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Who is BU re: DS's separation anxiety?

(19 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 08:11:19

I'm hopping mad - that slightly shaky fury you get, but AIBU?

I posted this thread last night about DS1's horrible separation anxiety and mentioned that I sensed cats bum faces from my PILs about my trying to support him gently through it. Sure enough, FIL has told me this morning that I need to get cross with him and 'discipline' him because it's 'sheer wilfulness'. He's a 2.5yo who wants his mum, FFS, not a Mars Bar. See my other thread for the details of what's going on and how I'm choosing to approach it.

Too pissed off to repeat it all here. angry

PrincessTheresaofLiechtenstein Wed 03-Dec-14 08:19:07

I don't need to read the other thread to know YANBU. Trust yourself on this, you are absolutely right. The idea of wilfulness at 2.5 years old is nonsense.

nilbyname Wed 03-Dec-14 08:20:17

Your kid, your choices!

It would make more sense for your pils to be with the baby while you settle the older one?

I used to let ds watch cbeebies in my bed while I settled his newborn sister, might that work?

The situation sounds pretty horrendous!

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 08:29:47

Baby needs boob to help, unfortunately, or else I would.

I have done the DS1 in bed with me while I settle DS2 when the ILs haven't been around to help. It's a bit of a stress as DS1 bounces around like a meerkat but it's preferable to knowing that they're downstairs being shitty with him and judging me.

The thing that really upsets me is I think DH agrees with them sad

skylark2 Wed 03-Dec-14 08:42:03

"The thing that really upsets me is I think DH agrees with them"

Well, how would you feel if you were the parent that got kicked and rejected and was no longer accepted as being "allowed" to put your own child to bed, and all the other parent did was to cuddle and say "never mind, daddy's here now"?

I'm afraid I think 2.5 is plenty old enough to say no to when it comes to things like refusing to have his own dad put him to bed.

Macloveswill Wed 03-Dec-14 08:48:17

I agree, dad needs to be allowed to work on his putting to bed technique....despite painful at first, but YANBU about the inlaws....your DH needs to tell them that comments like that just aren't helpful.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 08:55:33

We are working on that skylark. DH is reading him his stories at night again, after a period of refusal because we dealt with it supportively i.e. me sitting in the room and gradually moving away. DH is also going overboard on the one-to-one and DS1 is getting happier with him again. Getting DH to go in, shout at him and leave him screaming in the middle of the night would achieve exactly nothing except no sleep for anyone.

Idontlikepeas Wed 03-Dec-14 09:01:26

Yanbu. We went through a similar thing with our toddler after the arrival of his baby brother (23 month age gap). As much as he adored his brother he just wasn't used to not being the centre of our attention all the time. I think he does need reassurance instead of discipline. He is 2.5 for ffs. He is just confused about why his world has changed and is seeking reassurance from the person he feels safe with.

Yes, you need to work out strategies for your dh to increase his involvement, maybe getting him to do more fun things one on one during weekends etc.

When I was on my own and trying to settle the newborn for naps though I had to resort to ipad and cbeenies in his cot (or with headphones on my bed) .

marnia68 Wed 03-Dec-14 09:10:52

It is not acceptable for a 2 yr old to dictate that his dad cannot put him to bed.
I think your ILs are on the outside looking in and maybe have a clearer vision than you do, because you are too close to the situation.
I can't believe the poster who said a 2 yr old can't be wilful.Toddlers are the world champions of wilfulness!! So in summary I think your PILs were right, but it was not their place to say it.

TimelyNameChangey Wed 03-Dec-14 09:12:24

Don't discuss their development with your PILS. I learned this due to to obsessive MIL.

If they bring things up just change the subject.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 09:19:52

Dad is putting him to bed marnia - we didn't let him 'dictate'. See my previous post. We got back there through support, not punishment. I don't agree he was 'dictating' - DH and I used to alternate bedtimes pre-DS2, now it's only DH. This made DS1 react in the only way he knows how which is to try and get me back any way he could. If I was letting him 'dictate' he'd have had every chocolate in his advent calendar on Monday. If I was giving into what you see as 'wilfulness' I'd have left DS2 screaming upstairs and gone down to play trains with him last night.

ToffeeCaramel Wed 03-Dec-14 09:22:38

Yanbu. I read your other thread and he's not screaming until he vomits at nursery because he's being wilful, he's doing it because he's distressed and ditto at bedtime. Disciplining him would be totally the wrong approach. I'd carry on with your approach of supporting him through it and ignore the cat bum in laws.

Damnautocorrect Wed 03-Dec-14 09:29:03

We have similar in this house oh is of the 'discipline' route and I'm of the 'cuddle he'll grow out of it' route.
Do you know what, he slowly is growing out of it now he's in year 1. school was hard but we all worked together.
He's sensitive and hates being told off, so discipline would be the worst thing for him. You can't control the feelings you feel, so why would a child be different? You can only control actions and that comes in time.

Damnautocorrect Wed 03-Dec-14 09:31:03

O/h felt discipline was the right thing purely because he just doesn't understand anxiety. Once I'd explained it he did come round to realising it was just how he is.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 09:55:11

I can vividly remember two periods of separation anxiety I had - when I was three and when I was ten. They were horrible. Mum supported me fully through them. If she'd pushed me away and told me off I'd have been distraught.

I've had a quick chat with DH on the phone this morning (he's been working away since Monday) and he didn't come down entirely on the side of his parents as I was expecting but I think he still thinks there's an element of DS1 'being a brat' (which I disagree with, otherwise he'd be screaming and vomiting every time he doesn't get his own way, which he definitely doesn't). I don't think he was totally impressed that FIL had said something to me. We'll talk more later.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 03-Dec-14 10:03:00

Stick to your guns, you are right.

Your DS1 is your eldest so you haven't had chance to experience the fact that they do just grow out of it when they are ready. They really do, and you may as well bang your head on a brick wall as try to "discipline" a child out of separation anxiety.

As your son gets towards three or three and a bit, you will see the anxiety reduces and is gradually replaced by an interest in exploring the world and making friends. Of course it ebbs and flows, especially when they are ill they can still be clingy even as older children. But the general trend after three is for them to be more confident about separating, its like a new drive to get out there into the world a bit takes precedence over the anxiety.

Your in laws are making a massive assumption about your DS's maturity, essentially they are assuming that his understanding and perception of the world is the same as theirs and they are having a major failure of mentalising abilities if they think your DS is trying to manipulate you.

In order to manipulate, you have to have got to the stage where you understand that other people have separate minds to you and that you can use that to your advantage.

See the mentalisation test on you tube or get your son to do it; it will clearly show how (age appropriately) immature your son is in terms of his sophistication of understanding.

Basically, you get a teddy and two pots and a coin. Let teddy see you hid a coin under pot A. Then take teddy out of the room, leave teddy outside, and come back in, and say to DS that you are going to move the coin to under pot B and that it is a secret. Then bring teddy back in and ask your DS where teddy will look for the coin. Your DS will say that teddy will look for the coin under the second pot, BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE HE, DS, WOULD LOOK. He is not old enough yet to realise that teddy's experience and knowledge is different to his. How on earth a child of this immaturity can be thought "manipulative", is beyond me. Your son will probably be well on the way to four years old before he can get this test "right".

At 2.5 your son is still wrestling with object permanence, i.e. whether things continue to exist even when he can't see them. He is just about clocking that they do.

The world must be a confusing place for tinies. The last thing they need is discipline around these kinds of issues. Of course they need boundaries around bad behaviour like hitting, screaming, snatching, chucking food. But not around something like separation anxiety!

Enjoy him and follow your instincts. When he is older you will be able to look back with the bigger picture of how little he still is.

19lottie82 Wed 03-Dec-14 10:16:02

I don't think either party are WRONG tbh, I think it's just finding the balance of both approaches here.

DuelingFanjo Wed 03-Dec-14 10:21:06

"I'm afraid I think 2.5 is plenty old enough to say no to when it comes to things like refusing to have his own dad put him to bed."

My DS is almost 4 and still has boob to get to bed. DH has put him to bed when I am out but that's usually when he's very very knackered and at 10pm.

Some people do different things, some people do not expect their children to self-settle, some people don't leave their kids crying.

Different strokes.

ElphabaTheGreen Wed 03-Dec-14 10:47:53

I agree Bumpsadasie. In DS's case, I don't think he'd even understand what I was asking him to do in the excellent test you've suggested.

I've said to DH when we've had disagreements about this in the past (one particular one where DH wanted me to leave DS screaming indefinitely until he said sorry - in allowing him a couple of minutes, encouraging him to say sorry, then cuddling and moving on, I was 'giving into him' apparently confused) to show a bit more empathy. On top of the general concreteness that comes with being two, DS1 has just lost his only child crown, he's got molars coming through at a painfully slow pace and he doesn't have one sixteenth of the words he needs to express how he's feeling. And I'm supposed to shout at him for this?

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