The Toddler Whining Phase

During my life I’ve googled some interesting things, some funny, and definitely some weird. But today I had to laugh as I googled “toddler whining stage”. Just in case any of the following sounds like I don’t, I feel like I should permanently state “I love my daughter, I do…” as a pre-cursor to anything that I say, because it’s 100% true. But – and there’s usually a but – at the moment, good lord is she whining.

Having a baby means you absolutely come to expect at least some form of crying and wailing for the first 12 or so months, maybe even longer (everything’s a blur). But in my experience it was usually eased by a feed or a cuddle. However, as they grow and develop personalities and an agenda of their own, you’re into a world of 24/7 negotiations, and more than likely tantrums that you never knew possible. The crying and wailing transfers into something as simple as wanting an ice lolly for breakfast, or putting the wrong episode of Topsy and Tim on. The most difficult thing is, because the upset is usually over something so trivial It almost feels as unreasonable as me throwing a full cup of coffee at a wall if my colleague added more milk than I’d like. It becomes impossible to understand.

So what did I find when I googled “toddler whining stage”. Well much to my amusement and surprise, loads of articles, web pages and general information that immediately made me think, thank God I’m not as intolerant, fed up or impatient as I thought. Almost like walking into a therapy room of parents at their wits end and sharing a huge group hug and telling each other it’s going to be OK. Most of what I read is what I thought already, with answers such as:

  • Your child is trying to manage new emotions
  • They don’t have the internal resources to cope with what is being asked
  • Feeling powerless and not getting their own way
  • Hungry
  • Bored
  • Sick
  • Just being a bit of an arse (Ok that one wasn’t on there!)

In the heat of a meltdown, it’s easy to forget that Ivy has quite literally been on this planet for two years, and on a daily basis some of her environment and experiences are still brand new to her. That includes the sights and sounds she experiences, one of the sounds being the word “no”, which she doesn’t seem to like very much. I found one statement which in short explained that we shouldn’t shout in response to whining, but equally we shouldn’t ignore, as it can lead to a feeling of getting what they want, or the opposite of powerlessness. Heavy stuff. All I know is I don’t think I was the one in control in the park yesterday when I carried Ivy for half an hour because she refused to walk. I guess in that moment you could call me the ‘Powerless Parent’.

At times, it’s hard not to take the tantrums to heart, when it feels like your daughter would rather go and play in traffic than be within 4 feet of you. But like Ivy’s new experiences, her development every day is a new experience for Meg and I. Sometimes we have to accept that we aren’t going to win every fight and sometimes an episode of Peppa is all it takes to take a bubbling Mt Vesuvius back down to a light simmer so we can get on happily with our day. What is for certain, is it’s a work in progress. Wish us luck.

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