how do you stay patient for toddler fussines/whininess - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 09-22-2011, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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My daughter is 21 months, and has always had strong emotions - the last couple weeks however seem like she is fussy/whiney ALL day. Its hard to call them tantrums, but it mostly happens if I don't get or do something for her right away, or ask her to do or go somewhere and she doesn't want to and she instantly starts crying. It takes her awhile to stop. I feel like with my older son, while I had moments of impatience throughout the day - I was really able to stay calm, offer him empathy and put words to his emotions. I don't know if its just lack of energy from my pregnancy - but with my daughter I feel so impatient about her crying. I am hearing it from the minute I wake up to when she goes to bed, and so many times it feels like "for no good reason" (even though I know this isn't fair to think about it that way), and a lot of times I tell her mean things like "okay, that's enough" or "you don't even know why you are crying" because I feel so annoyed by it.


Anyone with a more fussy/emotional/expressive toddler? how do you deal with constant outbursts? I really need to work on more patience with her - but I don't even know where to start. Feeling like a lame mom lately with her.

Katie, wife to the one, mother to Henry and Ruby.
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#2 of 10 Old 09-23-2011, 08:02 AM
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Yes! I could have written this post. In fact, I signed on this morning intending to write a similar request for advice and ended up browsing the toddler forum first. I can't offer any advice, unfortunately, just commiseration. My son is younger (16 months) but is already in full temper tantrum mode. Like your daughter, he's always had very strong emotions and been very willful (I like to say *spirited*.) Lately, I've been totally exhausted and overwhelmed dealing with tantrums and crying ALL DAY. It's only 9:00 and he's already had three major meltdowns. ( I'm a pretty patient person and I've had lots of experience with toddlers (I'm an early childhood ed. teacher--of all things) but I find myself totally burnt out trying to remain calm and compassionate with such frequent and intense tantrums.


I find that getting out of the house helps us both--we've been taking really long walks in the stroller to de-stress. I'd also like to start taking more "me" time while he's with his dad or a babysitter, but that hasn't happened yet. I definitely need to make some sort of change because I'm feeling really overwhelmed, annoyed, and grumpy.


Hopefully another mama will have some useful advice for both of us! And until then....

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#3 of 10 Old 09-23-2011, 09:52 AM
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One thing that really helps me is to NOT PERSONALIZE her behavior. She feels crappy and gets frustrated. I am trying everything and nothing makes her happy. At that point it is pretty easy to lose it because she doesn't even realize how hard I'm trying and I don't feel appreciated. So now I look at it from her point of view. All she can see is her pain and discomfort and she needs me even though I can't really take it away. I just ride it out with her and try to demonstrate how people should react when witnessing someone in distress.


DD is 21 months. I give her plenty of love and kind words ... but I wear earplugs during the major outbursts. (Please understand that I still stay with her and interact while wearing them.) I hold her and sing to her and bounce her on a big ball. I also still nurse her and that works really well. Some days when she is on the brink I just strap her to my chest in an Ergo and do simple tasks until she calms down. But the earplugs really help me stay calm. It provides a sort of mental barrier and allows me to hear how I sound and not be tempted to compete with her outbursts.



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#4 of 10 Old 09-24-2011, 05:37 PM
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Just have a sec.  We use earplugs sometimes, too.  It helps.

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#5 of 10 Old 09-27-2011, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you for the responses so far. I think I definitely need to try to give her some time for a bit (love the bouncing on the ball) and then let her know that I need to finish a task, and perhaps bust out some earplugs :)

Katie, wife to the one, mother to Henry and Ruby.
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#6 of 10 Old 09-27-2011, 02:03 PM
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i worked in a early childhood center, so i know that feeling of, "i KNOW this stuff, i just dont have any patience or time to use that knowledge in my head!"


my ds is 2. on his super whiny days, when EVERYTHING is a complaint, i just throw ourselves outside, put a blanket on the grass, take an armload of our inside toys outside, possibly even take easy snacks (pretzels, dry cereal) and just kinda let the next hour or two happen. i dont know why that always helps. its hard not doing the things that i need to do and just go outside and lay down, but usually all my dh needs to hear is, "today didnt happen." and he understands and ignores the mess or lack of dinner. 


i also hate to admit it, but i do put on the tv when i REALLY need it =\

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#7 of 10 Old 09-27-2011, 06:19 PM
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I've been frustrated with my whiney 21 month old too.  He doesn't sound quite as emotional as yours, but he does whine a lot and I definitely wish he had some more self-control or at least better reasons!  But that's what we're teaching them, right?  So what I've worked on doing is prompting him to "ask nicely" when he whines or preferably when I notice that he's starting to get frustrated about something.  "Asking nicely" for him means at the very least saying "help" in a calm/pleasant way and ideally saying "please."  It does take a lot of patience on my part, and I often still lose it, but at least it's something we can work on.  After a month or so of this he is starting to remember to do it himself instead of me prompting him.


I've also noticed that he is less whiney on the days that I make sure to spend focused time with him instead of fitting his needs in between all of mine.  If he always feels he needs to get my attention from whatever I'm doing he's more whiney.  It's better when I give him special time so that he knows I *have* time for him and it gives me a chance to work on helping him with his emotions in a proactive way rather than reactive.

DS1 born 12-31-09, DS2 born 2-18-12

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#8 of 10 Old 10-02-2011, 07:40 PM
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We do two things.

Wear him (he's almost 30 pounds but I've started wearing him on my back) and take him for a walk in the stroller (he's only started getting in in in the last two weeks, but its saved our lives).

If I can (because I have nothing else to do), I just sit on the floor and let him crawl all over me, lead me around the house, etc.
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#9 of 10 Old 10-03-2011, 11:08 AM
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Playful Parenting book is amazing for this. A lot of times I found it was either a lack of connection or way too connection kwim? If it's the first thing, then me being on the floor letting him boss me around in our play together. Sometimes it takes as little as 20 min and some times it takes 2 hours...depends on how crazy we've been. If it's a too connected issue, then we each step back from one another and let each other be. I also have found that getting outside or changing the room even (if the weather is super uncooperative) has been so helpful. The other thing to is that I still wear DS (he's over 30 pounds and 2.5 yrs old!) on my back in the ergo. It makes all the difference in the world. My friends joke that oftentimes I have DS1 on my back and DS2 on my front (DS2 is 5 months old). The other thing that I do is tell DS what I'm doing when. I speak in narrative all day long. First we'll read stories and we do just then, then after stories mama is going to take 5 minutes and unload the dishwasher (or whatever), then we do something together and he's always welcome to come and "help" when I'm getting chores done etc. For example, this am DS was just off and in a bit of a funk, I know it's because I haven't been home a lot in the evenings and this weekend was swamped with concerts etc (I'm a concert violinist) so there wasn't a lot of time for us (I did make sure on my hour breaks when I was home I spent at least 20 min reconnecting with him in between feeding the little guy and eating before I had to leave again). So, after breakfast we got into our stroller and walked to the bank in the next town over - round trip was over 1.5 hours long but we chatted the entire way, the baby slept in the stroller, we stopped and watched trucks doing their jobs etc. When we got home, he played outside on his own for 45 minutes before I called him in for lunch. Now both boys are napping and here I am. There was no fighting coming in, over lunch or going to bed. We played and reconnected again during our meal together and then recapped how great the morning was while getting him ready for nap. Those are just a couple more ideas for your bag of tricks. Sometimes it can be too much tho!!!! oye!

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#10 of 10 Old 10-03-2011, 11:14 AM
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We get outside :) -- and usually that means a walk to the closest coffee shop so that I can get a latte...


yup better parenting through caffeine ;)


I also make sure to take us on the loop to the coffee shop that includes the bus line, DS loves looking at the buses!  


Or...better parenting through "strapping him in"-- I either wear him while I do other things OR put him in the stroller for a walk.  

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