Discipline for excessive crying

Anonymous
I know Janet Lansbury and all the RIE and gentle parenting advice says not to discipline or shame for crying, that you want your kids to feel safe expressing their emotions. But what can you do when the crying is truly extreme and excessive?

I really can’t take it anymore. My 27 month old cries almost nonstop, all day, every single day. Every transition, every no. Today she cried for 45 minutes because we were driving and I wouldn’t/couldn’t make her a sandwich in the car, while driving. She cries during story time before bed. She cries when she asks for donuts all day and we inevitably say no (she’s had donuts only once in her life. I have no idea where the obsession comes from). She cries when I put her into her car seat. She cries when I am on the phone and can’t play with her. She will literally cry for hours until and unless you do exactly what she wants or I get so frustrated I distract/redirect her, which only works some of the time. We say no plenty (thus all the crying!). She is not spoiled.

She only does this to me, mom. She is not like this at all with her dad, nanny, anyone else. Just me.

Has anyone had a child like this? Did therapy or something else help? I just can’t stand any more crying and screaming.
Anonymous
Was she always like this? A high-needs baby?
Anonymous
Is it ok to ignore her until she calms down? Then hug her and console her.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:Is it ok to ignore her until she calms down? Then hug her and console her.


She does not ever calm down on her own, ever. She hyperventilates and/or throws up or just cries for hours.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:Was she always like this? A high-needs baby?


The highest needs baby I’ve ever heard of. Still does not sleep through the night and woke 20+ times until 20 months. Could not be put down as a baby. Saw ENT, GI specialist, neurologist, etc to explore medical causes and she’s medically normal. Extremely, extremely high needs.
Anonymous
Maybe she’ll turn out to have anxiety. This sounds incredibly annoying, sorry. And yet, punishment is not the answer. It just isn’t.

(Also sorry that the sandwich while driving made me laugh just just a little. You have yo admit that is funny.)
Anonymous
What will help her is growing old enough to develop language skills so that she can more clearly communicate her needs and, hopefully, have most of them met.
Try spending the day getting by with the vocabulary of a child who’s barely two, with other people making decisions about pretty much everything you do. Let me know how it goes. This is part of being two. If she only does this with you — perhaps her most reliable caregiver? — it’s a good time to widen her world with play groups, baby sitters, pre-school — chances to enrich her experiences, provide a wider variety of adults and peers, while giving you a break. Win-win. As she gets closer to 3 and her language skills improve, things should quickly get better. Talk with your pediatrician and other parents who have experience with teaching toddlers sign language. My understanding is that it helps many kids — and families— quite a lot when the kids are at an age when what the feelings and thoughts that they want to express far exceed their ability to do so with spoken language.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:What will help her is growing old enough to develop language skills so that she can more clearly communicate her needs and, hopefully, have most of them met.
Try spending the day getting by with the vocabulary of a child who’s barely two, with other people making decisions about pretty much everything you do. Let me know how it goes. This is part of being two. If she only does this with you — perhaps her most reliable caregiver? — it’s a good time to widen her world with play groups, baby sitters, pre-school — chances to enrich her experiences, provide a wider variety of adults and peers, while giving you a break. Win-win. As she gets closer to 3 and her language skills improve, things should quickly get better. Talk with your pediatrician and other parents who have experience with teaching toddlers sign language. My understanding is that it helps many kids — and families— quite a lot when the kids are at an age when what the feelings and thoughts that they want to express far exceed their ability to do so with spoken language.


She is fully verbal and has spoken in grammatically correct sentences since about 20 months. She has the vocabulary of a grade schooler. Not bragging because obviously we have other massive deficits and problems. Just saying that inability to communicate is not the issue. We know EXACTLY what she wants and is feeling.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:
Anonymous wrote:What will help her is growing old enough to develop language skills so that she can more clearly communicate her needs and, hopefully, have most of them met.
Try spending the day getting by with the vocabulary of a child who’s barely two, with other people making decisions about pretty much everything you do. Let me know how it goes. This is part of being two. If she only does this with you — perhaps her most reliable caregiver? — it’s a good time to widen her world with play groups, baby sitters, pre-school — chances to enrich her experiences, provide a wider variety of adults and peers, while giving you a break. Win-win. As she gets closer to 3 and her language skills improve, things should quickly get better. Talk with your pediatrician and other parents who have experience with teaching toddlers sign language. My understanding is that it helps many kids — and families— quite a lot when the kids are at an age when what the feelings and thoughts that they want to express far exceed their ability to do so with spoken language.


She is fully verbal and has spoken in grammatically correct sentences since about 20 months. She has the vocabulary of a grade schooler. Not bragging because obviously we have other massive deficits and problems. Just saying that inability to communicate is not the issue. We know EXACTLY what she wants and is feeling.


Should also mention we do already do many mommy-and-me classes and outings. Montessori group, gardening group, story time at the library, meetups with other families, etc. We’re out and about and she’s well socialized. She also goes to a babysitter/nanny 1-2 times a week for a few hours. It has made no difference.
Anonymous
It's interesting that she only does it with you. That is good! What about offering her a reward for not crying. I'd usually say 2ish is a bit too young for a rewards chart, but, since she is so verbal it could be worth a try.
Anonymous
I’m sorry OP, that sounds really hard.

What’s interesting to me about it is that she only does this with you. That indicates to me there is something about your interaction with her that is “working” for her to keep going through the hysterics. Do you pay her more attention, even negative attention, when she does it? Does she get a ton of empathy? Do you sometimes give in to the waterworks? Those are 2 of the more apparent things that lead to kids keeping up undesirable behaviors. If that’s not it, maybe see if you or your partner are able to identify any differences in how you respond.

Some of the Lansbury stuff is over the top but one thing that I initially thought was ridiculous but is really helpful is the 1:1 time. My challenging child had different undesirable behaviors, but when I started making some time for her as often as I could, every day if I could, it really helped.



Anonymous
I don’t think “punish” is the right word but I would lean hard into the “ignore” and stay firm about it, even if she’s making herself vomit.

“Mommy cannot help you when you are so upset. You need to calm down.” Rinse and repeat. Maybe create a “calm down space” with stuffed animals but no human interaction where she can (needs) to go when she’s upset - essentially a time out for excessive crying.

And give lots of positive attention when she is calm. Crying = loses attention. Calm = gets attention. Model how to appropriately express emotions. Point isn’t she can’t express emotions - she just needs to do so in appropriate ways.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:I don’t think “punish” is the right word but I would lean hard into the “ignore” and stay firm about it, even if she’s making herself vomit.

“Mommy cannot help you when you are so upset. You need to calm down.” Rinse and repeat. Maybe create a “calm down space” with stuffed animals but no human interaction where she can (needs) to go when she’s upset - essentially a time out for excessive crying.

And give lots of positive attention when she is calm. Crying = loses attention. Calm = gets attention. Model how to appropriately express emotions. Point isn’t she can’t express emotions - she just needs to do so in appropriate ways.

Agree with a lot of this except instead of just telling her to calm down, give her techniques that might help - breathing or counting or noticing environment or something.

I am also wondering if perhaps the high verbal ability causes you have to have unrealistic expectations about her maturity levels and abilities (I know that can happen with size).
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:It's interesting that she only does it with you. That is good! What about offering her a reward for not crying. I'd usually say 2ish is a bit too young for a rewards chart, but, since she is so verbal it could be worth a try.


Is it ok from an emotional perspective to incentivize not crying? Everything I’ve read says that crying in and of itself is not a problem. So does rewards for not crying send an inappropriate message that crying is bad? Sorry for dumb questions. I’m really struggling.
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:
Anonymous wrote:I don’t think “punish” is the right word but I would lean hard into the “ignore” and stay firm about it, even if she’s making herself vomit.

“Mommy cannot help you when you are so upset. You need to calm down.” Rinse and repeat. Maybe create a “calm down space” with stuffed animals but no human interaction where she can (needs) to go when she’s upset - essentially a time out for excessive crying.

And give lots of positive attention when she is calm. Crying = loses attention. Calm = gets attention. Model how to appropriately express emotions. Point isn’t she can’t express emotions - she just needs to do so in appropriate ways.

Agree with a lot of this except instead of just telling her to calm down, give her techniques that might help - breathing or counting or noticing environment or something.

I am also wondering if perhaps the high verbal ability causes you have to have unrealistic expectations about her maturity levels and abilities (I know that can happen with size).


You are probably right about unfair expectations due to high verbal ability. I think she’s below average on self regulation and emotional maturity. I will try teaching breathing and counting and see if she’ll listen. Thank you
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