getting my thirteen month old to stop whining all the time.
(Princeton, mo )
What can i do to get my 13 month old to stop whining all the time and stop wanting to be held all the time? Also to get him to sleep all night?
The more you try to directly suppress your child's whining, the more he will whine. And if he wants to be held, and it annoys you, and you avoid holding him, he will just feel more insecure and rejected and will complain more. Different kids need different levels of physical and emotional contact, and they are all different in their pace of development. You have to look at your child's individual needs and give him what he wants, within reason. A 13 month old is still a baby. Some kids aren't even walking at 13 months. The more you give true, unconditional nurturing and affection to your child at these early years, the more secure and confident he will be later.
Kids can become emotionally handicapped when their parents use them for their own emotional needs (like holding your child all the time because you need to feel loved and needed). But the opposite is not the same: If your child is wanting more contact, then he needs it; if he doesn't get what he needs emotionally when he's young, he may carry that wound into adulthood.
I know very well how frustrating and exhausting it can be to have a young child who is always whining and demanding your attention. Sometimes it's the quality of attention that's more important than the quantity. If you can find some times to give him your 100% undivided special attention, without any other kids competing for your time, and no other distractions, you might find that he's more relaxed, secure and less clingy.
The sleep issue is a question of personal choice and cultural belief - but many many cultures sleep with their kids for at least the first few years. Some kids do great in their own bed, from an early age and feel very comfortable alone and sleep well. But other kids may have more need for closeness. "Attachment Parenting" is a style of parenting that encourages "co-sleeping." It's a sacrifice of your own personal time and space at night, but will help your child bond with you and does not cause your child to become insecure and dependent, but actually makes kids more confident and secure because they know they are safe and emotionally connected to you. It's not always easy, but in the long run may have a better outcome.
There's much more I could say, but I could go on for a long time on this subject. There are many good parenting books out there. You just have to find the approach that makes sense and works with your own values and parenting style.
Lastly, I can't fail to mention that Meridian Tapping/EFT works really well for young kids (you tap on them) and is excellent for emotional insecurity, fears, nightmares, insomnia etc. I have always used it for my kids since they were babies and it works like nothing else.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist
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