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High needs toddlers - does it get better?

(27 Posts)
Midorichan Thu 19-Feb-15 14:27:44

Anyone have a high needs toddler who is now older and is life any easier now? I sometimes feel so depressed, each day is a hard struggle now I have a newborn too. He's very hard to deal with, though I'm learning a fabulous life lesson in patience, haha, despite the fact I cry most days. I'm not looking for suggestions as to what activities to do with him, just some positive outcome stories?
Please tell me, those of you who have been through this, that life gets easier eventually? I'm expecting every day to be a hard slog for at least a few years yet, but God...please tell me one day it'll get easier?

Midorichan Thu 19-Feb-15 14:28:19

Should add, he's 19 months old.

Chickz Thu 19-Feb-15 15:50:30

I'm watching as I have a high needs toddler too who is 16 months. Things are slowly slowly getting easier as time goes but it's still so so hard. So much crying and whinging that it's a constant battle to keep her happy. You are not alone.

TheBakeryQueen Thu 19-Feb-15 16:09:50

Yes my ds1 was extremely demanding, persistent, constantly on the go, never content, poor sleeper, into everything etc etc

He calmed down at around 3 & it just generally got easier as he got older. He is 7 now, doing well at school & fairly easy to reason with.

My ds2 who was a dream toddler, just so compliant & a pleasure to take anywhere turned into a seriously stroppy, moody, tantrummy 3 year old. He is still quite stroppy now at 5 years old.

What they are like as toddlers doesn't mean anything for the longer term. They all have phases so remember that when it feels like you have the most difficult child at toddler group!

Angleshades Thu 19-Feb-15 22:58:51

I found my dd's toddler years so difficult. She was into everything, wouldn't sit still or play quietly, had bundles of energy, cried a lot, very demanding...etc probably just normal some would say but it felt so very difficult and I always felt exhausted by the end of the every day. She's now 5 years old and things have calmed down considerably. She still has lots of energy and can be tiring but it doesn't feel anywhere near the exhausting levels it used to be. I find parenting much more enjoyable now than I used to.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, just hang on in there.

Midorichan Fri 20-Feb-15 07:03:29

Thank you for your replies ladies. I dread waking up each morning, and go to bed so early just so I can sleep away the nights and not have to think about tomorrow. It's the endless, never ending tantrums over every thing, over not being given attention every second of the day. I cry every day because every day is joyless, aside from my beautiful newborn who is my only ray of sunshine. I can't believe how easy she is to take care of, when my son was just horrifically hard. The worst part, the most depressing, is knowing I've at least a year or more of this every day depression to go. But, what can you do? Just suck it up and get in with it, I guess. I have no friends or family here, so I just have to deal with it on my own.

Chickz Fri 20-Feb-15 07:49:11

Your post made me well up midorichan. You are doing the best you can it's just that some babies are born like this. With a newborn to take care of too, you must be exhausted.

It's great that you go to bed early. Can your DH help out and give you a break- even once a week for a couple of hours.

As I said above, I have a high needs 16 month old and life is still hard even though I'm back at work part time. The endless whinging moaning crying fussing has led me to despair on many occasions. Over time slowly things have got better but it's still so hard when you have a fussing whinging baby and everyone else's are so calm.

One day I hope things will be rosy for you. As mentioned by another poster, I've also heard that 3 is the magic age for high needs babies. I know that won't give you much comfort right now but at some point very soon things will be so much brighter. Take care

Chickz Fri 20-Feb-15 07:51:02

I forgot to add whether it's worth having a chat with your gp - I know they are not for everyone but some anti depressants may help? I went on them for 6 months and they helped a bit.

Midorichan Fri 20-Feb-15 10:37:23

My DH works abroad for days at a time but when he is home he's so good at helping out. There's nowhere really to go if he did look after them for me for a couple of hours so I just stay in (the times I tried to go have a coffee to myself in a shop they were so busy I stood around waiting for a space and just gave up as I was wasting precious minutes. I just end up going home, lol). I'm lucky to have someone like him, I know, but it's the days when he's away that are killing me. I can't go on antidepressants as I'm breastfeeding. I'm just trying to manage my anger and sadness and continual frustrations by counting to 10 etc, & allowing myself tiny luxuries like 60 whole seconds extra just standing in the shower, a small hot drink in my 20 minutes of free time before I go to bed, & my books. Just have to keep my head above water I guess until he's 3ish.

Guin1 Sat 21-Feb-15 07:05:08

Hi Midorichan. Poor you! I can't offer any advice as I am lucky enough to have a very easy toddler, but just to say that there are anti-depressants that are OK for breastfeeding women, if you thought that might possibly help. I was prescribed them partway through my first pregnancy and still taking them now after birth of DC2, and have breastfed both my DC.

Hope things get easier for you soon.

Midorichan Fri 27-Feb-15 09:58:10

Thank you everyone for your input. I did a lot of soul searching after this post. I did my poor little guy a lot of injustice with what I wrote, & it's dow to me as an adult as to how I react to this situation. Ive done a lot of reading in the meantime and worked hard on how I am with him and what we do in the house - he's just not a "toy" loving boy, & I only figured out how much role play means to him the other day. He HAS to play with a real sink/oven/fridge/Hoover, so I've let go of my hang ups and just let him have at it. When I've felt the anger and frustration rise, I've immediately closed my eyes and slowly counted to ten, and it's been working well. ITs a work in progress but I'm figuring it out slowly. He's hard work, but we'll keep at it. When I was getting upset hen he had yet another tantrum, I'd just picture him when he did one of his lovely things like when he blows raspberries on my cheek then laughs or when he wraps his little arms around my neck, and it helped me keep focused on him as a little human being not a ball of anger.

AuntFlossy Sun 01-Mar-15 10:18:34

My high needs daughter is now nearly 4. I've done so much soul searching over the last 4 years questioning my every move with her. Asking why we never seemed to get a break, why her behaviour seemed so much worse than her peers etc. the one thing I've learnt above all else is that if I want a harmonious family life it's down to ME, not her. She is who she is, she is emotional, challenging and difficult at times but she is also highly emotionally intelligent, extremely clever and very dependable on other people to help her cope with her own feelings. So if I lose it, she loses it twice as bad.

Since I realised this things have got a whole lot easier. I've started reading 'Divas and dictators' and its a brilliant book. Rather than getting frustrated with her when her emotions get the better of her I'm finding ways to teach her how to cope with them. Currently we do resting, deep breaths in and blow the bad feelings away. We also use a mini lava lamp to help her focus and calm down quicker. I use praise and reinforcement much more than I did.

I'm not saying wow we fixed everything but by accepting that it is my reaction to her behaviour that makes it more challenging we are half way there. She does still have her moments but on the whole she is enjoyable to be around, something I never thought I would be saying!

I would also say that she is far more advanced than my other two children and I think her intelligence is part of the reason she gets herself into so much trouble.

Hang on in there smile it does get better xx

screamingeels Sun 01-Mar-15 11:11:00

Yes it does get better! My high needs toddler is now 7.5 and much, much more rewarding to be around.

It has got progressively easier as a) she's been able to move around the environment on her own - run, climb, jump. She tends to terrify and awe other parents in equal measure and b) we've been able to get her to talk things through and reason things out. She naturally has a negative thinking bias and catastrophises things - and therefore gets emotionally wound up really easily. We are working on other strategies/ ways of thinking.

It sometimes makes me sad about how bad she must have felt when she didn't have the language to express it. So be there, tough it out and they'll come through.

And also I think it can help if you have another cheer leader for your child. My brother (father of 3) has always maintained DD was awesome, and her teachers like her. It really helps when you are busy comparing them to lovely, dilligent girls who play quietly/ do colouring for hours and yours won't even let you leave the room that other people see her unique stregnths too.

Bellejournee Tue 03-Mar-15 20:41:23

Can I join the high needs toddler gang?

I've a 2.5 year old and since day 1 he's fussed, cried and let's be honest, just been down right difficult. I've cried endlessly as to what I've done wrong, and done everything I can to accommodate and alleviate the constant fuss. We now are in the midst of tantrums and my does he tantrum hard every day - everything is always a fight. I can honestly say we haven't had a single day of no fuss since he was born (it breaks my heart to even write all this down).

We also have a 5 month old and he is the total opposite and hardly ever fusses/cries and unfortunately highlights how difficult it has been. Doctors/HV have said it's just his temperament. I live in constant hope he will 'settle' soon and become easier.

My eldest is, like most night needs children, exceptionally bright and is often mistaken for an older child due to height and language skills etc. I do think this resulted in a lots of frustration as a baby. As much as I find him incredibly difficult and hard work, we do have wonderful moments, but these are unfortunately very rare.

I feel I'm close to breaking point as the relentless whining, fuss and tantrums are just too much. He also whenever we are out at playgroups/friends houses, completely ignores me and actually goes to other people over me. He's done this since he could crawl so isn't a new thing since his younger brother arrived. He's very different towards me at home.

I hope for all other parents of high needs children, you can see that you're not alone.

ToastyFingers Thu 05-Mar-15 11:52:10

Hi, can I join in?
After my first and last attempt at toddler group with 18mo DD this morning i'm really struggling.

Chickz Wed 01-Apr-15 18:39:29

How is everyone doing? We've had an awful week. endless whining crying and fussing. Put some of it down to teeth but the rest is just her. I've cried every day of the past week. And now its Easter so that means nursery is closed so she's at home. Dreading it. Sounds awful doesn't it.

DIYandEatCake Thu 02-Apr-15 00:22:30

My high-need toddler is 4 now, and still needs me a lot, but is also a lot easier to understand and reason with. She is still pretty highly-strung, quick to cry, needs lots of cuddles and attention, but is also imaginative, funny, thoughtful and lovely. Sometimes I still find it all a bit exhausting, but on the other hand I'm actually thankful for how things have been, as learning to understand her and help her overcome some of her difficulties has given us a really close bond. Now when she says 'I love you sooooo much mummy' everything is worth it. Everything gets so much better when they can talk and communicate their feelings.

LindsayS79 Thu 02-Apr-15 20:57:40

I'm the same chickz. It's really affecting both DH and I. He actually said he's not enjoying being a dad the other day which broke my heart. He said it in the heat of the moment but I understand how he could have said it. Some days I just don't know how I'll get through these years. DD is 21 months and has cried/fussed since the minute she was born.
Fingers crossed we see some light at the end of the tunnel soon!!!!

Bunny2712 Fri 03-Apr-15 21:52:01

Ladies, I am feeling your pain. My DS who is now 3yr 3mo has always been hard work - it's only now I have a second that I realise how much. For example, DS2 just cut his first tooth - one night with a few whinges. DS1 however spent 2 weeks not sleeping, screaming till midnight etc etc. It's as if he is ultra sensitive to any pain/illness/stress and he just can't cope. They've both just had mild chicken pox - DS1 was a MONSTER with it, DS2 barely noticed. I am quite a placid person and really take a positive, empathetic approach with him but the past few weeks I have actually thrown items across a room in frustration (not DS1!). I can defo say though that, now he can talk more, on his good days he is so lovely and great company - I'm just hoping those good days really start to outnumber the bad.

blueshoes Fri 03-Apr-15 22:53:32

Yes, it does.

I have 2 high needs babies turned toddlers. It gets better day after day (though not in a straight line) but you only notice it after 5 years of age.

Dd 11 and ds 8 are truly a joy to be around now. I am having it soooooo easy I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. These are the golden years. I cannot believe it <wiggles fingers and toes>

ToysRLuv Sun 05-Apr-15 08:23:29

DS is now 5.6 and still very demanding, negative and stubborn, but easier to reason with. The baby and toddler years were utter hell. He has never been able or willing to do anything much on his own (until we got a tablet when he was 4). Could never cope with another child and him. Often I have wished that he was a bit more normal, or that he could be diagnosed with something, as the fear of judgement from others is getting me very down at times. Sorry, I know this isn't helpful..

SolasEile Mon 06-Apr-15 07:30:29

It does get better but it's all very gradual, no earth-shaking moment of enlightenment where they just stop acting crazy and calm the hell down. I used to feel like you Chickz and mido when my DS was at that age c.18 months - just in despair that he would ever settle down and stop being so manic. The age between 18-36 months was definitely the worst for us.

Now DS is 3.5 life is a lot better. I still get a lot of whining and even some tantrums now and again like the old days but it's mostly linked up with tiredness or hunger now rather than these impossible storms of temper that would seem to well up out of nowhere and have him just raging with frustration. I do enjoy his company now - he says the funniest things and we can have real conversations and interact on a more meaningful level.

Looking back, I think most of it was borne out of frustration with DS. He is very independent, very alert and I think he just hated being a baby. He has his own clear idea in his mind about what he wants to do and he doesn't want to have to have a mother / father to mediate for him. So, yes, those toddler years are exhausting but they do get better - sloooooowly...

trolleycoin Mon 06-Apr-15 09:54:12

Another one here with a high needs 3yo. Love him so much but he is exhausting. So independent, wants to do everything himself, has a wobbler over anything thats not how he wants it or thinks it should be, thinks he can dictate to us what to do etc

It explained why he was a grumpy baby, because as soon as he could start to communicate and get things for himself it got much better, but we still have a way to go yet

MummyBtothree Mon 06-Apr-15 16:42:29

Just noticed your thread and ive never seen the term 'high need toddler'. How would you explain it as I think ive got one and at my wits end sad xx

Chickz Tue 07-Apr-15 13:14:42

So I'm in for the long haul then. Sometimes I think we've turned a corner but then we come crashing back down to square nought.

Solaseile - glad things are better for you. Although I'm disturbed by how 18-36 months was most difficult. That's the age we are entering now.

Mummyb to three - Google Dr sears high needs and you should find what you are looking for. Good luck.

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