Worried about being a bad mother

User - posted on 07/16/2014 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Recently, I really feel guilty for being a bad mother. My daughter is almost 22 mo. She says "no" to everything, doesn't let me brush her teeth, insists on breastfeeding (and doesn't want to eat what I cook), she doesn't want to use her potty (she just said "no" and I did not push). Last week, I noticed something that looks like a cavity on her molar. We took her to a dentist, but she didn't let the doctor look at her teeth - she screamed until we left, although she's never had any bad experience with doctors.
She's big and strong, a great climber, her overall health is perfect. She is very smart - speaks in sentences, good at pretend play, loves books, but she's also very stubborn and wants everything her own way. I feel like I've done something wrong and can't stop blaming myself. I never yelled at her or punished her.
I tried to say to myself that it's just a phase, but I guess that cavity thing can't wait until she's out of this phase.
Sorry for all the mistakes, I'm not a native English speaker.

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Chet - posted on 07/16/2014

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I've never known a bad parent to worry about being a bad parent. It's usually the really great parents who worry they aren't doing what's best for their kids.

I completely agree that your toddler is just being a typical toddler.

It's hugely depressing to cook for a toddler. I stopped bothering. Our kids got a lot of leftovers, and raw finger foods like fresh fruit and veggies. If they didn't eat it, I hadn't invested a lot of time in it, and it was easy to put back in the fridge tor later.

I didn't push the potty when our kids were little. All four trained between three and three and a half, but because they were ready it happened almost overnight.

Understand that kids this age want to assert their independence. They want to feel competent and in control. Use this to your advantage. Avoid telling your daughter what to do, set her up to show you how clever she is.

Instead of telling your daughter to go put her shoes on, ask her if she would like to go to the park and then ask what we need to put do before we go outside. Or pick up her shoes and ask her if you should wear them? She says no, and they're mine, or they don't fit you and she puts them on. Instead of saying put on this shirt, give her two or three shirts and ask which one she wants to wear. Instead of telling her to clean up her toys, ask her if she can help you put the toys away. Tell her you really need her help, and if you do it together there will be time to do something else together after.

Honestly, you don't need to punish your kids to have great kids. I don't believe in punishments and our kids are fine. They do stuff they shouldn't do sometimes, but it's all age appropriate stuff that they grow out of.

At this age, form a strong relationship with your daughter and help her to form good habits. Set good examples. Make the right choices easy and the wrong choices less obvious or impossible. Your daughter will be fine.

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That's just a toddler being a toddler. You aren't a bad mother. My daughter doesn't listen to anything either. All you can do is keep trying to instill the lessons and values you want her to have. As for the dentist, my son who's 3 is terrified of doctors now and pitches a fit every time we go into the office, even though he never did it previously. It's just a new scary experience, and a lot of babies don't want you messing with their mouth. My son will let me brush his teeth but won't let me open his mouth to check his teeth, and my daughter will clamp down on the toothbrush when I try to brush her.
Just try and remember that you are doing the best you can but sometimes babies can be overwhelming. And remember, your aren't a bad mother if you are concerned about not being a good enough Mother. That means you want the best for you're child's well being.

Jackie - posted on 07/16/2014

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First of all, none of us are perfect and the idea that there is some "perfect" parent we all supposed to be is absolute rubbish. You do the best you can. Maybe try rewarding her with something. Make a chart board with fancy stickers on it for doing various things, there are a lot of tools out there especially on the net! Good luck and as long as you love your child and she knows it you are doing ok!

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