Help! SOS! Please give advice re: 2 year old cries, tantrums ALL DAY LONG - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-09-2011, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello fellow mamas, no idea if there's a thread like this (no time to search):

 

I'm desperate. My 2 year old boy is like a collicky baby. When we are in the house, it feels as if he cries all day long. The only time he doesn't cry is when he is watching TV, and he begs for TV all the time. When I say no he throws a fit. We started showing him TV a few months ago but I try to limit it to one episode a day. I feel guilty just showing him that.

 

When he does calm down, its usually only for 1-2 minutes as he's interested in something, then he cries again, usually for TV. I am a SAHM and I try to get out of the house. He loves the kid's care at the gym, where he gets to play in the kids gym and go outside. I do take him for walks, to the park, on errands, etc. and he loves all of that. But he cries everytime we have to go out to the car, anytime a transition is involved, cries at night if he doesn't have every toy he asks for in his bed. I do not want to teach him that he can get whatever he wants when he wants it. I don't know how to discipline or deal with the crying, and it is so tempting to give in to get him to stop. I just want to teach him new things, and help him enjoy his day.

 

He cries about the most simple things - not sitting in THAT chair at lunch, not wanting to change his diaper, not wanting to wait while I get him breakfast, not wanting that breakfast, cries because I put his hat on "wrong," cries because I have to go to the bathroom, etc. AHHH

 

Due to all of this house is SO messy - I desperately need to clean even if just for a 30 minute interval but I literally feel like I cannot get anything done unless my little guy is in front of the tube. I seriously don't have clean clothes, haven't cooked dinner for a week and half. It feels like the newborn stage!!

 

Things are unraveling around here. My morale is wearing. I feel like a horrible SAHM and keep thinking of these other moms that have time to dress themselves and their children nicely, knit, cook, clean the house etc. What's the secret? Why am I being defeated by this? Am I a bad mom who just doesn't know how to mother? I'm losing my sanity, the house is an absolute pit (I swear it actually smells), I can never cook because of his crying/tantrums. PLEASE help! Are the terrible two really this terrible?

 

Ps. It's not an "I'm in pain" type of cry (teething etc.)  -- it's an "I don't like this and I want something else" type of cry.

Pps. Our routine has unraveled (except nap and gym in the morning). Maybe this is the problem? He never knows what to do next and I don't know where to direct him? What sort of routine can I have? What can I do with him?

 

I need your help really badly. help.gif


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#2 of 16 Old 03-09-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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Oh mama, I am so sorry you are going through this. Hugs**•

Lauren

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#3 of 16 Old 03-09-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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My 2 year old is in a similar stage...usually it's when she has an "off" day and starts crying at the slightest thing -- she doesn't want to get out of bed, she doesn't want me to change her diaper, literally anything seems to set her off! I feel your pain! I try to distract her with Barney (I feel guilty, too, about letting her watch too much TV, but sometimes you have to preserve your sanity! And if it's educational, I don't feel too bad), or I take her out to walk the dog -- animals are a great distraction! It's like she gets in this mind-set and can't get out of it. I don't know if it's the same for your son.... Sometimes I'll take her outside for a walk, and that seems to help her calm down.

 

If nothing works, I have to just sit her down in a safe place, where she can see me and let her cry so that I can wash dishes, take a shower, whatever... Otherwise it's just too stressful and I get resentful. I know the crying doesn't hurt her -- like you say, it's not "I'm in pain" crying...they're crying out of frustration. NO, you're not a bad mom! As far as I can tell this is perfectly normal for 2-3 year olds. My mother just smiles and says, "It'll get worse." I'm like, "Gee, thanks mom!" Just do the absolute necessary at home -- i.e. feeding yourself and child -- and remember you are doing the best you can, and it'll get better! I try to keep telling myself this, too! :D

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#4 of 16 Old 03-09-2011, 11:41 PM
 
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Hylands Calm Forte.  It is the only thing that helps dd1 when she gets like that.  That should soothe your lo in the moment (just think how stressed he must be!) and give you a chance to breathe.

 

Do you enlist his help around the house?  For example dd1 dusts, holds the dustpan when I sweep, & hands me laundry to fold.  It keeps her occupied and entertained while allowing me to get at least a few things done around the house.  Maybe even set up a play station in the kitchen where he can "help you cook" so you can get dinner made.

 

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But he cries everytime we have to go out to the car, anytime a transition is involved, cries at night if he doesn't have every toy he asks for in his bed.

This sounds like he needs more certainty in his surroundings.  Reestablishing a routine would go a long way to helping him feel more secure.  It doesn't have to be super-regimented; you can start with something loose like:

Wake up.  Breakfast.  Arts & Crafts.  Snack.  Chores.  Nap.  Wake up.  Lunch.  Physical activity.  Snack.  TV.  Dinner.  Bath.  Bedtime.

It allows for some flexibility (for play dates, dr's appointments, rainy days, etc) while still keeping an overall structure to the day.

 

And dd2 is finally asleep, so I need to get to bed while the gettin's good! winky.gif

 

Good luck and big hugs, mama!!


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#5 of 16 Old 03-10-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Just a thought-how is his sleep?  It seems that kids who dont get enough sleep tend to be especially moody (mine is a bad sleeper, but younger).  I read  parts of "sleepless in America" and it really pulls together emotions, attitude and sleep.

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#6 of 16 Old 03-12-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Wow, I could have written your post, OP.

My DD (2.5 yo now) has had days like that. Many, many days like that...
"NO" to everything, accompanied by crying and tantrums. Pretty much every occasion: getting up, getting dressed, me choosing the "wrong" shoes to put on her, taking off her diaper, getting in the car seat, getting out of the car seat, eating (other than chocolate), drinking water, me putting her down to try and get some housework or cooking done (always wanted to be held), going to bed, me not letting her bring ALL her stuffed animals to day care, etc. And it sometimes seems so much easier to just give in, I know...

Its probably the "terrible twos" to some degree, and at this age they are really becoming so independent and want to do/decide everything themselves but I also think it's to do with lack of routine: I work 4h a day and in shifts so my hours vary hugely. Plus, i've realized I am a naturally chaotic and routine-less person redface.gif which doesn't help. I'm still working on trying to get a little more routine in... DD will be starting school soon so i'm hopeful that that will force me to be a bit more consistent in the organisation of our days. Kids love predictability, I think, and right now I'm just so bad at providing that.

Also, the sleeping thing. I recently weaned my DD, she was still nursing a lot all night which means that she woke up (at least partially) very often each night. Plus it would take her hours to fall asleep in the evenings (sigh). So I think she wasn't getting enough sleep (I know I wasn't! lol).
Now that she is weaned, she sleeps through the night and she seems so much happier... Of course I don't know if it's directly related, but I really noticed this positive change in her mood/behaviour since she started sleeping better. Of course she still has "off days" but it really has improved. (i'm knocking on wood though, haha)

Good luck, I hope it improves for you soon!

Mommy to DD bouncy.gif born August 2008 

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#7 of 16 Old 03-12-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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Oh yeah, a few other things I forgot to mention in my reply... in the last few months DD's language skills have greatly improved (she's a late talker) and I think that has helped her a little, she can express her needs (and a lot of wants) better now so she gets less angry/frustrated. Plus I can explain things to her; or say she can do something later, but first we have to .. (put our pjs on, etc), or that we can't do something because... or whatever. Does your son talk much yet, can he express himself and understand you?

And a little trick I use: letting her CHOOSE between two options that are both ok for me. For example yesterday she refused to put on her underpants. Could not get her to just put them on, grrr... then I had a brain wave and got another (different colour) pair of undies and asked "which of these do you want to wear" and abracadabra, she picked one (of course the second one i got) and put them on herself, straight away.

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#8 of 16 Old 03-14-2011, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you all for your replies. We had an AMAZING day last Friday -- the weather was outstanding, we ran errands in the morning, went to the park, and I swear he was a little angel all day. No whining, no crying, just complete cuteness. I think it was a break through. Boy did we need that day!

 

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Originally Posted by LouiMom View Post

 

If nothing works, I have to just sit her down in a safe place, where she can see me and let her cry so that I can wash dishes, take a shower, whatever... Otherwise it's just too stressful and I get resentful. I know the crying doesn't hurt her -- like you say, it's not "I'm in pain" crying...they're crying out of frustration. NO, you're not a bad mom! As far as I can tell this is perfectly normal for 2-3 year olds. My mother just smiles and says, "It'll get worse." I'm like, "Gee, thanks mom!" Just do the absolute necessary at home -- i.e. feeding yourself and child -- and remember you are doing the best you can, and it'll get better! I try to keep telling myself this, too! :D


Thank you for your sympathy. It's good to know that this is happening somewhere else, and that it's not because of ME.

 

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Originally Posted by Lynn08 View Post

Hylands Calm Forte.  It is the only thing that helps dd1 when she gets like that.  That should soothe your lo in the moment (just think how stressed he must be!) and give you a chance to breathe.

 

Where can I find this. Do they have it at Whole Foods? I'd rather not order it from the internet because I don't want to pay shipping.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverandJulie View Post

Just a thought-how is his sleep?  It seems that kids who dont get enough sleep tend to be especially moody (mine is a bad sleeper, but younger).  I read  parts of "sleepless in America" and it really pulls together emotions, attitude and sleep.


You're right on Mama. He has been waking more than normal at night for several reasons, but has recently "recovering" and is sleeping great. Maybe that's why we had that awesome day on Friday?

 

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Originally Posted by Leisha View Post

Wow, I could have written your post, OP.

My DD (2.5 yo now) has had days like that. Many, many days like that...

Its probably the "terrible twos" to some degree, and at this age they are really becoming so independent and want to do/decide everything themselves but I also think it's to do with lack of routine:

Now that she is weaned, she sleeps through the night and she seems so much happier... Of course I don't know if it's directly related, but I really noticed this positive change in her mood/behaviour since she started sleeping better. Of course she still has "off days" but it really has improved. (i'm knocking on wood though, haha)

Good luck, I hope it improves for you soon!


I'm going to work at the routine. We're getting better. We also just night weaned (and we're transitioning to complete weaning) and I've noticed he is sleeping better, talking more clearly, and being able to manage his emotions more. Maybe we had to get through that rough patch to see the the light (knock on wood).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisha View Post

Oh yeah, a few other things I forgot to mention in my reply... in the last few months DD's language skills have greatly improved (she's a late talker) and I think that has helped her a little, she can express her needs (and a lot of wants) better now so she gets less angry/frustrated. Plus I can explain things to her; or say she can do something later, but first we have to .. (put our pjs on, etc), or that we can't do something because... or whatever. Does your son talk much yet, can he express himself and understand you?

And a little trick I use: letting her CHOOSE between two options that are both ok for me.



He is starting to talk, yes. I also do the whole "give two choices I'm cool with" thing (thanks to the Love and Logic free Parenting Class I took).

 

 

I would like to thank you all for your help and support and for taking the time to help me out. grouphug.gif It makes me feel not alone, not bad, and helps me feel like I'm part of a community. I love mdc.


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#9 of 16 Old 03-16-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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Yay, so glad you had such a great day (the first of many more!) to recharge your batteries! smile.gif

Mommy to DD bouncy.gif born August 2008 

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#10 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 01:21 AM
 
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Hi there,  I could have sent the exact same email, my son literally cries about EVERYTHING!!!! If he doesn't cry, then he whines, I cannot take it anymore.  I feel like a failure as a mother.  He is my first child and I have always wanted two children, but lately my husband says he doesn't want anymore children, not with the way our son is going on. I also don't get to the housework.  I am a working mom and after I pick up my son from creche we get home, I start supper and he watches TV.  All he wants to do these days is watch TV.  On weekends when I try to engage him in outdoor activities he cries because he wants to watch TV.  I don't know what to do anymore.  I feel your pain and can honestly say I know what you are going through.  Please let me know if you find an answer. :-)

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#11 of 16 Old 10-27-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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My son has days where he's like that all day long, then there are other days where he has issues throught the day. What's sad, is by the time my husband gets him im so pissed off, i have a headache and if anyone ask for anything i bite their heads off. My DH gets the bad end of the deal.

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#12 of 16 Old 10-28-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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When my daughter started having times like this, it is when I started giving time outs. Not long, 30s-1min at most, but just a quick change of scenery and a safe spot I could leave her for a bit if I needed to cool off too.

Beyond that, I try to enlist her help (or "help" sometimes it isn't really helpful, but still get her involved somehow) in chores. She likes to put in and take out clothes from the laundry basket, help load and unload the dryer, bring me things, use her small broom while I use my big on, etc. It makes things take longer, but we both have fun, so it works pretty well. I also try to confine any tasks where I really need any length of undivided attention to when she is asleep or when DH is playing with her, otherwise I frustrate myself. Plenty of things can be done (over a long period of time of course) in 10s, 30s, 1 min chunks though. And when she does decide to play quietly for a few minutes right where something needs to be done I jump on it!

For making food, the best thing I have found is to sit her in her high chair so she can see, is confined and I can give her stuff to draw/color with or snacks or small toys to play with there.

For transitions, I have found with my DD, giving a 1 minute warning helps a lot. (Diaper change in 1 minute, etc.) Then I often give a 5 second countdown and then just calmly pick her up and go do whatever regardless of her yelling and screaming.

Finally, when she is really cranky it is usually teething, sickness and/or lack of sleep that is the ultimate culprit, so something else to keep in mind as even if there is nothing to be done, if I know she is teething, my patience is much longer!

Glad to hear you had a better day, the good days always help!

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 

 

 

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#13 of 16 Old 10-29-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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It is so great to hear from the mama of the original post, and other mamas as well... to know that I am not alone in this game of 'terrible twos' or in our case... 3 years old!!!  I wanted to respond to your post, with a response that I did for another thread (for a mother who was feeling a bit depleted as well)  I feel like it has some commonalities to your situation too...

 

though I feel for you, I also feel comforted- because I am reminded that I (my husband included) are not alone with our daily battles with our 3 year old son and his temper tantrums!!!

 

We too struggle and I have recently felt a bit lost in my sense of 'motherhood'.  My birth and his first months were natural and beautiful.... but it is now, in the toddler stage that I feel at a loss.

 

I can't tell you the amount of playdates and shopping centres that we have had to "leave early" or just plain leave with him in a complete fit, screaming, kicking and melting down at the fact that the play time is over. 

 

I am an educator and I have many skills and tricks up my sleeve,  but when it comes to my son- I totally want to throw in the towel!  I have had so many moments when I return to daycare to pick him up after a long day of working with kids and all I want is to be with my son,... to often have him hit me or yell because I am having him leave daycare when something he feels that is 'fun' is happening!!!

 

I can tell you, it is heart breaking.  Because I know that my son also has a wonderful, caring, expressive and nurturing side- that many others (and often daycare often says he is a real joy to have!) And it has taken a toll on my self confidence as a mother and I have to remind myself to be gentle to myself and to not own his actions.

My husband and I continue to communicate on our styles of discipline and yes, we have MANY moments of time out in our house on a nightly basis.... but we are trying to stay calm (which is hard to do) and routine and so he knows our boundaries and at the end of it all... we ALWAYS let him know that he is loved. 

 

Mothers who do not have children who are "spirited" or "challenging" don't truly know the extent of the effort and time that this type of personality, and the true heart ache that it can bring to any parent.  It can truly wear you down.

 

I have to admit,that in this last year, I have felt like "throwing in the towel to parenthood".... but I am stopped dead in my tracks when my beautiful son layers me with kisses and hugs and reminds me, that he is worth it all.... and our time and energy will pay off in the long run.

 

To all you other parents out there who share a similar story... remember, you're not alone - and like childbirth, this too will pass!

 

 

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#14 of 16 Old 10-29-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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Hi, I wanted to add to this thread just in case it could help someone else as much as this knowledge has helped me.

 

Here is what worked for us and which may seem at first unconnected and irrelevent to crying/tantrum behavior and yet has had the most profound difference in the moods and emotions of my own children. 

 

Remove tartrazine from their diet. I'll let you google it rather then quote my own research.  Make sure you search for tartrazine AND children OR behavior.

Or, to make it less overwhelming, just observe for a few days which of the foods s/he is consuming have it or color listed as an ingredient, then watch their mood for the next few hours. 

The sad part is that tartrazine is also listed under many other names, FDC yellow #5 for example. It also seems to be in some juices and not listed as tartrazine but simply as "color".

 

This knowledge seems widely known amongst European mums and it is even banned in Norway and possibly Austria?

 

Anyways, it's worth a shot.  It certainly stopped irrational behavior in my troops.

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#15 of 16 Old 10-29-2011, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrismari View Post

Hi there,  I could have sent the exact same email, my son literally cries about EVERYTHING!!!! If he doesn't cry, then he whines, I cannot take it anymore.  I feel like a failure as a mother.  He is my first child and I have always wanted two children, but lately my husband says he doesn't want anymore children, not with the way our son is going on. I also don't get to the housework.  I am a working mom and after I pick up my son from creche we get home, I start supper and he watches TV.  All he wants to do these days is watch TV.  On weekends when I try to engage him in outdoor activities he cries because he wants to watch TV.  I don't know what to do anymore.  I feel your pain and can honestly say I know what you are going through.  Please let me know if you find an answer. :-)



Hi Chrismari, I am the original thread starter (started this thread a while ago!) but I was having the same issue with crying all the time and only stopping for TV, and begging for TV when I was trying to get him engaged in something else. The way you described your son is exactly the place where my son used to be at. Basically what I had to do is go through 3-4 days of saying NO to TV (literally NO TV at all), and he threw some pretty big tantrums about that, but by day 4 he stopped asking and basically forgot about the TV, and played with other things. It was great! Big tip is that if you go out somewhere, you're not reminded of the TV, so we took lots of walks, went to the children's museum or a play group etc. (you can do this on the weekends if TV is a problem then).

 

Now he is almost 3 and he does watch TV occasionally (a few times a week) but is not begging for it like it used to. Also if you can have the TV in another room than the main living room, or if it is in the living room cover it with a blanket or whatever to show visually that it is "unavailable" will help it to have less of a presence. Also, my spouse and I would not watch TV while our son was around.

 

Good luck -- it really is a phase but try to cut off TV for 3 days (stick to your guns) and you'll notice a difference! I think that teaching kids early on to entertain themselves with non-TV things while Mommy or Daddy does activity x is really key, although it takes some firm, confident, patient parenting to get there.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepperpot View Post

Remove tartrazine from their diet. I'll let you google it rather then quote my own research.  Make sure you search for tartrazine AND children OR behavior.

 


Thanks for the tip Pepperpot, never heard of this. Googling it now.


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#16 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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Hi OP,

 

I went through a very similar stage with my ds at that age.  And exactly what you describe with the tv.  What I did, which worked overwhelmingly amazingly well (though was terrifying), was to get rid of TV completely.  I was all about "everything in moderation".  Dd (3yo older than ds) had never had un-ending tv freakouts like ds.  I just wanted to limit tv.  It simply did not work with ds when he was that age.  It took about 3 days of him constantly asking (and me scheduling all kinds of fun activities as distraction) and then it was done.  He stopped asking for it or expecting it.  And Life Got Easier.  Way easier!  I was shocked (super duper shocked!) at what a huge positive difference it made in ds's behaviour.  The whining and crying went to about 10% of what it was before.  He became GREAT at self-entertaining and able to play with toys by himself for hours.

 

Just throwing it out there mama.  Not sure if it's the magic answer for you like it was for us, but I think it's worth trying.  Good luck!

 

p.s. ds just turned 4 and we still don't watch tv on a reg basis (too busy doing other stuff!), but we're able to have "movie nights" without him freaking out for more more more...


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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