Anonymous

Toddler and infant stress

My wife and I have a 23 month old and a almost 2 month old. I still lose my cool when one of them are crying and causing a scene in public. My wife says that she needs a partner and to get over letting the stress get to me but I can’t do that. It feels instinctual to react. I don’t want to, but it just happens. I need to figure out a way to cope with the stress because it just causes instant anxiety and then I react. Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

  • Lindsey
    Nov 01

    It's a great step to be aware of this and ask for ideas. Some parents aren't aware of their stress reactions! Honestly, the best thing might be too look for a parent coach, counselor or parent-child therapy. These people are trained in how to help you, and help you engage with your kid. It's a win-win. My husband get very anxious too about our babes' behaviorm He's done a ton of work and learned how to ignore other peoples reactions and focus on his kids needs.

  • Bruna
    Nov 02

    Maybe tap in to the “why”. Why do you get stressed when they act out in public? Why does she not get stressed? What behaviors are you trying to teach them and what behavior is she trying to model for them? Why do you think it bothers her that you lose your cool? Does it bother you that she stays calm or do you admire that about her? Lastly, I’d think about the reaction you want your kids to model. Whether that’s behaving in public in a certain way or staying calm under stress. Kids are like sponges so if you want them to stay calm then model that but if you want them to behave a certain way then model that. Either way I’d have a heartfelt conversation with your wife and recognize how she feels as well. Good luck!

  • Bruna
    Nov 02

    Also you asked about managing stress. Try thinking about how grateful you are to be outside with your family, how grateful you are to have two kids who can act a fool because they feel safe, two kids who are happy which is why they are wild. If it really bothers you try saying “daddy is getting frustrated right now and needs to count to 10, can you help me?” Or “daddy is getting frustrated, can you help sing me a song so daddy doesn’t get sad?”. When in doubt tell your wife you’re getting frustrated and need to walk away for a sec so you don’t lose your cool. Maybe use your wife as a partner before anything happens (at home) and create a game plan with her. What will you both do if the kids act out and you find yourself getting frustrated? The more you have an action plan the better you will be prepared. Good luck! Also congrats on recognizing behavior you want to work on, that’s a great first step!

  • Tiffany
    Nov 03

    My husband gets the same exact way. He works a lot. When he comes home it’s late , and he’s already had a long and stressful day. Understanding. But I tell him the kids have been looking forward to seeing him all day. He takes a few minutes before being hands on and helping me put them to bed. He’s starting to learn to not instantly react and yell at the kids. It’s helped a lot. He tells me to go have my own time and they behave better for him when I’m not right there. So it works out. They just want to be with him. It helps to learn to de stress before reacting. It’s so hard at times. But it’s the best thing for everyone

  • Tiffany
    Nov 03

    When we are out and our kids start making scenes and throwing tantrums about toys and things they want , my husband takes them out of the store and to the car until they are done with their tantrums. He tells them we are not going back in the store until you calm down and behave yourself. I continue doing the shopping I need to. And he comes back when they are composed. It works !

  • Anonymous
    Nov 03

    My husband is also like this. I have been telling him since day 1 of bring parent that he needs to go to counseling, it figure out better ways to handle his emotions, because our kids will start doing the same things he does. Well, surprise, surprise our 3 yo is having a really hard time dealing with his emotions, and sounds JUST LIKE DAD. The other day, my husband finally thinks we all need therapy. As far as your wife's perspective, I'm right there with her. Some times I feel like I signed on to raising 3 children instead of 2 because my husband's parents never said No to him, and never taught him to cope with stressful situations. She needs a partner who is on the same page. And also remember, your babies have only been on the planet for such a short amount of time. They have so much to learn about how to be a good functioning human being, and with them both being under 2, you have a looooong road ahead of you before they"GET IT". Don't make her do it alone.

  • Jenn
    Nov 05

    It’s all about modeling. Your kids will learn to act and behave as you do. It’s good to know you’re own triggers and what techniques you use to behavior accordingly. PBS Kids has really really useful information about this

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Nov 06

    My first two were 17 months apart. My husband and I learned a lot then. The best way that worked for us was thinking about it scientifically. They are not trying to embarrass you or make you miserable. Their brains just aren’t there yet. They physically do not know how to process their emotions in a “civil” manner. Part of the reason you react is likely cause your exhausted, and that cuts into our ability to be patient as well. Finally, Do not give a crap about anyone else around you. It’s hard, but if they’re judging you their either idiots or they haven’t been there. Anyone whose ever had a child knows that babies are completely unpredictable, and toddlers are only predictable in the sense that they were freak out at the worst possible time. Hang in there. Mindfulness techniques are your best bet!!

  • Anonymous
    Nov 06

    Babies are hard to deal with, sometimes, especially when you’ve got two under two. My husband used to be the same way when our two kids were babies/toddlers. Their crying or tantrums drove up his anxiety levels and he’d end up frustrated or get upset when they’d have meltdowns. What worked for him at first was stepping away for a few minutes to cool down and remove himself from the situation and come back to them in a calmer state. Through our kids childhood stages we try our best not to take the kids’ occasional outbursts personally and focus on redirecting their behavior or using distraction to change their mood. Hang in there!