Wrestling With Your Toddler

Hello everyone! It feels like ages since I’ve written a post for RMF. Elle will be two and a half in just a few short weeks!!! I know. Where has the time gone? We’re now well and truly into the terrible twos. We’ve reached a point with Elle where she can’t be distracted, reasoned with or even bribed (!) It’s not a good place. If she doesn’t want to do something – then hell will freeze over before she does it. We have daily stand offs over things like holding my hand next to a main road and not having cake for breakfast. On the whole I try to be quite liberal with her and I most definitely pick my battles, but what on earth do you do when HAVE to win the battle? When you’re trying to get them to nursery so you can work? When you’re just trying to keep them safe???

I find myself wrestling with her – both mentally and physically – on a daily basis now. First comes the reverse psychology, then the threats, then the bribes. When that fails, it’s manhandling her into her buggy so she can’t run into the road, doing some kind of crazy bendy yoga moves while attempting to get her dressed in ONE place, scooping her up into the bath at nighttime…sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of my day making her do things she doesn’t want to do.

First of all – please tell me this isn’t just me? I really do try to be patient with Elle’s demands and refusals, and on non-childcare days it’s easier to go at her pace, let her make her own decisions and yes, sometimes she even has cake for breakfast πŸ˜‰ but it’s not always an option to be that relaxed.

Is that perhaps where I’m going wrong? There is a lack of consistency when it comes to my own behaviour?! Or am I actually not going wrong at all? Is this just part and parcel of having a toddler? Some days are great and other days leave you feeling like the worlds worst parent?

Given that Matt and I are both particularly head strong, I think I knew this was always going to be a part of her character. But she is BEYOND wilful, a tiny little force to be reckoned with. Hard to believe given that angelic ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ face.

So how do you overcome the wilfulness? How do you avoid the mental and sometimes physical wrestle?! I’d love to hear. Oh and for the record, I don’t want to change her stubborn streak, just make sure it’s directed into the right places…

Image by the amazing Liberty Pearl Photography

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Fern lives by the sea with her baby girl Elle, her partner Matt and their little dog Drake. They spend most of their time at the beach, and if you see one of them, usually the other three aren’t far behind.

15 Comments. Leave new

Oh goodness this is us too! Silvia has really been hitting the terrible twos the last few weeks- throwing herself to the floor howling over wearing the “wrong” trousers etc

Have you heard of Janet Lansbury? I find her techniques helpful- e.g saying “I understand that you feel Cross because you want to walk by yourself but I can’t let you because it’s dangerous in the car park” and then picking up or holding hand firmly or whatever. I try and remind myself she is only two and she needs me to be the adult and not react but sometimes it’s easier said than done!!

I also had a really helpful chat with the health visitor at her 2 year check yesterday (we are blessed with good ones) and she described the tantrums as a firestorm in the brain caused by the huge developmental changes they experience at this age- totally normal. She said she would be worried if a two year old wasn’t tantrumming!

Solidarity, hang in there and hopefully we will come out the other side with two independent spirited happy confident little ladies. And our sanity intact.

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 7:58 am

Thanks Lucy 😘 I’ve seen you mentioned JL before so I must check her out – I sometimes forget in the heat of the moment to explain things to Elle and I think that’s so important. Yes, here’s to independent little ladies and hopefully coming through the other side with our sanity intact! Xxx

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I’ve just been looking on the JL website and she has loads of podcasts about different issues. Which given my 18 month old already seems morally opposed to the idea of me sitting down…issuing the ultimatum of “up mummy” or a meltdown…..a couple of these in the car on the way home from work are maybe a little easier to fit in than the book.

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 4:09 pm

Amazing – podcasts are perfect! Going to check out the most appropriate ones to listen to first this evening xxx

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I concur Lucy, Janet is a lifesaver! I know Philippa and I are always banging on about her but she knows her stuff. The tantrums still happen, but her techniques help you to stay calm, which is sometimes the biggest struggle.

It still happens though. Yesterday E flung a Happyland Cottage at me because I told her it was almost naptime!

Fern, i have exactly the same hand-holding battle. Same with supermarket trolleys and getting ready for nursery (E pins her arms to her sides so I can’t get her PJs off!) πŸ˜‚, it really wears you down! It’s often hard to remember that were not alone in all of this, and even harder to remember that it will end. At 27 months I think I’ve got a fair way to go yet!

Solidarity my sisters. We can do it. ✊x

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 8:03 am

You’re so right lovely and have made me feel better. I think I just need to take a deep breath sometimes and try to laugh about it (!) Although that’s easier said than done when they grind you down as you say 😱 it’s started to creep into her behaviour at nursery which I don’t like – she’s really pushing boundaries at the moment xxx

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Oh yes! My little girl is only a couple of months younger than Elle, so feeling your pain. She’s recently taking to crossing her arms and tucking her hands under her armpits walking down the street with a ‘NO!’ to holding hands. It’s quite cute and hard not to laugh sometimes. Getting dressed can be such a drama too. It’s generally quite easy if we are doing something she wants e.g we can’t go and see X if you don’t get dressed. But if whatever we are doing doesn’t appeal then getting dressed is a nightmare. But I’ve noticed there is none of the drama with Grandma and the childminder tells me just how well behaved she is. So there are days where I wonder what I’m doing wrong! I just keep telling myself they push the boundaries with parents and she’s comfortable to express herself. Whatever it takes to get through the day!

I’ve been trying to let her make as many decisions as possible to avoid it, such as do you want to wear a dress or trousers, eat a or b. Sometimes helps, sometimes doesn’t!

I have lately been feeling a bit uneasy about having to make her do things. I try to explain and it’s necessary things, needing to leave the house on work days or brushing her teeth, but I feel conflicted at the same time. I want her to be confident and feel she can say no to things she doesn’t want, yet having to make her do certain things goes against that?! Anyone else feel the same sometimes?
I will definitely check out Janet Lansbury, thanks for the tip ladies!

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 4:13 pm

I definitely get where you’re coming from on wanting their ‘no’ to feel meaningful πŸ€” it’s so hard isn’t it?! You want them to understand that if something feels wrong they can speak up, but just not when you’re telling them to do something πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰ and it’s the same here – she’s an angel for Nanny and normally pretty good at nursery, although this week has been new territory for us with her kicking off there too!!! Ahhhhh it’s endless isn’t it?!

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I don’t have much advice but it’s definitely not just you! I feel like this a lot and it’s so hard! 😫 There are definitely days where I feel like my patience is shorter and that does tend to be when you NEED to be somewhere or run to a schedule! I feel so guilty later then if I’ve got cross, when you go look at them sleeping looking like a little angel πŸ™ˆ I guess it’s just a short period of their lives and no one finds toddlers easy 100% of the time (or even 50%!) My little girl is nearly 3 and I do find that some things have become easier in the last 3 months or so now that she has better verbal skills and understands certain things more. If it’s any consolation I found 2.5 a very hard age, but they can change so much in just a few months, my daughter seems a lot more grown up now than she did 6 months ago! Of course new challenges come up but still, there seems to be less wrestling! X

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 4:16 pm

Thanks Sarah, this has made me feel better ❀️ I know, she still looks so little and baby like when she sleeps with a round tummy and pudgy cheeks πŸ˜‚ always gets the mum guilt going xxx I’ll hold out for another few months then πŸ˜‰

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I could have written this word-for-word. Thank you for reassuring me that I’m not alone. Some days are so hard and I feel like all I do is stop her doing things or saying ‘no!’. (Which she repeats back to me and says ‘naughty mummy!’) :+( It’s really got me down lately and then I feel guilty for finding it hard. I adore her and love being with her. Sleep is an issue for us at the moment and I notice that she’s worse when had too little sleep, but I can’t make her sleep before if she refuses to go to sleep/wakes up/gets up early?! No advice here I’m afraid but happily listening to everyone’s tips. I just hope it improves in the next few months…

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Fern Godfrey
14th June 2017 8:17 pm

I get ‘naughty Mummy’ too Emma :( It’s always much harder when you’re both tired so go easy on yourself. Sending big hugs, it’s nice to know we’re not alone. Let’s keep our fingers crossed it’s a ‘phase’ like most things in parenthood! xxx

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Gaaa I totally feel your pain! Phoebe is three in August and we have a little sister for her due next month, and she’s just conquered potty training, so there’s a lot going on, but the battles are constant at the moment! Tears this morning because she wanted to cook broccoli before nursery, tears after nursery because she wanted more food despite eating like an adult all day, and tears and screaming at every stage of bedtime tonight. I’m exhausted. It’s so hard to stay calm and be consistent in what we give in to and what we don’t, and I wonder if it’s an age thing or her knowing that change is round the corner. Either way, the blessing is that she is apparently angelic when she’s at nursery and they can’t believe she ever has tantrums, so at least we don’t look like bad parents in public!!

My parenting mantra from the newborn days is “and this too shall pass”, so here’s to the next challenging phase x

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Nothing especially helpful to add other than to chime in with another “same here” πŸ™‹πŸΌ. Monday was some unprecedented violent tantrum scenes on a biblical scale. Nice to remember we’re not alone in this!

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Sorry to hear you are having a tough time of it, but it really does help to hear you’re not alone. We have a 3.5 year old and a 3 week old girls and my goodness the eldest knows how to push my buttons!! She had the odd tantrum at 2 but when she hit 3 it was like a switch had been flicked (possibly due to my pregnancy) it was on another level. She is not naughty as such but she just does not listen to me and then has the most outrageous screaming fits. I try my best to pick my battles and not engage in an argument but it is so hard. Especially at the moment being sleep deprived and preoccupied with the baby.

I know it is a phase I just hope it’s one that passes quickly.

Sorry no advice, but just wanted to say you’re not alone. 😊 good luck. Xx

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