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Feeling useless...why does my 1 yr old reserve his worst behaviour for me?!!

(20 Posts)
Joshuasmum Mon 16-May-05 20:26:12

Most of the time my little one is a lovely, sociable baby. He generally sleeps well and shuffles around on his bum exploring the world. The battle starts (and is at its worst) in the high chair. Some days he eats well without too much complaint and other days everything is wrong and food is thrown on the floor, the mouth is sealed and he starts crying and performing. I know he is hungry, but he just doesn't want what is on offer or something. Usually I don't go for offering lots of alternatives - I offer 1 alternative, often just extra finger food 'cause sometimes it seems to be objectionable to have me feeding him. If those are played with or thrown around, I clear it all away, offer a normal portion of pudding (won't even take that sometimes)and then call it a day.
Other than teh high chair, he seems to always be so much more content when he is with other children or with other grown ups - less yowling and less complaining.
I'm just feeling so discouraged. Yesterday I left the house in tears and let me husband deal with it.
What am I doing wrong? Could there be a physical reason like teeth - he has had 2 more come thro recently - could they still be hurting? Please help!

NotQuiteCockney Mon 16-May-05 20:29:23

Of course he saves his worst behaviour for you! Who do you save your worst behaviour for? I bet it's your husband - you know that you can treat him worse than you treat anyone else, and he'll forgive you, and still love you.

Your son feels that way about you - he knows you'll love him, no matter how badly he acts. If he's cranky (and yes, his teeth are probably hurting), he's going to let it out with the person he trusts most.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 16-May-05 20:30:11

(eh, that makes it sound like I think you scream at your husband, or throw things or something. I just mean, we always put a nice face on things, and are polite, with other people.)

WideWebWitch Mon 16-May-05 20:32:20

It could be teeth, it could be that he wants to do it, it could be that he's too hungry/tired to eat and therefore loses it or it could be none of the above! You're probably not doing anything wrong, just persist with offering healthy food, calmly when or just before you think he's hungry and he'll get the hang of it eventually, imo. If you think it's teeth give him something cold, like strawberries straight from the fridge, that might help. Or yoghurt. All the advice says try not to make mealtimes a battle but I know it's easier said than done! Or if he wants to do it himself, try giving him mostly finger food, you should still be able to get some healthy stuff down him like this. And you can shove the odd spoonful in too. Good luck.

WideWebWitch Mon 16-May-05 20:33:08

And he's too young to tantrum as such imo, he has very basic needs atm and he isn't doing it deliberately, he just wants what he wants!

throckenholt Mon 16-May-05 20:58:23

stay calm - that is the key. Just say - ok you are not hungry and clear away.

When others are there he is distracted. When he is on his own he has a chance to test the limits and figure out what the rules are. If he is hungry he will eat. If he picks up that it gets a reaction from you he will do it more.

Don't take it personally - he is just trying things out - your job is to stay calm, make sure he is safe, and give him space to learn, and set the boundaries.

sounds so easy when it is written down

Heathcliffscathy Mon 16-May-05 21:01:52

it's hateful isn't it, i hate the cleaning up under the highchair on hands and knees the worst. but nqc is right, he does it to you because he trusts you and loves you the most. and it's taken me a long time, but i really am not bothered now if ds doesn't does mean he's not hungry (some days are like that other days he eats more than i can believe is possible...)

hang in there, it's gets easier...not cause their behaviour does, but cause we learn that staying calm and not rising to it removes all the motivation for them kicking off! x

meggymoo Mon 16-May-05 21:06:40

Message withdrawn

SallyQ Wed 18-May-05 10:18:12

Hi Joshuasmum

Just wanted to give you some encouragement. My dd is also one now, and really likes to engage in battles of will with me too.

The way I have dealt with the not-eating is to break all the rules! dd doesn't have a highchair (long story) so she eats on the floor and I just let her tip the bowl upside down or whatever. She stopped taking food when someone was feeding her months ago so I just give finger food and let her get on with it and worry about the mess later.

I think that as soon as mum gets stressed about something they know it and that becomes the battle ground. My advice would be to back off, let him eat if he wants, not eat if he wants and he WILL get enough nutrition.

Also, just a thought, but remember that baby`s growth slows down at this age and they may want to eat less.

Try not to stress, I think they all save their worst for mum - and it's because they love us, honest!


muminlondon Wed 18-May-05 11:20:08

There was an article in Nursery World or something which my childminder saw that said toddlers reserve their worst behaviour for those they trust the most. So it's normal!

These things go in phases, especially feeding and social skills which develops in fits and starts around now, so it won't last forever.

Joshuasmum Wed 18-May-05 20:22:37

Thank you all so much for your input! I feel better about this now that I can think that perhaps he reserves his worst for me because he trusts me...Also he has started being 'willful' with the childminder and he is normally a model child with her
I'm working on increasing finger foods and clearing food away when he starts playing with it. I can do calm most of the time, but every now and again it all gets the better of me and I take it personally
May this phase be over quickly, but then again the next one could be worse.....!

DrummingBunny Thu 19-May-05 09:47:07

Hi Joshuasmum. Just wanted to add my tuppence worth as my ds (17m now) was exactly as you describe at 12m. He screamed and writhed and wouldn't take anything from a spoon, except perhaps yoghurt. In the end we cracked it - I let him feed himself, yes, with a spoon, and stood out of his line of sight pretending to do something else. Had to grit my teeth while he covered himself in it, dropped several spoons etc but after a couple of weeks, he suddenly got it. Now he always feeds himself, and very 'neatly', people are really impressed, and he never tantrums. Now he will even ask me to help him get the scrapings at the end. It's a miracle. If you can bear to try it...

loulabelle222 Thu 19-May-05 10:19:03

i have a joshua too who is 13m.. and he was like this for a bit too so through gritted teeth i am letting him feed himself. I just take his top off put a bib on and put a mat underneath the highchair. I love letting him feed himself he loves it!

loulabelle222 Thu 19-May-05 10:19:03

i have a joshua too who is 13m.. and he was like this for a bit too so through gritted teeth i am letting him feed himself. I just take his top off put a bib on and put a mat underneath the highchair. I love letting him feed himself he loves it!

Joshuasmum Sun 22-May-05 11:08:36

It did occur to me to try and let him feed himself - he seems capable enough! If I could just find a way to prevent him from turning the bowl upside down - any ideas. I think I could just about cope with teh rest of the mess...

jackeroo Sun 22-May-05 12:06:58

we got a couple of suction bowls via the internet (couldn't find them in any shops). DS (almost 1) still let's me feed him (not always happily) but i leave the bowl in front him and give him a spoon so that he's always welcome to try and do it himself too. he puts his hands in the food most of the time and it goes everywhere... but at least the bowl stays put.

Aragon Sun 22-May-05 12:58:01

Hi joshuasmum,

My ds was like this as well at that age. From my memory of that time (he's 2.5 now) I discovered.

He was militantly independant and wanted to feed himself. If he had a spoon too it was less of a fight.
Nothing could prevent him turning the bowl upside down - even those suction ones got upended so I just gritted my teeth and cleaned up at the end - the highchair table I kept scrupulously clean so he could "eat his food off it" and he often did!
Gave lots more finger foods so he could feed himself.
Also found that if he really wouldn't eat it was sometimes to do with not wanting to be in the highchair - on those days I used to get him down and leave finger foods within reach so he could feed himself on the move - very active and sometimes too active for sitting in the highchair.

Lastly - just to say that this will pass. My ds now sits at the table and feeds himself with no probs - eats well (although occasionally messy still).


flobbleflobble Sun 22-May-05 14:26:44

Who do you save your worst behaviour for?

ionesmum Sun 22-May-05 16:05:05

joshuasmum, my dd1 loved to feed herself everything with her fingers - yoghurt, casserole, soup! etc. as well as finger food. I just put spoonfuls of it on her tray, and she'd suck it off her fingers! The mess was huge but worth it as she has no hang-ups now about food and is happy to feed herself. Dd2, on the other hand, likes food she can recognise and hates all mush. She also wants to eat on the run rather than in her chair.

kbaby Mon 23-May-05 21:17:53

My DD is 1 and also the same. Some days shell eat everything and others its 1 mouthful befpre pushing my arm away and the food splatters the nearest wall. If she starts messing about I just clear it away adn dont offer dessert. I think she knows that the quicker she refused dinner the quicker she got dessert.
My mum said to look at what they eat over a week instead of a daily basis as their food intake changes so much day to day.

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