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Single parent, very challenging toddler behavior, due no.2 in 5 wks...HELP/SUPPORT/A
Hello all. Not really sure whereto start tbh. Im newly divorced (husband and i seperated when i was 6 wks pg with our no.2 - he was abusive - been through court custody battles as he essentially kidnapped our son for months, court finally ordered his return to my care in Aug - absolute worst time of my life)
So now DS is 20 months, and im 35 wks pg, i have no support, estranged family as monther is sadly more interested in drugs than her children/grandchildren. I've been doing ok considering, but DS's behavior (although im sure is 'normal' for his age) has become so very challenging...all he wants to do is bite me, hit me, throw major tantrums all.the.time, hurls himself around in buggy in public which gets me some awful looks, slams the tv, bangs doors, throws his food and drink, pulls wires (which are safely tacked down with cable tacks) which then have to be re-fixed, hits my bump, kicks me during nappy changes, hits the cats, pulls other children's hair at play groups, ... And now refuses to go to sleep at night, he had been a great sleeper from the age of 1yr...perhaps sleep regression???
Im just lost as to ehat to do, im absolutely terrified how things are going to be when baby's here shortly! Im still in a 1 bedroom flat, been trying to be moved since pg with no.1, but still no closer now pg with no.2...will probably still be here until no.2 is nearing 1yr which is not good. I have one cot one side of my bed, and one cot the other side. Can i do this? Any advice? What happened to my sweet little boy?
Dont get me wrong, he's still my sweet little boy (half the time) but I don't know how to discipline, if appropriate at this age etc...ive tried distraction, removing him from the situation, removing the item, explaining how biting/hitting hurts, telling him off, ignoring the behavior, turning the tv off when he slams it...pretty much everything.
Quite frankly im tired...emotionally, mentally, physically...
I should be excited about my upcoming new eddition (which of course i am, dont get me wrong) but im TERRIFIED!
Any advice, words of wisdom, support, GREATLY appreciated.
Not surprised he’s playing up for you OP, sounds like he’s been through a lot and none of it sounds like your fault. If he’s refusing to go to bed, have you tried going to bed at the same time? Could he be hungry?
Firstly, I’d try 123 Magic for his behaviour. Also, talk to your HV about what’s happened and his recent behaviour, she might be able to refer him to something like play therapy.
I’d also get in touch with Homestart. They might be able to provide you with some support for a couple of hours a week
Have you discussed your housing with your MW? She may be able to help.
Oh OP, it sounds like you're going through an extremely hard time. It must be incredibly exhausting and stressful for you both. I'm single mum too and understand how hard it can be. People throwing you awful looks when your DS throws tantrums is their bad behaviour. It's not helpful, causes more stress and shows a complete lack of understanding on their part. Young children throw tantrums. They are developing so fast, and their whole world changes as their perception develops. He's been through a lot of changes that are overwhelming. My DD also went through several changes with the breakdown of her dads and my relationship too. It is scary for them. It is scary for us too. Children can sense our distress which can trigger their distress. Some ideas on lowering, soothing distress in your child and for you too: sensory activities such as water play (tub inside or outside, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bubbles in the water, pouring cups, jugs etc let him help wash some of the safe dishes with you), play dough, finger paint, shaving cream on the table to smear around with hands, slime, sand play, tub of rice for scooping and pouring etc. Also, as much outside play as possible even going for a rainy day walk with raincoat on. Try to go to playground and take a seat while he plays. I sometimes put headphones on and listened to music while I pushed my DD on the swing and it was very relaxing. I did get some judgemental stares. Parents need a break too which is very hard for a single parent with no support to get. Do a little music therapy for you and your child. Buy or make some percussion musical instruments like shakers, drums, bells and put on some music you and your son enjoy. Sometimes putting on some music can change the mood and atmosphere immediately. Help yourself to get some rest, it's easier said then done I know. Buy disposable plates, bowls, cups, cutlery to give yourself a little break from doing the dishes. Put large sheets on floor for play spaces, then rather than having to get down on the floor to pick up toys you can pick up the ends of the sheet and pick up all the toys in one go contained in the sheet then place the whole thing in a toy box or container or cupboard. Then when time to play again lay it on the floor with all the toys again. Establish some routines that stay the same every day for example a story time before bed or singing songs that become special for him and you. Predictable routines can give children a sense of security and help to alleviate the stress of experiencing the unpredictable. Try not to be too hard on yourself. No parent is perfect. You have a huge amount on your plate so try to do some nice things for yourself. You are brave, you are strong, you can do this.
Thankyou both so very much for your kind words! Sorry i haven't gotten back sooner, getting very close to having baby no.2 now and im so very tired as you can imagine...I bought that book that was suggested (still in the post) and bought some paper plates etc, just for a little break from so much washing up, it hurts to stand now as my spd and sciatica is so bad due to pregnancy. I feel so bad for my little man having to go through so many major changes...it must be difficult for him to understand, he's been under my solid routine for months now though, bedtime the same, same song, same time, same comforts etc. I know his behaviour is 'mostly' normal for his age, it's just infuriating when he does hours on end of 'laughing his head off whilst im constantly telling him no' I ignore most of the undesirable behavior which in turn eventually stops, but slamming the tv to the point it wobbles, or playing with the lamps etc, i just simply cant ignore for obvious reasons! Im currently turning the tv off as punishment when he does the 'slamming'...sometimes it works, sometimes its just another game to him. I always make sure i am rewarding the 'good' and 'desireable' behavior...wether its him eating his food nicely, using his fork correctly, being cooperative with clothes, nappies etc...and always praise him for any achievements with problem solving toys! I guess its just a phase that'll hopefully pass, but there's going to be a newborn in the mix very soon, and in a 1 bedroom its gonna be so very hard! I should be moved to a house come spring though, so the end is in sight at least
Thankyou again for your kind replies x
Sounds like ur an awesome mum Op . Hopefully your newborn is super easy going and your ds adjusts to baby and grows to love being a big brother.
Thankyou! I try my best which is all i can do i guess...ds is very loving with my friends baby when i hold him, so there is hope Although i dare say he wont be 'quite' as loving when he realises 'this one's not going home'
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