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Small Toddlers and behaviour - for people with AP leanings?

(10 Posts)
ChairmumMiaow Wed 08-Jul-09 20:19:37

I'm reasonably firmly in the AP camp, and have felt - till recently - that it was appropriate to respond to DS's needs, in the light of the idea that he was a baby and wasn't manipulating, he was just upset/hungry/tired/whatever.

However, at 17mo he has now definitely hit toddler territory and we have started to get tantrums when we do something he is not particularly fond of. For example, we were at Butlins at the weekend and in the middle of his breakfast (of sausage and beans, two of his favourite things, that he doesn't normally get for breakfast) he decided that he instead wanting a BF, pushed his dinner away and started to scream for me. Now I knew he wasn't hungry, thirsty or tired and I didn't want to give him a BF (I was trying to eat my own disgustingly unhealthy fryup ) so I told him he would have to wait and he proceeded to scream the place down. We left him like that for a bit and eventually DH took him away and he settled down, but I wasn't really happy with that scenario.

My problem is that I have no experience with non-verbal toddlers and I don't know how I want to deal with him!

Does anyone have recommendations of books or sites that will give me some insight into the toddler mind and help me decide the strategies I can take with my lovely but single-minded DS?


becks57 Wed 08-Jul-09 20:55:09

sounds like my 18 month old boy, and then that says it all 'boy!' from the moment they're born they are manipulative, but incredibly loveable with it. Just be consistant, as he understands pretty much everything you say, he just probably doesn't say very much back to you. (mine doesn't talk properly) but if i say no! that is unexceptable, i stick to it, and take him away from the situation either in his pushchair or carry him off and distract him, but i smile from ear to ear as i'm leaving the 'audience' and sigh terrible two's what can you do? or come on sweetheart lets do something else, and as soon as baby realises he's not getting all that lovely attention they soon stop the tantrum's. this works my little boy's sounds just like yours

Umlellala Wed 08-Jul-09 20:58:13

How to talk so kids will listen... start early. Honest. Sympathise too, works wonders.

ChairmumMiaow Thu 09-Jul-09 09:04:54

becks - thanks for the reply and I know what you mean about consistency - but I have to decide what my 'stance' is before I can be consistent! Also I really don't believe that babies can be manipulative from birth - responding to DS's needs as well as I can (which I think others would often call wants) for over a year has landed me with a toddler the same as everyone else's!

Umellalla - do you think that HTT works on a toddler? I'll have to go and do some reading!

Umlellala Thu 09-Jul-09 11:49:11

Worked on mine. One lovely dd who is now 3.4 and v rarely tantrums. Mind you, I have 11mth boy who might test the theory somewhat... will keep you posted!

I do think the general philosophy of sympathising/acknowledging and positive instructions etc work at any age. Tbh I often just forget to do it with ds, whip him away for a nappy change instead of giving him a minute and wonder why he whinges... blush

OrangeKnickers Thu 09-Jul-09 14:29:18

I read Harvey Karp's 'Happiest Toddler on the Block; and 'Toddler Taming'. That helped.

The Karp block explained what was going on in ds' mind (or not) and Toddler Taming pointed out that everyone's child does it, so don't put yourself in difficult situations.

good luck!

Habbibu Thu 09-Jul-09 14:32:17

Don't know if this is the same as HTT, but my mum's advice was to start briefing babies - at 9/10 months old on the day's activities, over and over again, so that they have a sense of what is and isn't going to happen. sounds bonkers at that age, but it's a good habit to get into, and works well with our dd. I can always tell when I've forgotten to do it!

TheProvincialLady Thu 09-Jul-09 14:39:30

CM do you often limit BF, ie is your DS used to there being boundaries around it or was it a surprise to him?

Secondly, I wonder how much this behaviour really stemmed from insecurity rather than just I-want-it. Because you were on holiday in a strange place and he was having a strange breakfast, maybe he just wanted to get a bit of normality and comfort?

januarysnowdrop Thu 09-Jul-09 15:28:42

I think Habbibu's mum's idea is brilliant - I do something like that with my two, and always warn them endlessly before something is about to happen (eg we're going to go out to the shops/get down from the swings/go and have your bath etc etc). Toddlers (actually, people of any age, now I come to think of it!) often find transitions very difficult, so let them know what's going to happen next & keep reminding them. And if they're used to having a bf at breakfast & you're not prepared to give them one for whatever reason, then make this clear to them before they ask for it.

TheProvincialLady may have a good point about your particular problem - it was a different place, & maybe he isn't used to being asked to wait for a feed? Toddlers are hopeless at waiting for anything in my experience - they live for the moment! Once you have taken this fact on board, they become much easier to understand & to deal with.

And my other piece of advice on tantrums is to pick your battles & analyse what went wrong when things do go wrong! My dd1 has had complete meltdowns over absolutely stupid things that in retrospect I decided I really didn't care about anyway (eg wanting to play in her room for a bit longer before her bath - it was after this particular incident that I started endlessly warning her before anything new was going to happen).

My dh described it once to friends who were visiting by saying 'dd1 is in a magnificent rage' which made me laugh & now if she does explode I think of it as her diva-tendencies showing through.

ChairmumMiaow Thu 09-Jul-09 18:42:49

Thanks for all the replies

He doesn't always get a BF when he wants one, but I haven't been very consistent. I think that instance was probably what you suggested - strangeness and just wanting a bit of comfort. He doesn't normally stop in the middle of his breakfast for milk (he normally doesn't have any after we're out of bed for a good few hours)

I think the problem there was that I've been feeling he's been getting more demanding on the BF front and I've been feeling a bit worn down by him. Since we've been back I've been trying not to BF him during the day and he's actually been very good about it - taking food or drink or a cuddle (or all 3! instead). I think its probably a related issue that confuses things for me!

I've been chatting about it today and realised that actually DS is pretty well behaved in all his normal situation, and you've all made me think that I shouldn't judge him and make decisions based on unfamiliar circumstances for him. I will go and read some of the 'How to talk' stuff though, so I can have a think about how I will react to different circumstances.


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