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Almost 2yrs old and I cant take much more

(59 Posts)
NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 13:45:08

my daughter is 2 next month and i dont know what to do about her behaviour. ive never met a child so demanding with such a temper. the irony is we are so close, ive done all the right things ext bf, co sleeping complete bonding from day 1. but she is sch hard work, if im not holding her she screams hysterically (no tears). her scream is something else, its ear piercingly loud and it sounds like im beating her (im not).

She still has bm only sometimes for comfort, not actualy meals. But she wont eat food, whateveri give her she refuses. she follows me constantly, shes up until midnight every night, wont sleep in her own bed. no matter how many hours i spend settling her she gets up when i move away.

its making my life hell.

any ideas?

pumperspumpkin Mon 13-Dec-10 13:50:15

I'm really sorry to hear you are having such an awful time.

I am assuming she doesn't have any SN which affect her behavious? I can't help with all of this but it occurs to me that perhaps in your efforts to do "all the right things" you've taught her that she is boss.

What is she living off if she has bm for comfort and refuses all other food? Just bm snacks? Or does she accept food from other people?

What do you do when you are trying to get her to go to bed and she gets up again? Do you spend hours settling her down again? Personally I would get tough with that which may mean a bit of screaming but she cannot always get her own way. You've put her to bed, given her a kiss etc, if she gets up you put her straight back in again and again and again, no talking etc - deprive her of the reaction she wants.

monkeyflippers Mon 13-Dec-10 13:50:42

Sound like although you have bonded lovely with her you also need to be a bit tougher.

My daughter has a strong personality as well (in different ways) and we have to be firm and consistent.

Chil1234 Mon 13-Dec-10 13:52:22

YANBU Assuming you've had her checked with the GP and she's physically/mentally sound it sounds like a plain old battle of wills. Not eating, not sleeping and screaming hysterically are deliberately choosen to make you feel bad and put her in charge.. and it's working. So you have to establish that you're in charge, exert your authority and my first suggestion would be to completely ignore her when she screams. When she's behaving normally, interact normally... when she's behaving unacceptably give her no attention whatsoever and walk away from her. Good luck

Animation Mon 13-Dec-10 13:57:36

This does sound like the 2 year old is very much in control - like one of those cases 'Super Nanny' takes on.

NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 13:59:04

she has no special needs its very obviously a battle of wills and completly temper orientated.

she will take food from others just not me, ive tried not giving her any bm and leaving her with a plate out filled with snacks so she can eat when hungry. But she dousnt eat and will happily not eat all day, screaming for my mild, clawing at my chest.

shel only go to bed if she falls asleep on me, or with me in bed. if i leave before shes asleep she follows me screaming taking off her clothes and throwing them at me.
i could spend all night and even when asleep and i move away she wakes up and screams after me.

her scream is no intense it sounds like im killing her, but the moment i pick her up she smiles and kisses me

pumperspumpkin Mon 13-Dec-10 14:19:45

That's because you've just caved and proved she's in charge.

You know yourself because you've just said so - it's a battle of wills. You're the parent, she's not two years old yet.

If you are worried about what the neighbours will say, pop round and tell them you're sorry for any screaming but you hope it will be brief. Then stop letting her get her own way - don't argue, but don't give in.

I admire you tremendously for breastfeeding until now but until you have cracked the mealtimes generally I would personally say no snacking, on food or bm. If you have fixed breastfeeding times (like first thing, or before bed, after nap or whatever) then continue those, but it's on your terms not hers - pawing at you doesn't get results because you are in charge, not her.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 13-Dec-10 14:29:39

As I constantly say to my DDs, screaming gets you nothing. Whens she screams, calmly remove her to her room or somewhere else safe, say to her that she can come out when she's done screaming, close the door and leave her there. Whatever you do, do not give her any kind of positive reward for screaming. Not attention, not food, not milk. You need to teach her that good behaviour brings rewards, not bad behaviour.

As for bedtime, I would recommend Supernanny's return to bed technique. When she gets up, put her back. Don't interact in any way, just put her back in bed. The first night you might have to do it 1000 times. But every night will get a bit better. If she takes her clothes off - fine! Leave them off until she falls asleep and then dress her again.

Food is a bit tougher. I hate to say this, but maybe it's time to stop bfing? Give her healthy food to eat at an appropriate, fixed time. If she eats it, great. If not, it goes way until the next meal time. If you space these meals out every 3-4 hours, she certainly won't starve if she misses one.

These techniques may sound harsh, but I'm afraid that if you don't get tough, things won't change. And you say yourself that you can't cope anymore. Initially, you'll be in for a bigger battle as you wrestle control back from her. But it will totally be worth it in a few weeks once the proper balance of power is restored.

Children need boundaries, they like boundaries. I've never seen a happy spoiled child.

Onetoomanycornettos Mon 13-Dec-10 14:31:49

Nm, I don't know about the rest of it, but I am sympathetic to the scream, my dd2 also developed a piercing horror movie scream that attracted attention wherever she went and it actually hurt my ears (and still does when she deploys it, which is rarely now).

As for the attachment, it sounds like it's got too much for you, so stuff what any books or approaches say, I think it's reasonable to get her to sleep on her own (over a period of time) and not to ask for milk (again, over a period of time). This can't happen overnight though. I would decide if you want to keep on breastfeeding or not, make a date to stop if you don't, and then stick to it. I suspect it's going in circles where you say 'no' to her, she screams a lot, then you give in, and BF her, she's getting confusing messages really. So, once you have stopped the breastfeeding, that means stopping, even if she screams all that night (and let's face it, she does that anyway). After a few nights, the breastfeeding will be sorted and you can start to tackle the other behaviour.

NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 14:40:51

i agree, and i would agree with any other child, but you havent seen it first hand. Its horrendous.

I have tried only giving her food at meal times with no snacks or milk, and sometimes shel eat but mostly she just throws the food on the floor and cries at me.

her bed is in with my sons and he cant sleep when im trying to train her. on the odd occassion she has slept in her own bed she always gets up in the night and comes into my bed.

I think it might be time to stop feeding as she isnt really drinking, its only for seconds or she fiddles for comfort

PrettyCandlesAndTinselToo Mon 13-Dec-10 14:51:00

My dc3 is also strong-willed, demanding, and exhausting. He drives me nuts. But because he's my third I have the perspective to see that this is the result of my giving in to him because I was struggling to cope with everything, together with his strong personality. And when I mustered the energy to set boundaries and be firm with them, he improved enormously.

Have you ever watched Supernanny? There is a lot in there that will resonate with you and that you can use.

Try addressing one issue at a time. Nights, perhaps, as getting good sleep will help. But it's not going to be an easy ride. You have to be firm and resolute. And be kind to yourself, too.

Chil1234 Mon 13-Dec-10 14:52:56

If bad behaviour (food throwing, clothes throwing, screaming, leaving her bed) gets your attention then - in her eyes - that's a 'good thing'. You really have to switch off the attention completely, remove her from the scene and negate the tantrums for however long it takes. Any hint of good behaviour... staying in bed, eating meals, playing nicely by herself... and you give fullsome praise. But it's zip for the horrendous stuff... no smiling, no talking, no kissing.

Unfortunate that she shares a room with her brother but the longer she keeps behaving the way she does, the harder it will become to change it. Definitely stop feeding. She doesn't need it any more. And could you arrange for her to go to a playgroup or a nursery, perhaps? Get her used to not having you around 24/7?

Babieseverywhere Mon 13-Dec-10 14:54:28

Your DD sounds a lot like my DD1 was a couple of years ago. She is a very high needs child, needing to reassured a lot, hence asking for more milk and wanting to sleep near me. Yet being independent and well behaved with other people.

In the long term try not to worry, my DD1 outgrew both the excessive milk demands and the nightly co-sleeping and your DD is likely to do the same even if you do nothing. Now at 4 DD1 only has milk maybe once a day in the evening and only co-sleeps once a fortnight.(if that)

My 2 year old DS has just hit this stage a few months ago too. You can either fight it and reap the resulting bad behaviour which may or may not settle or just go with the flow until this phrase finishes on it's own.

With my DS I usually give him breastmilk on request. Though I negotiate, so milk is offered after meals not before and he has to ask nicely with please and thank you and no pulling at me or shouting. You can insist on good nursing manners.

Regarding solids, it doesn't matter if she is fussy at home, if she is eating milk at home and some food for other people...that should be enough for her. I would check with a doctor whether they would recommend any vitamins etc whilst she is being fussy. My DS eats three full meals plus snacks and still takes a lot of breast milk too, even if your child was to start to eat properly, this might not reduce the need/desire for your milk too.

Re sleeping. If she doesn't want to sleep upstairs on her own, why not put her to sleep on the sofa downstairs and take her upstairs when you go to bed. We do this with DS, he is not allowed to play with toys or watch tv and the main lights are dimmed. He will often fall asleep within half an hour of loving enforced boredom.

I find if I let him co-sleep and he has reasonable access to milk, he is relatively well behaved and rarely tantrums. If I try and change these things his temper gets worse and he has more tantrums. This proves to me that he still needs to be close to me at night and needs the reassurance/comfort of nursing. Just like his older sister did at the same age.

It is a no brainer for me, he is much easier to parent when I met his needs, at 2 years old, he is still a baby in many ways.

Good luck.

Suncottage Mon 13-Dec-10 14:57:43

Pick her up when she screams put her in a her bedroom and close the door. Count up to two minutes. Open door reassure her, if she still screams, close door and count for three minutes, open door and reassure her.

Do not offer bribes, sweets, hugs etc stay quiet and use those minutes to breathe calmly and slowly.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Always remove her from the source that is causing the tantrum, your breast, yourself etc.

Stay very, very firm - she is in a place where she cannot hurt herself, she knows you are not far away and she is not getting her own way simply by screaming louder than anyone else.

JamieLeeCurtis Mon 13-Dec-10 15:01:42

I think the book Little Angels might help you.

And, I'm sorry if this sounds a bit blunt. I know you are exhausted and at the end of your tether, but she is being quite a normal 2 year old Try not to see it as her throwing back in your face all the "right" things you have done for her. I know this is easier said than done as it all feels very personal. But 2 year olds need to test your boundaries. She is just not a malleable baby any more. There are some really good ideas above.

LaWeaselMys Mon 13-Dec-10 15:02:33

DD is not as difficult as yours I don't think, but still pretty demanding and unreasonable.

If you're going to do any kind if time out/naughty step type thing I would make sure she is in a different room. I found DD calms down much quicker without an audience.

radiohelen Mon 13-Dec-10 15:06:34

I feel your pain. We've had issues with my ds who doesn't like the whole idea of sleep at all.
For us it's all been about the routine of bedtime.
Upstairs with mummy and daddy. A bit of playing or a bath upstairs. Nappy change, apply creams (he has eczema), administer medicine, milky drink on our bed, over to his bed for a story and we are now at the stage where we can lie on the bed with him listening to a story on tapes/cd until he dozes off. The plan is to move away from him slowly until we can just put the tape on and leave (after we've read to him and done cuddles of course).

Look at her eating over the course of a week - it looks a lot less scary when you do that. Routine at mealtimes works well too. Make sure you sit with her while she eats so she can see you doing the same things. It's all about the copying.

If you need a break from the screaming, make sure she's safe and then go sit in the car. You can't hear them in the car, it's great.

JamieLeeCurtis Mon 13-Dec-10 15:11:35

I think I might have sounded a bit patronising above. I just recognised that sense of anger about toddlers being an absolute pain despite the love you've given them . And that was a bit of a dangerous thing for me because it stopped me being able to deal with things on a more objective way. This may not be the case for you but I thought I'd mention it

Little Angels would still be good.

OopsDoneItAgain Mon 13-Dec-10 15:15:35

Could your DSs kip in your room somehow for a while, as you train her? A bit more out of the way for them perhaps?

mumbar Mon 13-Dec-10 15:17:50

I bet your DD is a lovely girl and sounds very intelligent and tuned in to what she can and can't control.

What babieseverywhere says makes a lot of sense. Many children do grow out of these behaviours.

However.... some do not. I know a DC who was just like your DD, the one who shouts loudest. At 5.6 she is no different, except shes louder when her mum puts her foot down. Shes a lovely child but has learnt that mum will give in eventually, so just escalates until it happens. The mum now gets upset saying everyone thinks badly of her child just because she makes the most noise. Sadly there may be some truth in this. All children push the boundaries, are nasty to others but those that do it at 300Db and relentlessly, eg everytime they're told 'no' not jut occassionly, will be the ones who get noticed.

I second all the advice above about regaining control. I also am from the 'pick your battles camp'. So which is worse? The following you around, the constant BF and no meals or the sleeping.

Your answer is your first battle.

Good luck.

MumNWLondon Mon 13-Dec-10 15:39:24

Provided she doesn't have special needs, I think you need to be much tougher/firmer with her, and show her some limits and show her that you are in control.

Try reading/watching supernanny for ideas as she has solved many similar cases with naughty chair technique and being very firm at bedtime - in some cases putting children back to bed over 100 times on first evening. (Although at not yet 2 presumably she has a cot?)

eg bedtime is 7pm, with bedtime routine starting at 5.30pm (tea/bath/story/bed)

Let your DS sleep with you / or even better at a friends while you deal with it.

No BM other than at times that you agree (or stop altogther).

If she doesn't eat, does she not eventually get hungry? Just give her food at mealtimes, and let her eat, don't make a fuss. You and your son should eat too. But don't allow anything at all between meals.

Is she having day time sleeps? If so I suggest cutting them out, or maybe just allow 30 mins per day. She should then be exhausted by 6.30pm. I didn't allow day time sleeps after around 2 years old. I always gave a snack in the car to keep them awake. Or if I thought falling asleep in buggy made them get out and walk.

This might be a bit harsh, and I can see that you need support, but she is a strong willed child and she is behaving in this way as you (the adult) have let her. My son is also very strong willed but due to strict routines / time outs / sleep training etc we managed to keep his behaviour under control. We haven't always got it right but I am a big believer that small children need routines / structure and firm limits.

NorwegianMoon Mon 13-Dec-10 15:44:42

thanks. i only mentioned all ive done for her not because i feel like she is throwing it back in my face but because ive given her the very best i could and i thought as a result shed be more settled.

we dont have a car

shes a good weight so im not worried about the eating so much. im just exhausted, and i want to escpae her any way i can.

shes always been this way since she was born, is not just started at this age, no its not a 2s thing

JamieLeeCurtis Mon 13-Dec-10 15:47:19

I think the sleep may be the first thing to start on.

And do you have any time away from her (and the other DCs)? If not arrange that, pronto. You haven't mentioned a DP/DH, but could you get some time to yourself every weekend.

jbells Mon 13-Dec-10 15:50:33

i agree u need to get tougher especially on the sleeping thing, dont spend too much time in her room afta her bedtime routine just give her a kiss say goodnite and walk away, as others have sed if she kicks off and gets out put her straight back down, it wont work straight away and the first few nites are tough but when they realise screaming wont get them anywhere they will learn tp go to sleep without all the messing, i hope things improve for u and u get some peacefull nites back

Aims80 Mon 13-Dec-10 15:50:54

Hiya, I don't have a toddler myself but some of your story reminded me of a Supernanny episode I saw with a couple of very demanding 2 year old twins. I believe it is the episode below.

I know it's not exactly the same as your situation but you might find the odd tip on there to help! Good luck.

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