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I feel like a useless Mum:-( Toddler behaviour

(22 Posts)
mairimac Wed 12-Sep-07 13:35:10

I'm sure there are plenty of posts along the same lines as this topic but I needed to talk to someone! I am really struggling to cope with my son's behaviour and no matter what I do it's not working. He will be 2 yrs old next week, and over the last two months things have just been very odd. I can't say he throws a full blown tantrum, but there is a constant NO to everything, no cooperation, lots of whinging and lots of crying. He'll be okay for a couple of weeks and then we get into a phase were everything is wrong, not matter what it's all wrong. You don't get the juice fast enough, the food on the plate fast enough, get him out of the car fast enough and so forth - he will just burst into tears and refuse to do anything or co operate in any way whatsoever. I can't distract him or get him out of the upset and he just screams and screams and seems so angry. I feel useless not being able to do anything to calm him down. Is this just normal behaviour?

dorisofdevon Wed 12-Sep-07 13:45:18

Yup have just put my two year old to bed after a lunch of whinging if food not on the table quick enough, milk not on the table quick enough, difficulty putting her own bib on ( refusing all help!!!) think it is a phase that reappears regularly particularly when she is tired, made much worse if I am tired, today being an outstanding example!!!!

She was sat on the naughty chair for no responses to everything, while I prepared lunch!!! Probably not the most appropriate use of it (the chair)I know, but today all I could deal with on the plus side I did get a sorry (unprompted afterwards).

dorisofdevon Wed 12-Sep-07 13:46:58

just reread your post the screams are likely to be frustration that he can't do it himself.... just a thought

mairimac Wed 12-Sep-07 13:49:18

Thanks dorisofdevon, I do guess that most or a lot of it is frustration, but I used to be able to distract him or talk him round, other times he just seems hell bent on crying all day long without interruption.

Mung Wed 12-Sep-07 14:06:36

They can be so annoying, can't they? It is normal (well my DS does the same, so thats 3 of us with the same problem!) and its just so hard to be patient when you are tired too. Its always the same; they kick off when you are knackered. I find that days like that, when I am so shattered from lack of sleep with DD waking in the night, I just sit on the floor and play. Leave the jobs and make life easy for yourself, otherwise you will end up more tired from all the moaning. Hopefully, when you make lunch, sort out the milk and have to put him in the car he will be more content that he has had your attention.

The independence thing, just has to be laughed at. DS is potty training and he insists on doing it all himself, to the point of sending me out of the room and shutting the door. I suppose its cute, but its SO time consuming and sometimes messy grin. When the big crying bursts start, the only way I can stop him is by giving him a big cuddle in a calm room and after a while trying to distract him. It can take about 10 minutes sometimes.

I have found the best way to deal with this all is to avoid situations where he can say no. Give choices like, 'are you going to run or walk back into the house ready for your lunch?' 'Are you getting into your chair yourself, or do you want help getting in?'. It works great for me and DS in any case.

But, we are all human and things just dont go right some days. I wish I could take my own advice sometimes and actually leave the jobs, but its not always possible. I suppose on days like that you just have to hope that bedtime comes soon.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 12-Sep-07 14:08:41

you poor thing Mairi, that sounds wearing! I agree with doris that it really sounds alot to do with frustration. i think this is a classic age for this, where the child is undergoing a period of individuation (heard Dr Tanya Byron on the radio this week so am expert grin) where they are becoming so aware of themselves as an individual, their wants and desires, and their ability to use their behaviour to influence you! Also their communication skills often don't allow them to get this all out, resulting in frustration.

It will certainly change as he matures, honestly!

In the meantime ride it out as much as you can and ignore (or at least pretend to ignore). Keep trying with the distraction.

As a last resort with my ds when he was having a tantrum without end, I did give him time out for a couple of minutes in his room; NOT as a punishment because I wouldn't punish a tantrum, purely as a way of breaking the mood; he was able to calm down a bit without me in his face. That possibly may work with your ds I guess, though every child is different.

But don't worry too much. I'm sure he'll be a happy and delightful child and that this current behaviour is not really HIM iykwim.

stressteddy Wed 12-Sep-07 14:09:16

Hi there MM. tell a bit more about your situation. Are you sahm? Does he go to nursery at all? Any more info. just to help set the scene??
Love to you btw, it's bloody hard isn't it?

snowleopard Wed 12-Sep-07 14:23:23

All sounds familiar mairimac!... my DS can be like this, and just gets so bossy - he will continually insist on a different spoon/cup/plate for example and have an almighty strop if it's not the right one - even though I don't stand for it, it's SO tiring. Another thing he does is if he realises something is naughty he will just do it and do it and do it just to push me and see what happens - often with an infuriating smirk on his face! And those days of non-stop fussing and stropping - aaaarrrrgggghh!

I also find it comes and goes, and the worst times coincide with growth spurts. (I wonder if it might be that he's actually physically in pain at those times...)

I've concluded that a) once you've started a battle, don't give in. Eg with deliberate naughtiness, he will not get his way, whatever he does. b) don't start battles unless you have to - eg wants to wear wellies, let him wear wellies, whatever. c) i can sometimes distract him and defuse it, by giving him choices, also with humour.

My most recent idea is having a whingeing contest - I say "Oh DS good whinge! But I can do better <makes whingeing noise>. Now your turn!" He does a whinge, I do a better one with foot stamp, he copies, etc. It soon makes him laugh and then very quickly (because it's no longer winding me up) it loses its appeal.

I also find (though mine is slightly older) that it works well to say "Oh dear, what is that terrible whingeing sound, can you hear it DS? If I could hear a nice big boy asking me nicely I might be able to hear better!" etc. He has now grasped the concept of asking nicely (saying please and in normal voice) and that it gets better results than whinging and stropping - he just needs reminding!

However after a day of it I am bloody exhausted. I cannot imagine what it's like having a small baby as well Mung - hats off to you.

law3 Wed 12-Sep-07 14:25:16

your not a useless mum, bloody kids are hard work.

When 3 year old sits there, arms folded, sulky face, saying no dont want to get out the car, etc. i give him a tickle and say are you doing your sulky face, tends to break the mood. Then come on il race you to the front door and we are back to giggling again (as long as i let him win of course!!)

Bit Mary Poppin i know, but better than a battle.

madamez Wed 12-Sep-07 14:26:44

Mine does it too. And I cope with it sometimes and shout and bawl sometimes. We're none of us alone, and I am hoping he will grow out of it soon (and at least I've only got the one so I won't have to go through it again).

snowleopard Wed 12-Sep-07 14:30:29

Oh yes agree with law about the racing too - give him an aim and something to win at. Mine likes to be given adult tasks - so eg if we are going out and he's getting stroppy, I ask him if he can carry the keys for mummy and help me lock the door etc - and I often say something like "Oh no, mummy's lost the car - where is DS's car, can you see it?" He loves to point it out to me and be the grown-up one, if that makes sense.

Mung Wed 12-Sep-07 14:33:28

Just thought of one more thing...if all else fails, get the hoover out. DS loves it and will generally join in, if not I like to just hear that monotone whiring rather than the moaning.

scootermum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:37:15

Mine does it too!Today has been a ruddy awful day as my 3 month old is going mad with her teeth coming and my 20 month old is seemingly having a major meltdown every 2 minutes...My way of coping with it today?I walked into the kitchen, out of sight and hearing range of DC's and volleyed the washing machine (which has obligingly broken this morning and flooded the kitchen)blushIm not sure thats how Supernanny would say to do it...grin

Mung Wed 12-Sep-07 14:40:34

LOL scootermum...I can empathise with that one. One day I just walked into lounge and cried. When DS came in I tried to wipe the tears away, but he realised that something was up and just sat down next to me.

Mung Wed 12-Sep-07 14:43:21

Sorry Scootermum...I seemed really unsympathetic by laughing blush. It can be so frustrating sometimes and thinking of your poor washing machine taking the brunt of your anger is quite comical.

I hope the day improves for you.

grouchyoscar Wed 12-Sep-07 14:45:10

Yep...been there and I'm still there some times.

Yesterday I asked him how it would make him feel...he's been lovely since

It's not you, you are a good mum and it's just a kid thing tbh

Have a cyber <<hug>>

lucyellensmum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:46:34

Just wanted to add my support, i dont think you are doing anything wrong and i do think it is absolutely 100% normal behaviour. It is like the sweet little child has been abducted by aliens isnt it? I don't have too much experience as my DDs "naughtiness" is only just begining to manifest itself - her favourite thing is to scream blue murder if i dare to have a conversation with someone else angry, i absolutely cannot read the newspaper and she is really quite willful.

But here is my theory, for what it is worth, these little darlings are asserting themselves, they suddenly realise they can. I think it is a stage of their devolopment, and i am aware that development, especially nervous system development happens in waves, so the coming and going of behaviours all seems to make sense.

I cant give much advice really, cos im pretty crap at knowing what to do and each child is different. But maybe try to be very consistent, let him "help" you prepare dinner etc.Ignoring him when you really cant do anything other than make him wait. I just think, dont beat yourself up over it - chant the mantra - its a phase its a phase its a phase its a phase. sorry couldnt be more help

lucyellensmum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:49:30

law3, i like your tickle advice. I used to do, ooh look, you are trying sooo hard not to smile but you cant help it can you, look there the smile, with DD1 and still do actually, shes 17!! Works every time, although now she gets very angry with me hmm.

scootermum Wed 12-Sep-07 14:53:34

Thats alright Munggrin...its quite making me laugh now as well...I never thought Id be a kicking-inanimate-objects sort of person so it just goes to show what kids can do to a girl grinBut of course I wouldnt be without them..

mairimac Wed 12-Sep-07 19:17:07

thanks all for your comments. I have just plonked him down in his bedroom at times and walk away, I tell him that when he's calm he can find me "and tell him where I'll be", sometimes this works, other times not. Yesterday was a day from Hell, today Much Much Better:-) I often wonder if something is bothering them, growth, teeth, tummy pain - anything, cause he seems so drastic one day and totally fine the next few! I think all part of growing up, just wish I could learn to cope better instead of one day managing well and the next time I lose it:-( He is an angel at nursery apparently - I'm sure he does it to wind me up

dorisofdevon Wed 12-Sep-07 21:15:01

Don't they allgrin

madamez Thu 13-Sep-07 00:03:55

Yes. I've had 3 meltdowns off DS today. It's a phase, it's a phase, it's a phase. And then he was such a little love once we met up with his dad for the dancing (rolls eyes).

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