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Really struggling to cope with constant tears from DD (3)

(32 Posts)
Lovestosing Thu 04-Apr-13 20:47:59

DD2 has just turned 3 and let's just say she has never been what you would call placid. She started having tantrums at just 15 months and has never really grown out of it. I can cope with a few tantrums a day but what I can't cope with is her crying about anything and everything. She started this phase in December and it's getting worse. She cries at school when we're dropping off and picking up DS and DD1, she cries when she can't get her own way, when she does get her own way but then changes her mind, when she's hungry, not hungry, you name it she cries about it.

She is a very good talker and has been able to talk in full sentences for almost a year so she has no problem communicating her needs. It is definitely an attention thing but she has me to herself for most of the day during the week and I do try to sit down with her every day and do things whether it's drawing, painting, playing with play dough, baking, etc. over the last few days I have started making her go to her room when she's crying like that and telling her she can come out when she's calmed down, and I'm also refusing to respond to her requests when said in a whiny or shouty way, she does this a LOT.
I just have no idea how to deal with her. I don't want to make her feel ignored but we are all so sick of her crying, people have started commenting on it, especially at school. I try making a joke of it but to be honest her crying has caused me to cry a few times recently. I just don't know what to do anymore.

cloudhands Sun 07-Apr-13 09:32:45

Hi Qtpie,

needs and feelings are different things, and there's actually two different reasons for crying.

1. is to get a need met.
2. to heal from stress and upsets.

if the child's crying for reason 1 , then once they learn to speak, they can then articulate it in words, without crying.
2. this is not a need, it's just a feeling, so child does not and should not be encouraged to use words. tears have a healing function, and if we stop this sort of crying, we stop a child from releasing their emotions. Our children (and ourselves!) get lots of benefits, when we can cry freely, while being listened to by a warm loving adult.

QTPie Sun 07-Apr-13 09:44:07

Yes cloud, but they are obviously different types of crying andyou can normally tell the difference. Ass parent, if I think that DS may be crying like that, then I say "would you like a cuddle?"

Sometimes sympathy and a cuddle are definitely the right approach, but I definitely sympathise with the OP re wanting to keep DC from the whingey, demanding cry/scream - there are better ways to communicate than that.


Corygal Sun 07-Apr-13 15:05:25

Crying is one thing, whiny voice is a very different issue. But also stressy and annoying. Try and explain to DD that unless she speaks 'properly' you can't respond to her - otherwise she'll prob end up at a speech therapist.

cloudhands Mon 08-Apr-13 06:58:12

the best way I've found to deal with the whining and screaming, is to have someone I can talk to about how annoying it is, it's really helped me to realise how much of the problem is my feelings of irritation. With Hand in Hand parenting, there's a listening partnership scheme where you can hook up with another parent, and talk and listen about how things are going. It's amazing how differently parenting can go when you have someone to listen to you, in a way that is quite different to the everyday chat we have with our friends.
Being listened to in this way has given me the energy and patience to give my attention to my daughter when she whines and screams. I don't agree with the behaviourist idea that we should ignore certain kinds of behaviours and respond to others. The whines and screams, are red flags that my daughter is not feeling good -- communication like any other. So I do give her attention, and connect with her, and in the long run, this approach, along with venting my feelings, helps her to whine a lot less.

princessx Mon 08-Apr-13 10:07:55

This is a really interesting thread. My friend's ds just turned 4 and he has only now come out of a horrible year if anger tantrums where he got worse and worse. But suddenly at his 4th birthday he just snapped out of it.

My friends drove themselves crazy trying to fix whatever the problem was, but now with hindsight we can see that it was just a hormonal phase he was going through.

I read recently that toddlers have more hormonal change than teenagers and that is the root cause of tantrums. Meaning that trying to rationally understand the problem doesn't help, you just need to go with it and let them let off steam.

I think you dd's crying could be her way of dealing with the hormones, literally getting those hormones out of her body. With the benefit of hindsight I would say don't feel like you have to fix the problem straight away. You could mentally give yourself a full year for the problem to get solved. And expect her to get worse before she gets better. As you say it only started in December.

But I know you want to try and deal with it in the meantime. When she cries when you drop kids off at school you could give her a quick hug and say something to acknowledge her feelings, like 'are you sad they've gone?' Then say they'll have fun at school and we're going to have fun doing x, then we'll pick them up and come home for tea.

Even though she knows all that at least you will be acknowledging and responding to her feelings.

As to the let them cry/tell them not to cry debate, I always find the crying stops as soon as I ask what's the matter (dd is 2) compared to the times I say no crying or just ignore it.

Hope that helps and good luck!

Lovestosing Tue 09-Apr-13 10:32:19

Hello everyone, sorry I posted last week, didn't have the opportunity to check back in until now! Thank you for all your responses, I feel very grateful. I have to admit to not being the most patient of mums, and I do find DD2's crying irritating and stressful, but I wouldn't want her to feel she has to suppress her emotions. DS who is 6.8 rarely cries (he is a sunny natured child) but when he does he really fights it and I tell him to let it out, and everyone cries sometimes. I do realise DD2 has emotional needs and she gets a lot of love and cuddles, but what I do feel resentful of is the fact that she has an older brother and sister who are at school most of the day and who struggle to get their mum's attention because I am dealing with DD2 most of the time. It makes me feel very sad for them to be honest. Anyway we have had a good few days with her so who knows, she may be finally growing out of it!

Teachercreature Thu 11-Apr-13 12:46:52

hi cloudhands thank you :-) I do try very hard to stay open-minded and never reach a point where I claim to have all the answers - I know research and development is ongoing and new stuff always deserves to be considered, not rejected due to being "new". Lifelong learning! Equally though, education and child rearing go through fads, so I think it's important to really be careful to sort out which approaches are best both short and long term.

Expressing emotion - hmm. I see what you mean entirely, but actually as adults we don't always express what we feel, and probably shouldn't! Just as an example - your boss tells you to photocopy something. You might be thinking "I hate photocopying and I'm busy! In fact I hate you!" but you would probably not express that feeling. As if you did, you'd probably end up getting either sacked - or in extreme cases of expressing our emotions, arrested!! Hence I do fundamentally feel you do have to toughen your child up to some extent or risk them finding the outside world very hard indeed - although it is a delicate balance as nor do you want them to be horribly repressed either.

Totally agree children need to feel connected to the adults in their life. Happily my DD and I are very close indeed and she feels able to tell me even when she has done something she knows is not good (I have always promised to try not to be angry when she is honest!) I also do take care to listen to her when she is really upset. However, sometimes she is actually just a bit tired, or has had a sugar rush, or is being a drama queen - I do feel again it's a delicate balance where you want them to be able to express genuine emotional hurt, but also to understand about appropriate levels of emotion and how to express them too. For example, if an adult did jump up and down on the spot crying because their friend got the jelly first, they'd risk being sectioned! Not an appropriate reaction.

Re children and adult emotion - no, I don't think they feel exactly the same, nope. They do have the same raw emotions sure, but their experience and perception is so different - really they are quite simple creatures of "want/don't want" when small. I have taught KS2 for ten years and the full complexities of adult emotion (made more complex by such things as sexual desire, adult love, responsibility, etc) are very hard for them to understand even then, so no way at 3 do I believe they feel exactly like adults do. Their fundamental drive is their own survival, hence they tend to be so inconsiderate - we teach them social graces and manners and those concepts, they don't come naturally to humans (sadly! Although biologically it does make sense - we developed good manners as society developed, cos we need to get on for it to work!) My sister-in-law has worked with babies-pre-school age kids her whole career and she said same re emotions (plus she also felt not appropriate to comfort a child having a tantrum as it would reinforce the behaviour, but afterwards instead.) So I have yet to see anything in real life or research to convince me that children feel the same as adults, but if I do then fair enough!

I do agree though with you and QTPie that losing it at children should be avoided if at all possible. We're all human and we all can be pushed too far, but as a teacher I always used to feel I had failed if I ever got cross, and I have the same guideline as a parent. I try to stay calm and in control of my own emotion (if possible!) as I then feel I do a better job in making the right choices for the right reasons. I think there's no harm in telling your child they are upsetting you/making you angry, as they need to know there will be consequences of behaviour - but again, as calmly as possible.

One thing someone once pointed out to me - my DD won't always have me being the adult she interacts with. So she does need to learn ways of being heard/understood by other adults too. The Hand in Hand approach I can't see translating to the adult world or even shorter term to school - for example even with the best will in the world no teacher will have time to listen to the individual feelings of 30 children, and there will be times (in school and also the rest of life, work etc) where they're just going to have to get on with things, like it or not. Do you know if they have any articles explaining that transition from "adult who has been trained to listen to you" to "other adults/people who don't and expect you just to get on with it"? I'd be very interested to read them!

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