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How to support my friend with nightmare 2yo

(48 Posts)
hazeldog Sun 23-Sep-12 23:56:51

my next door neighbour is really going through it with her 2yo and i wonder if any MNers have words of wisdom and experience.
shes a single mum with a useless alcoholic babyfather who left her when she was pregnant. he recently started demanding contact with guilt trips and she accepted as she was desparate for some child care but was inconsistent and unreliable and completely blew it by not even a text on his sons birthday so she is on her own with DS again. she has a history of MH problems and is on the sick. she suffers a lot with stress and anxiety.
im starting to wonder if her DS has some learing difficulty or ADD perhaps. he is not making any real progress towards talking although he understands lots of words he just points at things and goes "errr..errrr" and is miles away from stringing two words together. he is very destructive around the house and rough with pets. no matter how many times he is told something he just ignores it. he gets in the chicken coop and rolls in shit. he has no concept of his own safety, throws himself off things, tries to get into campfires, he constantly goaded my partners very old grumpy dog despite the dog growling and everybody telling him "stay away from that dog he will bite you" eventually the dog got snappy and had to be put down before he really did bite him (it was on the cards anyway), he dosent seem to know or care that his nappy is full...i dont know if this is all just normal. its hard to explain.
he wanders over to ours quite often and i try to entertain him for as long as possible to give his mum a break but after a few minutes he starts trashing the place or pokes and pinches our 4mo and makes him cry and i have to send him back to his mum. you just cannot get through to him, he hears, he understands, he ignores.
i know she is getting to the end of her tether and i really feel for her. he knows how to get a reaction from her and just pushes and pushes. its bringing up loads of childhood stuff for her. her father was violent and abusive and although it sounds horrible sometimes you do just feel like giving her son a smack when he stomps on your foot for the umpteenth time and keeps making the same repetetive whiny noises. i know she feels horibly guilty for even thinking of hitting him and she is really struggling to cope. she has no family nearby and when she looked into getting a childminder one day a week it was prohibitively expensive.
what can we do to help her out? was anybody elses child like this? does it sound like ADHD or just normal terrible twos?

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 00:00:17

It's hard to say whether ADHD is likely, she does need to get some professional help though. She needs to start off contacting her health visitor or her GP, as this isn't normal behaviour for a 2 year old. It could be something medical, or could be a parenting issue but it's impossible to say. She needs to get some professional help.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:01:47

a lot of boys I know were still pointing and grunting at their 2 year check, their speach all turned out perfectly fine, it is alarming when compairing them to mostly girls who are quite verbally communicative at that age but it is not unusual at all for boys to be still pointing and grunting and not putting words together at 2

why was the dog in same room/vacinity as a 2YO that is the adults fault!

not caring about a full nappy, again normal particularly for boys, they are notoriously harder than girls to potty train even at 3 because of this!

She needs to not take his behaviour personally, his behaviour does not sound unusual or AT THIS POINT indicating any sort of problem, her reaction to his behaviour is the problem and SHE needs help, the child sounds like its doing okay for the circumstances

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:04:09

the child isn't responsible for the adults response with a desire to smack

Does anyone know if home start is still available when the child is 2? (free home help for an hour or two a week)

children's centres sometimes offer an hour or two of free creche for job hunting or just having a quite cup of tea

quoteunquote Mon 24-Sep-12 00:08:45

what a lovely friend you are,

if she seeks help, she will get it, a friend who had similar going on has a few days of respite a week where someone comes in and helps, she needs to talk to her health visitor, they will be sympathetic, maybe you could go with her for moral support, before it reaches crises point.

lisad123 Mon 24-Sep-12 00:11:30

She lets her two yet old wander over to your house?
From your post, sounds like she's struggling to parent him, does not sound like ADHD to me ad anyways they rarely dx till 7 so a pointless thing ATM.
She's best to go to local children's centre and get some support, parenting classes and possible helping hand.

AnxiousElephant Mon 24-Sep-12 00:13:13

As a professional in this field the behaviour sounds like both a medical/ parenting issue. If mum has MH problems she may not have been reciprocal in his attempts to talk, children learn through parrotting and being parrotted back at. If mum is depressed she wouldn't be communicating as well perhaps. Therefore, speech delay occurs. Again, if she is struggling emotionally she may be in her own world thinking without realising, thus not paying enough attention to setting good boundaries. I would suggest she attends the childrens centre regularly to groups if possible/ toddler groups and contacts the HV who might be able to get her a support worker to help/ access parenting course. All this will help. The HV can also refer to audiology to check hearing if she feels it could be glue ear. This is more likely when children have repeated infections of ear, nose and throat.

AnxiousElephant Mon 24-Sep-12 00:14:56

Allowing a 2 year old to wander unattended is asking for an accident. She also needs to contact her GP regarding her mental health.

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:21:59

We live on a caravan site the child is walking about five metres from her caravan to mine. Ditto dog in same room there is only one room.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:25:12

unless she's WATCHING him walk out of her caravan and into yours, it still sounds very dodgy!

I do not think this child's behaviour is the root of her problems. She already has problems, she sounds like she would no matter how he acted

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:31:50

She does talk to him and reads books its not for want of trying that he is not talking. I think sadly she is put off children's groups as other parents can behostile towards travellers. she takes him out on activities but mostly just her and him together. I will mention the children's centre. I know he is due his 2 yr check with the HV and she is dreading it as he won't have reached his milestones and she feels she will be criticised. Maybe they will offer some support.
He seems to be worse since his dad appeared then disappeared from his life but I don't know if he understands the concept of a dad.

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:35:39

I think she let's him out as she can't get anything done with him there. It feels very oppressive in a small space with a toddler acting up. I do agree that its at least partly the way she is that causes him to misbehave but god knows how you brooch that with someone.
She is doing her best but its not working.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:36:50

most boys I know hadn't reached their milestones for speach by the 2 year check its really nothing to worry about, (they really need to stop making the milestones unisex for toddlers! so many mums of normal 1YO girls paniciing about walking and mums of 2YO boys panicing about speech!!!) some were referred to Every Childs A Talker play groups (run by speach therapy I think) and others were just put on observation, which just meant that the HV would ring or visit again in a few months to see if there's been any change

children's centre groups may be less intimidating (does depend on the children's centre though)

IMO talking AT a child is not enough, they need to see others conversing in proper 2 way conversations which it doesn't sound like he's getting

might he be eligible for some preschool funding now that he's 2?

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:38:35

there are also DVDs and books that HVs or children centres can get her, ask for Every Child A Talker resources

hihohiho Mon 24-Sep-12 00:40:08

Playgroup, my 2 year old goes, £6 for 2.5 hours, its lovely.

He sounds perfectly normal to me tbh.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:41:24

also gestures precedes speech, so maybe some baby signing may help? some basic signs for juice, out, food, full-up etc may start the speech ball rolling

and a point board can help, stick photos of his cup, his fav toys/DVDs, a nappy, his cot on a board and don't anticipate his needs, make him make the efford of going to the point board

AnxiousElephant Mon 24-Sep-12 00:42:22

hazeldog I don't know where you live but I don't believe that the groups at the childrens centre will be judgey because they have all manor of people in them. The LO really should not be leaving the caravan on his own, how can she be sure he won't wander off the site? It isn't easy in one room but plenty of families have to cope living in a bedsit. The HV will not judge, they are there to support and so long as she is willing to change herself in order to change his behaviour then it will be fine. Would she consider doing a parenting course? They usually offer child care.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:43:22

but I still think it is quite normal for a 2YO to not be talking just yet
and also for it to be frustrating them and affecting their behaviour! the time running up to talking getting going is a bad behaviour phase I find, once they do "click" with the whole verbal expression thing they become delightful again. Just like before they get mobile really - it makes them really grouchy when they are at the stage where they kinda wanna do the next thing but it's not fallen into place yet

AnxiousElephant Mon 24-Sep-12 00:43:52

Depending on the area, some local authorities are offering 2 year funding for nursery so the childrens centre might be able to help. Where are you?

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:45:24

She took him to playgroup a few times and none of the other parents would talk to her. It was a village clique I think. Its reassuring to hear lots of boys don't talk yet. Our children's centre has been cut so much there's sweet f a going on. Maybe he could join an activity group a sport or something. I will let her know that she might be able to get funding or respite. She desperately wants to take on some part time work which would do her a world of good if she could get some care.

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:46:53

We are in somerset

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:48:25

thing is with play groups often people don't talk to you unless you talk to them, its not that they don't like you or don't want to, but they're often shy too and someone has to break the dead lock IYKWIM

there are some genuinely unfriendly cliquey ones but they are a minority, mostly everyone feels awkward but does appreciate if you go up and talk to them, but ya gotta put yourself out there and also be open and smile if someone looks your way

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:49:36

And I have to admit I was uncomfortable with him wandering but she is so touchy its not easy to raise it without a scene.

halloweeneyqueeney Mon 24-Sep-12 00:49:48

and pysically position yourself somewhere where it is easy for people to turn and talk to you too

hazeldog Mon 24-Sep-12 00:51:05

Halloweeny I wasn't there so I don't know the truth of it. I think she expects to be judged and excluded and its self fulfilling

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