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How Do I Stop Getting Upset at Crying Toddler?










QUESTION:

I just read the article about baby crying and figured I would ask for help at the next stage: Toddler.

My son is approaching two and is prone to crying for things outside of sleep food and diapers. He never had colic crying so I wasn't prepared for crying that didn't have an explanation. It gets to the point where he hits, writhes on the floor, screams, calls for mom who isn't home yet, and nothing I do helps. He will cry from the daycare to the TV, which might give him solace. This makes me feel like a terrible parent. We watch child music videos from little baby bum and super simple songs, but I know limiting screen time is beneficial. Even then advertisements or long transitions will restart the crying. The worst part is I get upset. I lose my patience and potentially yell to get his attention or curse under my breath. I know these are also terrible things to do. But I just do them. I don't know what to do but seek help, and I'm considering seeking more than just advice.

Why am I upset at a small child who still doesn't have mastery of speech or emotions? What can I do to help my child when he doesn't want me and there's no alternative? Some days I stay late at work doing nothing just to minimize our time together alone. It makes me look at myself in a mirror and feel ill.




ANSWER:

This is classic "terrible twos" behavior. Terrible indeed. He will grow out of it. It might help to remember that whatever the situation, it can't last forever and it will pass.

The biggest problem is you getting upset, which you are fully aware of and is the start to finding a solution. Try doing something dramatically different to break your pattern of frustration with him. Come up with 5 or 10 diversion that you can go to when you feel yourself starting to get upset. Eg. Leave the room, count to 10, etc. Having a plan in place before you get frustrated will make a lot of difference.

You can also help your child communicate more constructively with you rather than throwing tantrums. Find resources online about talking with children his age, helping them express themselves, and talking to them calmly. A lot of their frustration can come from not being or feeling understood, but like you said, he's still developing his speech and emotions, so it's hard for both of you!

If you're not happy using the TV to calm him, get your son outside to the park, a hardware store, fun playground or kids museum. Anything new should capture his attention,and running round (especially with other kids) will be great for him. Dads are great at showing their children the world, so make that your mission.

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