My two year old crys hard asking to carry him. It used to be after the evening nap. Recently he got the common cold. Me and my wife used to carry him during that time. The fellas got a bit of flem still. Now he ha got acustomed to being carried. He requests to carry often and if we dont, the fellow crys really hard for quite sometime. Ends up coughing too. Wondering if this due to we spoiling him or any other underlying reason. Appreciate some advise on the matter.


As someone who has lost a child, you can never hug or carry them too much.

That being said, from a psychological standpoint, holding, carrying, and attending to their needs when they are distressed is not spoiling. A child can not be spoiled by giving them attention at his age. young children are not neurological mature, leaving them to ‘deal’ with their distress can activate their sympathetic nervous system and if this kind of distress happens too often the pathway to a stress response can strengthen, which means a smaller and smaller amount of stimuli can cause a stress response in a shorter amount of time. What this does to a person depends on past trauma and at this point in time, is not fully understood. But we do know repeat stress can cause defensive mechanisms to arise such as, fight, flight or freeze. In adults these issues manifest in a number of ways, a person who is easily angered when stressed, someone who walks away from an issue and others who simply don’t recognize their emotions or how to interpret them. Stress can also cause brain swelling, and the more stress a person experiences the quicker it happens. Brain swelling inhibits learning and a persons ability to process and deal with the situation.

That being said. I understand the behavior is tiring. This is likely a phase that he will grow out of. You can try holding him but tell him your tired and can only hold him a little while. Negotiate, maybe give him a comfort toy that he can redirect some of his energy to. Good luck but I hope you consider giving him the attention he craves.

  • 2
    There have been studies that show that babies do cry simply to get their parents to show attention to them. I'm not certain that rewarding poor behaviour (faking distress) with attention is a good idea.
    – nick012000
    Apr 5 '21 at 0:40
  • two years old have not the cognitive ability to use crying in any strategic way and to "fake" something to get attention. If they cry, they really feel a need to do so, and the adults need to find the reason. It is possible, that the first reaction is only distracting the child, but not deleting the reason, so some "bad behaviors" in repetition of crying - reaction - crying - reaction could occure, but this is caused in not searching for the reason... Apr 5 '21 at 20:50
  • 2
    @Allereirauh "two years old have not the cognitive ability to use crying in any strategic way" The scientific evidence says otherwise. Infants can learn deception before they learn to talk.
    – nick012000
    Apr 5 '21 at 21:44
  • @nick012000 This is contrary to what I learned before. Could you provide links to said scientific evidence? Apr 16 '21 at 13:14
  • @JanNiklasFingerle Here's a news article from 2007 talking about it: telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3298979/…
    – nick012000
    Apr 16 '21 at 13:26

I agree with snipsnap, that cuddling and carrying (also in sitting position because for example of the child's weight) is nothing, which one could too much and what would cause harm in a child's progress.

There are some tricks you could use to make it more comfortable for all of you.

  • Try to integrate it into your day. For example before bedtime, or while you reading for your child, or while doing things together, let your child sit onto your legs. In the simplest case, the need of your child for "body-contact" would be filled with this repeating situations.

  • Make clear, if you do not like it in this moment. Try (first for yourself) to find the reason, why and what exactly you do not like, and state this to the child. My son for example likes to cuddle a lot. There was a time he grapped my hair and pulled, seemingly to get himself a hold. I said "Ow" and gentle took his hand out of my hair. So this behavior become less over time

  • Arrange the cuddling in a way it is comfortable to you. For example sit down, instead of moving around. You could also choose a defined place for your cuddling time.

  • if there is really some need to move, for example on a walk, I assume you will probably have something with you, to help carrying the child, maybe some pushing-car with a rope for you to pull, or even some buggy to push.

In general you need to decide, which causes the carrying affection, is it more the "feel not strong enough to walk" or more "want to cuddle, be near my protection-against-any-harm-parents"

I am not very good in doing things "because people say/do so". We made the most decisions with the focus on "how is it most practicable for our family". If trying to do like people say causes you nightmares and makes you stressed and unhappy, this causes more harm than making compromises most times.

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