Tantrums/Hitting/Throwing Things

Kassie - posted on 11/10/2008 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My son is 18 months old and starting to be really nasty-tempered. I didn't endure this with my daughter (now almost 7). Is this normal, and what can I do to curb these embarrassing episodes?

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Laura - posted on 12/13/2008

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I agree with some of the other ladies posts...Jenny get another opinion, or wait it out. I think its normal for them to get frustrated, we get frustrated too, but they have no way of knowing how to cope with it yet. When my son starts to throw a tantrum I sit on the floor beside him and describe what he is doing...like "mommy see's you are upset that she took the crayons away, but you can't color on the floor, but when you are ready we can color on the paper again" I try hard to stear him into another activity that he likes doing and ask him as soon as I see he is calming down if he is "ready to play again" it seems to be working, he throws way less tantrums and they are very short now.

Melissa - posted on 12/03/2008

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My son also has a nasty temper and I feel like I'm always struggling because I don't know if I should be ignoring the behavior or putting him in time out or what. I say no and it gets worse. I put him in timeout and he'll calm down, get out of time out and then go back to doing the same thing. So I'll try ignoring the behavior but then it escalates and doesn't stop. I guess consistancy is most important but I don't know which reaction I should be consistant with!

Kassie - posted on 11/13/2008

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Thanks for the replies, guys. He's a difficult one, because I can put him in time out (I frequently have to hold him there, too, or he gets right up), take away the object in question, or ignore him, and it has no impact. He yells at me, telling me to "Stop it!" if I take something away or tell him no... I can stare him down with a look of displeasure on my face, and he just stares back at me 'til his face cracks into a smile... I have to use all my energy not to reciprocate (and I'm often not successful, which I know doesn't help)... I am hoping with the passing days, we will outgrow this faster than I expect... but then again, we're right around the corner from that dreaded "Terrible Two" corridor!

Stephani - posted on 11/12/2008

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Hi, my little guy, who is now 18 months old too, seems to let out his frustrations on other children, namely quieter ones. It is very upsetting to me when we are in his play group or at church and he grabs another child's hair or hits and screams. Being the reader that I am, I've read a book called, The Spirited Child and believe without a doubt that my son is that way. I hate to label, but in his case, he reacts to everything in a big way and when he's overstimulated or frustrated, that's when I've noticed he acts negatively like this with other children. It's good to know what precipitates certain behaviors so you can either avoid having those problems or at least be able to understand your child better. My 18 month old is not saying too many words either and in a way, I think that leads to a lot of his frustrations. Also, something that I try to adhere to is a strict nap schedule because if my little guy doesn't get his sleep, that's when he tends to over-react or throw the temper tantrums. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that you're not alone (as you can see from the other mothers' replies too!).

Cara - posted on 11/12/2008

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Another thing Kassie...walk away from them. They want that attention from you whichever way they are going to get it. I ignore Hayden when he throws a temper tantrum...I first ask him to stop & if he continues I tell him that I am going to walk away now. He usually gets very angry @ me but evenually follows me & stops crying. My daughter...even though she didn't have the hitting/biting tantrums she definitely wanted her way all the time...walking away from her worked very well. I still have to so it w/ her because now she sees Hayden having these episodes so she is trying them on for size as well. It's hard to ignore your child...but in times like these...you don't want to give them that kind of attention...it just feeds into their actions.

Cara - posted on 11/12/2008

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I have to agree w/ your ped Carmen. My son does similar actions when he is mad...he giggles when it really hurts what he is doing. I think, @ the age they are @, they don't know exactly how to react to what they are doing. I think they know what they are doing but it is not all adding up that this hurts & that doesn't. It's hard because my daughter wasn't this way & now my son is so I can't honestly say if they will grow out of it or not. I always try to think more positive...they are learning so much every day & they have to try to figure out, with our help, what is good & what is bad. My son LOVES to laugh...I feel he thinks everything is funny right now...well except when he gets hurt...but as he grows more I feel he will learn to adapt the right/wrong. At this age it's hard to diagnose...they are learning so much & there is so much going through their heads...not being able to communicate properly I'm sure makes them very frustrated. I always try to talk to Hayden to let him know that was owie. If he goes after his sister...which happens frequently (does anyone else have little ones that started quarling @ such a young age?) but I always make them apologize to each other & give each other a hug & a kiss along w/ discipline for the one that started it...if it was provoked...they usually both get in trouble. All in all I think these are all actions that, 9x out of 10...they will grow out of w/ consistent guidance.

Another response to what your ped said...my kids usually try to get away w/ stuff the most w/ me rather then my husband. I usually try to work more out w/ them before initiating a disiplinary action...my husband doesn't give as many options...I'm sure I am the weaker link but I still feel that I have control over them...I don't want to be constantly yelling @ them so I talk more to them about what they are doing & I let them both know what will happen if they continue to do it & I DO follow through w/ that action if they don't stop what they are doing that is wrong. Consistancy. It's hard but it works. I think the hardest part is...you can never let your guard down. :0)

Carmen - posted on 11/12/2008

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I think what worries me the most is that my daughter will grab my face or my neck and pinch really really hard when she is angry because I have taken something away from her or something simaliar. When I express that it hurts and tell her no, she giggles. My ped. says its because I am the easiest target for her and that they usually do chose one particular person that is the weakest to pull this on... any suggestions to this?

Cara - posted on 11/12/2008

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My son is 19 months now on 11/5/08 & he acts this exact same way. My daughter started her terrible 2's @ 15 months & she is 3 now & still a bit of a pill but she never hit, kicked, bit. My son has been hitting when you telll him no. He bites when he gets excited. We learned w/ my daughter to ignore her when she is acting out. Obviously you cannot ignore all actions but don't let them know that it's bothering you too much. Take action w/ timeouts. I've done that w/ Hayden. It doesn't work overnight & believe me we're still working on it but a consistant pattern will teach them what they are doing is wrong.

Karla - posted on 11/12/2008

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Making them sit in a chair for a time out works, they will definately rebel at this age so I had to sit with my son and hold his arms so he did not get out of the chair.

On a side note - Jenny I hope your son that was diagnosed with ADHD is not 18 months! My son would have been considered a likely candidate at that age but he is certainly not now. I would get another opinion - it worries me to have an under 2 yr old labled as that already.

Carmen - posted on 11/11/2008

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My daughter is 18 months old and we are experiencing the same behavior. My pediatrician recommended for me to smack my hand down on a hard object to make a loud noise and say no. Then place her in time-out for 2-3 minutes. That way she will get the pattern that negative behavior results in negative reaction. Basically, play time ends and mom gets angry. I'm working on it and you may find this useful. Also, I have read magazine articles that have said that at this age they are experiencing much frustration because of their inablility to communicate with us so try to offer them choices and they will feel more in control of their little world. Such as... do you want yogurt or banana?

Jenny - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hi, my son does the same thing! He has been doing this for many months, and recently he was diagnosed with ADHD. I have read MANY good books about dealing with these problems. Since many children this age cannot talk and express their feelings, that is how they are trying to communicate with you. If you feed into the negative side they will keep on goin with it. It gives them the desire to keep acting this way, expecially when they get the attention from it.

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