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I don't like my 18month old. I'm worried I don't love her either

(109 Posts)
Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 21:27:10

This is going to be long. Sorry. I just need to get it out after another long day.

DD is 18 months. Her older brother is 5. I thought he was going to be an only and we decided we wanted another more for him than us.

I had a very traumatic birth and could have died. As with DS I had PND and didn't bond with DD at all. Didn't love her really etc. After 9 months I thought it was all ok. I was happier and she was so much more fun.

She has always been difficult however. She has always been clingy and whingy and won't go to anyone but me.

The last 2-3 months have been horrendous.

She barely eats except snacks. She won't eat any lunch or dinner except fruit but will scream and cry and tantrum for snacks. When we are out (school
Run, bus) I have to give in because I can't leave the school run for example and she will just scream and scream and try to escape from her buggy or run off screaming. I can't get on and off a bus every 5 minutes so have to give her these snacks to stop the meltdowns.

She tantrums all day long over every tiny thing. Her tantrums are not just crying but screaming thumping throwing hitting scratching.
She won't be cuddled or held during these at all and will hit me if I try.

If I tell her off or say no she screams in my face and hits me or throws things.

She doesn't play with any toys at all ever. She really doesn't. She has a passing interest in books and occasionally a toy for 5 min.
Otherwise she spends all day clinging to me following me around. She won't let me cook without clinging to my legs and screaming. She won't sit and play with me. She wants to scribble with pens which is fine so that's her only 'playing'. She then ends up trying to draw on stuff she shouldn't. Cue more screams.

I go out with her everyday I'm off work. It's ok. She's not so bad at playgroup but she is easily pissed off at the other kids and gets frustrated if she can't do things her way.

She can't sit for singing time at all. We always have to leave because she wants to get the tidied up toys out again.

There's so much more to say but I'm exhausted writing this.

She won't stay with her dad or my family at all for even a second if I'm around. I can't do bedtime with DS properly because she wants my attention all the time. She won't let him touch me. He now pretty much hates her.

I just don't like her. I'm regretting having her. I miss DS. I love him so much and I don't feel that way about her at all. He wasn't like this at all.

There are little moments where she smiles at me or cuddles me and I feel that rush of love again and hold her tight to me to soak it in. But it's not enough. I'm not coping.

Not sure what I'm asking for really. Just a sympathetic ear I suppose. I don't know how to change her behaviour.

amysmummy12345 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:33:05

flowers my DD was all me until about two, then all of a sudden my dh became her best buddy. It was such a slog being her only comfort for such a long time. She was breastfed until just over two years old so she was literally "on" me a lot. I felt really caged in at times. She's three and a half now and her behaviour at the moment is awful for the most part. I'm thinking of doing an online parenting course, is that something you think might help with your little girls behaviour?

Gunpowder Tue 11-Apr-17 21:33:19

Oh gosh I am so sorry. That sounds really tough. DD1 was 'spirited' and drove me crackers (she's 4 now and a delight btw) but this sounds more full on than that. Have you taken her to the GP? Could she have food allergies or ear problems? I think you need more help. It sounds miserable for you. brew

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 21:39:27

Snacks? You have to give them? Well then of course she will tantrum for snacks if that's what gets them.
Don't cuddle during tantrums. Ignore. Walk away if necessary. (I would be in the next room but looking in round the door!)
Hitting or throwing is her frustration. It's hard but this will get less when she has the ability to use words instead.
She can't dictate. If her dad is with her then you do bedtime for DS. (Or hide in the bathroom and drink gin!) It's his problem to deal with. Don't go running back if she throws a tantrum.
Do you think you ever really recovered from the PND? And do you ever get some time off? Sounds like you really need a break. flowers

Oly5 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:44:01

My DD was the same at that age and I was drowning. Didn't always like her and missed her calmer older sibling. She's 3.5 now and it has improved. She's much more independent though still clingy sometimes. I do worry her clingyness is her picking up on my "annoyance" with her. Could that be part of your issue too?
One thing I've found helps is giving her loads of attention. Being v one on one and cuddly. I think she craves this from me.
But regarding tantrums I have a low tolerance - I would ignore the screams and give her time out til she learns. If you give in all the time she will see the weakness and run rings round you constantly
Best of luck, it will improve

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 21:46:49

This evening she was left downstairs with her dad (and inlaws who we live with and who dote on the kids) while I tried to do bedtime with DS. She stood by the stair gate screaming and screaming pulling on it until it nearly came off. Despite numerous attempts by all she wouldn't leave.
In the end we had to swap and she came with me. DS was upset.

Yes I do get breaks. DH is brilliant. I was at my mums with the kids for a week and then they went back home and I spent a weekend at my mums all alone. Best two days in 18 months. She was totally
Fine without me. Much better behaviour overall too.

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 21:48:57

I don't know how to ignore insane screaming tantrums where she can barely breathe when we are out in public. She has had tantrums that last for 45min. I can't just leave her whether we're out or at home really.

duskonthelawn Tue 11-Apr-17 21:49:25

What Wolfie says. Ignore ignore ignore. Or just carry on talking as if nothing is wrong.
DD does a lot of this but luckily for me (not a boast I promise) I find it just goes over my head.
Clinginess- tell her to go and do something for herself. Build a tower, count the bricks etc. If she whinges ignore her. Once she's done it, lots of praise. Then repeat.
Limit snacks. If she doesn't eat all her lunch, she isn't hungry!
Get her DF to put her to bed, read a book with her, bathe her. Get him to do it regularly, ignore tantrums and crying, leave the room completely so having you instead isn't an option. The less he does it the less she will want him if she's attached to you. She's not doing it to be mean or unkind to him.
Frustration with other children is normal, she's a toddler. But it is hard. Just keep repeating "we share with our friends, we play nicely, we're gentle" etc. I found with my DD that learning the sign for sorry, and stroking to show gentle hands, really helped her.

I do sympathise, everyone has days where it seems never-ending flowers but just remember she's miserable too when she tantrums and all this will help you to help her. Keep going, things will get better.

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 21:51:16

We had to swap? No you didn't. Ignore. It's bloody horrible but every time you cave in you teach her that throwing a loud enough tantrum for long enough will get her exactly what she wants.

duskonthelawn Tue 11-Apr-17 21:51:27

Tantrums in public- keep her in the buggy and ignore it. It never sounds as bad to other people as it does to you. DD had some horrendous strops while I practised having her on the reins, so I kept her in the buggy until she got more used to it. Still use the buggy if we're walking far.

annandale Tue 11-Apr-17 21:53:45

This sounds incredibly tough. The only possible ray of light here is that you do have more hands available in the house? Could you do bedtime with her while ds is out at the park with dh or your inlaws, and then do bedtime for ds after she is asleep? Or if she absolutely won't have that, swap and she gets taken out in her pjs and a blanket in a buggy while you do bedtime with ds in peace? Then he gets a reliable chunk of time when he knows he is the priority with you and she is prevented from behaving this way? Could you do the school run calmly with ds and she is taken out or kept in the house again by the other team, with the promise that if she eats her breakfast and lunch she can come with you, if she doesn't then oh dear no school run for you today, bye?

I am really conscious that you will have tried all this but I do wonder how much real support you are getting from the 3 other adults in the house shock and perhaps spelling out what they can do to prevent these situations would help?

Isadora2007 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:54:10

Honestly I think you should go for some counselling to help you look at your feelings in a safe and judgement free environment. I wonder about your own upbringing and whether you have any siblings? Is this bringing up unresolved stuff for you maybe ? I notice you said you had yor second child "for" your first and then that he doesn't even like her. How does that feel?
There is so much your little one WILL be picking up on and so much of her behaviour will be linked to your feelings... if you can work on your feelings I am sure her behaviour will improve.

Igottastartthinkingbee Tue 11-Apr-17 21:55:16

You might find some useful tips from this thread I started recently. My DD is a year older but I think a lot of the same principles apply. flowers

Don't be too hard on yourself. 'Every fed and no one dead' is a mumsnet phrase that comes to mind.

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 21:56:16

I know we shouldn't have swapped.
It's hard because I was always so on it with DS. I did all the leave them to tantrum, ignore, etcetc and I thought I was such an awesome parent! But it turns out DS was just pretty easy to parent and DD is this whirling nightmare that I can't seem to control. She's 18 months and I'm losing my grip on parenting. If you knew me you would know this is not like me!

I couldn't listen to the ear piercing wailing and shrieking any more it's true. But also we live with inlaws they were eating their dinner. I didn't think it was fair on them to have to endure it.

Igottastartthinkingbee Tue 11-Apr-17 21:56:26


Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 22:00:11

I don't think I need counselling isadora. I'm no saying that in a defensive way. I mean I feel fine. I'm not depressed.
Do you mean because I say I don't like her? I don't know. She's just not very nice for maybe 90% of the day. It's hard to feel love when my days are spent like this. I'm guessing my feelings are not
Normal and that's why I need therapy?

Igottastartthinkingbee Tue 11-Apr-17 22:01:14

God you have my sympathies, living with family and having an angry toddler is tough. I hope they support your way of dealing with her. And I know what you mean, there isn't much that riles me more than the screaming/crying of my own children. Other people's kids don't bother me! So try not to worry about public tantrums, just get to where your going and ride it out. No one else will care, they'll just sympathise.

Thegiantofillinois Tue 11-Apr-17 22:01:14

Sounds very much like my situation, although I had a smaller gap. Dd was bloody hard work-to the point where a day without a tantrum used to feel like a massive win. She was horribly clingy and I felt suffocated-even working full time.

She's improved with age-and with her increasing vocabulary. We still have battles, but her clingy ness has morphed into her being my little mate and she's pretty fab as a school aged child.

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 22:11:12

Thanks for the advice from everyone

Some of the comments had me
Thinking though. People are mentioning explaining things to her, telling her consequences, telling her to do things by herself.

She doesn't understand any of this. Should she?
I can't explain what I'm doing or what she should be doing. She doesn't understand it I don't think. Likewise explaining that if she behaves in one way she will get something I don't think she would get that at all. If I ask her to play with something and leave her to it she would just follow me and cling to my leg.

Maybe she should be understanding more? Her speech isn't great at all. She only has a few words. But DS had a speech delay too and was under SALT so I wasn't too worried.

PotOfYoghurt Tue 11-Apr-17 22:12:37

Have you had her hearing checked?

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 22:12:47

Also DH and family do help but I can't impose too much. So I couldn't ask MIL to look after her on the school runs because she's still asleep in the mornings and often down the shops in the afternoon or cooking so it would be too much for her.

Faffandahalf Tue 11-Apr-17 22:13:52

No not since she was born.
I could go to the GP

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 22:16:37

The thing is that by giving in to tantrums you are stopping that one tantrum but ensuring that there will be many more to come.
Short term pain agony for long term gain.
I say this as the parent of a small child on steroids. You've seen nothing till you've seen a steroid fuelled tantrum! He's a teen now and lovely. But it was bloody hard.

Igottastartthinkingbee Tue 11-Apr-17 22:16:57

Faff I don't think 18 months is old enough to understand consequences and sequences of events.

Trooperslane Tue 11-Apr-17 22:22:34

She's so wee ........

I would try love bombing what a wanky term

(massive attention time) with both of your DC separately - and I'm including DH in this plan too.

DD is older and at nursery full time, but we do bed vs dinner night apart. It works really well - we can say, no Daddy's turn thank fuck for stories tonight etc.

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