5 Ways I Accidentally Created A Cranky Toddler

cranky toddlers

Can moms actually create cranky toddlers?

I did…and I want to share with you exactly how I created a cranky toddler ( and baby!) so you can avoid my mistakes!

It seemed to happen overnight.

I had to wonder…what happened to my baby?

how  created a cranky toddler

He was so angelic, quiet and kind.

But one day something happened — something that I had never planned.

My perfect little baby transformed into a cranky, demanding, highly emotional and discontent toddler.

How did this happen?

Did I do something to encourage this behavior?

It's true...I accidetanlly created a stubborn, cranky, defiant toddler. My mothering style encouraged this crankiness and it needed to stop. Find out the five ways I created a cranky toddler so you can avoid them!

It stings when someone points out something you may be missing the mark on when it comes to this motherhood thing.

It stings because we want to be the best mom ever to our kids.

I have been stung a few times, but you know what? I needed it.

The truth about my parenting failures hurt and even caused a few hot tears to stream down my cheeks.

One night I even cried myself to sleep because of my out of control toddler.

cranky toddlers

But those tears of failure, helped me learn some crazy important lessons.

Being honest and raw about my mothering style helped me acknowledge some weak points.

And when I acknowledged those parenting mishaps, I could move on.

Move on with love and desire to create a happy toddler and a happy child.

In fact, me journey affected me so much I wrote a book all about raising happy toddlers. You can download it here. <3

I learned that my mothering style not only caused crankiness in my child, but fuels my toddler’s natural frustrations.

Ouch, right?

I could have tried to blame others or our surroundings…

I could have blamed it on my son’s “strong-willed” personality…(But, boy…did I have a strong-willed child later! Girls can definitely beat the boys in this category..ha!)

Instead, I chose to listen to the teachers in my life.

And it changed everything.

How I Created a Cranky Toddler

No longer was I crying myself to sleep over bad toddler habits.

If my toddler hit me or other people, I stopped viewing him (the hitter) as a victim.

My husband, older moms and even books helped me see where I was failing.

And for their insight, I’m truly thankful. <3

cranky toddler behavior

Let me tell you a secret.

It is possible to have a content, happy and obedient toddler.

Creating a happy toddler takes work, honesty on your part, prayers and an open heart that says, “If I need to change my mothering style, I will.”

Check out this list of mistakes I was accidentally making.

May it help you to encourage your child to be a happy toddler instead of a cranky one!

But I have one simple request…

Please read with an open, honest heart and mind.

Most likely no one is watching you read this, so you don’t have delve into self-defense mode.

And, there is a 90% chance I have never met you and have never seen your toddler.

So, no, I am not judging you, I am only desiring to help you through your child’s toddler years.

So please — sit and think, “Am I doing this? Is it causing negative behavior in my toddler?”

OK.

Gulp. Here we go.

5 Ways I Accidentally Created a Cranky Toddler

I rewarded whining.

It’s so easy to hand over that piece of candy your child whines for!

No one likes to hear a child whine or cry — it has to be one of the worst sounds in the universe!

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you give a toddler what he whines for, he’ll be quiet and smile — for a little while, at least.

However, when you give your toddler everything he whines for, you are teaching him it is acceptable to whine.

You are also teaching him it is good to whine, because you are rewarding him for his whining.

Here’s what was happening with my toddler:

What did I do?

I gave him the cookie, took him out of the car-seat and let him walk instead of ride in the shopping cart.

Though none of those desires were bad, I was teaching him to control me with whining.

He could make me do whatever he wanted..

All he had to do was whine.

This created a bigger, scarier and crankier monster.

The first moment he didn’t get his desires, he initiated the no-fail tactic — whining and flailing his arms.

But I decided to stop giving in. Stop teaching him that whining was his ticket to freedom..;0)

And something magical happened…when I stopped giving in to his whining, his attitude slowly improved.

Improved!

I was beginning to see light the end of the cranky toddler tunnel!

How I Accidentally Created a Cranky Toddler

I never established a routine for my toddler.

People told me kids are resilient, but I tend to disagree..and so do these experts.

I’ve seen all six of my kids react to changes in environment and routine in pretty dramatic ways.

When I didn’t have a routine established, my toddler’s day was filled with uncertainties. Some of these included:

  • Will he take a nap?
  • Will he have outside play time?
  • Will he eat dinner before he takes a bath or after?
  • Will he have a story before bed or just a kiss and hug?

There was no rhyme or reason to his day. He always felt unsure of the future…but couldn’t communicate that to me.

Consider our adult lives.

Do you feel like you have it altogether if you follow a morning routine before heading out to work?

Do you have a better start to your day if you follow a coffee first, then breakfast, then shower routine?

Do you feel out-of-whack if you shower first then have coffee?

Just like adults, toddlers tend to thrive and feel secure if there is some sort of schedule and predictability to the day.

If you need tips, sample schedules or printable to get you started on the right routine for your family, check out this awesome ebook from two of my blogging friends.

I‘ve read it and absolutely love it!

After I established a daily routine (which included a predictable and successful 2 hours naps!) I saw my son returning to his calm, sweet self. This mom thing was doable! <3

I spent very little quality time with my toddler.

Busy, busy , busy!

I didn’t work outside the home, but I was planning college banquets, folding laundry, ironing clothes, cooking meals…

Sometimes that meant our daily lives seemed rushed.

Too rushed.

My toddler needed me to stop and listen.

I started going this squatting trick and listening to him daily.

He talked to me about Bob the Builder, his Nana (my mom) and all his yellow construction vehicles.

Then, we’d run outside and play for at least an hour.

I quickly forgot about the unfolded laundry on my bed as I soaked in every giggle, grin and “watch this, Mom!”

Even though he was a toddler, I made sure to ask him direct questions to initiate longer conversations:

It’s amazing how much a toddler can understand and communicate, if you just take the time to listen and connect.

I rushed through daily child-care tasks.

Many times I zoomed through feeding my son breakfast. I rushed him to his room and dressed him as quickly as possible?

We didn’t count the buttons on his tiny flannel shirt or wipe down the table together as we sang “Whistle While You work!”

Instead, it was always..”Let’s hurry!”.

I was buzzing through daily child-care tasks like they were nothing more than a daily nuisance.

That in itself was sending the message of, “I’m not enjoying this task of raising you.”

And I didn’t even see it!

I learned to talk to him as I got him dressed and brushed his teeth.

I learned that it was ok if we got to the grocery store at 10 AM instead of 9 AM because we picked some figs off our fig tree and spent a little extra time getting his socks “just right” so there weren’t any bumps near his big toe.

It was ok.

We were learning to enjoy our daily tasks… together

And we were also learning a most valuable lesson — not be insanely stressed about the little things.<3

I Was Creating a Cranky Toddler Because I wasn’t Consistent With Consequences.

If you set rules in your home, make sure there are consequences when they’re broken.

Why was this creating a cranky toddler?

Because I wasn’t addressing negative behavior on a consistent basis. It was hit or miss.

Because of me being hit and miss, he was only following the rules when I was looking…;0)

How many times did I let him get away with negative behavior because I was busy cooking, texting, talking or even on the internet?

Things had to change.

I would have to:

  • Turn off the stove and stop cooking when he was breaking a rule.

  • Put down the phone and and text or call that friend later.
  • I had to fight my desire to relax when he was throwing dirt on a friend.
  • I would have to use some of these creative consequences when he disobeyed me and I was busy writing, cleaning or sewing.


Changing those five things about my mothering style helped our parent/child relationship grow.

Now that toddler is 17 years old…17!

Realistically I knew that little chunky toddler would finally grow up into a young man.

But, still, it seems like I blinked and he’s driving, running errands and checking into different universities.

Doing the hard things — being present, not giving into whining and getting out of my comfort zone to address negative behavior — has really paid off.

Don’t give up, dear mom.

The toddler years are precious years…and if you can win your toddler’s heart through intentional mothering, then one day, your teenager and young adult child will look at you and say, “Thanks mom for giving me an awesome childhood. Thank you for teaching me not to whine, hit or be disrespectful. Thank you for dedicating the best years of your life to me.”

And moms, it is worth it!

Don’t give up when your toddler whines…

Don’t give into the tantrums…

But most of all, don’t be too busy that you miss the magical moments of toddlerhood!

Do you have any success stories to share about how your cranky toddler turned into a pleasant one? We would love to hear them on our Facebook page!

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119 thoughts on “5 Ways I Accidentally Created A Cranky Toddler”

  1. TRUTH. Sometimes it seemed easier to just go OKAY! and quickly hand over whatever all the drama was about. Recently I started pausing and saying, ask nicely for it, and while she still whines through the words, the words do come out. so, a work in progress. Needed this, THANK YOU. :-)

  2. This is very helpful. I’m guilty of the lack of routine. I just can’t seem to get a hold of one, so I keep blowing it off. I needed to read this. Thank you!

  3. i really enjoyed reading this. i am so guilty of rushing through everyday chores since going back to work. I also have no bedtime routine. my daughter was so sweet while i was a stay at home mom for 1 1/2 years. I now see what the change is about. Thanks. Now i know what to do.

      1. How do you deal with the whining in the store? It might seem silly, but things aren’t the same as when I was growing up. People call family services on EVERYONE for almost anything. As a new mom I get scared to deal with my kids in public in fear of someone disagreeing with how I handle them. All i feel comfortable doing is the gentle, “Don’t do that.” Any advice?

        1. Whitney, I feel the same way! Most of the time we leave the store or don’t even enter it, because the public response just makes everything worse. I try to be firm with my toddler, but people look at me as a mean, horrible mother. I’m sick and tired of it, all I can say!!!
          Our boy eats close to nothing and I believe that creates most tantrums. We have a Hungarian background, so food and cooking is very important to us- I can’t figure this out.

          1. Once you are following through with discipline at home they learn not to whine or tantrum. You are being mean but its only at first till they learn. Won’t take that long, cuz no one likes being in trouble. So then in public a firm no & look in the eye should do it.

          2. I know it’s easier said than done for some people, but ignore the nosy people and go on about your shopping trip. In the end of the day. You won’t ever see any of them again probably. Also if your child acts up in front of people correct him how you would normally. Just my 2 cents. =)

        2. I have to make a conscious decision to model the type of self control I wish to see in her. It’s disturbing to see an out of control mom more than a crying child. If I am calm then it doesn’t matter what other people think. I try to set her up for success by trying to time the trip when she is well rested and fed (I also bring snacks). Everyone gets cranky when they are tired and hungry. I try to keep in mind that she is a little person and try to acknowledge her perspective.

        3. My mum with my youngest bro would whisper Little voice in his ear. Key is to whisper and make a game n not look irritated. Other parents if they see will just see u handling it well and my brother would stop being so loud. Another way that works with my littlies is reminding them gently the nicer way of saying it.

        4. Momofawelladjustedadult

          If you already have established a form of “serious” discipline for those extreme misbehaviors (a swat on the bottom, for example), then you have to have a code phrase to use in public. I used to say to my daughter, “Do you really have to go to the restroom RIGHT now?” She knew exactly what I meant.

  4. I agree with many of the things that you have said and how they can create these negative behaviors later, and I must admit I am guilty of number 1 and 5. However I do think that if you are going to point out these parenting flaws it would also be beneficial ( especially for first time moms such as myself) to include some helpful tips as to how and what we can do to better these situations. My son is 11 mo. Old and one of the worst things that I think I do is the reward whining. How can I fix it

    1. Amy, I worked for 2 years as a social worker with families here’s what worked for me and I coached parents to do… If I child was whining I would state in a calm voice “I cannot hear you when you whine; ask me again in a nice voice and say please.” If they did it great! If not, they did not get what they were whining for and possibly got a time out if they didn’t stop. The book 1-2-3 Magic was very helpful to many of the parents I worked with and has great tips for kids of any age. :)

      1. I agree with teaching them to not whine and using a nice voice! I tried the “I can’t hear you” phrase that I found in Love and Logic books, but it never quite sat right with me or my daughter. I later figured out I was flat out lying to her! Instead I take Nicholeen Peck ‘ s approach at teachingselfgovernment.com. “Just now you whined to ask for…. Instead, you should use a calm voice. Like this…. (model it for them). Now you try!” Then praise them for the pleasant way they spoke.

        1. That’s what I do. I say “you don’t have to cry/whine. Just say ‘Mommy can I have ______ Please? ”
          Works almost every time.

    2. I was thinking the same thing! Telling me what not to do is half-way helpful, I need to know what to do instead. I’ve heard my teacher friend (taught pre-K and K) say that when her toddler girl comes to her whining, she asks “Does mommy listen to whining?”

      1. When the kids whine to me I say “I don’t speak whine-ese, if you can ask in nice voice English, we’ll talk about what you want.” Works everytime, makes them laugh so they aren’t as cranky, they have to ask nicely, and if what they want is still going to be a no, I didn’t commit to giving it to them just because they asked in a “nice voice.”

        1. I agree, you have to be careful how you phrase things to them, otherwise you’re just teaching them to covet, whether they’re whining OR asking nicely!

    3. The problem with asking toddlers to ask nicely is that even if they do, you aren’t going to buy them everything they ask for. And while, yes they do need to ask nicely to get something, they should not EXPECT to get everything they ask for. 1st NEVER buy them an item in the checkout lane. Also I try to go into the store with something in mind that I will buy that they would like (fruit snacks, ice cream, cookies) and I say hey how about you pick out the kind of “ice cream” we get.

      1. Joanna, love this advice; it sounds perfect for me to use next year when my baby becomes a toddler! Thanks so much! Love the article, too!! ; )

  5. Thank you for the advice. Even though I try really hard to do those things and think I do pretty well my toddler still gets cranky. Some of it is just due to frustration and lack of communication skills of an 18 month old. I am not going to beat myself up about it.

    1. Agree! There are great points in this post, but I think there will be whining NO MATTER WHAT. We had a strict “whining gets you nothing” rule in our house but toddlers have trouble regulating their emotions. Every kid is different, but with mine the more I pushed him to stop whining the more upset he would get. I would coach him the better way to ask, but as long as the request was reasonable I let it go – you have to pick your battles. (Now that he’s a preschooler we work more on calming down.)

  6. How about changing this to PARENTS create cranky toddlers?? Don’t we Mum’s have enough to feel guilty about without “one of us” laying all the blame at our feet??

    1. Hi Amanda,

      The reason why I address moms, is they are my target audience. I desire to help moms. Plus, most of the time moms are the main care-givers in the family. Sure, there are stay-at-home-dads, but the majority is still moms. Also, I feel much more comfortable writing to women!

      1. While I re ignite mommies are your target audience, I think what she meant is fathers can be just as indulgent, disorganized and hurried. Perhaps they have less contact due towork outside the home but they can be just as responsible for creating the cranky toddler. It is just hard to swallow all the blame. Both parents need to be on the same page.

        1. Sure, Jessica I understand that there are some dads like that, but I do not aim to teach dads, nor do I want to bad mouth them as well. I think it only hurts us if we pass the blame to our husbands. We need to be mainly concerned about what we are doing on our part, and yes, my mothering style was creating a cranky toddler. My aim with this post is to help other moms who are searching for answers for their toddler’s misbehaviour. This article is for moms who desire to improve their mothering skills, not for moms who desire to change their husband’s fathering skills. Does that make sense?

          1. I’m a dad. This is a great article. And it benefits both moms and dads that read it. In the end, the goal is to have a fun and loving toddler. :)
            Happy parenting everyone!

    2. What are you implying Amanda? That anyone else is to blame if your child is bratty….and even if it wasn’t your blame wouldn’t you desire to step up and right it? This woman is offering you advice. You sound hyper defensive.

  7. jason stay at home dad

    Exactly right the article is spot on at home I run the house in fun well structured environment , she loves it sleep and activities are the same times give or take ten minutes daily, sounds boring but she loves it. Holydays can be most difficult due to the lack of structure. If she does have a meltdown we try to talk it out. The best advice I can give is structure, love, compassion and good food (real food). 2 year old dad.

  8. I feel like a lot of the time we just need to stop and listen to what they are saying to get the whine to stop. Pushing my daughter from activity to activity and not listening to her thoughts on it frustrate her.. she needs to express herself, even if she cannot have the thing she is asking for. I feel like we get very little whining with this approach.

    http://www.myitzy.com

    1. I totally agree! *Pushing* is the key word…even with adults, it takes a little time to accept things aren’t going to go the way we want them to, doesn’t it? It’s definitely going to take toddlers (and preschoolers) a little more time, and they need to understand it’s OK to have feelings and we can give them words to process their emotions. Shushing and pushing just exacerbate whining. (and so many other things, ha!)

  9. This is a Great article. My daughter has one year old twin boys and they whine consistently. She also has six year old twins. In going to send this article to her ASAP!!!!

  10. Disagree with your understanding of Discipline. Whatever it is if you are going to feed kid’s need for attention every time kid performs unwanted behavior – you going to get it over and over again. With toddlers there is no mean or naughty. There is an action and reaction. I was recommended by Clinic Psych to prompt child’s alternative behavior (tell him what is to be done) and praise it every time he does it. Otherwise act neutral, redirect. When everyone is calm – talk about how to behave.

  11. please please change the name of your article to parents not just MOMS! you know i have seen dads out in public many times hand something over to a whining toddler.. its not just moms that do it. dads are just as responsible for parenting as a mom is, so stop the one sided guilt thing please. This is exactly what is wrong with our society and sad to see this article, It only makes me feel angry and not focus on the advice which could be better with out the one sided title.

  12. Where are dads in this picture? Fuelling mothers guilt only won’t help them. Even if there’s some truth in what you write, even the title alone puts me off, not to mention the impossible promise ‘if you do what I say, the outcome is guaranteed’ :( Nothing is so easy xxx

  13. This is great advice and yes i am cor sure guilty of a few but would you happen to have advice on how to manage this with multiples? I have 14 month old triplet boys and it is overwhelming trying to deal with the whining from all three at one time. I do find myself rushing through routines just to have a spare minute for myself to regroup. Any advice?

    1. I’d go to a GP and ask for referral to whatever services available in the area to help coping and learning strategies to manage situations right. May be a Women Health Center or some charitable organizations around that might be looking for somebody like you to help out! Good luck!

    2. I would try getting all your triplets on the same schedule or routine first. Naptime, snacks etc. Then, take time to address their needs independently. I don’t have triplets, but I have had three kids under the age at one time and babysat a few other as well. It really helped to keep everyone on the same routine. We did all our activities together — learning, playing etc — like a small class. Hugs to you on your busy journey with triplets!

  14. Very true how they whine and scream or hit to get what they want.
    Can you give me some advice in how to correct or punish a child that hits or screams and will not obey , how do i deal with it?

    Thank you

  15. You provide some sound advice Allison. I learned some of these things by painful experience many years ago. I am sure many new mothers will benefit from this and they in turn will have less whining from their toddlers.
    A Great Grandmother

  16. You are so right about these five things! I have personally felt that realization of “oh, I am not giving my LO the focused attention she is asking of me”. And when I stop trying to do the three things at once I was doing at that moment and I get down on eye to eye level with her and begin talking with her, we are both so much happier for it. I’m such a believer of the notion that unlike in the “old days”, you cannot spoil a child with too much love or affection. So give those hugs and kisses!

  17. Love the advice in this article! As a long-time toddler teacher and nanny, I wholeheartedly agree and have seen these practices encourage toddlers to blossom into more well-mannered, happy children.

    I’ve also learned that saying the same thing every time helps. Their language is limited, so use short phrases they can learn and build on. “Whine” is going to be a new word for a toddler. I always say, “That’s a whine. I don’t listen to whine.” Labeling it helps them know what you’re referring to!

  18. I struggle with time out, my youngest is 4 and proving to be the more headstrong. What he wants is what he wants and there is no reasoning or talking through it. He turns everything into a game, especially time out; it took me 4 hours to keep putting him back and in the end I just ended up holding him there.

    1. you might want to turn your influence/teaching in a game too sometimes? 4 y.o. is still too young for a punishment as time out I think. Showing alternative (the “right” one) behavior and praising right choices. Pretty much ignoring unwanted behavior – no attention, i.e. no fun. If he likes games, he might get the reward chart game? Every time he does what you expect = a reward (sticker/stamp) to get a big price at the end (say 10 stamps to get the toy he wants or camping trip, etc)?

  19. Sounds sooo familiar to me. We speak both Dutch and English in our house and when either of my boys whined I would say ‘sorry, I don’t talk Whinge’!

  20. Thanks a lot for sharing this 5 things that we may be doing with our kids. This makes me realize a lot of my error with my kiddos. I have two boys one is 3 and the big one is 4 yrs. Its not easy for me to say no to them every time they want something. Maybe, I am finally relax eating something and they come to me saying: I want some (they already ate their food) but I end up giving some of mine. My hubby always tells me: that is bad, don’t do that!!! And I know its not good, he’s right. Thanks again for this article. I will share it. God bless you

    1. Our husband’s are really great at seeing parenting issues we don’t always see. So glad you enjoyed the article, and thanks for sharing it!

  21. Thank you. I have 3 teenage girls and a 3yr old girl who I let rule the roost. I am guilty of most of the behaviours you mention. The whining I

  22. Hmm, I’m sure that most mums (moms) try and tick all these boxes, and its hard, really hard to always be consistent, remain calm, maintain routine etc. Try not to give yourselves a hard time though. Around this age it is perfectly natural for your toddler to express themselves like this and to start to push your boundaries. It is not that mums create cranky toddlers its that certain behaviour can perpetuate the crankiness.

  23. This is great advice! I wish I’d had someone point some of this out to me when mine were small. I now keep my almost two yr old grandson and I am thankful for a second chance at getting it right lol. Please continue with these suggestions. Very timely!

  24. Start from birth, don’t wait till you have a whining two year old. Show by example, manneres, polite speaking, how we treat others, the littleies are watching and learning from birth. Tiny tots watch older siblings, if they’re pushing boundaries sort them out and you’ll help halt it’s progress in next sibling. Seen it work over and over agin as a child educator.

    1. My kids were always asked to repeat their request in a nice voice, sometimes more than once if they were whining. Though they did ask right, they did not always receive what was asked for, and had an explanation and a better attitude after they asked. It really does work. :)
      Parents who are not taking the responsibility to change themselves to help their child will lose, right along with the child. :( You,Mom OR Dad can have a happy child. They WANT to be happy!

  25. My son is 2.4 and delayed. He has no speech. I stay home with him all day and it’s hard not to just give him what he wants. Any suggestions on how I can teach him this ain’t ok? He’s a very smart little guy. He just doesn’t talk. We are working on picking up
    Toys now and he learned that really fast.

    1. Hi Wanda. My son is Globally Delayed, he’s 4,5 now. I found it very helpful to find Facebook closed groups for parents of “Special” needs children. In my case it’s processing and Autism tendencies – tones of knowledge from mums in the same/similar situations, understanding and support. Best wishes!
      If he can’t get smth he wants – “it’s ok to be sad, would you like a hug? We still can do …(activity together)”.

  26. Sadly, I’m guilty of most of them. My son does not just whine with me, he has full blown tantrums. Throws things, hits, screams like I’m beating him.His big thing is holding my hand when crossing the street. He breaks down and flops to the ground, so I have to swing him up on his feet and he’s melting down. I get the stares and dirty looks every time. Thing is, he’s not like this with daddy. Just me.

    1. I just read a great article about toddler issues. It said that we own explanation to our child not the outside world. I get the stare every day, when I let him throw himself on the sidewalk or when I throw him in the car, where at least he is more safe than in the parking lot. Also it said things about toddler’s emotions. Let them get it out of their system- like we, women need a good cry sometimes- than when they are done, we can deal.

  27. Wonderful! read. I agree with it all our kids just deserve more quality time, routine,and discipline. I have been taking care of kids for over 40 years now Nanny,Daycare owner and mother of 3 and still doing daycare in my home now and I am still learning new things everyday. hang in there Mom’s & dad’s they grow up very fast! <3

  28. I enjoyed reading this. Great article! I do however feel that it should say ”parents” as well. I am constantly bumping heads with my husband because every single point above he does with our son. It creates term oil among us. Although I show him articles like this he still seems to go against everything!! I try my best to do what it in the best interested of my son so it will benefit him as a toddler and on into adulthood!!

  29. Wow- while I agree that these are all good parenting techniques, you seem to forget that children are children. Unless we happen to have a family full of robots there will always be the battle against human nature. Any promise that when the parent follows your five steps their children will behave a certain way is rubbish and insulting to both the parent and the child.

    1. Hi Melody,

      I have six kiddos whom I love very much. I do not forget they are children. It’s hard to as I see their tiny hands and hear the pitter-patter of their feet. However, this motherhood thing is a busy journey, and we as moms are responsible when our child misbehaves. When a child leaves home, we can only do so much, but as long as they are under our care, we have a major influence over their character and attitude. It’s not insulting a parent or child to encourage them to do their best in parenting. And yes, we should question our parenting techniques if we have a child that constantly complains, whines or throws fits. Something isn’t working, and it is best for mother and child to have an open heart and mind about needed changes.

  30. Fantastic article! You spoke a much needed truth in love. Two of my three had chronic health issues at that age. I am so thankful godly women spoke these same truths into my life, or my life would have been very different.

  31. There is a lot of truth to what you have written here, but my honest reaction is that a better title would have been, “5 ways moms can create well behaved toddlers”. Instead of focusing on moms creating cranky ones, something a little more positive. It’s difficult for some to read things like this and not feel guilty. Or, some may skip it completely because it sounds like another article on how to make one feel badly about their parenting choices. Just something to consider as you write.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I actually found that people tend to read an article like this one more because of the title. It makes them curious. As a writer, I have to come up with catchy titles and create cranky toddlers seemed to fit perfectly. This post has actually done really well, and one reason is the title. I don’t think it is always bad to feel guilty as a mom. It’s not a bad thing to be told that we have messed up somewhere. How will we know we need to fix something? Why would we change? I am thankful for posts and articles that help guide me on the right parenting path. Those articles do not tell me that I am the greatest mom all the time. Instead, they encourage me to go forward or to change direction. I hope that clears up my perspective on titles. :)

      1. Yep. Your title is perfect. Actually, it’s exactly what drew me to the article and I’m guilty of all 5 (yes, guilty as a ::fact::, not a “feeling”, because it’s important to own up even if it makes us feel glum-and on that note–if you aren’t guilty of these points then don’t freak out about another mommy blogger making moms feel guilty…cuz…well, it doesn’t apply to you and sometimes another mom needs to hear it)
        Whew. Anywho. Guilty of all 5 and I feel empowered by your article. Thanks.

  32. So true!
    I was very good at these things when my daughter was a toddler, but find that now that she is 10 the same things apply–but that I struggle more with keeping to them.

    I was great with not taking the defiance of a 2 year old personally, not so much now :-)

    thanks for the post !

  33. Thank you for a great article. I’m a new grandma and pediatric nurse. When giving my own daughter “new mom” advice I realize how much I’ve forgotten the day to day struggles.
    I tried to follow all the things you mentioned. (As coached by my wiser family members. ) I was blessed with two wonderful toddlers. They kept me busy and sometimes giving in would have been easier – for the brief moment only. All the hard work was SO worth it.

  34. So I have this almost 3 year old where I feel like i have failed in most of these! Tell me its not too late to incorporate this! I do work outside the home so in the time we are home, i feel like its mostly whining, unfortunately just like you mentioned, everything is so fast paced, i normally give in to make our little time together ‘happy time’ but the whining is out of control! I look forward to trying to implement these tactics and hope its not too late!

  35. It’s really a usefull share article for me n my wife. there was a struggle parenting time. I noticed that it also works when both of parent are commited.never say too late to change better…thaanks

  36. My child recently turned 3. We never really had issues with whining/tantrums until he turned 3. I was wondering what can effect or change his behavior. The only change in his routine is that he is enrolled in a Pre-School Program where I work. Is there any advice or recommendations to change the status of my child?

  37. I take it you also only speak to stay at home mums?? This is very demoralising to those of us who work outside the home but actually manage (and battle) with toddler behaviour. Shame you can’t speak more widely to mums.

    1. Look around and see that there are many posts that are written to moms in general. I do relate to SAHMs because I have been one for 13 years. I love being one and encourage moms to take that route if they can! It’s an incredible journey!

  38. Its so true to spent quality time and reason negative behavior, im so busy with the house hold chores that I loose my patience most of the time handling my girl. Got to get her into routine and keep her busy with useful activity.

  39. Love the article! As a stay at home mom you would think I would have a schedule for my 2 and 3 yr old by now but I just can’t do it. I also have a 15 and 11 yr old and between sports and dance class you never know if you are coming or going. Any suggestions?

  40. I agree! I teach preschool/ daycare and see all of these happening, and then those are the moms who always say “He won’t, she can’t, it’s not possible.” When I offer similar advice. Because of experience with my brother, (16 years my jr), babysitting, and teaching preschool, I am very firm in setting rules and taking kids out of play when they don’t listen.
    I plan on following all of this as my son gets bigger, he is currently 8 months old and has a schedule. working on the rest slowly.

  41. Hi
    Great article…very helpful..my son z 2.8yrs..He z very naughty n smart..but the problem with him z he shouts when his needs r not fulfilled n even hits, say it could b anyone..He even fills his pockets with d food stuff at friends place, which z very shameful situation for me…pz help me out with some advice..thx

  42. so my daughter is 10 mo old so when is good tike to start woth that whining thing lol we have a routine but Im starting to notice she trying ti manipulate her grandparents. she is first grandchild from both sides and im afraid she will be terrible spoiled. thanks!

  43. First of all, thanks for writing such a great article! I have a seriously cranky 2yo toddler & always wondered is his behaviour normal?? Now that I read yr article, it relieves me a lot. However, why is yr title “5 ways Mums create cranky toddler?”.. Though u mentioned yr articles are written for Mums in mind, then all the more it shd not emphasise that _Mums_ create cranky toddlers.. Dads, grandparents are all guilty too.. Suggest change the title to “5 ways to create a cranky toddler”

  44. I am from Turkey, and have a 3 year old. Thanks a lot for your share, we have been seeing proffessionals, all advising no1 and no5., which we were doing,. About routine also we took the advise but honestly could not always follow and care.. But now i will try more.
    Also about social reactions to a whining kid, its good to hear that its the same there too.
    Any advise on handling a “situation” in grandma and grandpa’s, where her every need is prioritized, and where she constantly whines? :)

  45. Thanks for sharing. My 13month old just started whinning and screaming for everysingle thing. She doesnt talk yet, so I dont know how to address the situation. Im guilty of #1.

  46. I am a first time mom to a 8 month old and I deal with a lot of screaming and growling. Also, if he is in his walker he runs into a cabinet because he knows there are snacks in it and screams. so I am very guilty of number one because i don’t know what to do for a 8 month old who doesn’t really understand “no” yet. I am really guilty of all of these and i think this is a great article although it would help for some advice to go along with it. Any advice would help!

    1. You’d be surprised at how quickly an 8 mo understands “no”! The only problem with it after they learn it, is how to deal with being told no. It usually ends up with them crying. I find it better to say no then redirect to something more interesting.

  47. I have a 13 month old who has very little words… most of the time there is whining and pointing so I know what she wants. How do I get her not to whine if that’s her only communication? We are working on sign language (have been all her life) but she doesn’t use it much.

    1. I’m also having the same problem. Mine is now 16 months with no words, so we’re scheduled for a hearing test and possibly speech therapy. She whines and points for everything and just won’t talk. Saying no and redirecting to something else helps her not cry after hearing no, but it hasn’t helped with her whining in the first place.

  48. Great article! Very helpful and great reminders as I fall into the trap of the whining when things get busy around the house. Toddlers are great at reminding you that things are getting too busy, slow down and enjoy.

  49. SPOT ON! But not that easy to implement, especially when my husband encourages their whining by giving my two toddler boys everything they ask for and not respecting my orders. Now I am the bad cop at home and my 3yr old tells me he doesn’t love me and only wants his dad. Do I keep on enforcing this discipline regardless? I dont want my kids to hate me and my husband blames me for being negative

  50. Hi Allison,
    I have a two year old boy. We, his father and I, do not know what else to do with our son. He will throw a tantrum if he doesn’t get what he wants at home. If he gets mad he will throw his sippy cup or toys at us. He screams so loud because he is mad and he kicks or hits me when I try to change his diaper or make him sit in the front of the shopping cart. . Please help. I do not know what to do. Have tried time out and spanking his bottom. He just laughs at us.

    1. My nephew did this to my sister in law, he threw really mean tantrums. She started a “cool down” rule. For ex. she had a highchair that was difficult for him to get out of on his own, so she would put him in that and move it to the hallway, where there was nothing to grab, until he cooled down. When he got older, he had to sit on the porch. The trick was consistency, she asked the entire family to follow this rule, grandmas, aunts and uncles, even babysitters. Hope that helps!

    2. Book recommendations:”To Train Up A Child” & “No Greater Joy” vol I, II, & III. Please don’t believe the lie that it is just a stage that he will grow out of. These books can help you understand what is going on & how to develop a plan to address it – time is of the essence, the sooner the better. Many doctors will likely diagnose him w/ a disorder & prescribe drugs – be skeptical, read the side effects. I write this as a dad of 7 kiddos who has LEARNED to train them, to love & LIKE them.

  51. I am a M.A.D. ( mom and dad) this article applies to both but i am not so close minded as to allow a title to keep me from reading the article . (Just because it didnt address single moms.)Great article. Admission of guilt is the first step in problem resolution.

  52. Great article/responses – I especially appreciate the way you’ve maintained your position as writing to & for moms. It is clear that you understand the beautiful way GOD designed families to work w/ the husband/father fulfilling his role while the wife/mother fulfills her different, but equally as important role. Great job & thanks for your thoughtful work. Real parenting seems more & more like a lost art, so thanks for helping keep it alive! – A father of 7 w/ an incredible help-meet!

  53. I SO needed this! My sweet, darling, easy-going baby just turned 13-month-old seems to have turned a corner lately and turned into a whinining, screaming mess! I am tired- I have a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and then him. I’ve done this twice before but somewhere in the TIRED I forgot. Thanks for the reminder. Great New Year Resolution reminder.

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