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feel useless, need some support/advice!!

Hi everyone, I'm returning to this site after a very very long time as I am just at a loss as to what to do and desperately need some advice. please bare with me as I tell you my issues as I think they're related to each other.

Firstly my almost 3year old son is an AWFUL sleeper, but the issues tend to change week to week, he goes up at 7ish with a bottle, he some times falls asleep straight away or will sometimes play in his room for quite a while (a few hours)but eventually falls asleep, he doesn't nap in the day and is always on the go but still manages to either wake in the early hours moaning for hours on end and eventually falls asleep before we have to get up for work anyway OR the recent thing has been waking up around 3ish and being wide awake for the rest of the day and still mananges to hold out till 8pm gone to go to sleep.

The second issue is behaviour, particularly when we go out and about (which I think is down to tiredness), take today for example, we were going to take him to feed the ducks and then go to the park with him, I explained he could either go in the pushchair or wear his backpack reins so he didn't have to hold my hands but no! this wasn't what he wanted so he screamed and shouted and cried and just made me look awful, after half an hour of this, I took his backpack reins off and let him walk as he said he wanted to run with daddy through the park, then he started a screaming fit because he said he didn't want to run - we just couldn't win. sat down for a suasage roll in town and he was fine but said he didn't want to go to the park and wanted to go on the roundabout cars in town instead, which was fine but i explained he had to have his backpack reins on again as it was so busy, after seconds of having them on he started again, screaming, grabbing onto my legs. I then quickly needed to pop into a shop which he took a disliking too as off he went again actually getting in front of me and pushing me so that i couldn't look around, with that I picked him up and marched back to the car holding it together but as soon as i got back to the car I just sobbed and sobbed, got home and spent the afternoon crying in the bathroom!! help!!

I feel like im being dictated too by a 3 year old, my mum suggested we just don't go out for the next few weeks but that will make me feel like a prisoner in my own home. Sorry for the really long post but im desperate for some support and advice.


  • Hi

    I'm so sorry you're feeling this way, you're not useless, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    It sounds like you have a willful 3yr old. I have a very willful 4yr old who will try again and again to assert his authority over me. My main piece of advice is to stand your ground. You are the boss, not him, and he needs to know that he can't "bully" you and his Daddy into bending to his demands. It will mean more tantrums while he gets used to the adjustment but keep in mind the end result - a sociable, well-behaved toddler.

    What discipline methods do you currently use? You may need to toughen-up and be really consistent so that he understands his unacceptable behaviour has consequences.

    Good luck.

    Liz x
  • hi, i want you to know firstly that you shoudlnt worry about looking like an awful mum-we have ALL been there and if anyone looks its probably coz they feel your pain! if anyone tuts-offer thekm to helpimage

    ok so i am a strict parent so ill tell you how i do things and if you want to have a go at some of them then do so and if not then dont-its your choice but as you have asked for some help i thought id write my ideas down for you.

    ok so start at home-

    firstly get rid of the bottles-introduce a "big boy" sippy cup for night time milk- persver witht the "big boy" bit, keep telling him he is a big boy etc.

    set a exactlk bedtime-this can be whatever time works for you as a family- i personally go to bed early so we have early bedtimes-my best friends for example go to bed late so their little one follws suit and also has a later bedtime.

    do you follow the same rotuine for going to bed? upstairs, teeth brushed, face washed, into pj's and then into bed with milk and book/toys on bed

    how does your LO behave at home? we have time out at the bottom of the stairs. i start the day by telling my girls what is expected of them, where we are going and the coinsqence if they do not behave- for example, we are going to town shopping today and to soft play, mummy needs to go in some shops and i expect you both to walk nicely (or lizzie to sit in pushchair) if either of you start to miss behave i will give you 1 warning, if you acrry on we will come straight home.

    so if we go out and they misbahave after their first warning then i bring them home! note-i have only ever had to bring them home once, they now know i am not joking and i mean it! you have to follow through with whatever consequence you set.

    i feel for you with the pushchair/reins thing. Lizzie doesnt like her pushchair much right now as she wants to walk but like you say, some places are just too busy.

    so if possible i let lizzie walk and she must hold hands, if she lets go i remind her to hold hands and explain why and say if you continue not to listen you will go on your reins, then follow through if she lets go again. if she takes the reins out of my hands then the next step is the pushchair!

    if the girls are being naughty at home then i give them 1 warning and if they continue they go into time out- 1 min for lizzie and 6 mins for my eldest (she hates it as she knows how long 6 mins is)

    If they go into time out then after their time is up i tell them why they were put there and then its forgotton about, next time they will probably only need a reminderimage

    now im not saying this is the best or only way to deal will toddler behaiour its just the way i do it. i do not do shouting as it makes me stressed and im not one for smaking bums, although it never done me any harmimage

  • I just wanted to reiterate what the others have said, you're not a bad or useless mummy, we all have bad days / weeks / months, and like Iwantanotherpls says, people are probably looking because they sympathise with you. I'm always very self conscious but then think whats more important to me, getting my son to behave or what some strangers who I will probably never meet again think!!

    Like the others said, be firm, you're the boss not your child.

    I'm fortunate that my son is a relatively good sleeper although he has woken in the last couple of weeks wanting to get up in the middle of the night and not really going back, so I can appreciate how tired you must be feeling!

    When we're out and about I let my son run around as much as is safe to do. If we're in a really busy place, I tell him as soon as we get out of the car that he can either sit in his buggy or wear his reins, he'll always pick his reins but seems happy. If it's not such a busy place I tell him he can either go in the buggy or hold onto the buggy, sometimes he'll forget and walk off but I always remind him he has to hold the buggy or go back in it. If he starts playing up he gets a warning then time out in the buggy. He responds really well to time out at home, but I never knew how to do it when we were out but the buggy works really well.

    Good luck!
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