Is anyone else's toddler/child ruining everything?

(40 Posts)
BethyBoop Sat 26-Jan-13 14:08:05

Is anyone else's toddler/child ruining everything?

Mine is.
I hope to God I'm not alone in this.

DS is nearly 3. He's selfish, destructive, possessive, mean, temperamental, spoilt, annoying...the list goes on.

The possessiveness is the worst. I can't have a conversation with another human being without him roaring with rage and will scream and thrash until I look back at him. Apparently, I'm his and his alone.

My food is no longer my own. My toothbrush, my bed, my jewellery - these are all DS's now.

He punched the dog in the face because she came to come and sit on my lap.

The final straw came this afternoon. As you know, being single parent is borderline life stopping, the kids are your life now and there's no-one else. No time for the gym anymore. So I bought some workout DVDs to do at home instead.

DS made me cry! As soon as I put one on, he screamed in anger, rushed over, threw himself at my feet and kicked, scratched, smacked and bit, screaming, until I stopped moving and looked at him. As if wiggling about in your living room isn't embarrassing enough, I felt totally bullied and smacked down, humiliated by my own 2 year old son.

Needless to say, I snapped, roared right back and chased him up the stairs to bed.

I no longer accept my friends placations of - "It's just a phase, it'll pass, it's because you're a single mum, all kids get like it from time to time." No. I don't accept this anymore. We go to plenty of playgroups, stay and plays and nurseries and no other child is like mine. Ever. I've never witnessed my son's behaviour come from another child.

His dad will only see him once a fortnight now, when he used to have him twice a week. My parents don't want to have him from time to time because of how he is. I don't miss DS when he's not around, I live for bedtime, I count down to it all day long. I got a rare weekend away last year on a hen weekend with friends, I was gone for 3 days. I didn't miss him. I cried when we had to come home.

I do love DS so very very much but I've officially snapped and feel like, not only is it that I CAN'T do it anymore, but I don't WANT to anymore either.

So I wonder, out of nothing other than curiosity, is anybody else's little delight ruining their lives? I'd hate to be the only one!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 07-Feb-13 09:30:23

Well done for getting a nursery place!

You just sound in desperate need of some focus on yourself to refuel & get you back a bit. Then you may find you have something left to give your Ds & I am hoping the whole thing rebalances a bit... The way he is it sounds so hard not to draw away from him cos it's utterly draining & you get to the point when you have nothing left to give, but I have a feeling that's it will be by giving more, really stepping towards him at regular times, that may break this pattern.

I read Playful Parenting with the love bombing idea in it, & was surprised by how much it works, though my Ds is not being like yours as you sound like its absolutely unrelenting! Mine doesn't have anyone else in his life either though, & can get really insecure about being with me all the time.

I found that actively seeking him out to smother him with attention really works, when it's totally initiated my me it sort of 'fills him up' better, otherwise he can be like a bottomless pit of need. The other thing I am wondering is whether you can set up some firm boundaries over hitting you / what's yours etc. incredibly hard I know, but it feels like one of those things toddlers push & push at yet when they get to be total boss & allowed to trash things/ you, it makes them feel unhappy & out of control.

tacal Wed 06-Feb-13 20:42:16

Sorry op, just read your last post. That is so disappointing that your HV and GP were not helpful. It is great that you are sounding so positive and have a good routine. Your ds sounds similar to mine. The ocd behaviour has got out of control for my ds. And well done for arranging some time to your self during the week. I hope things continue to get better for you. x

tacal Wed 06-Feb-13 20:34:56

Hi op, my ds has always been difficult. I am a lone parent and I too have felt down about the fact my ds has behaviour which seems to be unusual and I have never seen in other children. Christmas seemed to make things alot worse and I reached the enough is enough stage and phoned my HV. She has referred him to a multi disciplinary clinic. I have got to the stage that I think there could be something wrong and some people on the special needs board have suggested ASD. I am not saying there is anything wrong with your DS but it may help you to have a chat with your HV. It has helped me alot. I am now keeping a diary of DS's behaviour and I feel this has helped me understand him more. I have realised that certain things are triggering the difficult behaviour and I would not have noticed this without the diary. It means I can either avoid the triggers or at least be more prepared to deal with his behaviour. I am sure speaking to your HV or GP will help. Best wishes x

Piemother Wed 06-Feb-13 20:14:24

Yay for the nursery funding I am so bloody pleased for you grin at the v least this will just give you a break but dd1 is quite worn out from nursery so maybe it will calm him down a bit.
Your last post makes you sound a lot stronger grin
I am with you about the mummy robot thing too x

BethyBoop Wed 06-Feb-13 11:54:47

Hi everyone, not posted on this thread for a while due to simply not having the time. DS is forcing himself on me right now and pushing his face in mine, shouting, because I'm typing and not looking at him. But this is not out of the ordinary.

Since my OP, I applied for 2 year funding, which was accepted, so he will start nursery in 2 weeks time, for 1 whole day and another afternoon, every week. Yay!

His father still won't see him more. Although I expect this has far more to do with the meeting a new woman and moving 50 miles away 6 weeks after meeting her!

I gave up hoping for any sort of help from my parents a long time ago so that's not even a sore spot anymore now that I've accepted this is the way things are.

My HV was utterly clueless. I attend my local SureStart, a childcare worker of 20 years suggested he was just energetic. The GP actually shrugged!!

I'm seeing things differently now. Maybe DS acts out because he's scared of me leaving too, which will never happen. The important thing is, I've sorted out a nursey for him.

As for the comments about the exercise DVD, it was suggested to me by friends after seeing them do theirs from time to time and their children joining in. And it looked all lovely, them dancing together. I hoped my DS might have been like that too, but no. I didn't expect it to become such a big arguing point. Perhaps it was a misjudgement on my part but the comments suggesting it was ridiculous of me to even try while he was there, that I was trying to do something for myself whilst ignoring him, are incredibly dissapointing. Maybe it was a daft move on my part but I refuse to be a mindless mummy robot. To suggest to other women that they shouldn't even try to enjoy their own activities while they are with children, is something I find incredibly discouraging, unhelpful and distructive. To tell someone that their identity as a woman, a person, is gone now as you are now mummy, nothing else, that is that, is sad. I feel more sorry for people who believe that than I do myself. At least I haven't given up on myself and I won't do either.

We have a routine, DS is a bit 'ocd' about it, if we miss a bit, he flips. And we do play. A hell of a lot. But sometimes when it's time to stop playing, the resulting tantrum is so ferocious that I wonder why I bothered starting a play session in the first place. But we're getting there. I'll never leave him, give up on him or let him down and I've sorted a couple of things for him to do in the weeks now, without me, so that's a big step for us.

I wish I could reply individually to all of you. Aside from some negatively toned comments from a poster or 2, all this has advice has been brilliant and it means a lot that you've taken time from your days to help and share your stories with me.

cestlavielife Sun 27-Jan-13 23:16:42

Call hv and gp tomorrow morning and ask for help. Get him his fifteen hours free nursery place urgently.
Go on o parenting courses.

Reward good behaviour. Move everything "yours" put of his reach.

Things will change as he gets older goes to school etc but you need to rule out any specific special need/ behaviour issue and address your own stress levels.

NoPartyDay Sun 27-Jan-13 22:00:29

Just to add;
Fifimoo and BethyBoo & others u r right. Life with a toddler is extremely hard- Most parents dont find toddler games that exciting..searching for that lost toy/playing repetetive games they find fun/ watching Disney shows can be less than thrilling.. Mix this with a tendency to have lots of tantrums and no other stage of parenting seems quite as difficult as the toddler stage
So you are not alone in finding this stage really really hard

lots of great suggestions on this thread
- an enticing diversion/distraction from your toddler's demands is a good one too as many toddlers are quick to move on once distracted
-a change of environment such as Fifi suggests works a treat, even try lots of walks to the shops/park/round the area when tantrums get too much for both of you (the great outdoors will distract him and give you both a break)
Really important you get some daily time doing what you love too, during his nap, after bedtime, when u can. Hope u have luck with all
You are not the only one xxxx

blackeyedsusan Sun 27-Jan-13 21:43:36

honestly, do you implement the parenting strategies most of the time, aand do they work at all.

if you are 95 % there on the parenting strategies, and they are still not working, see you gp and ask forr help.

also ask on the special needs children board.

my ds is a bit like this, though has improved bit as he is older. he has been recently diagnosed with asd. does not necessaily mean thata your ds has that though!

yes it is relentless. school is a godsend... (oh blessed peace)

Fifimoo Sun 27-Jan-13 20:50:04

It's a tough one, my ds has been in nursery since he was three months, we had no choice, and I make sure that he has plenty of quality time with me, I.e. playing, reading, cooking together, but god forbid I should want to empty the dishwasher, chuck the Hoover around or even make a phone call, all hell is let loose, things broken and destroyed (i've given up going to the loo without an audience) He bites me, kicks and hit to the point where I have wanted just walk out of the front door, walk around the block and the come back when I have had mummy time out, but clearly that can't happen. If I put him in his room for a few minutes until I regain composure to be calm it is destroyed, no amount of talking helps, but I do figure a lot of this is due to insecurity, be it that he went to nursery too early, or when he sees his dad, which is every three weeks, he is never in the same place, so all his fears are acted out at home where he can in a very safe, warm and loving environment and I suppose it is about learning to manage it and deflecting. It does get me down, there is not a correct answer, but I would suggest if you can a few days away and have some fun together in a new environment and make it exciting for both of you and reform your bond. Good luck.

niceupthedance Sun 27-Jan-13 13:37:19

I just wanted to add that in some circumstances, HV can put 2-3yos forward for 15 hours at nursery. I'd ask about that. Also, have you looked at Homestart in your area? You can self-refer or go through HV. Might be some support for you.

NoPartyDay Sun 27-Jan-13 13:30:37

All kids. including those with a mental health issue or other diagnosis are acutely aware of forms of attention shown to them
You can reset their emotional thermosat so they feel secure within themselves
While you must be realistic if your child has what seems to be an inborn/unchangeable trait, being hopeful and optimistic is the attitude more likely to bring success when showering them with love
If you love but dont like your child, he/she knows this and reacts accordingly, sometimes with crappy extremely challenging behaviour
I have despaired at times with my kids and dreamed of escaping their appalling/demanding behaviour/ lost it yelled at them just like the OP. But I have found time spent reconnecting with them and genuinely complimenting them and listening to them/doing what they love doing is never wasted and pays big dividends for improved behaviour later

Meglet Sun 27-Jan-13 12:34:24

I have every sympathy for you OP. I'm almost used to my dc's (6 & 4) hitting me most days. It's so hard, especially with my 4yo. Nothing I do makes a blind bit of difference.

Agree with the others that you should chase for a CAHM / SENCO apt.

NoPartyDay Sun 27-Jan-13 12:14:53

From your 2 year old's point of view:
He seems terrified of being alone
He knows he has upset both his Daddy & Paternal Grandparents and they no longer want to see him as frequently as they used to
He seems desperate not to lose your attention as he equates that with you abandoning him too
He sees the world through a two year old's eyes, therefore, the usual egocentric desire to have his way, but with desperation due to absolute terror of losing his most precious significant other's attention- you, his Mummy

Agree with others to seek opinion/referral and very importantly, as 3LittleFrogs said, support for you from GP
Remember the saying " It takes a village to raise a child" Seek help from everyone you can for support.
Btw His Dad/grandparents are behaving even more badly than your little boy, the selfish a...holes. they have no excuse since they are grown adults They are a big part of the problem. If they wont step up, tell your GP what they r doing and seek some form of childcare assistance for your sanity if poss.
Meantime Can u try:
Write down a simple routine and draw pictures for your son next to each activity-stick it on the fridge and on his bedroom wall. He needs clear routine so you can assert boundaries but dont despair if he ignores this as he is quite distressed at present
In the book "Love Bombing" by Oliver James(psychologist) parents have had amazing success, completely turning around aggressive/demanding behaviour by daily loving time (he gets to choose the activities you do for that time and you shower him with compliments and tell him how much you love him during that hour or so)
Love Bombing is a similar loving ritual to carrying him in a sling as ShhhGoBackTo Sleep suggests, but needs to be your boy's favourite things he would love to do with you- such as watching his favourite cartoon together or munching on his favourite snacks at the park. The idea is by allowing him control and your undivided attention and love for that hour you reset his brain chemistry and he feels more secure, his aggressive behaviour will gradually subside.
I really feel sad for you-please know this is not your fault, but a chain of events, and I hope you access support soon. xxxxxx

Scorps Sun 27-Jan-13 11:29:10

OP - I feel like you, too. I'm an LP of 4, they're 10, 8, 4 and 3. My eldest 3 are delightful, polite, just wonderful children that bring me so much happiness. My 3 year old.. Well not so much. This week I sent her to her dads for 5 nights as I couldn't deal with her around me. She doesn't 'let' me sleep, eat, do usual day to day things like shopping, she is incessant. She isn't like it for her dad. I have videoed her to show him, although he is not disbelieving. I feel bullied, I have lost all control and I don't know where to start.

I am phoning my old family support worker tomorrow, as life is becoming unbearable.

Inclusionist Sun 27-Jan-13 10:12:25

Have you got him signed up to take his 15hrs of nursery education as soon as he is 3? If he goes to pre-school for 3hrs every morning that might really help.

I would say a regular routine of nursery in the morning an then the great outdoors in the afternoon (whatever the weather) might really help. Having had these opportunities to expend himself, both mentally and physically, might make him happier to just chill out at home.

Branleuse Sun 27-Jan-13 09:55:08

I think you need to speak to your health visitor because this doesnt sound normal behaviour. Phone up your GP and ask for a call back and tell them you want to know if there is a specialist health visitor as you are completely at breaking point and you need to know IF it is something you are doing, or If its because there is something within him as you suspect this is not normal behaviour.
I would think it could be some form or SEN

3littlefrogs Sun 27-Jan-13 09:42:48

I hear what you are saying catlady, but my point is that the OP needs professional help, and urgently. The situation has got completely out of control now, she can't solve it on her own.

Piemother Sat 26-Jan-13 23:59:29

i just typed out loads of advice then re read the op. if you have never seen this from another child you need a CAMHS referral. your gp can do it or you can self refer. you need an SEN assessment. i know thats drastic but him attacking you really bothers me. he will get bigger and stronger and this will get worse :-(

catladycourtney1 Sat 26-Jan-13 21:13:14

3littlefrogs the difference is, a nanny is paid to look after the child/children - nothing else. They get to to go home and sort out their own lives, see their friends, and relax. A parent, on the other hand, has a house to run, bills to pay, a social life and family to keep up with, and her own health and wellbeing to take care of - all while looking after the children. If a parent focused on her child at the expense of all of those things, and let the house go to pot, the rent go unpaid, family and friends drift away and her health to suffer, how would that ultimately benefit the child?

SavoyCabbage Sat 26-Jan-13 21:07:01

Yes, can you talk to your HV and get some help? It sounds like you are trying so hard and that you just can't do it any more. It must be hard for your ds that the other two people in his life are withdrawing so its easy to see why he is now feeling insecure and clinging to you, but that's no help to you!

Can you talk to your ex about it? I don't think he's doing the right thing in any way, shape or form, but it might be hard for him if he is taking ds for the day and ds is screaming for you. He (ex) might think 'well what's the point of this' rather than just being a lazy bastard he might think he's doing the right thing.

When my dd was 18 months we went on holiday and my dd took against me. For three weeks she would only let her dad feed her, change her nappy, put her to bed, dress her and even touch the handles of her buggy. It was hard for me and for him. He had to do everything as she was going mad and I felt rejected.

It was caused by dh's dad picking us up at the airport (she had never seen him) and she thought my dh was driving the car and it was her grandad (dh was in another car) and she got a fright when she realised it wasn't him. They look very alike. After that she wouldn't let him out of her sight.

There is a photo of us on the holiday where I am standing behind the buggy and she is just starting to turn her head, having just clocked my dh with the camera. Seconds later she was going crazy.

I think you should be able to talk to a friend at playgroup or do some exercise. I definitely did exercise DVDs when my youngest was a toddler. And wii fit. She just pottered about. Sometimes she tried to join in a bit using a plastic box lid for her wii fit. He should feel 'safe' enough in his own home to play without your attention being utterly focused on him.

Go and see your HV. You need some help. You Re not doing anything wrong.

soimpressed Sat 26-Jan-13 21:04:43

Just offering sympathy OP because I've had a shitty evening so I can't offer advice.

My DS is very attention seeking and it can be so draining. For example tonight we were invited out for dinner and when DS found he wasn't the centre of attention he started to be silly and misbehave. When that didn't have the desired effect he started shouting and lay on the floor crying. At one point he came up and put his hands around my neck. He ruined everyone's evening - no one could talk over his noise and I was getting more and more embarrassed by his behaviour. In the end I had to take him home. He's 8.

Having said that I don't feel this way very often and I really miss him when he's not with me. It sounds as though things might be getting on top of you especially if you don't have much support. Maybe talk things through with your GP?

3littlefrogs Sat 26-Jan-13 20:47:25

To go back to my first response to the OP:

This situation has taken time to develop. I think you need professional help and support to turn things around OP. Otherwise you feel more miserable, your ds gets more desperate, his behaviour gets worse and you try harder to detach.

As the adult in the situation, you need to ask for help, in order to help yourself and your ds.

Of course it is reasonable to expect to be able to prepare a meal, have a wee, but things have gone way beyond reasonable.

It is really sad for both of you.

colditz Sat 26-Jan-13 20:39:09

No child should be beating his mother until she cries. My children learned very early on that they are not to hit me ever.

What if the op had another child? Would it be acceptable for the ds to hit and kick her because she was talking to the other child? Unacceptable behavior is unacceptable behavior, and I don't think saying "soon he can go to play school" is going to help the op now!

Personally, if my children hit me, I used to put them in their bedroom with the door shut and they stayed there until they stopped screaming.

Don't be afraid to stand up to him physically. Your toothbrush is NOT his. It's yours. Take it off him and put it where he can't get it. He does NOT get to dictate what goes on the tv, and furthermore, he goes to bed at 7pm or earlier.

If he starts screaming and thrashing, turn your back on him. Tell him you won't look at someone who is screaming at you, so he has to be GOOD to get your attention.

Make sure you are playing with him, and be realistic about how long it is reasonable to expect him to amuse himself. At nearly three, its not long at all.

minkembra Sat 26-Jan-13 20:28:42

3little frogs if your hypothetical nanny was preparing lunch for your child would you expect her to also being doing stimulating play with your child or not to make him lunch?

Would your nanny be allowed to wee?

It is not possible to spend every minute giving kids full on attention. The OP doesn't really sound like she needs to be told to try harder. She didn't say her only issue was no exercise dvd. would you hire a nanny who let your kid punch the dog or anyone and just took the attitude that oh well they will be at nursery in a year.

I would expect a nanny to work with the issue.

A 2 year old should be able to handle a _little bit_of having to wait while you have a conversation otherwise how will they learn to share or take turns. Plenty of kids who have siblings learn they cannot have their mum all to themselves.

They are little for a short time and part of what they are doing in that short time is learning some basic social skills and gradually gaining some independence so they can go to nursery etc.

Thankfully they do usually grow out of being excessively clingy. I'm sure the OP loves her ds and he is her world as she says but it is only normal to feel overwhelmed and what I get from her OP is that she feels bad for feeling like this but is at her wits end and just wants to know it will get better.

3littlefrogs Sat 26-Jan-13 19:23:44

The way I always looked at things was this:

If I was paying a nanny to look after my child, what would I expect the nanny to do?

I would expect the nanny to play with my child, take him outside for fresh air and exercise, encourage a routine, interact with him and have age appropriate expectations of his understanding and behaviour.

I would not expect the nanny to be doing an exercise routine while ignoring my child. I would not be happy if the nanny expected my 2 year old to entertain himself while she had "me time".

When he is 3 he will be able to go to nursery.
When he is 4 he will be going to school.

It is really hard work bringing up children, but they are little for such a short time. It is just so sad that you seem to resent your little one so much.

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