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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I seem to have lost my way both with AP and with my toddler. As an infant, it seemed quite easy and natural to me. Respond when he cries, feed him when he wants, love him lots. As a toddler, his needs are much more varied, and, of course, I can't always give him what he wants. (Otherwise, all he would eat is bear cookies!
)

I also feel that I do not have very much patience for my toddler. As toddlers go, he is fairly 'easy' - not many tantrums, shares well, takes turn with other children, etc. But I find this stage hard, mainly because I feel that I as an individual do not 'exist' anymore. (I guess that is a whole separate thread!) But I don't find parenting a toddler comes as natural to me as parenting an infant. And I don't know what I 'should' be doing, especially in an AP way. Does any of this make sense? I don't know how to put across what I am trying to say.

Essentially, what does AP parenting of a toddler look like?
 

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I understand and can identify with what you are saying.
Here are my ways that i AP my toddler son:
I respect him as a person, listen to what he wants and what he is trying to tell me.
I don't hit him when he displays 'naughty' behavior.
I try (VERY HARD! :LOL) not to yell at him.
I encourage him to play, we read lots of books.
My son doesn't watch tv
I try to think about little things like cuddles and kisses and how important they are. I try not to focus on things which don't really matter...
He is still un vaccinated and i continue to educat myself about this.
there are so many more!
I hope this helps or is what you were looking for
 

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I am very interested to see the replies to this post, as I SO hear you and relate. AP was so much more natural to me when DS was a babe -- his needs were pretty elemental, even though he was "spirited" from birth. Now, I don't always know how to deal with him as a toddler. It is definitely much harder for me to relate to him as a toddler than it was as a babe, and this has been a very difficult time for me.

How do you AP through MAJOR MELTDOWN tantrums, especially several a day? I keep trying to head them off at the pass (make sure he's not hungry or tired, make sure that the house is babyproofed as much as possible so he can explore his environment freely, give him lots of hugs and kisses, read and play with him quite a bit, etc.), but that doesn't seem to help. They come out of nowhere whenever he hears something he doesn't want to, sees something he wants that he can't have (the knife mommy is using to cut up his plum comes to mind), wants to HOLD EVERYTHING but needs to look with his EYES.

And yes, yes, yes do I know what you mean about not feeling as if you exist anymore. I'm Mama, not April, ya know?

Sorry ... didn't mean to rant in your thread. But I am so right there, doing that!
to you mama ... I know you're probably needing 'em!
 

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I just wanted to let you know that I've been where you are, OP and book mark this thread so I can come back to it this evening. I've got some ideas for you and just general thoughts on your post, which I find very insightful, BTW.

How old is our child?
 

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For me, APing a toddler means looking at the world from his perspective. I try to put myself in his position and get a sense of what's important to him, what frightens him, what empowers him, what comforts him, etc.

Some current examples from our family:

Ean's in a fearful stage right now -- we think he's realizing that his world is getting bigger and he's sometimes finding himself in unchartered territory. We respect his fears and we never suggest that he shouldn't be fearful. We tell him that it's OK to be afraid and that we promise to keep him safe.

We don't walk away when he has tantrums. We sit nearby and offer to hold him if he wants to be held. Otherwise we just stay in the room and offer emotional support. We believe his tantrums are an age-appropriate expression of frustration and we believe it's our job to support him during these times.

We do our best to foster a spirit of family partnership. We know we're the parents and, ultimately, we make the decisions -- but we make a point of giving him power and choice whenever possible.

We don't hit and we try not to yell. Still working on yelling though...


We're also still trying to figure out GD and logical consequences....

I sometimes find myself making things more complicated than they need to be -- which is when I sit back and remind myself to just treat him with love and respect!!
 

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I too find parenting a toddler much more challenging. I have to remind myself daily to focus on the positive and to be positive myself, especially now that I have a new baby. I try to check myself when I hear a naggy or frustrated tone to my voice. I make the conscious effort to speak kindly and nicely, even when I get so tired and frustrated. It ALWAYS makes the difference. I also focus on positive reinforcement largely for our discipline strategy and it is really effective to praise good behavior. Punishing or correcting the bad is not very effective for my child, as I think she does a lot of stuff to get our attention. I ignore the bad and shower the good with praise. Some things are not tolerated, like running away outside by the road, treating the pets or her sister unkindly etc and when those things occur I act immediately and consistently after one opportunity to change her behavior. She never has to wonder what my reaction will be.

It is a hard age because they are now breaking free of some of the attachment to us, finding out their own little ways.

Erika
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone. Your replies have really got me thinking and looking at my parenting. I have always tried to AP parent (no hitting, respecting him and his choices when I can, etc.) but I just got overwhelmed with parenting a 2 year old!

And springmamam - don't worry about 'ranting in my thread'
! I love to hear what other mamas experiences are. Hugs to you as well.

Lise
 

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It seems to me that it's a lot harder to determine what a toddler's needs actually are, ya know? So that makes it hard to meet their needs. Hard to distinguish between needs and wants, etc.

My toddler is young, 20 months, so we're just getting into the territory but yeah, it's a lot more intellectually demanding in my experience. I've been reading "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be" and I find it really useful, (and very affirming) and also, the Gentle Discipline board here is awesome. I've been reading it constantly since dd was about 6 months to get lots of ideas ahead of time!!!!
 

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i understand.

i was pretty "non AP" with my baby when he was newborn (mostly)
but, as far as toddlers/kids, i think im very AP.
i was glad when he turned 1 and i was able to feel more "accepted" here, because i love most the things AP does.....and stands for.

being gentle with parenting.
respecting children's rights as humans.
being fair to children.
remaining calm and loving
 

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Attachment Parenting Int'l has a nice summary of AP for the older (they say school-age) child--I think it fits nicely with toddlers though. This is just the list, you can follow the link for really helpful explanations of each ideal.

The Eight Ideals of Attachment Parenting for the School-age Child

1. Become knowledgeable about your child's development and cognitive levels.
2. Stay emotionally responsive.
3. Strive for optimum physical health.
4. Maintain a high-touch relationship.
5. Develop and maintain positive sleep routines.
6. Be present and available for your children.
7. Use positive discipline.
8. Maintain balance in your life.

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/idealschindex.shtml
 

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I'm in the same boat right now--I'm not sure what 'AP parenting of a toddler' should be like, but I'm trying very hard to do what I think is along those lines. Some days are wonderful, and some days are very hard.

Audrey is 22 months and still not talking a lot, though she understands everything we say to her, and more words are coming daily now. I am sure that not being able to express herself clearly is very frustrating to her, and causes a lot of our problems. I wouldn't call dd 'spirited' (not quite), but it is a constant challenge to keep up with her--it seems that we either have a wonderful, happy time or a horrible nasty time, with no middle ground.

DD is very agressive toward me, too--climbing on me, biting, pulling hair, etc.--basically she will not allow me to just sit down and relax for 5 minutes if I'm in the same room with her (which is all the time) without clingy/agressive behavior, and I just don't have any solution for this. I am very tired of saying "...please stop, that hurts mommy' over and over, since that's clearly not doing any good, but don't feel that I can just allow her to keep hurting me. This is the hardest part of our AP relationship, and I don't have a solution for it so far...(anybody have a solution? Please PM me, pleeeeeassse!).

I struggle with the yelling as well, and often find myself raising my voice when I just don't know what to do anymore.
: I also struggle with the feeling that the 'me' has vaporized, and I'm just mama, both to dd and dh, a lot of the time.

And then there are (mostly) good times where we all get along and things go smoothly and dd is cuddly and huggy and content....
 

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Am I weird for finding it easier to parent my toddler now than it was when he was an infant? He *tells me what he's thinking* now, and can help me to fill his needs in all kinds of small ways, can understand simple explanations I give him, and can amuse himself at least for a few minutes. He's such a little person, and I feel more like I have a real, give-and-take relationship with him. I enjoy his company so much most of the time, and can handle the whole toddler "thing" with perfect equanimity, oh, I'd say nine days out of ten (the tenth day would be the one where neither of us got enough sleep, DS refuses to get dressed without a huge wrestling match, it's raining, DH is late getting home from work, etc...)

When he was an infant, he seemed like a little alien creature to me. He screamed for months and was so hard to soothe, and even when not actually screaming he seemed determined to drain me of absolutely everything I had to give. It took a continual, moment-by-moment act of will for me to be empathetic and responsive to him.

Obviously part of this was about his neediness as an infant. But a lot of it is about me. Am I just not a "baby person?" I tend to enjoy and empathize with other peoples' toddlers, too, including the ones that make DS cry


I don't know... this seems to be very different from so many peoples' experiences. Being responsive to my infant was basically an intellectual choice for me, and a difficult one to live up to; on the other hand it comes pretty naturally to me to:

Minimize separation from my toddler

Whenever possible allow time and space for him to do things at his own pace and in his own way

Listen to him when he talks

Talk to him, too - in ways that help him to negotiate his world

Lots and lots of touching, cuddling, reading books, nursing

Anticipate and allow for his needs, especially in situations or places that don't really accommodate children

Try to understand and respect his view of the world

Obviously I am not thrilled when he has a meltdown, but... I dunno... I don't feel threatened by it, I don't experience it as being *about me.* So it's easier to calmly say, I'm sorry you're so frustrated, I'll be right here when you want me... I actually found it much harder to deal with the crying jags he had as an infant, because it was my job to "fix" those, yk?

I think I am both rambling, and hijacking the thread. Sorry.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sylith
Minimize separation from my toddler

Whenever possible allow time and space for him to do things at his own pace and in his own way

Listen to him when he talks

Talk to him, too - in ways that help him to negotiate his world

Lots and lots of touching, cuddling, reading books, nursing

Anticipate and allow for his needs, especially in situations or places that don't really accommodate children

Try to understand and respect his view of the world

I think I am ...hijacking the thread. Sorry.

NO--you're not hijacking the thread (I don't think so, but I jumped in later). I appreciate the list that you made of the things you do...it makes me feel like WE ARE doing a fair job of AP, despite our difficulties in understanding if we're doing the right things for dd SOME of the time...

We also had a very rough time of it when dd was tiny, helpless and crying a lot and we couldn't soothe her. There were a few months of being up all night that I thought neither dh or I would make it
When I think back on that, this age is much easier....also what you said reinforced my feeling that dd not talking much has everything to do with the difficulties we're having now (look how many items include communication)!
 

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I also find it more...pleasant...to AP my toddler only because she was such a frustrated baby - as soon as she could walk her whole disposition changed. But is IS harder on me mentally and emotionally! Soooo....

Quote:
For me, APing a toddler means looking at the world from his perspective. I try to put myself in his position and get a sense of what's important to him, what frightens him, what empowers him, what comforts him, etc.
Yes! I do this as well and it helps me to be more patient. When it's time to put on shoes and she's running around the house screaming NO NO like I am going to hurt her it's easy to get real mad real fast. But I stop and ask what's happening in her world right now? It helps!

•we still nurse
•we co-sleep
•we don't leave her for long periods of time
•we are a very affectionate family, but also respect boundaries. No means No
•we give her a lot of freedom of expression and let her know she has just as many rights as we do.
•we have everything (as much as we can) at her level so she can do it herself - this is a BIG one in our house. Little miss independent.
•I read and educate myself on her development so that I can respond appropriately to her needs.
•I play with her, read to her, use imagination with her.
•we eat healthy foods and discuss the importance of taking care of your body (hair, teeth, body cleanliness, etc)
•we get down at her level to talk to her. we take the time to explain things to her, even if she doesn't get it.
•we are fair with our boundaries and no means no - I think it's confusing for a child to be wishy-washy. I choose the battles so to speak and we rarely say no in our house...

Do I fail? Oh yeah. I think I posted on nighttime parenting hte other night when I was in a real bad head space after a 2 hour bedtime battle.
I yell. I try so hard not to. I see how it upsets her, and to top it off she yells at me back. LOL. I am certainly not going to tell her not to yell when I yell. That's a big thing for us too - modeling behaviors. I will not tell my child to do something I am not doing myself, or tell her NOT to do something I am doing. As the saying goes, "I cannot hear what you say because what you do is screaming at me."

I believe parenting is not only learning for the child, but also offers tremendous growth opportunities for the parent as well. It's recriprocal - we learn from each other like any other relationship.

I also apologize to her if I am wrong, or when I do yell at her.

so. Losing yourself. I feel that too. I am a creative person who desperately needs alone time to create and these days DD refuses to let me out of sight. It gets very frustrating and I start to feel a bit like I am drowning and feel very discontent being a mother - I just feel like, is this all there is??? And then torn that I feel that way at all. *sigh*

It's the toughest job, but the most wonderful job, this mothering thing.
 

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I wanted to get on here but I'm having trouble articulating AP for a Toddler.

First, I just wanted to say that the transition between meeting every want/need of an infant was really difficult for me. So I understand some of your frustration.

I guess the biggest thing for me is really thinking about my child. In order to AP/GD her I have to be really focused on *why* she reacts in the ways she does. This is a difficult skill and I'm sure I'm wrong from time to time but understanding the underlying causes of certain behavior is really important for toddlers.

It should go without saying that AP also includes being gentle and treating your child with respect but I've also been transitioning my own needs into our lives more and more as DC gets older. In many ways I see our needs as equal. We do quite a bit of flexing for each other. We have a partnership, so to speak.

Oh, I just saw Monkey's Mom's post. Yes, I would definitely add physical health to this because DC isn't nursing anymore so it's up to me in a much different way to provide for her nutrition.

And, I would say that AP necessitates serious guidance/discipline. With this I think things begin to vary much more depending on the child. But, for us, this means being as flexible as possible, being clear about boundaries, and being creative, firm, and gentle with "enforcement".

Some people bring up an extremely important thing. Parenting stages challenge different people in different ways. We will have skills for certain areas and lack them in others. This, IMO is nothing to be ashamed of. I anticipate challenges during the childhood/preadolescent years, which happen to be many people's favorite stage.

Oh, and I second 'Becoming the Parent...'. I took a class from her and she's awesome! Definitely a 'meet you where you're at' type support and I think the idea of being "in sync" came from her. Sometimes we gel with our child other times we don't. I don't mean to belittle your feelings but it helps me to keep this in mind when we're out of sync.
 

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I would love to hear specific examples of how you enforce boundaries and the 'no means no' idea with your toddlers. I feel like dd is saying "...yeah, right, ma" or "that's funny..." when we get to those situations.
 
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