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Help! 16 month old has melt down when I take him to meet my friends

(8 Posts)
shelm Sat 06-Aug-11 20:13:52

I am a lone parent with a normally happy and relaxed 16 month old boy. He is sociable and is not at all clingy. He has always spent time away from me with friends/babysitters and now has a lovely childminder and is very happy. But on the odd occasion in the last few months when I have taken him with me to meet a friend for coffee/lunch in a cafe he has had a complete melt down each time.

Like today - I took him to meet his godfather for lunch in a local restaurant he has been in very happily with just me. He was fine until godfather and I started chatting and attention moved from him - we didn't ignore him - I was still interacting with him but not giving him 100 percent attention. He started grizzling, playing up, trying to grab everything off the table, refused to eat, drink water or milk, wouldn't be settled by cuddles or being taken outside. He has done this 3 times when I have tried to meet different girlfriends. And he also did it when we went to a daytime bbq where there were adults and childrent. He goes from unhappy to complete melt down very quickly and the result it I have to leave. The moment I leave he calms down and then is happy again.

I feel so angry and upset as I so rarely go out and each time recently he has ruined the day. I work just 3 days a week and he has me to himself 4 days a week. I love him very much but this behaviour is driving me to despair. My friend thinks it is because he isn;t used to having to share me. Is this true do you think? If so - any ideas what I can do to get him used to sharing me? We can't go on like this - I feel like I am going to end up never seeing my friends. Or only seeing them when I don't have him with me and then they won't get to know him and he won;t ever learn to share me. Advice pulllllleeeeeeeezzzzze!!!

RitaMorgan Sat 06-Aug-11 20:17:05

Well, restaurants and cafes are pretty boring for toddlers aren't they? 16 month olds aren't known for sitting still and being quiet! Maybe you'd be better meeting friends either somewhere he will be able to play/round around, or timing it so he will be asleep in his buggy?

shelm Sat 06-Aug-11 20:22:04

Hi there. Thanks for quick reply. I get that restaurants/cafes can be dull - I only expect him to sit there long enough to eat! I see other kids his age doing that and not having a melt down. And he was also like this at the bbq where there was a big garden, lots of toys and he was getting attention from other people. But as soon as I started trying to have a conversation with someone he freaked out!

Redwood Sat 06-Aug-11 20:43:56

Please be persistent I'm sure it's hard, he has to learn to share you with other people and go to other people or it will only get worth when he starts school. My only advice really is to not give in to him even once, but keep 'exposing' him if you see what I mean bit by bit.

shelm Sat 06-Aug-11 20:54:17

Thanks for the advice and encouragement...I'll keep trying!

sherbertdipdab Sat 06-Aug-11 21:14:33

do you take any toys or things for him to do when you are out to keep him occupied?

crayons, plastic animals, book, iphone ??

might help

MrsFlittersnoop Sat 06-Aug-11 21:19:44

He will grow out of it. Awful and embarassing as it is at the time, these phases usually only last weeks or a few months at the most.

It just SEEMS like forever. Totally agree with any distraction you can provide - do you have a spare Mac Air you can take along to the caff by any chance? Or just a complete travelling circus in our pocket? grin

BertieBotts Sat 06-Aug-11 21:27:22

Definitely distraction is the only thing. I found cafes too much hard work TBH when DS was that age. It's nice weather at the moment, can you meet people in the park or something? Then you can talk and DS can run around. In my experience cafes are fine when you have a small baby, but once they turn one it's much harder to keep them occupied. You really need to meet in people's houses, or places like soft play, parks, etc. Children's centres sometimes have cafes - you can always meet people there, even if they don't have children. You can have a cup of coffee and there are usually toys for the children to play with.

It might be that he isn't used to having to share you, is he okay if you have him on your lap? Or try to include him in the conversation? Once he gets older he will start to go off and play by himself. You can also encourage this at home, but I really think you shouldn't push him past his boundaries as this will only make him more clingy. Is he okay if people come to your house? I disagree with Redwood that if you give into him even once he will be like this when he's at school. It's a phase and he will grow out of it, whatever you do. It sounds like he's okay going to the childminder which is good.

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