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18mo tantrums only for mum Expand / Collapse
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Posted 25/04/2012 10:59:02 AM
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Hi, I have a lovely 18 month old boy who's behaviour is starting to make me wonder...

He has tantrums where he just screams and cries at the drop of a hat, but he only has them for me. Not every day, but often enough. Mornings are the worst. He'll often scream his head off for breakfast while Im doing everything I can to get it ready for him in a flash while trying to distract him with pleasant chatter or something else (breakfast is just Weetbix milk & yoghurt, it's not that time consuming!). But if it's not that it's something else. Two to three tantrums per morning is pretty standard.

The annoying thing is he seems to reserve this special behaviour just for me. His dad works away. If dad is home and gets up to give him breakfast (which he hasn't actually being doing very often at all), there is not a tantrum in sight. Not even a whinge.The morning's go smoothly.

I've also had problems with waking up early. Six o'clock is kind of my limit, but the little one often wakes up between 5 and 5:40. I will give him a drink of water, give him his dummy and encourage him to go back to sleep. Occasionally that will work but more often he'll start screaming and demanding breakfast as soon as I try it. This morning just for a change, his dad got up for him when he woke at 5:40. He did just what I would do...water, dummy, whisper "its still dark, its time to sleep" and leave. The little one went back to sleep till 7...lay around in his cot talking till 8:20...sounds like he has fallen back to sleep. It's now 9. Absolutely unheard of.

I do everything I can to give the little one as much attention as possible. Some things I know I just cant do while he is awake...like using the computer. That's fine with me, I just dont bother trying to do some things around him. The only time he doesnt have my full attention is when Im doing essentials like showering (30 seconds worth), cooking dinner, organising his lunch/snacks for the day etc and even then Im always talking to him, showing him what Im doing, teaching him new words, singing a song, just doing whatever to keep him involved. And the rest of the time I am focusing on him. Reading, playing, going to the park....So the issue is not that he gets more attention from dad (In fact dad CAN use his computer and the kid will happily play around him while he does).

Im at a loss. I feel furious. I feel hurt. Instead of having a bit of extra sleep while dad does breakfast, Ive been laying in bed listening to how perfect the little one is being and crying, wondering what on earth Im doing wrong.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Post #67422
Posted 5/05/2012 12:43:50 PM
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Hi Pomo!

Firstly I am a mum of an 18 month old too and some of your story relates. We also have an early waker. I found nothing changed it-bed earlier at night or later but I just held off breakfast until 6am no matter what. I allowed her to play quietly with me in her room until then. Seems to have worked as now she sleeps till 6/6.30am.

Sounds like you're doing a great job with giving your little one undivided attention. I think the tantrum faze it totally normal and they don't know how to control their emotions so when they want something they want it now. Best thing to do is to stay calm and not have an adult tantrum in return otherwise we are only confirming how they should respond. I get down on my daughters level and get her to look at me in the eye and tell mummy what she wants or I tell her why I can't do something for her. Seems to work...for now. I think the hardest part is definitely that as soon as we think we have them sussed they move into the next challenging faze.

My hubby works a lot too and I find when he is home my girl plays up with going ti bed etc. She tends to show off around him and because he isn't around as much as me she doesn't see him as an authoritarian. We are working on that one lol!

anyway take care of yourself and give yourself a break. you're doing all the right things. remember to just stay patient and role model to him how you want him to act by staying calm

Post #67511
Posted 5/05/2012 10:41:46 PM
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Thanks so much for the reply.

Holding off breakfast till a decent time is a great idea, I only heard of that recently. Cant believe I didn't think of it myself!

I have come to think that the breakfast tantrum is just pure habit, it's been going on for so long now. Ive been leaving the room to have my own breakfast elsewhere and so far it looks as though that's working.

The two sets of behaviours for myself and for Dad (or anybody else) will always irk me I think.

Toddlers are the funniest little creatures.
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