Does your upset/crying toddler ever both seem to want and resist your comforting? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lately when dd falls down and hurts herself or otherwise gets into a state, I pick her up and hug her and she'll shake her head and swat at my arms and push herself away, but then when I put her down to see if space is what she's askinf for her clings to my legs, or walks away a few steps and then asks to be picked up again, and around and around it goes...

I think I understand--often when I'm upset I don't know what I want either. But I've read so much about attachment parenting (also Solter's "Aware Baby" material about how tears are healing but how we should hold our kids or at least be right there to support them when they cry) that I've got this belief system that what SHOULD happen is I should be gently embracing her when she cries. It feels confusing, and kinda like I'm being rejected, when she isn't apparently too pleased with my support.

I don't think there's really a problem or solution here, but I'd welcome any insights. Anybody else go through this? What do you do?
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#2 of 8 Old 01-02-2003, 11:13 PM
 
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This behavior, for both my kids, was kind of the hallmark of toddlerhood. I saw a LOT of it!

I don't have any huge insight on it, but I think it's pretty common- I've seen friends' kids going through it, too- all AP'd kids. It comes at an age when they're just exploring the concept of independence so I think they get a little short-circuited when big emotional things are happening. They get over it eventually and settle back into needing mama for all those stressful moments and being able to accept comfort as needed. You're doing great- just keep being there for her when she's melting down and let her know that you're there when she needs you. I think it IS important to continually give the message that mama's there even if it feels like she's rejecting you. She's not really- she's just having a hard time sorting everything out at the moment.
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#3 of 8 Old 01-03-2003, 01:07 AM
 
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Oh so funny you should mention this. I've seen something similar in my 26 mo DD this week. She was overtired and something set her off. She started crying a lot and walked in and out of her room and into the hallway crying. I lovingly tried to pick her up, but she fought it. She didn't want me to hold, hug, sing or console her in any way. If I came close to her she would cry, "I run away" and take off in the other direction. So I just kept telling her how much I love her and that whenever she wanted me to hold her I would be here. Then I tried to stay as close as she would let me without intruding on her. After about 5 mins she came to me smiling and I held out my arms, picked her up and bounced her to sleep on the birthing ball.

I felt pretty helpless and hated seeing her cry, but didn't know what else to do. I guess it's my 1st lesson as a mom that I can't fix everything w/my DD. Sometimes I have to let her work her feelings through, while assuring her that I am always here for her no matter what.

Cindi
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#4 of 8 Old 01-04-2003, 02:32 AM
 
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I have memories of feeling this way myself. I would really want my mother, but not in the way she thought. I think I would have been satisfied if she had given me a little room to sort out how I felt and determine what I wanted from her while staying near enough that I didn't have to do it alone.
DD still wants the big hug and if it hurts it has to get a magic kiss before it is all better. I hope I don't get hurt when she is ready for some space. I remember it so vividly though that I think I will know how to respect it.I say don't let it get under your skin. She has to learn to manage her own intense feelings at some point. You can lend her support without interfering with the process. They grow up so fast - don't they?
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#5 of 8 Old 01-04-2003, 03:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I'll just stay nearbye. I just realize that I can satesfy my own inner need to be nurturing her by visualizing her eneloped in healing light, keeping my heart open to her, saying a prayer, etc while respecting the possibility of her needing her space from me. Wow, this mothering is so much inner work, every day. Its awesome.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-04-2003, 11:09 PM
 
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My DD2 is absolutely like this. She has terrible tantrums (not often, but terrible when they hit - twice she almost passed out she cried so hard!).

She will cry for me and at the same time be beside herself if I try to hold her. I just let her know I'm there if she wants to be held and let her alone if she needs her space. I felt horrible the first few times, but at least she'll take my comfort sometimes, she absolutely freaks on DH and won't let him touch her. He, of course, feels terrible!

Kids can be weird...

WOHM married to SAHD, living the dream w/our: 3 girls (14,12,10) and 3 boys (7,5,3) and tie-breaker due Jan 2014

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#7 of 8 Old 01-05-2003, 01:11 AM
 
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I noticed a long time ago that Dd got happier, faster, when I held her quite snugly. She rarely gets very upset (the toddler years have barely begun), but there are times when she still really likes the snug hold, even if she is moving against me - she seems to like to really feel held by pushing against me. If I let her go, she just wants to come back, until I just hold her tight.

This thread is sort of related: Aware Baby discussion
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#8 of 8 Old 01-05-2003, 10:03 PM
 
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Both of my kids do that sometimes. Not very often, but it does happen. Normally, if they seem to be rejecting me, I will sit down and put the child next to me, and usually, we'll end up 'semi-cuddling' where I am not actually 'holding' them, but they are getting hugs. A lot of the time they will decide that they wanted to be held after all, and will climb back onto my lap. Or sometimes they will go off and do their own thing. The point is more that when we are on the same level and I'm not really carrying them, the choice is more completely theirs, you know?

Nicole
mama to Becca (2/1/00) and Tony (12/2/01)

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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