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I want a cuddle!

(14 Posts)
Skillbo Tue 30-Apr-13 22:23:28

This is DD's favourite phrase when she is throwing a tantrum & not getting her own way and it is really wearing me down.

She is almost 4 so her behaviour is a bit challenging, coupled with the arrival of DS last year and H leaving in January - she's just trying to hold my attention i think. The problem is that I know she is doing it as attention grabbing, not because she actually needs a cuddle and if i try & ignore it, it's one of those real heart-wrenching phrases that mean i eventually give in.

I need to have a new way to.cope - when she melts down in public, everyone must think i am a completely heartless witch as i try and ignore this little girl screaming for a cuddle from her mum!

Please help - she's been using it since DS arrived (16 months ago) but has definitely ramped it up in recent months - understandably i guess sad I know there are worse things she could be doing but this happens whenever she gets asked to do something she doesn't want to do or gets told off or does something to her brother..

'I want a cuddle' - me too sad

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 30-Apr-13 22:26:21

Maybe she really does want a cuddle though? Four isn't very big...she's possibly upset and confused by her tantrums and thinks a cuddle will make it stop.

I often offer a hug in the middle of a tantrum...not MY tantrums you understand but my DDs...I've got two who have regular tantrums.

I can see you'd not want to cuddle her when she's hurt DS or something but why not cuddle her and explain at other times, why she needs to be good or what she's done wrong?

Skillbo Tue 30-Apr-13 22:35:32

I know you're right and she does often need a cuddle but it's got silly now...

i think I'm just trying too hard to get her to behave - giving in to the cuddle makes me feel like I've given in, iykwim - but that's not fair on her, is it? It feels like her way to deflect any telling off or naughty behaviour?

Perhaps i'll try a week or two.of giving the cuddle and see how her behaviour is.. I feel bad now!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 30-Apr-13 22:43:26

It's very hard when you're doing it alone with no partner to put in a second opinion...I know in a way as my DH worked abroad for ten months. not the same as being a lone parent I know but it gets bloody mind blowingly knackering at times.

I would suggest that it's not her way of deflecting your telling her off but a way for her to ascertain your love and that you're sticking around. I know that's a bit heartbreaking but bear in mind that kids with two parents who live together still get insecure about this same thing.

My DD2 is 5 and she's always terrified of me dissapearing...she's very huggy too as it happens.

I would do as you say and keep hugging, with the misbehaving, small things don't matter half as much as you think...the main things are to be kind and thoughtful towards others and keep to general house rules...when they're broken a countdown works for DD2 will take a lolly ice into the sitting room and I'll say "back into the kitchen with that!" and she'll say "In a minute...I just want to watch this bit of telly..." and I'll say "You've got till I count to 3 and if you're not back in here then I'm taking it away!"

And I will take it away...that way she knows next time either not to take it into the sitting room or to at least return when I tell her to!

BUt I would offer a hug if she got upset about that. Sorry for lengthy post...just trying to give you an example...

ChasingStaplers Tue 30-Apr-13 22:58:22

I think it's ok to cuddle her, even in the midst of a tantrum.
She's undergone a lot of upheaval/changes in the last couple of years and may need the reassurance.
I don't think you're 'giving in' by doing it either. You're making her feel secure - strong feelings are pretty scary sometimes and you can talk about the 'issue' while she feels safe and loved.

My DD is also 4 and has experienced a lot of change etc. in the last year or two and I've realised that I needed to soften up with her, rather than come down on her harder.
It was like I had to help her rebuild her emotional security again (it drove me a bit bonkers but she's a lot better now). She's a lot better at self regulating now too.
I've also talked a lot about her asking me for a hug/cuddle when she wants, not just when things reach boiling point and she's getting better at it.

I've just bought 'unconditional parenting' to read which talks about not withdrawing affection (have only just started it) and am looking forward to finding out a bit more about it.

Don't feel bad - you're doing your best and remember you've also been through a lot recently too!
Be kind to yourself.

Sleepybunny Wed 01-May-13 20:23:20

I have no experience as my DD is only 6 months, so not quite at that stage yet, but could you try cuddling her loads when she is being good, playing, doing nothing! Etc. Then see if she still wants those hugs when she's having a tantrum? Maybe she'll be all hugged out by then or associate nice calm times with hugs.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Wed 01-May-13 20:38:29

My DD, also almost 4, also with a sibling born last year, does this too.

I see it this way - I want to help end the tantrum (without, obviously, giving her whatever the tantrum was about). A cuddle helps end it (she often wails 'I can't stop crying now', mid tantrum). Tantrum over. She hasn't 'won' as the cuddle wasn't the reason for the tantrum, if that makes sense.

It helps us both calm down and reconnect too. She sees me cuddling the baby when he cries too, so maybe she needs a bit of what he's having.

Goldmandra Wed 01-May-13 21:02:42

giving in to the cuddle makes me feel like I've given in, iykwim

I think you need to think about why giving her a cuddle is giving in.

Can you explain a bit more?

Say she wants a biscuit. You say no. She tantrums and starts saying she wants a cuddle. You give her a cuddle but stick to your guns about the biscuit. That sounds perfect to me.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Wed 01-May-13 21:26:30

That's what I meant to say, Goldmandra, but you've put it much more succinctly!

Skillbo Wed 01-May-13 21:27:13

Thanks for all your replies - some great advice here.

I don't know why I think I've given in - i guess it's because i don't think she's learnt anything and will just do it again. But then she's only 3 and i wonder if I'm expecting toomuch from someone so.small!

I think sibling rivalry is also.playing a part -i would love to spend more 1:1 time with her like when DS is sleeping as she is a different child! But this is only every other weekend as i work FT.

Whoever said relax more instead if coming down.on her harder (all of you!) is definitely right. I need to train myself better as.i can't seem to help getting frustrated with her! and she's a good kid really - it's just the whining demands for cuddles!!

I think age, DS and my marriage breakdown is just so much for her to.cope with so i need to lighten up and it's not as if cuddling her is horrible - totally to the contrary! She needs that security right now and it's down to me to.give it to her!

Thanks again

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 01-May-13 21:57:45

My DH has the same problem as you Skillbo...he takes it all very seriously...too seriously at times and he struggles to let the small things go.

I agree that one to one is important but you can make much of it when it happens and let her know you're pleased too. My DDs don't get much one to reality, many DC don't...does she have a story from you at bedtime? That's often a good time to have a cuddle and spend some time with them.

Skillbo Wed 01-May-13 22:05:26

Bedtime is great actually -we choose clothes for the next day, put some stickers on her sticker chart and always have 2 stories - at least one of which is a Dr Seuss story which takes about half an hour to read smile It's a lovely time and is normally calm & snuggly!

That's a good point actually as we always end the day well - so just need to muddle through the rest of it better!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 01-May-13 22:10:04

That's nice Skillbo....that's the most important part to me. It's hard isn't it....I'm guilty of too much "free range" parenting and my DH is too strict! Hard to balance. Sometimes my DC will ask "Can we do X?" and I'll be like "Yeah no worries" and people around me will be shock

I don't let them do naughty stuff but stuff that could be dangerous or messy I'm probably too relaxed about....DH won't let them eat a biscuit without a plate!

scotlass Wed 01-May-13 22:14:39

Have a cuddle from me Skilbo.

I think your wee one is just wanting reassurance and they're funny how they show their feelings. My DD had dreadful tantrums and I can't imagine dealing with them and a toddler.

Give her a cuddle but as others have said be consistent with following through the consequences for misbehaving. Affection and withdrawing it is definitely not a consequence. You'll probably find she behaves more than misbehaves.

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