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Toddler tantrums affecting marriage

(12 Posts)
cherryypie Sat 11-Aug-18 13:08:10

Sorry if this is posted in the wrong topic, but it is relationship advice I want and not so much advice on the tantrums. Please bear with me!

My lb is 14 months old and has been having tantrums for months, they are getting so frequent it's practically every 10 minutes. I'm worn out!

He physically fights sleep, eating, his pram, going out and about, the only time he is happy is when left playing with his toys but even then he starts to throw himself about. I think he is wanting to be more independent and do things for himself and is frustrated (ie walking talking etc).

What I am most worried about is how it is affecting mine and DH's relationship - we honestly never argued in the years together before our LB, and for months all we have done is argued. I'm miserable and I can tell he is too. We don't get any help from grandparents etc and our relationship has turned into feeling like a constant handover/shift swap.

I want to know if anyone else has had a difficult baby and how you (hopefully) did not let it ruin your relationship?

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sat 11-Aug-18 13:15:32

Don’t let your kid rule the rooster. He is 14 months old, you are the parent and I can assure you that no matter how much they cry and trash around, they won’t die. Just put him somewhere safe where he can’t break anything or hurt themselves until the tantrum ends.

Do not give up to any single tantrum and within a few weeks things will have calm down.

I say that as a single parent who has no one to palm my child off to, no one. So either I keep my very spirited and hyper child in check myself, or drive myself crazy in the process.

GummyGoddess Sat 11-Aug-18 13:25:49

What do you and your DH do when a tantrum starts?

If mine is tantruming because he hasn't got his way I leave him to it and return every few minutes to see if he wants a cuddle. He stops quickly, we cuddle and move on. Trying to placate him or bargain with him makes it worse and last even longer, as well as making him more likely to do it.

cherryypie Sat 11-Aug-18 13:50:56

Thanks for your replies!

@NotSureThisIsWhatIWant just want to say I really appreciate your advice and admire you being a single parent, as even when myself and DH are arguing, I really could not do it alone.

@GummyGoddess if we're holding him, we put him down on the floor if he starts throwing himself about (honestly this is mainly because he is very strong!) and after a minute or two he's fine! It's more the frequency and the constant screaming and whinging which is driving us crazy. If he is fed, dry, etc we don't rush to him but try and give him attention when he is calm. Even things like popping to the local shop for milk - the second I stop the pushchair he has an utter meltdown!
I will admit I do try and placate him whilst out shopping but not in the house.
We have another baby on the way in 8 weeks so really starting to worry.

My DH is an absolutely brilliant dad and I cannot complain about him whatsoever. We both are marginally aware of how much harder it's going to be.
He works full time and I am currently on mat leave.

In all honesty I'm just really worried our lb is driving a wedge between us and would like to know if anyone has experienced this themselves?

cholka Sat 11-Aug-18 14:09:29

Maybe your son is picking up on tensions about the new baby and tensions between you and your husband? If they feel a bit insecure it can manifest as tantrums.

They want you to be calm, even when telling them off. Being able to rattle you is scary for them. Imagine a policeman who is supposed to keep the peace but seems about to blow and lose their temper!

Also to be blunt, your language sounds a bit passive aggressive towards your son. He's driving a wedge between you, he's affecting your marriage, ruining your relationship - he's not even 1 and a half. He's a tiny baby. You're the grown ups. You've got to stop resenting him for just being around! Parenthood is a major change, but don't blame your son for existing.

Try spending oodles of time fully focused on him, not just around but playing and talking. If he's already getting your attention, he won't need to tantrum for it. Also getting out of the house to look at animals, trees etc can make them get distracted and forget about frustrations - if in doubt, go out!

Also if you can, spend more time connecting with your partner - as soon as your son is down for the night, turn telly and phones off and sit or lie and talk, hug and so on - forget the chores and actually spend time together.

cherryypie Sat 11-Aug-18 14:36:45

@cholka thank you for that response, I appreciate your bluntness as sometimes a reality check is the best thing! Yes I do feel fed up with him at the moment, as much as I love him, I do feel insecure but more in myself not being able to make him happy. Your policeman analogy is fab. We don't lose our tempers with him because he is far too young to understand anyway - the problem is we bicker so much with each other! Try not to in front of him as realise they pick up on it. You have sent me some very good suggestions and I really appreciate them, thank you!

ParisProperty Sat 11-Aug-18 17:17:43

It may be a chicken and egg situation.
It is very common and normal for tantrums and insecurities to ramp up when there are arguments between parents. Even more so when a new baby is expected.
Maybe you both need to take a step back and try to see things from your child's view point. He is 14 months old - just a baby. Are your expectations too high?
Is he tired?
Anxious about changes?
Parenting a toddler shouldn't be a cause of rows in a normal adult partnership.

7to25 Sat 11-Aug-18 21:22:58

Sometimes at that age, it is a frustration at lack of ability to communicate. Simple sign language can help. Just a thought.

PookieDo Sat 11-Aug-18 21:35:47

This was me with my DD and I did really struggle with exDP with consistency of behavioural techniques

Ask your HV for help and support - mine was great.

My DD did not grow out of this for maybe years, so it can’t be assumed this is transient but it can be managed with consistency and also love, affection and firm handling,

Don’t make this a battle for anyone, when you find yourself wanting to pick and bicker (to release your tension) just walk away or have a signal bwteeen you so you both know you are feeling agitated. It’s becssue you are taking the frustration out on each other

I will say that getting over involved in a tantrum to try to stop it is the worst thing you can both do. As long as he’s safe just leave him to cry. If he’s unsafe try to hold him close until it has stopped. Try to work on communication skills and spot triggers - I would always pre warn DD about everything when she was calm - in 10 mins we getting into the buggy.... I realised often as adults we impose things on kids with no prior warning! Communication is key

GreenTulips Sat 11-Aug-18 21:39:54

Did you work full time before maternity leave so it's all change for him?

Start each day as a new day, make sure you have some time out, relax have a bath read a book.

Have you got a routine in place?

Even breakfast park lunch nap? Can break up your day and make you feel happier

cholka Mon 13-Aug-18 09:10:08

Glad to be of help @cherryypie! In our house we've been trying to slow things down and stop treating dd like a burden or annoyance, which we sometimes did - obviously we love her but sometimes they get under your feet.
We also found that having a routine helps a lot - might be especially useful when the baby comes to try to keep a bit of normality. Dd loves it when she knows exactly what happens at bedtime, in the morning etc. It's boring but their worlds are so crazy and stimulating that the predictability is comforting.
I blame all the ads and TV shows that show angelic kids playing quietly by themselves on the floor! Very rarely happens in real life but I suppose it wouldn't make for good telly to just watch a character play peepo for three hours...
Best of luck with it!

BertieBotts Mon 13-Aug-18 09:23:08

Invest time into your relationship and you'll each have more energy to deal with parenting. Try to get back to the mindset you had when preparing to have a baby? And know that this is a temporary phase which will pass although it will take time.

It can help to make some ground rules for arguing - recognise that certain things you can say to each other don't make the situation better and step out. Try to assume positive intent at all times. When you have the energy to do something nice or extra for one another, do it. And don't expect praise, but maybe make a habit of thanking each other for at least one thing every day.

Instead of constantly handing off the toddler to each other have some things you do as a family even though he is challenging. Easy wins - this will get easier. Consider finding a babysitter e.g. through an agency so that you can go out as a couple and reconnect. Take the new baby with you.

Good luck!

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