My son, who just turned two a few weeks ago, is beginning to become very hard to deal with.
He has tantrums that escalate into hitting either myself or himself. He'll remove my glasses and try to scratch my face. When he is told something he doesn't like, for instance, "No, you can't walk in the road," or "time for a nap," or even putting him into a stroller or shopping cart, he goes crazy. He starts screaming and it turns into full head-on rage. I have tried putting him in his crib so he is safe and unable to destroy anything around him. However this does not seem to be working. I have also told him I know he is upset even though he can't say it but that enrages him more. He is in speech therapy and occupational therapy. He is a bit delayed in his speech and does become frustrated very easily. He also has low muscle tone which has delayed his motor skills a bit. I am just at a loss at what to do to control the situation or at least try to calm it. Please help.
From: Karen, Albany, NY
I know you know this, but it's worth repeating: tantrums are very typical, starting at about 18 months; they can range in intensity and duration; and often (as you obviously know) have a lot to do with a child's inability to verbalize. Given that your son has some delays, that may add to his frustrations..
Heading tantrums off at the pass is any parent's best strategy. Here are some other tips once a child is into a tantrum:
Don't talk to him. He can't hear you.
Don't pick him up unless he comes to you for comfort or is physically unsafe, banging his head on the floor, for instance. Then pick him up and place him back down in a safer place.
Do let the tantrum run its course, usually three to five minutes. Sit nearby but remain neutral and impassive; tantrums feed on attention.
Don't leave the room. That's scary to the child.
When the tantrum is over, it's over. Hug him and say, "I'm glad you feel better," and move on.
Meanwhile, I have to wonder, as I am sure you have, if there is a relationship between the tantrums you're describing -- which, let's face it, sound pretty extreme -- and your son's delays beyond the obvious. Since your son is already in OT and speech therapy, I would definitely talk to the professionals involved about the tantrums to see what guidance they can provide.
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