T.W. asks from Berkeley, CA on July 04, 2008
16 Month Old Is Driving Me Crazy
so my 16 month old is driving me crazy. for the past few months she's been very needy, crying and whining when i put her down or leave the room (even if her dad is with her). i read somewhere that it's just a phase, and that it passes faster if you provide reassurance that you are available for them. but it has gotten worse. and she's started to whine. she does not do this as much with her father. needless to say this is super unpleasant and i wonder if being too available (i stay at home) is not making it worse. any advice?
1 mom found this helpful
C.F. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
I think it's a normal separation anxiety phase. My nephew is 18 months and going through it. Only wants mama. My sister tells him when she's leaving and when she'll be back and who is going to stay with. Seems to help, but it's a normal phase that passes. Good luck! C.
H.D. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
Two things to try.
When dad comes home both of you greet him at the door. Get him AND her settled and then say, "I am going for my walk!" Go out the door and be gone for 10 minutes or more, even if she throws a tantrum. Get her in the routine of seeing you away but coming back.
Two, have your husband take HER for a walk or out to play. Same theory applies. She won't like it very much at first but she will get used to it, you HAVE to give it time.
What you are experiencing is classic separation anxiety. She will learn that just because mommy isn't there doesn't mean you won't come back. Remember that kids live in "the now". Good luck. =)
J.B. answers from Sacramento on July 05, 2008
Maybe she is just tired and needs a nap. A sixteen month old needs two naps a day usually.
M.R. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
I studied attachment theory in school and what your child is going through is called the clear cut attachment phase of separation anxiety. It usually begins 6 to 8 months and starts again around 18 to 24 months. Your child needs reassurance and the reason why she is reacting to you more than your husband is because you are her primary attachment figure. She is developing the connection that you are her secure base and this is very important for survival because as children reach the second phase and become more mobile they need to know that they have a safe place to go.
Be patient. Everything is is a phase and this is an important part of emotional development for her.
I would however (on the safe side) take her in to have her ears checked out and get a physical to make sure there is nothing physically wrong with her.
Remember try not to be angry with her, just reassure her and let her know she is loved and she is safe.
D.C. answers from Sacramento on July 06, 2008
Hi T.! I also have a 20 mo. old baby girl and I noticed that she would be very clingy, whiny and needy when she is starting to get sick. I can understand your frustrations becaue I'm also a stay at home mom. There are times when I just want to quit being a mom! But after finding out about my child's illness I felt guilty for being upset. Goodluck!
S.S. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
I have a 25 month old boy. These are just phases. They pass and then you will miss this phase.
What I found helpful during this phase was to distract him with something he just loved. Like going to the park, giving him a new toy, taking him to the garden to "water" the plants... and then when I got back to the house I could leave him alone for some time.
S.R. answers from Sacramento on July 05, 2008
This also happened to me too. I was at my wits ends with holding my son all day and not being able to even step a foot away from him without him losing it completely. I ended up just telling him what I was about to do and then just walking away and letting him cry and deal with his emotions while I did what I needed to do. I was surprised that within an afternoon he was doing so much better! But he did cry one right after another for several hours until he got the point. After I returned from what I was doing I would sit next to him on the floor ignoring him until he stop crying then I would praise him like crazy and we would play. You have to be prepared for a lot of crying and it might not be your style but I worked wonders for me.
S.H. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
I don't think that being too available makes the whining worse, but responding tot he whining does. Also, when teeth come in and growth spurts happen it makes them feel bad and need to be held. I usually respond but intensity level of the neediness. If she seems really needy, sometime is strap her in a sling and within 5 or ten minutes she has gotten her fill. If she is just being whiney I tell her how annoying it is and how much I hate it and let her throw a mini tantrum and when I don't respond she cools it a bit. It is different for each family though. I do work, and if i have worked three or so days in a row, I know it is hard for her and I spend the next day making it up with her by doing things with and for her all day. I don't know if that helped, but yes, the age is right for this sort of behavior. Actually, in the morning she is very grumpy and clingy, so I bring her out in her blanket (a security item really helps when they are at this stage) and put her on the couch with some juice and crackers and Plaza Sesamo (Sesame street in spanish) and she watches an episode quietly. This seems to help a lot with the morning grumpies. (I know the pediatricians say no TZ til 2, but this is really helping her spanish, at 18 months).
C.J. answers from San Francisco on July 05, 2008
While I completely understand what you mean, I never, not even once, said that my daughter was driving me crazy when she was at that age/stage. I, too, stayed at home w/ her, and yes, she also had moments when I would get frustrated. You should feel good about being needed and wanted, especially by someone as great as a child - your child! There will come a time when seh won't anymore and you will look to find out how you can squeeze yourself in her life.
Having said that, when you are getting to that point of frustration, count a few seconds, then reassure her that everything will be ok. She won't understand it, but it will soothe and comfort her. I was lucky to have had an array of DVD's like the Baby Einstein collection, Barney, Wiggles, Disney, toys, etc, to keep my company and occupied w/ her. On the days when we both got 'cabin fever', I would pack her up and go out. She likes the stroller and people watching. I had snacks for her to keep her busy and content.
My daughter is now 4.5 y/o and is still very much attached to me! When I'm around, she tells me that she only wants to play w/ me, or Mommy's going to help her, or Mommy will do it. I recently took her ice skating to teach her, the whole time she kept telling me that she already knew how to do it (in her head, not real life), but made me PROMISE NOT TO LET HER GO! It's so amazing to know that while I have the luxury, my daughter goes out of her way to make sure I know how much she needs me. I count my blessings everyday that we're not at the stage where she doesn't need me - I dread that the most! I see her achievements daily and am so proud that I'm the first person she chooses to be with!
Being a stay at home mom is THE TOUGHEST JOB anyone can ever do!!! It's great that you, not only have the means to stay at home, but the privilege of seeing every stage of her development, and know that her future will not only be shaped with your influence and assistance, but also your undeniable love, support and understanding! Just be a little bit more patient - she's going to grow out of this phase. I know that going through it is tough, but if you can birth a child, there really is NOTHING ELSE that you won't be able to do!!! You can overcome this - give yourself more credit - you're as strong and able as any one of us, and your daughter knows that, that's why she wants you so much! Good Luck!