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AIBU?

To be resentful of my difficult child?

276 replies

SnackSnackEatAndCrave · 13/07/2017 22:45

I should probably start by saying that deep down I know IABU... and as with all DC rants, tell everyone how much I love DD despite these feelings. But here goes.

DD is 16 months old. She has been described as "tricky" by healthcare professionals since before she was even born. Other adjectives include "strong willed" "difficult" and "a challenge".
She's not exactly naughty, in that she isn't spiteful or particularly disobedient, but she is antisocial and very dramatic when things aren't going her way. We are also having a few issues with her development not being quite where it "should" be for her age.
HV, GP and nursery all say there's no great cause for concern and believe she is NT, just a little slower in some areas and a bit of a diva. But all agree that she is hard work.

The reason I feel resentful of this is because I work unbelievably hard to be a good parent, and I just feel like I get nothing back. This isn't downing anyone else's parenting but I often put so much effort in that I'm exhausted.
I cook healthy meals from scratch, take her to baby groups and activities, practically work for free so she can go to a lovely daycare, limit TV, no sweets, make sure she gets fresh air and exercise, singing and reading, free and structured play, and I've read countless parenting books, ate like a bloody Saint the whole pregnancy and 13 long months of breastfeeding... Sorry that's a ridiculous list of all the advice I've followed desperately, and it has honestly made no difference whatsoever.

All my friends have happy children (obviously not perfect but smiley and on track developmentally), and think I'm mad for all the hard work I put into parenting when DD is still so tricky and I don't see any benefits. And I feel so sad and resentful that we don't have a happy family like other people when I try so hard.

OP posts:
eeniemeenieminiemoe2014 · 13/07/2017 22:49

what do you enjoy about your dd?

Its hard when you have a difficult child, and my dd has been described as all those things at 2.5 but she is ASD, and often you lose sight of the good bits. When you have had a particularly bad day look for the positives.

There is no way to parent perfectly, focus on what your individual dd needs and worry less about all the 'shoulds'. It does get easier but it is relentless at the toddler stage.

BarbarianMum · 13/07/2017 22:52

What do you mean by :not getting anything back"? Do you mean like demonstrations of affection? Does she not seek out your company?

What was tricky about her before her birth? Does she have any other health problems?

I am sorry you are feeling this way Flowers

MrsJoyOdell · 13/07/2017 22:52

She is 16 months old. 16 months.

I know it's relentless at times at that age but if she is believed to be NT then trust me, this is not the worst that parenting can be.

Do you think you may have some degree of PND? It can affect bonding/coping etc.

peachgreen · 13/07/2017 22:54

I feel for you OP. I was talking to DH about this today (we're pregnant with our first) and he was saying how glad he is that he was around for his nephew and niece growing up as above all, what it's taught him is that everything is temporary. His niece sounds a little bit like your DD - strong-willed, tantrum-prone, defiant and incredibly stubborn. Absolute nightmare for two years. But suddenly she blossomed and was an absolutely delightful little girl - could not have been sweeter or kinder. No trouble at all for 6 years. Now she's a teenager and a total pain again - but it won't last! Her brother was a nightmare whirlwind preteen, always in trouble, but he seems to have gone from that to thoughtful, mature, kind young adult with nary a teenage grunt!

What I'm trying to say is that those kids you see who are angels now - they won't always be. And your DD won't always be difficult. Maybe you'll sail through the teenage years, or maybe she'll become a wonderful adult whose friendship you treasure above all else. Nothing is permanent. You're doing all the right things and it maybe be you've just got to grit your teeth and get through this bit.

Be kind to yourself. Stop doing any of the things that you resent - she'll not perish if she eat some chicken nuggets every once in a while, or watches a movie every now and again - and be proud of everything you've done so far. You've got this.

DonkeyOaty · 13/07/2017 22:55

One of mine was very tricky. I hear you. Esp that feeling of being short-changed. I ate a lot of chocolate.

Happy to report said child is now an amiable teen, but oh yes the preschool years were horrid.

FloatyCat · 13/07/2017 22:55

YAb a tiny bit U for being resentful that your efforts are not yet being appreciated. BUT, she's only 16 months, this is a tough age.
Some kids are just 'trickier' than others, I have 1 diva teenager, always has needed a lot of attention and 1 totally chilled out one who just gets on with stuff.
Honestly it's just individual personalities, but it does get easier with age.

ChaChaChaCh4nges · 13/07/2017 22:56

How can a child be difficult before birth?

SolomanDaisy · 13/07/2017 22:59

She's 26

SolomanDaisy · 13/07/2017 23:00

16 months old and you've been characterising her as difficult since before birth. I think that probably feeds into how you experience her.

User1billion · 13/07/2017 23:01

I hear you. Dd1 was never affectionate. Demanded attention and servitude. Tantrummed endlessly. Never bloody happy.
Lasted until she was almost 5 - by which time we had dd2 and I could see the difference. Dd2 is a handful in a different way, but ddd1 was something else.
Anyway she's now nearly 7 and very affectionate if a drama queen, and almost certainly on the autistic spectrum. In hindsight I now think a lot of her issues were because I was trying so hard to be a wonderful parent that I was completely over stimulating her, and she was frequently in sensory overload. We now have her on a strict sensory diet and things are amazingly better :)

minipie · 13/07/2017 23:02

I can see this both ways

yabu to think that more effort somehow entitles you to an easier child. Sadly it doesn't work that way. Children's personalities are IME much more about nature than nurture

Yanbu however for thinking it isn't fair that some people get easy children while others get difficult ones. It isn't fair and it sucks (I have a difficult, non NT 4 yo). But that's life.

lookingforsomething · 13/07/2017 23:07

I'm really astonished that a 16 month old is already being labelled as 'tricky'. God help the poor child. She little more than a baby. Her characteristics are forming and her development will depend in large part by how she is nurtured and how she is perceived. For God's sake don't start making assumptions about how difficult she is at this stage. You sound so serious and so earnest. Being a parent is't like doing accounts. You are mothering a human being and you need to be flexible, have a sense of humour and lighten up. She is almost bound to be picking up on all that tension and desperation to 'do it right'. That is understandable, but trying to produce the perfect goods in this way won't work . Accept her for the little person she is, not a reflection of you and your efforts. Laugh with her, have fun and be grateful for her. Don't get out the yardstick and start assessing her - and don't tolerate others doing so either. She is far far too young.

TheSmallClangerWhistlesAgain · 13/07/2017 23:07

Are you on your own? It sounds like you need some support. Is there a children's centre in your area, or somewhere that does parenting classes?

DarkDarkNight · 13/07/2017 23:09

My son is very strong willed. I have been to the Health Visitor with him thinking there must be something wrong with him. According to the questionnaires I did his behaviour is on the extreme end of normal. She thought he was a very bright child testing his boundaries.

I came across this book <a class="break-all" href="//www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Third/0062403060/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499983370&sr=1-4&keywords=raising%20your%20spirited%20child&tag=mumsnet&ascsubtag=mnforum-21" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank">Raising Your Spirited Child and it describes him to a tee.

He is exhausting sometimes, he has me on my knees. He is like a normal preschooler on steroids. It's very difficult to explain it to people but take a look at the website associated with the book.

adifferentnameforthis · 13/07/2017 23:13

FlowersFlowersFlowers for you OP. I can't imagine how hard this is. Parents are blamed for so much when a lot of the time I think babies are "spirited" not not NT etc. I cant imagine how hard this is especially when you're working so hard. You sound amazing - more Flowers to you

Esmereldafish · 13/07/2017 23:13

Sounds like a normal 16 month old to me. I have 2 and one in particular has been more difficult and very miserable despite anything I do for her. She still is v 'high maintenance' at 4, but extremely loving too. Keep going and you WILL get something back eventually, for me it was when she could speak her own thoughts.

kingfishergreen · 13/07/2017 23:14

I hear you.

When you give your all to provide a wholesome, engaging, loving upbringing and it seems to have no impact at all, it must feel like you might as well be feeding them Happy Meals and Tizer and ignoring them while you watch Daytime TV.

She's only very small, my DD is even smaller, but I tell myself that every stage passes. Remember that you only see your friend's kids a small part of the time, even kids who appear beautifully behaved when you're out and about can be utter terrors when they're at home.

Do you have a supportive partner to share the load with (and secretly laugh at her antics)?

corythatwas · 13/07/2017 23:15

What exactly do you mean by antisocial? Does she reject you or is it just that she is not happy around other children?

By dramatic, do you mean she throws tantrums or just cries a lot?

Of course it's impossible to tell over the internet if this is the sign of a problem, or her personality, or just a phase. All I can say is that my eldest, also a daughter, was definitely the dramatic type: everything from tantrums (biting, kicking, screaming) to hysterical fear of balloons/people dressing up/mummy going out for an evening/you name it.

It was hard work at the time and she does still have anxiety, but she has grown up into the most amazing young woman and I can actually see, in retrospect, how our parenting has helped her. It has all been worth while. And though often exhausting, it has been tremendously interesting.

corythatwas · 13/07/2017 23:17

And yy to what everybody else is saying: she is still tiny (and you do sound very earnest). Maybe try to expect a bit less.

SnackSnackEatAndCrave · 13/07/2017 23:20

Thank you for all the kind words... You've already taken the wind out of my stressy sails!
DP works away most weeks and my parents are a long drive from us, so DD and I are a good little team most of the time. I love her to pieces and she is definitely a mummy's girl.
Obviously the flip side is no support and no breaks, and I feel the pressure to try and meet all her needs all the time because I'm scared of slipping up and ruining her. She also has some pretty intense separation anxiety.
I had a difficult pregnancy, HG for 25 weeks, sciatica, fainting. My midwife used to joke about DD being a rebel when we had to return for scans on different days because she wouldn't stay still, sending my BP through the roof already etc... DD then had a couple of days in nicu after a traumatic induction. Her baby stage consisted of reflux, a (minor) hole in her heart, and hardly any sleep, so basically we've never had it easy.
But I am always positive around her. I am terrified of a self fulfilling prophecy and making her feel undervalued. I even put her down for a nap when the HV was here this week so she doesn't hear me "putting her down". By using the word difficult, I'm not categorising her, I'm describing her. Saying "DD is a constant bundle of joy who is confident and developmentally advanced" isn't going to get me a perfect child. I've tried
Of course I know that things could be much worse, and I'm thankful every day that they're not. And really I'm probably just over anxious and trying too hard. But it is hard when you do everything "right" and your child is just naturally hard work.
Thank you Dark for the book recommendation, I've just read the reviews and ordered it, definitely sounds promising!

OP posts:
cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 23:20

Stop trying so hard ?
Don't try and be perfect
just be good enough
Chill on thesofa with CBeebies on for an hour.
Buy some ready made baby food sometimes if it makes life easier for you.
Don't schedule every minute of the day or worry you didn't sing today.
NT Toddlers thrive on normal human interaction fresh air etc but don't make a big deal read to her talk to her

What are the development issues ?

cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 23:30

You won't ruin her
You cannot fail her
When she clearly has your attention love and care
But letting go a little of the pressure you putting yourself under may be good for you .
She will be whoever she will be . So long as you meeting her basic needs talking to her reading to her .... you can't parent her into being more advanced ..... not by organic meals or never having chocolate.
Make life easy if you on your own at times . E.g. Feed her simple pasta or a ready made baby meal sometimes.

Get whatever support is on offer for any issues
Talk to someone about her difficult start.
Don't compare her to others
Look only at her own personal development e.g. What can she do now that she could not do four months ago ?

SnackSnackEatAndCrave · 13/07/2017 23:31

Cory she is clingy rather than affectionate towards me I would say. Any friends or relatives (including DP) are treated to a meltdown if they come near her when I'm in the room too, but she is fine (albeit quiet) with them after a few minutes when I leave. She doesn't like other children but I know that's fairly common at this age, and her key worker says she does play alongside other children now as long as they respect her space. She is afraid of loads of things, from hairdryers and hoovers to swings and trikes... Basically anything she can't do independently, she hates.
I tell myself during every meltdown (hers and mine!) that everything is just a phase. And I am luckily quite patient... But I do feel very judged, and also quite tempted to give her a chippy tea in front of cbeebies and see how we go! Grin

OP posts:
WishfulThanking · 13/07/2017 23:32

You labelling a 16 month old as antisocial is very worrying. You also have taken the usual jokes of 'causing trouble already' regarding being unable to get a suitable angle of a foetus during an ultrasound and taking them as evidence that your child was 'tricky' or 'difficult' before she was even born! There is no such thing. You know this, right? You say you don't have any support. Is there nobody you can speak to at all?

Bumpsadaisie · 13/07/2017 23:33

I think you are setting your bar very high. No wonder you feel so exhausted.

"Good enough" parenting is what you're aiming at, not "perfect parenting".

"always positive" - I feel tired just thinking about it.

Stop striving so much, start living a bit and letting a few things go. I am sure you'll feel better. We are not meant to be torturing ourselves every minute of the day about how our kids are turning out. Of course you're responsible for providing a warm loving setting, but you're not the architect of your DD. She'll do that herself. Sit back and watch the show develop!

Good luck.

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