Detest my 2 year old(19 Posts)
I know it sounds horrendous but I feel like I am having a mental breakdown due to my DC.
He is 2 1/2 and things haven't always been this way, in fact he was almost the perfect child up until a few months ago. This past week has been terrible, my DS wont eat anything I give him, throws food at me, refusing to nap, up at 6am, still awake at 11pm, won't stay in his bed, generally being naughty, hitting other children at playgroup and the list goes on and on.
I am suffering from pretty bad depression and have to put a face on to people every day to hide it (only close friends know about it) and I'm just exhausted with it all as I guess this makes everything seem 10 x worse. My son has been like this for months but this week in particular has been bloody awful and I'm starting to really resent him. I have an older DC who was never like this and hardly gets any attention because the younger once is such a battle just now.
Please, any advice would be great.
How do you get a child to eat when they just look at the lovely home cooked meal and chuck it on the floor without even tasting it?
If I do make shitty processed nuggets (which is about all he will eat) how do yo get your child to sit and stay at the table? I've tried the naughty step but not sure if he is too young? He just runs away....
How to get your child to stay in their bed for naps when they are clearly exhausted but just come out every time you put them back?
I might also add he isn't great at talking yet so gets frustrated when he cant communicate and I'm guessing this adds to his behaviour.
I'm am physically and mentally exhausted and my husband just tells me I'm blowing it out of proportion. I can't really ask any other family to help out as they all have busy life's and I know its my problem to deal with but feel lost and generally done in.
Thanks for listening.......
DS is 2.1 and doesn't talk.
I don't know how to discipline him. I nipped to the loo earlier and he ripped all the flaps off his books. So I told him off and took books away but didn't know what else I should have done? Sent him to bed? (But how? How to make him stay in there? We live in a flat so all his toys are in there and he's in and out throughout day) I don't know how to parent him when he misbehaves (throws stuff etc). I still put him in a highchair when he wont stay sat at the table for food but he's getting too big for that. He's asleep on the sofa right now despite me trying to get him to nap in his bed for ages.
So I'm watching because I don't have a fucking clue!
I am not sure if this helps but my ds was challenging for spells as a 2 year old. Refusing to stay in bed, tantrums etc. Refused food if he thought he could negotiate pudding. Would fight not to get in his car seat etc.
He is a happy, well behaved three year old now. I think him being able to understand more and speak better helped a lot.
Other than that we were just consistent and tried to pick our battles. At bedtimes, I would sit on the floor in front of his door and stay calm but not interact after bedtime story was done other than to say "bedtime now". We would get a huge tantrum every night then he would want a hug then would go to bed. I am not saying it wasn't painful and I had to sit on mumsnet sometimes so as not to get irritated at him. A week or two of that and it got better.
It sounds like you could do with a break. Could your dh pick up some of the battles? Bedtime for instance?
I'm sorry you are having such a rubbish time. Hear are some suggestions that worked for us:
Naps/bed time - put down at the same time each day/night. Put stair gate on bedroom door. If he gets out of bed, quietly without a fuss put him back. Don't make eye contact or engage in conversation, just say "bed time now" .
Meal times - buy one of those sturdy booster seats that attach to a chair and strap him in. My dc used one til they were almost 4. He won't be able to run off. Continue with your home cooked meals, place it in front of him and if he wont eat calmly take it away. Make sure he knows there is nothing else. Avoid giving snacks inbetween meals. Try and sit together and eat if possible. See if you can involve him in preparing simple meals such as a sandwich or a fruit salad.
Easier said than done but try to stay calm. If he picks up the fact this is causing you so much stress he will probably be worse. If he gets little reaction from you he may behave better. Reward any good behaviour, sticker charts are good at this age. . You don't say if you work or a sahm. If you are a sahm is there enough activity for him, would he benefit from a day or two at nursery for a change of scene?
The lack of verbal communication is the key to his behaviour - he wants to ask questions and express his emotions but can't. Also, he might not understand why he has to do certain things.
To help, try a few hand signs that he can use if he wants something if he's not verbal at all. Use them when you are doing something too so he learns them.
Meal times: back to high chair or strap in to a booster seat. All eat together. Give him the food. If he doesn't eat it, put it back in the tub and serve it later on. Again, all together at tea time too.
The hitting is a sign of frustration and not being able to express it, so he hits instead (with other children). Intervene and explain what is happening eg. you need to share, it's kind to share etc. Be specific about what behaviour you are wanting him to correct. for example, don't just say 'no hitting'. Work out why he is getting frustrated and explain what he needs to do to be kind to others. You have to spot it when he does the right thing too and pile on the praise for that so he feels he gets it right most of the time and enjoys getting it right.
It will pass. Depression can make everything feel like it is just that bit too much and that it's maybe a failure on someone's part. Try not to personalise it as in it's not him that's being naughty, it's the behaviour mainly due to his frustration of not being able to talk and to do what he wants to; navigating what he is allowed to do and what is unacceptable is tricky and he is finding that out now. Also, it's not your fault he's behaving this way either. Lots of 2 year olds do this.
Slightly contrary to what others have said,y ds played up at mealtimes when he was tired so usually yea but was okay at lunch. Tea is also.the meal he eats on his own at home as I eat with dh after ds was in bed. Sitting with him didn't help a at all and I found letting him watch TV kept him distracted so less playing up.
Not ideal but I decided I didn't want a battle if I could avoid it. He is fine now but does see having tv on to eat as a treat.
Honestly, ignore him. Offer him the food you and your other dc are eating and if he doesn't want it then just say ok you can get down now while you all finish eating. He won't starve and will soon realise he wants to join in.
It's all attention based, don't react to him & he will stop but it's very important you make a big fuss when he does as his told.
Don't feel bad about it, it's a horrible age. My dd was horrendous at that age!
No help or advice here, but a bit of thanks that you've posted, and made me feel like I'm not alone. My 21 month old DS is very 'challenging' at the moment. Not much help to say I hear you, and we're experiencing it too. But thank you to all those who've posted saying its a phase and it'll pass.
Accept he doesn't want to eat. Offer him your family meal and take the hint if he's not interested. He's healthy and won't starve himself.
Give lots of positive attention, read books about parenting (Amazon) and treasure his good points.
Wow poor you (sorry I don't mean to sound patronising)
I would suggest putting him in the pram and going for a walk or put him in car and go for a drive and hopefully he will fall asleep
one of those stick down/suction up bowls to put his food in
Get the husband/partner to take some of the burdon
Can't offer any advice apart from as a Mum of 3 DCs who suffers from depression I would say don't beat yourself up too much, this will pass and things will get better. Make sure you get some time out for yourself. Sending you a big virtual hug.
I could have written that! And it is making me dislike parenting full stop, the exhaustion is overwhelming and has turned me into a screaming harpy!
My once laid back, cuddle obsessed dd has turned into a fucking monster! She literally tries to fist fight with her big sister, will not do anything she is told and destroys everything she touches! Plus, she doesn't nap unless she is in the car and doesn't sleep well at night.
I don't have any other suggestions to offer!
OP, that sounds really difficult. I have a 2 year old and can definitely recognise some of the feelings you are having, even though I am not suffering from depression and have a lot of support which I know I am very lucky to have.
It sounds exhausting and I don't think you are blowing it out of proportion.
From what you have said it sounds like your LO must be very over tired (refusing naps during day, only sleeping 11-6 at night?). If you can sort this out the rest of the behaviour might improve a lot. My son is a screaming nightmare when he has not slept enough!
I guess my biggest advice is to cut yourselves some slack and do whatever works for YOU right now.
Is there a way to get him to sleep during the day that works better than putting him in bed? E.g. walk in the pram or a drive as a PP suggested. Then at night, could you get him to sleep earlier even if it is by cuddling/rocking/going for a drive again?
Sleep is the area my son is not very good at! And I've given up beating myself up about it. We do a bath/story bedtime routine then switch off lights and cuddle him to sleep. I know he probably "should" be able to sleep alone by now, but he doesn't and I don't have the energy to go through nights of screaming tantrums to try and make him - don't feel like you have to either! I honestly don't think there's anything wrong with taking the 'easy' way out and doing whatever works for you and your family at the time - he'll get there eventually.
Alternatively, I know people for whom sleep consultants have worked wonders - not cheap but maybe worth considering if you can afford it?
Similarly, you can pick your battles in others areas. E.g. hitting other kids is obviously a no, but sitting at a table to eat is no biggie to me. My son often sits on a mat on the floor and finger feeds himself quite happily. Or if he refuses I let him go and he'll come back for it later.
Are you getting any support for your mental health?
Are you getting any time away from your little one or are you a full time stay at home mum?
sorry for the super long post. Obviously not suggesting you have to do everything I do either but just sharing what works for me.
Ripping flaps off a book is not naughty behaviour for a two year old. It is just plain curiosity. He doesn't need to be disciplined for that, he is too young to be left in charge of delicate things.
Op, you clearly need more help but I think you have unrealistic expectations of toddlers! They really are a handful and think they know better than you! They get very frustrated and don't know how to handle their emotions. Just because your older child was not so difficult, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with your son.
How much interaction do you get with other children his age? Could he go to playgroup for half a day two or three days a week so you can get a break?
Dc3 is 23m. I told him calmly today if he'd been my first I wouldn't have had any more. Luckily he didnt understand. I hear you. He objects loudly to anything he doesn't like. I've got to the stage where I put off doing certain errands in the week, as he can scream so relentlessly. Then can be an absolute joy at other times. It's exhausting. I too suffer from anxiety/ depression and find it hard not to blame myself for his behaviour. Feel like I'm falling at everything. Dad is in a care home with advanced Alzheimer's. I can't even pop in there for five mins with him now, as he can make such a noise it's distressing for the residents
It is just a phase. It won't last for ever, his behaviour will improve when he is more able to verbalise his feelings and wishes than he is now. I remember when I was at the end of my tether, pregnant with dd3 and having huge issues with dd2, crying all the time and waking continually through the night, it was awful. There was no pleasure in looking after her, it was a daily ordeal and it affected my feelings towards her. My husband said to me that she was frustrated and confused as she had many feelings she couldn't understand or verbalise and this was the cause of her behaviour. She is 6 now and a different child. Hang in there, things will get better.
I think you have to concentrate on his sleeping and eating rather than anything else for now. If you can crack those, his behaviour will really improve. Can he watch something on TV while he's eating? I know it's not ideal but he might forget about running off if he's got something to watch. Or a story?
Sometimes I would put my kids' dinners in little ramekins, so each one had something different in - just snacky things like cubes of cheese, pieces of fruit, little Ritz crackers, that sort of thing. They would just eat on automatic pilot whereas with a dinner they had to concentrate and if they were in a foul mood they'd rebel.
Do you follow the same routine for bed? What time is his official bedtime? You are clearly exhausted so he must be, too.
I'm so glad those days are gone for me!
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