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To feel I’ve failed at parenting

(47 Posts)
Chattycat78 Thu 23-Nov-17 14:25:31

Just that. Have 2 under 3 with a 16,5 month gap. Both boys.

Eldest is almost 3 - and can be a right terror. Some days I really despair and don’t know what to do with him. Today for instance- we go to a playgroup. He was pushing, snatching and generally being a menace to other kids. When I look around, no one else seemed to be doing those things and all the other kids were playing nicely . sad eventually I had to warn him that we’d be leaving if he did it again, and I couldn’t even get him to listen to me to tell him this- he was trying to get away- so I had to grab him by the shoulders a little forcefully, at which point, he bit me. sad

I won’t go on about the rest of it, but my main point is this;

- do I have the devil child and other children are good or is that just how it looks? I feel like he’s getting a reputation as “naughty” which isn’t good.
- have I failed at this already- is he like this he because of me?
- I feel like I’m being driven to do things I’m not proud of- he’s really big for his age and very physical, and sometimes the only way of controlling him or getting him to listen right now is via the physical- eg grabbing him by the shoulders. However, I’m not proud of this and Tbh a little worried about how This might be viewed by others- I could see no one else feeling the need to grab their child. sad. Am I handling things all wrong? Going even further, should I be worried that the other mums might report me or something for this? sad

We try to install discipline at home and I thought it was working...I guess notsad. I should also add that things have been tough since ds2 came along (jealousy etc)but I thought ds1 would be used to him by now.

Any insight is welcome.

DesignedForLife Thu 23-Nov-17 14:38:22

I've got a 1 year old and a just 3 year old and its jolly hard work. Some days are so so hard. It's a hard age and with small age gap you've got sibling rivalry and jealousy to deal with.

Take a deep breath, you're not a bad parent. Some kids kick off more than others, and some will be angels outside the home but jolly hard at home (like my 3 year old).

Make sure you're giving your 3 year old some good quality alone time with you, doing something they love, even if it's a bath just the two of you whilst the younger one naps.

Also keep consistent with discipline. If you say "one more x and we are leaving" you've got to follow through even if you have to pick him up and carry him out screaming. For me pushing would be instant time out at the side of the room, whilst snatching I make them give it back and say sorry.

Chattycat78 Thu 23-Nov-17 14:47:44

Thanks. Yes it’s t is. Is it really wrong that it feels easier on my days at work?shock

OhForFrigSake Thu 23-Nov-17 14:48:35

I have 2 boys 16 months apart and to be honest the first three years were just a hard blur. I don't really remember much apart from it was knackering and I never seemed to have enough time, energy or patience for them both. I felt like I was failing and that they could see this and acted up in turn.

Now with the benefit of hindsight I see that it was always going to be hard simply because it's difficult to manage two children at one with similar needs but who are at slightly different stages in development. Everyone else seemed to be finding it so easy and it seemed to be my children who were difficult (or me that couldn't cope!)

Now they're 6 and 5 and honestly an absolute pleasure who keep themselves occupied a lot of the time. They're great kids and I get lots of compliments about how nicely behaved and polite they are (they're not always like that obviously, they're just normal!) But the point is that they're not those kids any more and I'm not that mum who always looks stressed, harassed or on the verge of tears.

Hold on. It will get better. You are doing a great job.

MrsJayy Thu 23-Nov-17 14:52:00

You have 2 little children and you are probably frazzled 3 year olds are little buggers sometimes. You are not failing you are struggiling with his behaviour which is different.

MrsJayy Thu 23-Nov-17 14:56:20

Could you shadow him at playgroup pre empt when he is going to go off like a whirlwind and re direct him? Praise him when he is showing he can play nice or gentle. It is habit to say no don't stop that isn't it?

CISwomanHere Thu 23-Nov-17 14:59:34

The bit that struck me (in your detailed post) was warning him that you'd leave but then staying.

It's important to be consistent.

VladmirsPoutine Thu 23-Nov-17 15:02:02

You haven't failed at parenting. Not unless you usually let them both roam the streets with a can of Stella to hand.

At that age he is going to be a pain and at times it bears no semblance to the 'child' you are trying to raise. Some children are just what they are. The good thing is that you are proactive in setting boundaries and limits. He is testing his limits.

I was a horrendous child and my twin sister was perfect. She latched perfectly and played nicely and went to school nicely, got dressed nicely, slept from 7pm - 7am most days even if she woke earlier she wouldn't run screaming and jumping on my parents like I did. I was the opposite of her. But if I can say so myself, I've turned into a pretty decent adult.

willyougotobed Thu 23-Nov-17 15:02:19

Age three is the most difficult I found. My eldest was an absolute nightmare. Wouldn't sit still, would tear round the room at playgroup, when everyone else was sitting down singing and yes, bit me once when I asked her to stop. We left promptly after that. She wore reigns until 4 because she'd just run into the road laughing.

I just wanted to give you hope. I now have a very calm, measured 12 year old who is very compliant, does as she's told, hardly ever in trouble and a real pleasure to be with.

She just had masses and masses of energy. It did take her a long time to be able to focus at school but she got there in the end. I didn't really have to punish her for anything after about age 5 - you could just explain - don't do that because x, y then z will happen.

But at 3 I remember feeling very out of control, I couldn't get her to do anything. I would have to take her out or she'd be climbing the walls, literally. She does do a lot of sport now and I think she needs to. She has this pent up energy.

Keep going is what I would say, do the best you can. It really won't be like this forever. It helps hugely when they go to school and learn that sometimes they just have to do something because they're told to, whether they like it or not.

Rewards can work well. They get a marble put in the jar if they do this nicely. You count up the marbles at the end of the day or week and give them a reward related to how many they get.

MagicMoneyTree Thu 23-Nov-17 15:08:38

I haven’t had my 2nd yet, but just wanted to add that I would rather see you grab your child by the shoulders and address the bad behaviour than turn a blind eye and let him hurt my child.

I also agree with a pp that you should follow through with any threat to leave and maybe give playgroup a miss for a bit and see if he’s better after a break?

When I feel myself getting pissed off with DS I try to change something- either my tone of voice (from snappy to calm) or the surroundings (eg take him out/ take him home/ stick the tv on as a distraction) - often a change helps to diffuse the situation.

Also, you’re haven’t “failed at parenting” - you’ve only just started - plenty of time for losing your shit when they reach their teens 😉

Mamabear4180 Thu 23-Nov-17 15:09:51

I wish you went to my toddler groups! My 2 girls age almost 3 and 16 months are usually the worst behaved! My youngest climbs and falls everywhere and walks over toys etc and my almost 3 year old DD has ASD and although generally good, she is very different which is pretty noticeable in smaller groups. Neither of them sit down for snack or singing etc.

My advice to you from what you've said there is to drop the warnings (because they don't work) and do more positive parenting, just distract more and laugh things off. I read somewhere 'when you spit in the wind, it flies straight back into your face'. Warnings just give your toddler another chance to do the naughty thing again, not to mention it's fun watching you get stressed and they enjoy the attention! waste of time IMO and turns into a game.

Do you think your eldest DS may have any underlying SEN? I only ask because often these things aren't obvious until around age 2.5-3. It was a shock to learn about my DD, I missed all the signs tbh.

You're not failing. You're overwhelmed because having 2 under 2 then 2 under 3 etc is a HUGE responsibility and very very busy and hard!

cjt110 Thu 23-Nov-17 15:11:06

My son is very hot headed and I always think he's the one who kicks off etc. I inwardly smiled when one of his friends, who is brilliantly behaved, threw a full on stomping paddy yesterday.

I think it totally depends on the nature of the child. My boy is stubborn, head strong an arsehole, and very independant. Other people's kids seem to nod and do as they're told. My son does as he's told and isn't naughty but isn't a yes sir type of boy.

MrsJayy Thu 23-Nov-17 15:15:06

I don't think grabbing him is ideal but i am sure it wasn't as bad as you imagined . I imagine he was enjoying you running after him in a total tizz he probably thought it was a great game, you need to try and calm down calmly get him to sit down for a breather but honestly he sounds normal but challanging I would have a word with the playgroup leader see if they can offer any tips and advice.

Talith Thu 23-Nov-17 15:16:12

You haven't failed - I had a biter/hitter and it was a pain in the arse. Juggling two small ones is extremely difficult although as they get older the small age gap pays dividends. At the moment you're trying to run after one little whirlwind whilst tending to baby and that's enough to make anyone knackered and stressed out. Yes work seems like a blessed relief sometimes, totally normal.

diddl Thu 23-Nov-17 15:17:30

Does he have to do a lot of being careful because of the younger one so goes a bit OTT when the chance arises?

Also personality!

I swear if our second had been first there wouldn't have been another!

BlackeyedSusan Thu 23-Nov-17 15:27:24

he is autistic and I have the scars to prove it!.

advice: as always.

go on a parenting course. if your parenting is contributing to the problem, then it will help. if it is something else (autism, adhd etc) then you can say you have done a parenting course and are using x y z strategies and they are still not working.

google autism/adhd and anything else anyone suggests and see if you recognise anything.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 23-Nov-17 15:33:49

He’s 3. I repeat 3. You haven’t failed. My dd was never violent like that - more common with boys, I think. But she’s the feisty one, who you couldn’t take to the cinema and restaurants because she couldn’t sit still. At 9 has bags of energy and far more than her friends.

SunL0ver Thu 23-Nov-17 15:35:43

I don't believe that you've failed as a parent. Every child goes through their own stages of development. It depends on how you handle yourself. Eventually, they'll become old enough to understand your struggles as a parent.

BackBoiler Thu 23-Nov-17 15:36:13

Calm and consistent. If you get stressed so do they. Easy to say but it does work. Dont worry I always feel like the lunatic tbh but i think most people feel the same

MistressDeeCee Thu 23-Nov-17 15:39:06

Its hard work. Don't beat yourself up about it. My 2 are 14 months apart, the eldest was an absolute terror up to about 5 years of age. Im in my 50s now and think quite a bit of my parenting wasn't so good. But DDs are 23 & 22 now and they laugh if I ever mention it - they're happy and well adjusted, they say in between bouts of so called crapness I was a good mum and they wouldn't want any other. That'll do smile . From what Im reading you are doing your best, at least you try. You'll get there. Then when they're teens (& thats another story) you'll stick your rose coloured glasses on and remember this time as easier than it actually was...

TheCatIsMyEnemy Thu 23-Nov-17 15:39:38

I'm one of four and I and my brother were good as gold. My two sisters were holy terrors - biting, scratching, hitting, screaming, constant tantrums and disobedience.

We are all nice well-adjusted adults now smile Just in case you were worrying as IME this is no reflection on how things will turn out later.

Your boys are still very little and you have a very small age gap. Give yourself a break.

TheCatIsMyEnemy Thu 23-Nov-17 15:40:44

My dd was never violent like that - more common with boys, I think

I'm sorry but that's total rubbish.

I think we sex stereotype because we see what we expect to see. I see tonnes of little girls running round at playgroup being boisterous and sometimes violent. It's a normal part of development for this age group, nothing to do with sex.

mousemoose Thu 23-Nov-17 15:48:36

Honestly LOTS of people feel like this! (I nearly said EVERYONE but then lots of perfect peeps would come huffing out saying NOT ME). My sis was in your position and I don’t think she left the circuit of our small town for three years. My 3 year old bit someone at playgroup when I was pregnant and I picked him up, stuck him under my arm and waddled out with him. I was pretty straight up with consequences but who even knows whether he understood consequences, it was just a message to the mum of the kid he bit that I really didn’t think it was okay. (Obvs I apologised profusely etc)

You’re fine! Hang on in there!

Mallowmarshmallow Thu 23-Nov-17 15:50:25

I just wanted to respond quickly about your perception of others.

I also have a nearly two year old who behaves beautifully in public but she’s a total menace at home. At the moment, I’m just grateful for avoid the public humiliation although I’m sure it’ll come my way sooner or later!

Parenting is bloody hard work, you’re definitely not failing.

I echo a PP who mentioned trying to take some positive steps, I’m currently looking to book a night away to escape the non sleeping 20 month old, very hard work one to spend some real quality time together. It’s difficult when there’s another child in the mix but I really like the idea of a ‘yes day’ where you do exactly what the child wants, enjoying real uninterrupted quality time with them.

MrsJayy Thu 23-Nov-17 15:56:06

I have worked with under 5s on and off for years and the boys are not worse than girls this is total stereotyping ime pushing shovin is a behaviour common in under 4s

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