park instead and let them roam around.
*that you have needs as well. And that he doesn't always take priority over other people and that he is capable of waiting a few minutes until you've done a wee, or whatever.
Yep, walk nicely or pushchair. Stick to it. Then either carry on or go out until he calms down. It's a tough phase.
You're not rubbish, toddlers are unreasonable little bastards. This is the test run to see how much spirit you've got for the teens. Dont worry about what others think, if they have kids they are probably empathizing with you. He's just a baby still learning, let him walk around & if he starts causing havoc whip him out of the shop & take him to the park to let off steam.
In my experience (I have a 2 and a 3 year old) the vast majority of people will feel your pain when you have a screaming toddler because you won't let them do every single thing they want.
The sympathy (or mine at least) lessens significantly when I see parents letting their toddlers/children became like little sh1ts for an easy life.
You need to set boundaries for your child and that includes consequences. No reasonable person will judge you negatively for that.
Mother of a 21 month old too. I agree with what @userone says
Any mother in the vicinity will have experienced exactly what you're going through.
You’re not rubbish so don’t say that about yourself it’s a hard age. DS1 was terrible for running off when we were out. I had a rule that if he didn’t walk nicely and listen to me he’d go in the pram. I gave him a warning, if he didn’t listen he would go straight in the pram. He would scream and sometimes I’d had to physically wrestle him in. Sometimes people would stare but with a newborn to look after as well as 18 month Ds1 I didn’t have the luxury of being able to pander to him and I was terrified he’d end up running into the road as he was unpredictable. By 2.5 he was brilliant at walking and rarely needed the pram. An incredible transformation as a few months earlier I could barely walk 10 meters without him doing a runner.
Hang in there it’s a tough age. They get a bit more civilised as they get older. Mine is 3 now and he’s so much better. However ds2 is 21 months and I’m having it all again! It is easier now though as I know this stage will pass. Honestly it’s not down to you it’s just a willful age.
Would he walk better with say a little toy plastic trolley, something to keep him and his hands occupied?
I've finally managed to read through all your replies and feel so much better! I did feel like a crap mum but don't feel quite so out my depth now.
I am learning on the job and never imagined how hard it would be, I'm findin got much more challenging now he's a little older and has found his shouty voice 🙈
Really appreciate the support on here. It's been a trying few days!!
Please login first.