Anne - posted on 03/08/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )
I’m struggling to know what line to take with my just turned 3 year old. She’s always been precocious, high energy and high need. As a little baby she demanded my constant attention – and I mean constant. I could not put her down from my arms for even a few seconds. She was not content to be carried around where I wanted to go and would scream and point until I just ended up carrying her around on her instruction all day, unable to complete my daily tasks. She never cried, only screamed hysterically for 40 mins at a time, turning purple and nothing would calm her down, even after the colic months subsided the hysterical shrieking continued throughout the day. After reading Dr. Sears description of the high-need baby I realised that continuing with the AP was the way to go. We could not do tummy-time because she would instantly get frustrated and start screaming. In fact she seemed to be in a permanent state of frustration until she could walk and talk. At 7 months she started walking but with support. Then there was nothing else she would be satisfied with but to have me running along behind supporting her all day long. Any minor upset would be the end of the world to her and it has never been possible to console her. If she gets hurt she will not let me attend to it and keeps crying about it until no traces of a blemish remain. When I try to cuddle her I often get hit because she transfers her anger towards me. Things have not changed a great deal since she was a baby. She still wakes every 2 hours and needs me to help her get back to sleep. This alone exhausts me. She still demands my constant attention. She has never let me speak to other people. Even as a baby she would start crying if I turned my attention to anyone or anything else for a minute. These days I cannot utter more than 3 words to someone else before she starts shouting over me about a toy. If it is something really critical that I just have to tell someone I end up having to yell to be heard while she competes to drown me out. She admits it is to prevent me from speaking but nothing I say seems to get the message across that this is bad behaviour and she needs to let me speak. I’ve even tried carrying her out of the room and closing the door. I warn her beforehand that if she doesn’t allow me to speak that I will have to do this, then I explain again as I carry her out. But all this does it create a full-blown screaming tantrum, floods of tears, a battle to get back in the door and the behaviour immediately resumes once she is let back in. I still cannot go to the lavatory alone, she runs after me and bangs violently on the door. I wouldn’t lock the door in the first place but we have family staying and it is embarrassing to have the door flung wide while sitting on the you know what. She makes requests of me every few seconds all day long, ‘mummy can you fetch this’, ‘mummy can you draw this’, ‘mummy can you clean this up’, ‘mummy can you…’. When I tell her she will need to do it herself she argues and will never ever give in. I want to play with her and don’t want her to feel I’m pushing her away but I don’t get any time for myself. I feel like I need to be consistent and so I don’t know if I should be complying with requests sometimes and other times refusing. It just feels like a constant battle. So far my approach has been trying always to talk with her and explain things, remaining calm, sometimes letting natural consequences occur (like you broke something and now it can’t be played with anymore, or you delayed so much in getting ready for bed so we don’t have time for as many stories etc.), and if necessary remove either myself or her from the situation/room but she is so strong willed it seems nothing will work. She’s a little angel when we are out in public though and makes me proud every day with thoughtful clever things. I need some advice on how to handle the battle of wills though. I've never wanted it to be a battle. I don't want to impose my will on her but I don't think I should let her do that either. Help!