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Am I spoiling my toddler?

1129 Views 12 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  ShadowMom
My son is 14 months old. In the past 2 months he has started to reject any comforting from my husband. He only wants me. If I leave the room and he is with dh, ds cries until I return. Last night we were in the car at a gas station, and I went inside to pay for the gas, and he cried when I left the car until I came back into the car. He is very clingy towards me. Whenever he tugs at my leg or whines, I pick him up and hold him. My husband says that I am spoiling him by responding to his whining like that. I feel like my husband doesn't want me to love and care for our son, and he feels like I am spoiling him. When he is whining, nothing really seems to be the matter exept that he wants to be held. We play plenty of attention to him without holding him, and he was held tons as an infant. I thought that AP kids were supposed to be less clingy and have an easier time with separation, but it seems to be the opposite for our son. I don't know who is right, my husband or I? I want to show my son love, but I don't want to spoil him.
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No - you're not spoiling him. And, don't be surprised if six months down the road, only daddy will do the trick when ds wants comforting. My ds went through a phase like that with each of us. He didn't cling much, but he definitely wanted to be picked up and cuddled by the "parent of the moment". Babies and toddlers need to be held (well - so do older kids, teens and adults, but that's a different discussion). If you were crying about something, would dh be "spoiling" you if he gave you a hug? Of course not!!

Keep up the good work. Your son needs to be held.

(My dh just started a job after being home with us almost completely full-time since dd was born. She's been rejecting his comfort a lot lately, but I know it's just a phase. Mommy is always there, and mommy is the one who has to cuddle her.)
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Originally Posted by Eli's_mom
When he is whining, nothing really seems to be the matter exept that he wants to be held. We play plenty of attention to him without holding him, and he was held tons as an infant. I thought that AP kids were supposed to be less clingy and have an easier time with separation, but it seems to be the opposite for our son. I don't know who is right, my husband or I? I want to show my son love, but I don't want to spoil him.
If your baby only wanted your DH, he'd be singing a different tune- "Come, spoil the child, he only wants me!!!!!!" :LOL

Really, in my experience, children go through mama and daddy stages. I have also noticed that this is the age when many AP parents start thinking, OMGosh, what have I done- I've ruined him! But you haven't. All kids go through a stage when they test the limits of love. You are showing him that there are no limits to love. What a beautiful lesson to learn!

I think this is especially true as toddlers start exploring their worlds. The further out they go, the more they want to make sure they have a strong home base to come back to.

If the whining really gets to you, you might try saying "Can you say up, please?" or asking him to sign please, and then picking him up. If he won't say it, say it for him. Very calmly, "Please!" or the sign for please, and then pick him up. That's helped with my three.

This too will pass. Soon you and your husband will both be complaining because your fearless child wants nothing to do with either one of you! My older two had vacation church school this week, and didn't even say goodbye to me.
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Um...I definately don't think you're spoiling him by responding to him. What does your husband want you to do? Ignore him? Does he understand that this screaming/crying, etc...this is your childs way only way of expressing himself at this point? It's not like he can say, "hey dad...where'd mom go? When will she be back? Hm. I sure do miss her!" ya know?!

Your 14month old is still an infant (in my eyes!) You can't just depend on AP for the first 12 months exactly & then expect to be able to immediately reap the rewards. It's an ongoing process--and let me tell ya--those first 12 months--THOSE WERE THE EASIEST! It only gets more complicated the older they have to stick to your AP beliefs to be able to reap the benefits of AP kids.

I currently have a 4 year old. A 4 year old that is coveted by many, lol... He was ap'd as an infant--and ap'd as a toddler--and you know what? I still ap his butt today! LOL! If someone believes I may be spoiling him, that's their own opinion. I'm just thankful I don't have to deal with *THEIR* kids, lol!

The thing about dads...or at least for *my dh* I know this is a big concern--They don't want "WHINEY" kids. There is a HUGE difference between WHINING (to try to get something they want, etc) and having them express themselves through crying. Maybe you need to point that out to your dh? See--men don't always develop that 6th sense we have as mothers that help us distinguish between an "that's an I want mommy cry" or a "I waaaaaaaanttt tthhhhaaaaaaatttt" cry. Crying is Crying to most men. We have to protect our babies by LETTING them cry (the good expressive crying) especially boys, as they are usually hushed and quieted when they cry (especially by men)--expected to 'be a man' or whatever...Yeah, we don't play that around here, lol!

I'm just gonna go ahead and forwarn ya--The whole 15-24 month age was THE WORST (mentally, emotionally) for me as a new mother. I did *great* with the baby stage, but when he was an independent thinking child that couldn't express what he wanted when he wanted it--well, it about drove me INSANE. I swear, he cried more during that time period than he has in his entire life thus far! He was just so FRUSTRATED that he couldn't SPEAK--He couldn't tell me what he wanted or what he needed, and it would get to the point where we would both just CRY out of frustration! But, once they're vocabulary gets a little better, they seem to get a grasp on their frustrations (because they're COMMUNICATING & BEING HEARD/VALIDATED) they seem to be MUUUUUCH more easy going...until the next phase that is!

I would start off by talking to dh about the different types of cries--and be STERN with your son if he starts whining for 'something'...We nipped that kind of crying in the bud REAL QUICK at our house...he fell out ONE TIME in a drugstore where he wanted 'something'. I told him VERY CLEARLY that he would NEVER get anything from me acting like that, and I very quickly & sternly took him OUT of the store. He's NEVER acted like that in a store EVER AGAIN. He knows now the best way to get what he wants with me is to ask politely and be patient. He knows he may not get what he wants immediately, but I also assure him that I *want* him to have anything that I am capable of getting for him but that we sometimes have to WAIT for the things we want to be given to us. That usually suits him...for a while, anyway!

Good Luck. You're about to enter a toooootally different dimension with your son. I hope you and your husband grow to learn more about his communication and his different types of crying. It's important that you show dh that you will 'handle' the inappropriate 'whining' and I'm sure he would be able to better understand his 'expressive' crying. This is something you guys can work on as a team.

That's what dh & I did anyway! I pretty much handled all of the 'whining' and he was better able to handle the 'expressive crying'--which is EXACTLY what each of us needed, as I was the one who was more empathetic towards the crying & dh would give him whatever he wanted just to shut him up, lol! So that worked really well for us!!


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I think it is a hard call. We moms have to start being able to tell wants from needs. For me the distinction is sometimes too hard to make so I call it a need and pick her up! Sign language has been great for us, because I encouage her to "tell" me what she wants. My DD is 15 mo and we had this conversaton today:

Baby whinning
What do you want
ni ni (to breast feed)
you just ate, no more ni ni
no ni ni
you're full
ni ni, please?

After that, who could resist?

We work on words like: wait, in a minute, and "First we will put the laundry in the dryer, then we will take a bath. First laundry, THEN bath. Wiat, don't climb in the tub yet..."

I really try to discourage whinning by enouraging communication, but it's hard.
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Originally Posted by Eli's_mom
I thought that AP kids were supposed to be less clingy and have an easier time with separation, but it seems to be the opposite for our son.
I thought the same thing, alas, DD is about as clingy as they come! :LOL And she has been held tons all her life and we co-sleep and nurse on demand night and day (even now, at 26 months). So... not all kids fit this AP "ideal."

DD has also (since about 4 months) been a mommy's girl. I'm like you, I never say no to her. There's no reason to, really, is there? I mean, what do we want them to learn? That mom is always there to comfort, right? At this age, I think that's the message that needs to be conveyed. There will be plenty of time as they get older to teach them that other people can offer comfort and that they can get by without mommy at their side. When we are still talking about their ages in months, that is not the time to be teaching that lesson. You cannot, CANNOT spoil a child this young.

I can understand your DH's frustration that he can't comfort your child. My DH has the same feelings. BUT, the child and the child's emotional needs come first at this age. It won't always be like this. The day will come when your DH is #1 again. But, telling you that you are spoiling the child and/or not allowing you to pick him up is punishing the child for your DH's hurt feelings. I wouldn't put it that way to your DH, but I do think that's what it amounts to. Ah, men and ego. How on earth do they get through a day? I sometimes wonder. :LOL (Not intending to offend you or your DH, just speaking from personal experience with my own darling, dear, but egotistical DH.)
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You know what? When your toddler grows up he will start to AP you. It's a good thing.

Last night my 4yo slept with me. I woke up to my her rubbing my arm and saying she loved me so much. Later I hurt my toes and they were bleeding. My 4yo ran and got a wet cloth and ever so gently (like I didn't know she was capable of being that gentle) patted the blood off with the cloth and said, "Oh Mommy, does it really hurt? Poor mommy. Come here, let me give you a hug. Feel better now?"

AP is so worth it. Wait until your kids "spoil" you. It's rather nice.
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Mine freak out sometimes when I walk away from them - at 14 months my DS had a conniption fit at a Bday party, in front of all the relatives! Just b/c I'd stepped away to get some drinks! And they've been known to cry at the gas station, when I leave them w/Daddy for a minute while I pay.

But take them someplace fun & they're all about the adventure. They really tackle the playground, very confident in their play.

I wouldn't worry about this in the least. For some kids, separation anxiety increases at 14 months. It'll soon pass. Grab your hugs and cuddles while you can, won't be long before you're not allowed to acknowledge that you're even related if his little friends are around.
Your baby is so young. Showing a mom/dad preference is VERY common and in my case every kid swung back and forth between us over the years. It's so hard to be patient without the hindsight, but it is SO worth it to just wait it out. Way better for your attachment and her feelings of security.
AP kids are clingy, imo, because they love and need their mamas so much and know that they are loved by them.
Mmmmm...I'd be careful with this generalization. My DD, while not exclusively "AP'ed" (depending on whose "rules" you follow) certainly loves and needs me and knows she is loved, but she is not at all clingy. (Some days I wish she were MORE clingy! I get lots of hugs and kisses, but then it's off again, and havean forbid that I try to hold her!)

I may have a minority opinion on this, but I don't see clinginess as necessarily positive, and I do think it's possible for it to result from less-than-optimal parenting. (For instance, some parents are in constant physical contact with their kids but rarely engage them or give them their full attention. In my experience, these kids sometimes "cling" because it's the way they know of "having" mama.) The OP's situation doesn't sound like a case of this, but I think it can happen. I also do think, though, that a lot of the clingy/not-clingy thing has to do with the child's personality.
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My AP'd 14mth old ds has never been as clingy as many of his friends- he has never been a "comfort" nurser- liked a schedule, liked to hang out with anyone, and rarely missed mama (except sometimes at night when only mommy will do.) Then, a week ago, he got REALLY clingy, started nursing in public (hasn't done this in 10 mths!) and would only let me put him to bed (previously let daddy put him to sleep easily.) Well, after 3 days of this, he started to run a high fever...turns out he had roseola and was not feeling well. I just try to follow my heart & my ds's leads. As far as spoiling- that word just doesn't apply to these can't spoil with love or hugs or attention. i live in a kinda poor neighborhood, and i've noticed that when ds and i meet people on the street that seem less fortunate than us, one of the first questions they ask is, "is he spoiled?" at first it struck me as bizarre, but now i see that it means he gets his needs met- being loved is one of those needs. usually when people tell you you're spoiling your baby, it either means they wish they could (or could have been)treated the way your baby is OR it means they wish they could "spoil" your baby- grandparents, husband, etc.
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Your child is going through a normal phase of clinginess and separation anxiety.

When you think about it, it must be a really scary age. He sees you walk off - when are you coming back? Where did you go? He really doesn't know.

We are adults, and can visualize where the person who's gone must be - at their parents, in the bathroom, inside the gas station, etc. and that's what we do when we think about the person who's gone.

But to someone that age, I'm sure they lack that ability - the person they rely on totally for security and all of their needs has just vanished!!

In my totally uneducated opinion, I think this is part of the problem.

Soon, your DS will be able to understand your DH when he says, "Momma went inside - she'll be back in just minute". But, right now he doesn't understand that.

My DS has gone through really clingy phases too, and is starting to grow out of it. But he freaks out if either of us (DH or I) leave, still.

We'll be looking back fondly on this time all too soon.

Sorry, I don't have any good advice for arguing this point with DH... I would quiz him a bit more about what he thinks is going to happen since you're "spoiling" DS so dreadfully.
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