All of the Emotion.
It’s been a tough few weeks since T hit 15 months. His confidence grows by the day what with the numerous steps he’s taking. He even pushes off from tables and chairs, coming to me when I put my hand out. He clearly really enjoys it. With this added confidence, however, has come a lot of emotion and frustration on his part.
hope don’t think it’s the start of the terrible somethings, I think he’s just in a middle ground of knowing what he wants to do but without the knowledge of how to. Climbing his slide, getting his shoes on, sorting shapes into holes, getting food onto his fork, and even the dog not wanting to play are all things that can turn into tantrum central.
Before, he’d keep trying at something or walk away and come back to it later, but now he breaks down. He’s been known to fall to his knees and bounce in frustration, pick up things just to throw them, or kick/wriggle upon being picked up from somewhere he’s not meant to be. I miss when he used to put half as much emotion into exploring and laughing.
I get it, it must be horrible wanting to do something and being told he can’t in one form of another (it’s never just “no”, I try and explain), but at 15 months I don’t really know how I can explain things to him. I try, oh do I try. But he doesn’t get it. Even trying to show him how to do something; like the shape sorter, will class as me taking it away so further moans ensue.
On top of this, we even have mini bouts of fake crying. The type where nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened but all of a sudden *moan whinge cry*. I look over and nothing. The cries are often empty and don’t have anything behind them – but they’re there.
During a melt down I always offer a cuddle in a way to help him calm down and reset, and this usually works, but sometimes it actually makes things worse as he sometimes just wants to cry. So I let him. But it saddens me as I still want to help him without just doing whatever he wanted to do for him.
So we’re at a stalemate. He plays with something or goes to do something, can’t, and then sort of flails. I don’t think there’s been a day where he hasn’t cried or screamed in frustration at something, and all I can do sometimes is watch or wait it out until he’s finished.
I know I’m not alone and I know this is just the beginning of an emotional time, but I need some advice as to how to help him. I don’t want to stop him trying to do things, but the anger and frustration is so so hard.
Aw bless him. It must be harder for him because he’s been poorly a lot as well hasn’t he? I wouldn’t worry too much about it, he knows you’re there if he needs you but I suppose children have to learn to process emotions in their own way. I’ve always been quite hands off with my two, they come to me if they need anything, if not I let them figure it out.
It’s so tough, isn’t it? Most of our meltdowns are when Matilda wants us to blow bubbles but can’t bear to hand over control of the bubble wand – why are we trying to ruin her fun by angling it in such a way that it works?! Beasts!
Overall, we’re getting off quite lightly, though, and I think that’s because she’s so good on her feet – we almost never have to pick her up; sometimes there’s ten minutes of trying to remain calm whilst saying, “That’s not for playing with/please come over here/not just now, no/food…?” (“Food…?” works best), but she gets to walk away from wherever she’s not supposed to be all by herself. So hopefully things will get easier the steadier T’s walking becomes.
One useful thing I read is that explaining everything to toddlers can backfire; they don’t understand logic at this point so they don’t understand the point you’re trying to make – they just end up learning to argue instead (apparently). However I don’t think I’ve ever just said “No!” to Matilda – we just have standard phrases (like “that’s not for playing with” and “the cat’s trying to sleep”) which mean “no” but give it a bit of context; the majority of the time, she accepts those phrases without argument.
If you get any good advice, let me know, too!