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  • Frustrated and Down

    I wish I was at the AP meeting that is going on as I write but I couldn't make it today. I am feeling very down after a couple of really hard days and could really use some support.

    I am trying so hard but my DD has been really impossible lately. She cries and tantrums so easily. She knows signs and has a few words but I can't get her to use them when she wants something. DD has always been high energy. She is not laid back by nature and has always had pretty strong reactions to things. Nonetheless, from I'd say 7 months to 17 or 18 months, she really was a very happy girl almost all of the time. The last several weeks it is like we entered the "terrible twos".

    I started cutting back on bfing around 4 weeks ago which is not helping. She actually has been taking it very well but now I can't get her to sign or ask to nurse. She decides it is time and she screams and pulls on me. I think I've given in too many times to screaming and it is not helping to get her to communicate. She escalates so quickly though and I don't know that going to full out tantrum just to nurse is a good idea either.

    I'm feeling tired, grouchy and touchy. I am taking all of this personally which I know is wrong but I can't help it. I've read some books but I haven't really found the right thing. There are books on active kids but they seem to be more for ADHD kids which she is not. Sears' discipline book made me want to throw it against the wall. The assumption that if your child is attached they will want to please you doesn't seem to hold up here. I really do think my DD is attached - she's supper cuddly, we still do bf, we cosleep half the night - but wanting to please me? Nope!!!

    Can anyone offer ideas, help, or just offer to let me cry to you? I feel like I'm failing and I don't know what to do.

    Thank you for reading this!

  • #2

    i'm sorry you're having such a rough time. it sounds like your dd is, too. learning to communicate is such a big milestone for toddlers and can really frustrate them when they can't get their needs met due to lack of understanding on our parts. i would suggest that if you recognize that she has a need, instead of trying to focus on getting her to communicate, focus on the need. you can give her what she needs while modeling appropriate language. the language will come. getting her needs met is what builds the relationship. so, when she wants to nurse and pulls on you, say "you want to nurse right now." then sign "nurse" or say "mommy, i want to nurse", or whatever the expected communication would be. say it for her, at the same time offering the breast. you are then meeting the need while modeling the communication. she'll eventually get it. i promise you, she won't be 15 screaming and tantruming because she's thirsty!

    i felt the same way about "the discipline book". i would recommend "Raising Your Spirited Child". it's much more helpful and acknowledges that kids can have great parents, but meltdowns, too.

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    • #3
      Thanks Pax! I've calmed down a little. Even writing helped. DD had a good evening and went to bed without too much fuss. I will check out the Spirited Child book.

      My DD was signing to nurse for months. I think perhaps because I moved from nursing on demand to scheduled nursing (I'm trying to conceive and needed to cut back. My DD was still nursing like a newborn at 18 months), I wasn't saying yes every time she signed to nurse. I guess she got fed up and decided to start grabbing.

      It is funny that I can reassure other moms that their child's language skills will come but I can get wound up sometimes myself too. Most of the time I think she is doing fine and so does her doc. Other days, I think she will never speak.

      Thank you again!

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      • #4
        Hi Karen! I wish you were at the meeting too... Being with others of similar parenting ideas is really very helpful! Anyway, try to call some of your local AP freinds and have a few get togethers during this hard time.
        I'm feeling tired, grouchy and touchy. I am taking all of this personally which I know is wrong but I can't help it.
        Don't forget to have some self-empathy. Maybe look into some Non-violent communication literature. It really switches your entire mindset and it has really helped Owen and I though some of this transition stuff. Here is another NVC article that I like “Hearing the ‘Yes’ in the ‘No’”

        Remember that NO parenting approach produces perfectly behaved children in every situation.
        The assumption that if your child is attached they will want to please you
        I actually do find this true of most children! Our children don't always have the skills to understand and process all of their own feelings and certainly cannot always predict their mommy's reactions, wants, needs etc. Growing up and learning new things is very exciting! Even sensible adults have difficulty communicating with family and have periods of stress at times. Give her the benefit of the doubt that she is not "out to get you." That brings me to the book I am reading now Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime I think you would get a lot out of this book. Please call me if you need anything! You are a wonderful sensitive and attentive mother. Mariska knows that you love her but has strong feelings that she processes in an energetic way.
        And lastly...When a Child has a Tantrum
        by Jan Hunt
        "We should always remember that tantrums are a signal of helplessness and fear, even though they may give the opposite impression that the child is trying to be more powerful than we are."

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        • #5
          Glad to hear you're feeling better now!

          I just read Unconditional Parenting and it really opened my eyes up to a whole new way of looking at our relationship. I find it so helpful when we're having rough times (my DD is 21 mos).

          I suspect your child does want to please you, but, like my child, really doesn't know what that looks like yet (well, is just beginning to learn).

          Hang in there! It sounds like you are giving this your very best and will continue to do so.

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          • #6
            Thanks Naomi! This is good stuff! I need to reframe and this will help me get started.

            Give those boys a big squeeze! I hope to see you soon!

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