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New baby and toddler acting out

(12 Posts)
Itsaplayonwords Mon 18-Jul-16 10:59:35

DD1 is 2 and a half. She was born 12 weeks early and had a long and difficult journey through NICU which contributed to her being very spoilt and me being very protective. Aside from a few phases she is the happiest little girl, she listens, she says please and thank you and she is generally lovely.

DD2 was born 4 weeks ago. She was 7 weeks early and I spent the first two weeks at the hospital with her which was difficult for me and DD1. She acted out a little bit but mainly she just broke my heart by crying for me and telling me she wanted to come home.

DD1 is really good with her new sister. She's quite protective, wants to hold her hand and give her cuddles and doesn't actually act jealous - she'll tell me to hold her, has never told me to put her down or shown any resentment towards her at all.

BUT DD1 has become a nightmare in other ways. She ignore us, she will run off when we're out shopping (she's never done this before), she sulks (also a new thing) and yesterday she had a complete meltdown because she had to take her swimming nappy off - she screamed all the way back to the car (this was my first experience of full on embarrassing tantrum!)

Yesterday I spent some time with DD1 just the two of us - nothing major but I'm breastfeeding so it's been difficult to get that time. She was a completely different person! She was the little girl she was before DD2 was born. Until DH came back with DD2 and then the sulking and refusal to do anything started again,

I just don't know how to handle this. I completely understand why she's acting out and that its normal and I'm really glad that she's not directing any of her frustration towards her sister. But what do we do? Just ride it out? Is it a phase she'll just get through? I don't want to constantly be telling her off because that could make things worse but at the same time I don't want her to think her behaviour is okay - some things I can let slide but there's been some hitting and grabbing and I'm not letting that go.

Feeling like a bit of a shit mum at the moment so any help, tips or advice would be much appreciated.

Ladyonashortfuse Mon 18-Jul-16 11:47:33

My DS2 (aged just 2) is a bit like this at the moment (baby DD arrived 5 weeks ago). Clingy, whingey, unco-operative and basically a complete PITA, poor little guy. Think like your DD his world has just been turned upside down, he doesn't understand his own emotions or how to express them, hence the bad behaviour. But I have been through this before with DS1, so I can promise it does get better, kids are resilient and adaptable in the end! Until the fighting over favourite toys starts. Big hug meanwhile though. cake

Chattycat78 Mon 18-Jul-16 12:12:44

Same here. Ds1 is 18 months and his behaviour has been terrible since ds2 arrived 6 weeks ago. He has been kicking, biting and generally acting up. All we ve done is shout at himsad and I've really not enjoyed being around him in the slightest. The days I look after them both alone I've absolutely dreadedsad

Glad it's not just me. I too have been feeling like a terrible parent like i can't handle them both on my ownsad

UniversalTruth Mon 18-Jul-16 14:57:56

Ride it out. She will get used to the new situation and you will get better at dealing with the new behaviour. I definitely lowered my (previously fairly strict) standards and picked my battles but maintained certain rules and boundaries as i believe children need this to feel secure. It's really really tough but you'll find a new normal, and it will be easier when baby sleeps better too

DorotheaHomeAlone Mon 18-Jul-16 20:17:58

Agree with the above. Ride it out. Let the little stuff go but stay firm on things where you always have been. My daughter (nearly 2) was veryblikecthis when her brother arrived 3 months ago. The first 8 weeks she was dreadful. We just kept on lavishing her with as much attention and affection as possible and she eventually chilled out. Took about 2 months.

Itsaplayonwords Mon 18-Jul-16 20:25:07

Thanks all. So for those who have had little ones go through this - did they revert back to their old selves afterwards? I don't want her to change too much or continue being unhappy but just put up with it because she realises there's no alternative. This evening was tantrum after tea trim followed by massive screaming fit before bed. The smallest little thing is setting her off but I know the heat probably isn't helping either.

puglife15 Mon 18-Jul-16 20:37:12

DS1 is still acting up 5 months in. Like your DD it's directed at me not baby. Things were awful, then got better, and have got worse again (but not as bad as they were) when DS2 "woke up".

I give him boundaries but try really hard not to shout etc - we don't do naughty step etc either. I was having v little time alone with him so try to do this as much as possible now and get some good love bombing in.

Think of it as her testing "will they still love me if I do X?" So act lovingly, accept her feelings and let her work through them, but retain boundaries. I personally don't tell DS1 off for crying, whining and shouting. most of the time

People tell me things are back to "normal" by a year.

UniversalTruth Mon 18-Jul-16 20:43:16

Yes and no - he is much happier and fewer outbursts now, but he is different because he has a baby brother! I recommend "how to talk so your kids will listen..." and "siblings without rivalry" books for ideas of how to get them to express themselves more acceptably. I found it was emotions that he couldn't understand/put into words that led to tantrums. Can give examples of how I deal with it if you would like but it's not what you asked for! Good to remember that children change and have tantrum prone periods even when you haven't brought a screaming baby home smile

Itsaplayonwords Mon 18-Jul-16 20:51:49

I'd love examples Universal. Any help you can offer will be gratefully received. I'll check out those books too.

I agree pug that 1 on 1 time with DD1 is important. It's difficult at the moment because I'm breastfeeding and although she's a month old she's only 5lb so she's still feeding pretty much constantly. I think maybe we need to do trips to the park and have DH look after the baby while I play with DD1 so at least I'm on hand for feeds but he can deal with anything else.

I just want my happy little girl back sad I feel awful for her because she looks so upset and confused at times. But in the long run I know she'll be grateful to have a sibling.

trilbydoll Tue 19-Jul-16 19:59:43

We had a bad 6m - not immediately, dd1 didn't seem too fussed until about dd2 was 3 or 4mo. Then a lot of tantrums, bedtime was a disaster for ages etc. She was slightly younger, I've got exactly 2y age gap.

What helped was a big weekly timetable, I got a big bit of card and then drew lots of pictures that can be blu tacked to it. Each day is a column. I did the same for the bedtime routine, 8 pictures in order on a piece of card. She seemed to calm down a lot when there were no surprises.

If you can get baby to sleep in the crib / swing / bouncy chair I tried to take that opportunity to do a big girl activity like baking. Not at only 4w though, at that stage I considered being dressed a successful day!

DollyBarton Tue 19-Jul-16 20:04:52

It might be worth bearing in mind that what you describe is quite normal behaviour for a 2.5yr old whether there is a new baby or not!

Itsaplayonwords Tue 19-Jul-16 20:53:53

That's good to know Dolly.

We had a slightly better day today...sort of...the morning was good! My DH works from home on a Tuesday - he works in the morning and the evening so we get the afternoon together (I used to work the afternoon). Anyway, this morning DD2 settled in her cot for 2 hours (I think the heat wore her out) so I played with DD1 and she was her old self - it was lovely to see. This afternoon wasn't so great but she woke up from her nap too early because she needed a wee and then wouldn't go back to sleep. Plus the heat is obviously getting to her. BUT, there was a big improvement at bedtime. I tried to give her her medicine and she sulked, refused to cooperate and ignored me so I put the medicine down and just said "okay, say goodnight to Daddy then" to which she said "I want my medicine", then I tried to give her her inhaler to which she sulked, refused to cooperate and ignored me! So I said "okay, say goodnight to Daddy"..."I want my inhaler". Same with teeth brushing. It was the first time it's been so obviously clear that she's doing it to get a reaction and if you don't give the reaction then she seems to go "oh okay, I may as well do it then". Hopefully this tactic will continue to work...we'll see!

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