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problem 2 yr old

(12 Posts)
fairy Tue 26-Jun-12 15:33:04

i am new to this forum and i hope somebody can give me some advice about one of my granddaughters. it is a long story but i will try and condense it. my son has 2 girls and the relationship with the girls mother has always been rocky, the mother comes from a family of drinkers and she was also drinking quite heavily and we have also found out she was taking drugs. Christmas 2011 everything came to a head with the girls mother dissapearing for days at a time leaving the girls with my son, he has had to have her arrested a couple of times this year due to drunk and disordley and assaulting my son. we have all tried to help and have now given up, all i am worried about is the children. the youngest who is two is the main worry , she is very dainty,(the elder girl is very tall) she will not eat any other food except toast, crackers or breadsticks. she goes hysterical if her hands get dirty and she can't talk very well even though she has a very good understanding of what i am saying to her. she still sucks a dummy which we can't get off her even though we are trying and this does not help her speech. her temper tantrums have to be seen to be believed, she goes rigid and screams and screams ( and oh boy can she keep it up) one of my own children had temper tantrums but i have never seen anything like my granddaughters temper. she won't play with toys ( we've tried building bricks, dolls, etc) she would rather play with reote controls and phones! ( if it rings she will fight to answer it and if she gets there first she will not give it you instead she will scream if you try to remove it. she goes to nursery 5 mornings a week and even they are concerned about her. the health visitor states it is normal for a 2yr old o behave and eat like this, i disagree. i really feel something is a miss with her espically knowing about her mother's drink/drug problems while pregnant and although i have had 3 of my own children, i just cannot put my finger on the problem. i am hopeing someone could steer us in the right direction and help and or advice gratefully received.

Bags Tue 26-Jun-12 15:43:55

It's quite normal for two year olds to prefer remotes and mobile phones to toys. They can see that these are the important 'toys' in adults' lives so naturally they want them too. Restricted eating is also very, very common so the health cisitor is right about that. Most kids grow out of it, eventually.

I have hardly any experience of toddler tantrums or of adult drink problems but I'm sure other gransnetters will have things to say.

Good luck and take care flowers

Bags Tue 26-Jun-12 15:46:45

I don't think a dummy at two is a big deal either, and since the child has had a somewhat 'rocky' past, I think it might be best to let that be just now and tackle it later when other things have, hopefully, settled down.

whenim64 Tue 26-Jun-12 15:47:43

Hi Fairy I'm not sure whether some of the behaviour you describe is problematic, as it's what you see in many 2 year old children, such as not wanting to relinquish a dummy, having tantrums, not liking dirty hands and not wanting to let go of some gadget when it starts doing interesting things like ringing. If her mother had alcohol and drug problems during pregnancy, the child will have been carefully looked at for signs of drug withdrawal, small birth weight and foetal alcohol syndrome, which can soon become apparent after birth and will still be checked on during routine checks and immunisations at the clinic/GP's surgery. If she isn't being given a variety of food to try, it's not surprising she's become faddy, and she should be encouraged to try other things. No treats or between meal snacks so she is hungry enough to want to eat something usually works.

Children do pick up domestic strife and if her mother is getting arrested for disorderly behaviour, it will affect her children sooner or later. Is her mother doing anything about her problems? If the HV is involved and being reassuring, I would say keep discussing the issues and watch how things develop. Children do need guidance and discipline if their behaviour becomes problematic, but what you describe comes within the range of normal at present.

JessM Tue 26-Jun-12 15:57:32

This situation must be heart wrenching for you.
It is not clear if the mother is still on the scene or if your son has custody or they are living with you?
Some of what you describe is normal 2 year old behaviour. They want to rule the roost at this stage and are testing out what they can control or not control.
Presumably the poor mite cannot control her mother and probably never could as a baby - whereas many children can - call in the night and she will come running, cry and she will pick me up etc. So maybe she is trying to control other stuff. Also it is a frustrating age when they can't quite talk yet.
All the kids in my family - cousins too - were dummy addicts at 2. If it comforts her I would let her suck it all day if I were you.
Height can vary a lot - I have a tall granddaughter and her little brother is rather short for his age. Some friends of mine in NZ are both very short and have produced a daughter who is at the 98th percentile for height.
There is such a thing as foetal alcohol syndrome - tricky I imagine to tease out the prenatal effects from the parenting issues. I am guessing, and I am no expert, that it is a bit soon to look into that as most of what you describe is exaggerated form of "terrible twos". It is an encouraging sign that she is showing good comprehension of what you say and many 2 year olds don't say a lot.
If I were you I would just try to give her lots of consistent, unconditional love at the moment. Allow her to be a baby a bit longer - including a screaming baby, maybe someone holding her and soothing her when she loses her temper, as you would a baby. She has every right to be furious with the world! Lots of love, lots of praise and at every opportunity tell her she is good girl.
I would try to ignore food issue for now. Determinedly. Put other stuff in front of her as well as stuff she likes, don't try to cajole, don't make it a control issue. Just take away what not eaten.
Is she waiting for mum to call on the phone?

Sounds like you need to find some old remote controls etc for her to collect. Just take any batteries out as they can contain toxins.

gracesmum Tue 26-Jun-12 16:02:36

When I saw the title of this thread my cynical self thought "Is there any other sort?" but I do understand why you are worried, given the family situation, Perhaps though you are looking for psychological damage where there is none. 2 year olds can be pretty unspeakable can't they? And as for faddy eaters? My DD at 2 didn't eat for 2 whole days untul I gave in and let her have crisps (terrified she would starve to death!!) Of course she likes remote controls and phines - that's what she sees around her and perhaps she hasnlt learned how to enjoy other toys. The HV will have seen all sorts and if she is not worried I wouldsay relax and try not to panic. As long as they are healthy and not showing signs of psychological stress the best you can do is provide a calm and loving environment whenever you can - disguising your inner fears!!Try to look for the positive things if you, can she will need lots of love and reassurance that she is important and secure.

glassortwo Tue 26-Jun-12 16:02:42

I would say some of what you are experiencing is often seen in a 2 yr old. Temper tantrums are a part of terrible twos, as the nursery are aware of the problems they will be monitoring your GD.

Taking into account her rocky life so far her comfort is her dummy and I would leave it for the time being, tackle the other problems first.

Dont push the food issue with her but have other things on her plate and all sit down to eat together and she will observe a relaxed family meal and hopefully food will not become a battle ground.

Good luck fairy

Mishap Tue 26-Jun-12 16:17:24

I can understand why you might be worried - but as others have said, some of what you describe is well within normal limits for a two-year old. The tantrums are classic - and some are much better at it than others! You are obviously faced with an expert there! And the food faddiness. The less notice taken of it all, the better.

However, it is clear that she is in a domestic situation that is far from ideal, and, whilst she is behaving like a two-year old with some vigour, it is not possible that she is unaffected by all that is going on around her. This is one very good reason to leave her with her dummy and the comfort that this can bring her in a confusing situation.

The sort of behaviour that two-year-olds go in for needs clear, consistent and loving handling, which it may be that her parents are struggling to provide at the moment, as they have their own challenges to meet.

But you, as grandma, and with your greater experience, may be able to provide some of that as far as you can. I think that you need to project a calm influence and not become too anxious about it - they will pick that up and it will not help. Our children often learn by example - and, whilst you cannot actively interfere - you can tackle things in a calm way, which will help the children and, if you are lucky, rub off on the parents.

I am sure we all wish you lots of good luck.

AlisonMA Tue 26-Jun-12 16:21:27

Clearly if the nursery is worried then there is more to this than normal terrible twos but some of it is normal.

I think it is important to reward good behaviour and ignore the bad and most important to be consistent.

I would ignore the food issue but not gie her anything else. Once she gets used to this discipline I think she will eat. Our GS would rather eat crackers than anything else but he is only given them after he has had his meal. He is clever enough to know that his Nan will let him have pudding if he doesn't eat his dinner but that his Grandma won't!

When our GS had a little tantrum I gave him my mobile to play with as he knows I have downloaded some suitable things for him on it. Distraction is often effective but pleading and pandering is definitiely not.

Last weekend my DS put GS in his cot for 5 minutes because he missbehaved and that worked. She does need to understand that temper tantrums don't work and that you are the adults and can take the phone from her if you want to.

I would leave the dummy issue alone and ignore the not speaking.

I do suspect that people are trying to hard and a little bit of being ignored would do her the world of good. Praising her sister when she is good might also be a good think.

Good luck

gracesmum Tue 26-Jun-12 18:40:02

If only popping them in their cot was the answer! Littlest fella started climbing out of his cot about 4 weeks ago (he is 25 months) so DD thought they might as well move him into a "big boy bed". That started a week of "go back to bed" every 10 minutes until they put a gate across the doorway as well. He has now twice climbed the gate (!) so I have lent them my extra tall one bought for keeping the greyhound in the utility room, That didn't work for her, but might keep DGS in!!

nanaej Wed 27-Jun-12 06:30:15

Hi, all I would add to all the wise advice is check that the HV knows the background! I know it sounds silly but sometimes it can happen that there is not continuity and information is not always passed on. If the HV is familiar with the family circumstances then she has probably considered FAS etc.

If your son is seriously worried his child may be developmentally delayed because of alcohol consumption during pregnancy then he could take his DD to the GP and ask to be referred to a paediatrician to check for FAS.

JessM Wed 27-Jun-12 11:28:13

Good point nanaej - dots do not always get joined up by busy HVs...