Toddlers and Tantrums

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Toddlers and Tantrums

    DS is 16 months.  Last night I believe he was really testing me.  It started when I pulled him up to the table and he immediately started throwing his sandwich and laughing.  Pushed him away and into the corner (in his highchair) and said, calmly, "we don't throw food so you'll sit away from the table until you are ready to eat."  Well... I know he had no idea what I just said, but I felt like my calm tone was what was important.  Went way downhill from there.  He never returned to eat (so he ate no dinner, which freaks me out even though at 24 lbs I know he won't starve).  He started throwing toys, at which time I took them away.  Wanted to open every closet door, at which I refused.  So he stood in a corner and cried/screamed for 25 minutes.  Yes, I timed it... 25 minutes.  My doctor says completely ignore as long as they are in a safe place.  That's tough.  I checked in with him twice asking if he was ready to play again and stop crying.  Again... at 16 months I'm not fooling myself that he understands what I'm saying... but trying to keep calm tone.  He finally only stopped crying when I put him in his bath (I'd finally had enough of the screaming and I didn't see an end in site).  And then of course when Dad came home, he was an angel.

    So... I'm sure there is lots of conflicting advice, just like with the cry-it-out issue, but what is your method for tantrums?  Ignore, soothe, combo of both, something else that works well?  My pediatrician said he's right on time, in fact actually asked me at our 15mth appointment if he'd started tantrums yet.  I can see his frustration because he isn't super verbal yet, and I can imagine that would make me angry too if I couldn't get my point across.  But, I really don't want to encourage in any way tantrum or whining behavior even at this young age.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I had similar questions when my DD was right around that age.. so there is another post on discipline between the ages of 1 and 2 if you look back.  Most of the advice I got was to distract, and I find that works pretty well for DD still (21 months).  Like if she starts to freak out about something I might ask her if she wants water (which she LOVES) and then she is over it.

    Another great piece of advice I got from a friend is this: At this age, they really aren't breaking the rules.  They don't know what the rules are.  So you need to be patient as you teach and they learn.  

    HTH!
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from KT75. Show KT75's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    This is a tough stage.  I would try and limit what you say to "we don't throw food" and then have done like you did by moving the high chair.  If he has a fit I would do what your pedi said and ignore but I would not have been able to ignore for 25 minutes (you are amazing!) I would probably have gone in after 10 minutes and done the bath or something.  With DD sometimes she would (still does) get herself into such a tizzy that she has a hard time getting out of it.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    At that age, distraction still works wonders. But I think you're on the right track! Ignore when you can, distract after a while. I've realized wtih DS that it's not "caving" if you distract with something different, but only if done after a while. Like Trouble does with the water.
     
    Somtimes you have to help these little poeple get out of the tantrums if they get stuck in them too long. And as their parent you know when they're stuck in the tantrum and need help out, and when they need to tantrum it out a little longer.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from luckinlife. Show luckinlife's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I totally agree with going more with the distraction.  Wow, I admire your patience.  Also have you read Happiest Toddler on the Block?  It is sort of kooky but does have some good suggestions regarding talking them in their language and acknowledging what makes them upset.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    Two things I learned while navigating that same rough terrain:

    First,  the tantrums are not necessarily related to what appears to be the trigger.  They could be tired, or hungry or just in a bad mood running up to the tantrum, so by the time they freak out, it's too late to manage it effectively.  Try to look for indicators early, or pattersn in behavior (time of day etc) and head the drama off befor the tantrum gets really extreme.

    Second,  I read somewhere that most of the time, the kids are not enjoying the tantrum, but don't know how to work their way out of it.  If you kneel down and just open your arms, very often they'll just come and get a hug.  I thought it sounded kind of crazy when I read it, but I tried out of desperation and it totally worked.

    This could be the beginning of a challenging phase, but remember it's a phase.  Stay as calm as possible and try to have a plan, so when it happens you're not just reacting emotionally.  Be as consistent as possible in your response and they'll start to learn the routine.

    My sister is a preschool teacher and she says remember, the temper tantrums are temporary.  Good luck!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I echo what MicroMom and KT say, use short, specific direction - "we don't throw food" and pushing the high chair away from the table.

    I find DD is far more likely to tantrum and act out when she is (over)tired. We've noticed when she's over tired she gets violent - hair pulling, head butting and hitting. It's not pretty, but we recognize it for what it is, stay calm and redirect with bath and bedtime/naptime routines.

    Sometimes I think I'm making excuses, but I agree that they don't know how to get out of the cycle of crying and need to be redirected at this age.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    IPW - sorry you're dealing with this!  We just had our 15 month appointment as well, and our pedi asked the same thing about tantrums!  We've had a few, but not like you're describing (not YET!)

    What Micromom said reminded me of something my friend's husband said once when I was at their house and their 2 year old was throwing a tantrum.  He said something like, "He's hungry.  When he's hungry he doesn't KNOW he's hungry, he just thinks "LIFE SUCKS!!""  I thought that was pretty astute.  :)  I think of it all the time now that I have a kid.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Kiwiguy. Show Kiwiguy's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I can feel your pain and pretty much echo most of what everyone else has already posted.

    I generally do two things when our little guy goes over the edge (usually because he is tired). The first is to basically ignore the tantrum. But I keep doing exactly what I was. So if I was eating, I'd continue eating as if he wasn't going crazy, including offering him his food, etc. I often find if I maintain my routine he eventually wants to rejoin whatever it was we were doing when he freaked out.

    The other thing I do is try a little redirection. I don't push anything, but I suggest he start a new activity, maybe play with a board puzzle that he likes, or read a book. Often that just results in louder screaming, but after I offer a book and then move away, he picks up the book and transitions from freaking out to wanting to read. The change can be abrupt.

    Beyond that, keep up your spirits. It can be very tough at the time, especially when you are tired yourself, but stay positive and keep moving and I think your DS will eventually calm down. I think your bath move was perfect, because you basically kept the daily routine going rather than bowing to his behavior.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    Thank you all so much!  These are all very helpful suggestions.  Now I feel bad I let him go so long.  I did try to talk to him twice and offer a book or puzzle, but I wasn't too persuasive I guess.  He did take a swig from his sippy with milk midway but then went right back to the corner and crying.  

    Kiwiguy, I like what you said.  Pretend like they are not tantruming and perhaps they will rejoin on their own.  Last night I just sat in his playroom reading my ipad.  Normally we would have been playing together during that time. 

    One of the hardest parts with my son is he has been able to do real tears since day 1.  Big, wet sobbing tears.  And he can make them appear in nano-seconds.  Even just the slightest thing now and they're running down his face.  I want to help build his confidence a bit and was hoping if he stopped his tears last night on his own, he'd see all that wasn't worth the effort.  But I think he's still too young for that.

    And I will keep my sentences shorter until he understands more words.  Great tip!
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    IPW - one last thing. At this age after you say "we don't throw food" you can't keep him away from the table until he "ready to eat." You need to bring him back to the table after a few minutes and try dinner again. He's too little.
    I think - as someone else said - Happiest Toddler by Harvey Karp might help you. One of the things he talks about is "playing the clown". Making silly faces from behind your napkin - tap dancing in the kitchen - something to make him laugh will help distract him out of the tantrum.
    And he goes into detail about speaking Toddlerese - short sentences repeated so they understand. "mad, mad, mad - you are mad. I know. Now - lets have some milk."
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from wrkingmom. Show wrkingmom's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    The only other thing I would add - distraction works for us but sometimes it is just as productive to leave him where he is (understanding he is safe) and come back after a few minutes.  I would just make sure your DH and DC are reacting the sameway so you all handle the tantrums differently.  So when you are in the middle of one you are both on the same page as to how to deal with it.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I read a recent article on the NYT Motherlode blog that said something like, "a toddler having a tantrum isn't giving you a hard time; they're *having* a hard time."  Not to say (AT ALL) that they should be rewarded for the tantrum.  Just something to keep yourself sane when they're driving you bonkers.  They are not enjoying it either.
    I am really glad to get all the advice above and I'm filing it away in my brain.
    The only other thing I've read that resonated with me is that while you're ignoring / remaining neutral, to not leave the room.  That a kid having a tantrum is feeling pretty out of control (which can be scary) and by staying it tells them that you can handle it and you'll still be there for them no matter how upset they get.  The things above about keeping on reading or eating or whatever sound perfect.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Kiwiguy. Show Kiwiguy's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    In Response to Re: Toddlers and Tantrums:
    They are not enjoying it either.
    Posted by medfordcc


    Repeated because it is one of the best sentences on this page. Not only are they not enjoying it, but often they don't know how to stop it either. You need to dance that fine line to ease him back to happiness without inciting him any further. It is a trial and error process but I think if you have confidence in yourself and keep calm (which I admit I'm not always the best at), you'll prevail.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from winter09wedding. Show winter09wedding's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I think you have gotten a lot of good advice. I know that your DS is slightly younger than mine, but he has clearly gotten attached to his lovey in the past month or two- like carry it around a lot attached.  When he has meltdowns, I will offer him something like his lovey or a bink to see if he wants them. sometimes he does- and i think- to echo medford and kiwiguy- that it helps him figure his way back.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    Just wanted to add for MissLilly, I did try to bring him back several times and got feet on the table, more sandwich on the floor and refusal to eat. So that part I did do as he is nowhere near verbal enough to say "ok mom, I'm hungry now". I had to drive to a wake last night and he was a saint for DH, but, still didn't eat. So now I'm really thinking his molars are really bothering him. Besides being visually sick, only other time he's not been interested in at least something. But he's still drinking really well.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    I don't have anything to add, but it looks like there is some great advice on here.  Thanks everyone!!  DD will be a year any day now, so I'm sure I'll be needing this information before we know it.  It seems like I have been able to anticipate (and avoid) so many issues by reading your questions and advice before hand.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    Of course you did that...don't know why I thought overwise!
    I will say that Child of Mine talks a lot about how babies and toddlers eat best in the morning and at lunch - often by dinner they simply aren't that hungry. (Just like nursing output.hhmmmm). Anyway - he many just be tired and not too hungry at dinner so keep that in mind if he starts to fuss and melt down again.
    And take heart - I got to deal with a tantrum today in Carter's when I wouldn't buy toys for my my 2 1/2 year old DD while I was buying her clothes. "I'm still a baby I want the duck bib!" "I want this teether!" Thank heavens it started as we were leaving so most of the screaming was in the car on the way home.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Toddlers and Tantrums

    Yes, it was very timely that I read all this good advice!  Because last night the LO was a bear while I was trying to make our dinner.  Oy.  She wanted me to pick her up to reach the shelf where the barrettes are so she could put one back and select a different one.  One hundred times.
    All of your good advice helped me stay calm and neutral-ish!  So thank you.
     
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