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Tantrums & Constant Whining

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have one 18-month old daughter. She seems like she is already into the terrible 2s. I know that every mother in the world deals with this, but I still feel very alone and at a loss with tantrums and/or repetitive whining. It is in those moments where I don't know if I can survive another child, but then again, I'd love to have several more children. Some days she is like an angel and happy about everything, but then a lot of the time, from the moment she wakes up she is whining. She wakes up around 7am and I get up when she wakes up, because I'm too tired to get up before her. So, I pick her up and immediately the whining starts and turns into a crying mess. I can't change her diaper, I can't go to the bathroom myself, I can't dress myself or do anything without a wailing child attached in desperation to my leg. Is she starving to death? I started having a sippy cup of water and some raisins ready to give to her the moment she awakens but sometimes she just throws them on the floor and keeps wailing. The only thing that stops the crying fit is to put her in her highchair and give her breakfast or to put on sesame street, but I don't know if I want to get in the habit of using the TV as a distraction whenever there is a fit happening. Is this really normal? She doesn't talk much yet, but baby babble and pointing, so perhaps she is really frustrated because she can't communicate what she wants. 

post #2 of 10
Is she teething? 2 year old molars perhaps? Has she always been like this? My 1 year old has been whinny lately and I think it's teething...obviously a lot less teeth than an 18mo old. She just wants to be held so I hold her. What about some fun activities like letting her play in a bowl of uncooked beans with a spoon. Or play in a bowl of water with a sponge. Might be as equally entertaining as tv and while there will be a mess afterward, there's at least an experience for her rather than tv. We use red lentils as they are easier to vacuum up! I get up with my daughter bc I'm too tired too. If you need other ideas for activities that will engage, let me know.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

She has never shown signs of pain while teething, so I don't think it is that. I think she has all her teeth except 2 molars, so that could be an option but I don't know. Her teeth have always come in very fast. 


Thanks for those ideas. If I gave her anything with a spoon, she'd definitely try to eat the uncooked beans. The sponge idea is a good one. I'll have to get some sponges :) I can't do those things the second she wakes up though. I have been having a snack of raisins or something simple sitting on her dresser, so that I can give that to her right when she wakes up, and that has helped the last few days, so at least I can go to the bathroom and brush my teeth or something without the drama. 


I'd love any other ideas for activities! 

post #4 of 10
I think you're right--some of this behavior is probably caused by frustration about being unable to communicate well. We had the same kinds of issues here, and it seemed like things got a whole lot easier once the small one was able to communicate better.
post #5 of 10

She sounds a lot like my 16 month old!  I had to finally start telling her I can't pick her up while I am cooking breakfast/getting ready and she will cry for a bit and then usually find something else to do.  But if I pick her up after a few moments of whining, I think it makes it worse in the long run because she knows crying makes mommy pick me up, then I have to put her down again a minute later when I need two hands and that makes her even more mad.  If she is particularly whiny and won't settle after a few minutes, I'll try the carrier while I make breakfast.  I have also tried sitting with her and playing a game like patty-cake first thing so that she has all my attention while she is still waking up.  I think babies can be crabby in the morning just like adults, so she may just need some time to wake up.  But I agree it is very frustrating!!  I also agree that finding something new and exciting for her to focus on (I'm going to try those dried beans!) helps too.  

post #6 of 10
When she starts to get upset, what do you typically say to her? Many parents feel the need to say "it's okay" or calm through shushing or poor babying, all with the best intentions.
I've learned that the best thing a parent can do for her child is to show empathy and understanding. Talk her through what's happening, and what's going to happen:
"You were asleep and now you're awake! It's hard to wake up sometimes. It's okay to feel upset. I'll bet you're feeling hungry, too! Lets go get something for you to eat. Are you ready for me to pick you up?" Wait for her to give you a sign that she's ready.
Then, give her choices "We're going to the kitchen to get something to eat. Would you like me to carry you, or would you like to walk?" She'll let you know what she'd prefer through her gestures or through whining (and at this stage, whining is a completely healthy way to communicate and is not used to manipulate).
When you need to put her down, let her know: "I'm going to put you down now because u need both arms to make you something to eat. I know, you like being carried and don't want me to put you down. Would you like to help me make your snack, or play with this toy while I make your snack?"
Keep giving her choices within the context of whatever task you are trying to accomplish: "Would you like raisins, or almond butter on crackers?" If she doesn't want to cooperate, acknowledge her feelings and let her know you'll help her: "it doesn't seem like you want to pick. I'll help by choosing for you."

Tantrums are inevitable, with toddlers. They happen because of frustration over the inability to communicate and feeling powerless over things that happen to them. The more understood a toddler feels, and the more power they are given through choices and information, the less painful the tantrums will be for everyone.
post #7 of 10
Yes to the last post!
At that age I also started using a countdown system...I would tell ds that I needed both my hands and that I would pick him up soon. Then I would count backwards from ten az fast or as slow as I needed to, and he started to recognize the countdown and would be able to wait without whining. Telling him "just a minute" or "soon" didn't mean anything, but the countdown was predictable. ITA with not being able to communicate being a sense of frustration.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

To alaura24:

Yes, those things sound almost exactly like the things I say to her. My first response is almost always, "it's okay" and I do start talking about everything, even if it's silly, I say all kinds of things, like "did you have good dreams, did you dream about your breakfast, should we have eggs or eggs for breakfast?" So, maybe I am doing everything I can. It just seems like they shouldn't be happening as much as they do.


BabySmurf: that is an interesting idea about counting backwards, I never heard of that. I do find myself saying, just a minute, or please be patient, but I know she doesn't have a concept of time, so those don't help her.  

post #9 of 10
Another good activity: get a shoe box and cut a slit in the lid. Get different colored and sized buttons...about 10-15 and let her feed them into the slot. She can play with this while you do what you need to do. At times when I just can't pick up or give undivided attention to, I just let her whine for a while and talk to her till I'm done and can help her or whatever the need is. She's learning to entertain herself for longer periods of time.
post #10 of 10

oh, i wanted to say to check out "aha parenting" it has been an amazing resource for me since we started toddlerhood.  and in terms of the way that you speak, there is a difference between narrating to her what is going on and involving her in the process by giving her options.  yes, it's good to do what you are doing so that she becomes familiar with day to day tasks, but this is also the age where they are learning how to have control of the world around them.  she's definitely old enough to "help" in some ways and that will probably make her super excited (can you bring item x to the table while mommy does y and z).  my son was a "late" talker, but he could understand plenty in terms of being able to help.  this was also an age where giving him choices helped.  a choice between two things was good, any more was overwhelming, and it can still take some time for them to make a choice, but they really do like to be involved and want some control over things at this point.  oh, and having a routine became super important around this time too - so i would get up and pee, then ds would get a diaper and take his morning probiotics, then make breakfast, in that order every time.  if something changed on the weekend, or dh tried to help with things, forget it.  so my advice is to make the routine simple ;)  hth!

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