How Postnatal Depression Made My Toddler Naughty

Why I Blame Postnatal Depression for my Toddler’s Behaviour

You may have read in past posts that I suffered from PostNatal Depression. I’m doing well now, it’s gone the dreaded thing, but now I’m concerned that it’s affected someone else indirectly and it’s now that I’m starting to notice.


The other person I’m talking about is Elliott. If I were to tell people about how he completely disobeys me, they would just say it’s a two year old thing, but I have another theory.


Whether or not I use a stern voice, a raised voice or a calm voice, whether or not I shut him in his room or put him in a corner, whether or not I threaten to remove something he likes or threaten him with going to bed or going home, he just does not listen. He gets frustrated, sometimes angry and turns into a little monster.  I can’t believe I’m being controlled by a two year old, but on the other hand I can because I’m pretty sure I let it get this way.


So my theory (or my downfall) all has to do with when I was battling PND.  I was so down all the time or if I wasn’t down I was worrying about something and because of all of these other things I was dealing with and how I was feeling, I was just too lenient with Elliott and perhaps let him get away with too much because back then I just wanted no fuss, if I could easily keep him happy, I just did it. But now I’m suffering the consequences and living with a child that thinks he’s in charge and I don’t know how or if I can reverse it.

Isn’t it always the way though? You make out your that your child is some little monster but he’s a little angel when he’s around other people. Other people find it very hard to believe you or to really understand how bad it can get. It drives me nuts because that’s what happens in our house. And it seems that the bad behaviour is always towards me, what’s with that? Admittedly I’m the one that spends the most time with Elliott but that’s where I fear I’ve gone wrong, I’ve been the primary role model for so long and I honestly think I stuffed up somewhere along the line.

Bracing myself for the ‘threenager’

So, I’m bracing myself because apparently there’s something worse than the terrible twos called the threenager? I’m secretly shitting myself right now and envisioning a house that looks like a war zone. God help me if a second comes along in the next year, juggling a threenager, a baby, a home, a business and two blogs is going to be a real multitasking challenge!

Have you gone through a similar experience or do you have a toddler like mine? How have you made things better?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT
Image by tanabutler on
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman. She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a freelance writer, a social media manager, a Mum to her six-year-old son, one-year-old daughter, six chickens and Benny the dog and wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little worker's cottage in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.
Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Comment with Facebook




  1. Kathy
    August 19, 2014 / 7:23 am

    I hope you aren’t blaming yourself Eva, because you certainly couldn’t help how you parented with PND and you did something to get help! I think all toddlers test, then they test some more at three, four, eleven (you should see the tween attitude). It sounds like you are trying lots of different approaches and it also sounds like you have a strong-willed little man – not a bad characteristic to take through life. I say ease up on yourself – maybe Eliot can somehow sense you are blaming yourself for situations when he is just being a ‘naughty’ boy – they get good like that – at 11 Miss Yin is adept at rubbing my nose in my own insecurities!

  2. Lisa Berriman
    August 19, 2014 / 9:20 am

    After having three children (which of course makes me an expert -ha!) I have decided that parenting is certainly part of the cause of their behaviour, but personality of the child plays a big part. You may have given him more freedom to choose his actions which may be different to other parents but I don’t think you have caused his behaviour. I imagine that you would have found him just as “strong willed” if you had been well the whole time. and don’t stress about the threenager….what we don’t say is that some things get much much easier as they get older.

  3. August 19, 2014 / 4:54 pm

    Eva, I have not had PND and my Punky is exactly the same right now! I am beside myself, I do not know what to do about her behaviour. I am constantly worrying that it is something I have done, and I know that she is picking up my loss of control of my anger on occasion because I see her react the same way to her little sister. I am exhausted and I really don’t know what to do anymore. The mood swings, and the absolute not listening to a word I say, being will-fully naughty and continuing to do something after I have said stop or please don’t. And yep, she is worse for me than for anyone else and everyone else thinks she is an angel because she at least knows how to behave in public and with other people. If she is this bad now only 3 months off turning 3, and I am seriously scared for the threenager year and even worse, puberty! I have no answers for you because I am struggling myself, but just know that your PND did not cause this and I am certain that you are doing the best you can xxx
    (visting on behalf of #teamIBOT too).

  4. August 19, 2014 / 7:06 pm

    I get what you are saying and you are right, our behaviour effects our children’s behaviour.
    Yet, what you are saying here is making me uncomfortable. I read this in the morning and it has taken me all day to work out how to respond.
    It is dangerous territory to be blaming yourself for your child’s behaviour due to your postnatal depression. Once upon a time, autism was blamed on the ‘refrigerator’ mum, meaning that the mother was too cold and did not love her child enough causing the child to disengage and get locked in.
    Take the gentler road. Accept that toddlers are horrible little people. They know what they want yet struggle with their communication skills. This creates a lot of frustration in their tiny bodies that they also do not know how to deal with.
    Children always treat the person they are most familiar with the worst. It is because it is with this person that they are most comfortable. It is with this person that they are most able to let things go and be themselves. Think of the difference between how you behave out and at home. It is because at home you are loved, safe and comfortable. You son feels most loved and safe and secure when he is around you.
    I think that you are simply struggling with parenting. Parenting is damn hard. You are constantly ‘on’ and torn between your love for the child and what needs to be done. You are doing so well my lovely. Hugs.

  5. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me
    August 19, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    Don’t be hard on yourself lovely. The twos and threes can be really really hard. My 22 month old is showing the signs of being a right feisty little thing. I feel scared.

    How does your husband go with disciplining Elliot? Is there anything he does that works? Sometimes it takes the other parent to mix things up and break the habit. Good luck.