The dilemma I have a 28-month-old who constantly whines. She dislikes everything and constantly wants her daddy, who can\’t stand the noise, so we don\’t live together. She has been like this since she was born, 10 weeks early. I feel she is in pain in some way, but nobody wants to listen. Why else would a perfectly normal child be miserable all this time? It doesn\’t make any sense. I have two other children from my first marriage and they were fine. She has a paediatrician, but even he thinks she is fine. She is on Osmolax to help her bowels, but it doesn\’t work. I can\’t stand it anymore, I\’m very depressed. I don\’t like her, but I love her and want to do the right thing, but nothing works. I have tried everything I know. Mariella replies Please take this letter and show it to your GP tomorrow morning, as it\’s no longer just your baby who needs help but also you. I can\’t stress more strongly how important it is that you sit down with a medical professional or social worker and explain exactly how you are feeling within yourself and also about your little girl. You\’ve been very brave in articulating what a surprising number of parents feel, but don\’t dare express at some point in the parenting process. Admitting to anything but all-consuming adoration for your baby is these days considered unacceptable, but there are few (mothers, particularly, as they are often the ones left to cope) who haven\’t at some point had similar thoughts, silenced by social pressure and fear of stigma.
Do you have a good friend you can talk to? Sometimes it helps to be reminded that you\’re not alone in trying to cope with a challenging child. It\’s perfectly possible to love your toddler, but struggle to like them when times are hard. Plenty of mothers have experienced similar sensations at some point or other, but failed to express them as well as you have done. I\’m presuming your GP has discussed the possibility of
with you? The separation from your partner and the demands of your troubled little girl have doubtless made you emotionally vulnerable and you may be battling a mental disorder that you need support and medication for. If all fathers moved out because a child was whining there would be an epidemic of single mothers. Your husband\’s place should be at your side shouldering joint responsibility, not absent, and blaming a two-year-old\’s crying for his selfish choice. If your relationship couldn\’t handle the strain of one troublesome baby it was unlikely to survive the many challenges further down the road. Your child is entirely innocent and most likely suffering some health-related issue that has yet to be diagnosed. It won\’t be the first time a child\’s suffering has taken too long to diagnose because of their inability to articulate their symptoms.
That\’s why you must contact your GP straight away and get them to take seriously your feelings and the strain you are under. Please also don\’t forget that babies are emotional sponges who soak up the atmosphere around them. If you are feeling angry and ignored it\’s very likely that your baby is reacting to that, too. There is plenty that can be done to help find the cause of your child\’s troubles, but in these tough economic times you may need to stamp your foot a bit harder to get the attention of social services. You have every right to do so в that\’s why we all pay our NI contributions, so make sure your voice is heard. There are also independent bodies you can contact for help, such as Lives and the helplines Parentline (0808 800 2222) and the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90 в they are there to help everyone, not just the suicidal). All are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Believe me when I say you are not alone. Most importantly of all please remember that children pass through many different phases as they grow toward adulthood, as you\’ll have experienced with your older kids. This needy, disgruntled baby will soon be entering the school gates, you\’ll blink and she\’ll be a teenager and too soon after that waving you goodbye в I\’ve no doubt your relationship with her will evolve and blossom along the way. Sometimes trapped in the vortex of mothering it\’s hard to see the fuller picture, and you are clearly going through such a patch.
Don\’t beat yourself up or blame your baby. We all need a bit of help and support from time to time. If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to. Follow Mariella on Twitter Every parent is familiar with it Б the irritating crying and whining of a young child. This kind of behavior is normal for young children, particularly kids ages 1 to 3, according to the Nemours website KidsHealth. But when it becomes excessive or extends beyond the toddler stage, parents may wonder what is causing it and how they can curb it. Children often use whining and crying to get your attention. Before kids can speak clearly and be understood, crying is their only way to get their needs addressed. This old habit can last beyond a child\’s toddler years. When a child doesnБt get what he wants or is having trouble with something, he will often whine or cry out of frustration. Children tend to act out their frustrations because they donБt have the same self-control as adults, says KidsHealth. The next time your child whines or cries when she wants something or is frustrated, remind her to use her words. For instance, tell her in a calm voice that instead of crying because she wants milk instead of water, she should say, БMommy, may I have milk instead, please?
Б Explain that you canБt understand her when she cries and whines. DonБt give in until your child mimics your example or expresses herself without crying or whining. When your child makes a request or expresses unhappiness without whining and crying, praise her, even if the request isnБt something you can grant. Tell her that you liked the way she asked. According to the American Psychological Association, rewarding desired behavior can help stop problem behavior. Heading off a situation that often results in crying and whining is another way to eliminate these behaviors, particularly with toddlers. Children often cry and whine more when they\’re tired, hungry or uncomfortable, notes KidsHealth. Try not to overschedule your child so that meals or nap times are delayed. Avoid trigger situations, as well. If you know your child is going to want something if he sees it, hide it. If you see your child becoming frustrated with a situation, distract him with a new activity, suggests KidsHealth. If youБve tried discipline and prevention tactics and your child still whines and cries excessively, talk to your childБs pediatrician. Occasionally these behaviors indicate a medical problem, a mood disorder, a language delay or a learning disability, according to KidsHealth. If you find yourself losing patience with the situation, consult your doctor, as well.