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I have got myself all upset by this leaflet on toddler behaviour from my health visitor...

(16 Posts)
notevenamousie Sun 14-Dec-08 09:20:35

<Disclaimer - I know these leaflets are written for all, and with good intentions, and was not written with the aim of upsetting me>

It talks about the reasons for difficult toddler behaviour, and says that there are 3: illness, tiredness and, I quote, "if the parent is sad or insecure".

I am a single mum, have recurrent depressive episodes, and work full time. I am probably in some ways sad and insecure. I must be insecure, because I just can't get my head past the "any problems DD has are my fault" that I have got myself in to.

How do I confidently parent a toddler? I have read Toddler taming and 'How to talk', I think I cope ok with her tantrums, she is turning into a delightful, sociable, but somewhat wilful individual. But now I am really doubting myself again. Hopeless, I know...

I think I believe in showing (in a reasonable way) your emotions to your children - it would surely not be healthy to pretend that Mummy is never tired or sad or whatever? But now I wonder... and is this insecurity or normal Mummy feelings? Why do HVs manage to derail me even when I haven't even seen them yet!?

Sorry to whinge on. Feeling a bit lost just now.

roundcornvirgin Sun 14-Dec-08 09:23:24

We are all sad and insecure at times. Don't let it worry you.

DontCallMeSantaBaby Sun 14-Dec-08 09:34:43

They've missed out reason #4 "because they are a toddler". I suspect if you got to quiz the writer, they'd explain that they were talking about unusual difficult toddler behaviour, not the 'normal' toddler behaviour, which is difficult enough to deal with. TBH, 'delightful, sociable, but somewhat wilful individual' sounds brilliant, and about the best you can hope for from a toddler!

Personally I think you do need your children to see your emotions - who wants an automaton for a mummy?

Umlellala Sun 14-Dec-08 09:34:50

Right, well, three ways of looking at it IMO

1. all a load of bollox
2. a good point, but your dd has not seen a sad,insecure mummy - just a mummy who is occasionally sad and normal. Hence, her behaviour is nothing to do with you but rather normal toddler behaviour.
3. a good point, and your dd may occasionally be picking up on how you feel BUT this is ok and a normal part of growing up.

I agree totally with you on sharing your emotions. IMO our goal is not to never let them be/see sad, upset, scared but to know how to feel these emotions confidently and come out the 'other side'. Children do pick up on our feelings and it does sometimes make them act up - we don't raise them in a vacuum grin but IMO the key word in this is sometimes. You have a delightful, sociable toddler who is human and has off-days for whatever reason, just like we do!

You know that leaflet was just part of the bumpf really. Stay positive - you are doing a fabulous job (what a responsibility as a single parent - not to seem patronising but I have SO much respect. I am slightly grumpy because dh is fixing his bike now, after my lie-in and he brought me a cuppa blush).

Keep the faith - it's an investment.

(PS doesn't any childcare mean that all bad behaviour must have picked up there? My dd 'must have got it from playgroup' wink)

Chaotica Sun 14-Dec-08 09:39:14

Your dd sounds like a lovely normal toddler. And if you manage to work full time as a single parent you're doing really well (I find it hard enough with a partner).

I think all that the leaflet means is that toddlers are beginning to pick up on moods and may react. Not that you shouldn't show them that you have them. My DD (2.7) says 'don't be sad' etc, and probably has more tantrums if i'm stressed or tired as I can't manage to avoid them.

brightongirldownunder Sun 14-Dec-08 09:45:16

I think you sound like a wonderful mum. I'm having a tough time at the moment and wonder that my sadness will upset DD's lovely personality but the other guys are right. Don't worry please, you're doing an amazing job bringing up
your little one on your own and one day she'll tell you how proud she is of you.

notevenamousie Sun 14-Dec-08 09:50:29

Thank you... I am being needy and silly, I guess, but thank you. I do love mumsnet sometimes (often actually) - pulls self together, must not be so soppy!

Anifrangapani Sun 14-Dec-08 09:53:48

And there was me thinking that toddlers have tantrums because they are testing their limits and are at a stage where they know what they want but don't yet have the language to express those feelings....... silly me.

It sounds as if you are doing fine with her.

bleakmidwinter Sun 14-Dec-08 09:56:21

I really feel for you. Someone on here recommended "Raising Your Spirited Child" which I am finding quite helpful. Your 3 year old sounds a lot like mine. I want to help her be the person she needs to be but ultimately I can't make her what she isn't.

I am not a single parent in theory but H (not much D in the DH these days) has a barrowful of issues and can be very hard work as he is like a child emotionally. I worry about my moods affecting DD as my mother was very depressed but as far as I know she didn't do anything about it in terms of treatment. I really agree that it healthy for your DD to know about different emotions. YOu sound quite self-aware and also you have a lot on your plate, full time work. Have you spoken to your GP. There is more funding available for counselling these days. Maybe you can get some help from someone who can offer something more constructive than a bl** leaflet!! <<exasperation at a hv emoticon>>

edam Sun 14-Dec-08 09:59:16

'difficult toddler behaviour'?! Toddlers are difficult, it's in their job description!

And there's a much longer list of factors that can make a toddler tricky/unhappy/angry at any particular moment. Hunger, for instance - if it's been a while since a meal or snack most toddlers will get grumpy. Frustration - wanting to do something that they can't actually manage yet on their own, or NOT wanting to do whatever it is that needs to be done. Putting on coats and shoes, ending a game because it's time to get in the bath, or anything at all if they are not in the mood.

NorthernLurkerwithastarontop Sun 14-Dec-08 10:04:46

What a stupid leaflet! Toddlers are full of challenging behaviour - because they are toddlers. If you were compelled to do what somebody else wanted all the time and couldn't say eloquently anything about how that made you felt and lived in a house full of obstacles you couldn't climb up and was dressed by somebody else everyday and was compelled to eat 'healthy' food and had your face washed - well you'd get pretty vexed wouldn't you? I don't think anybody does their child any favours either by pretending that adults don't get sad, angry and tired. Show them the real world and how you deal with it and you equip them for life. You sound like you are doing a great job - bin the leaflet and cuddle your daughter!

edam Sun 14-Dec-08 10:09:52

Fab description of life from a toddler's point of view NorthernLurker. smile

reindeercantdancethetango Sun 14-Dec-08 11:10:05

I dont think I can add anything to all the excellnt replies so agree with them and say try not to worry.

piscesmoon Sun 14-Dec-08 11:21:15

I agree with Umlellala and really wouldn't worry. It is hard being a single parent-there is no one to talk things over with. I would bin the leaflet!

katiek123 Mon 15-Dec-08 16:36:02

agree with northern lurker totally - if my feisty, frustration-prone DD could have articulated how she felt about being a toddler she would have screeched 'i f**king HATE this stage, please forward-wind me to the age of 5'. she really did not take to that life stage at all wink! 'spirited child' helped me no end.

Gemzooks Mon 15-Dec-08 18:22:32

can only echo what others have said; you sound like a great mum. I only just get by with loads and loads of support from DH etc., can't imagine how hard it is alone but no way would I manage as well as you are.

The leaflet sounds ridiculous, of course toddlers get frustrated at the gap between what they want, or think they want, to do or get to or have, and what they actually can manage, that's just their age.

You do wonder who writes this stuff.

I think it's better not to hide emotions (I never saw my mum cry). but just to show, yes, sometimes people feel different things and then they pass, or they do something to make themselves feel better, or whatever.

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