Tantrums

Jamie - posted on 12/30/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My son is 19 months old and when he doesn't get his way he either hits me or someone else or throws himself on the floor and hits his head. I don't know what to do? I tell him no hitting.... I don't know what else to do?

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Ashley - posted on 01/05/2011

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As everyone else has said, it's normal for kids this young to have tantrums, and it's perfectly acceptable to start using time outs. I would urge you to not use the crib as a time out spot because your son will then associate his crib with consequences for bad behavior, and he won't want to sleep in it.

We do time-outs a la Super Nanny. They have worked well for us over the years (my kids are 6, 4, and almost 2). These are the steps:

1. Get down to their level and give a stern verbal warning (don't yell, but use a voice that's lower than your normal tone).

2. If he continues the bad behavior, put him straight away into the designated time-out spot. Put the timer on for 1 minute per year of age.

3. He must stay there for the WHOLE TIME. If he gets up before the timer goes off, put him back in the time-out spot WITHOUT SPEAKING to him. This is key!!! And reset the timer. (If this is your first time doing a time-out like this, remember he may get up as much as 50 times - he is testing your limits, but don't give in by not returning him to the time-out. If you do, you are setting a precedent you are not the one in control).

4. Once he has finished his time, get down to his level and explain to him why he was put in time out. Ask for an apology. Once he apologizes, give hugs and kisses and go on with your day.

The time-outs show that there are consequences for bad behavior. Kids need to know there are actual consequences for bad behavior, and at this age usually just "telling" them to stop doing something doesn't really register. But as they get older and know that a time-out is the consequence, they usually will stop. We started doing this when my oldest was around 18/19 months, and I now rarely put my kids in time out because they know I mean business when I issue the warnings.

Laura - posted on 01/04/2011

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My daughter throws her fair share of tantrums. I seem to handle them better then daddy does (go figure?) Anyway, I find distraction works extremely well. If she's trying to get into something that's dangerous or not appropriate, I will use distraction to get her attention away from what's causing the tantrum.

I also get down to her level and in the calmest voice/tone I can muster explain to her why she can't have whatever it is and try to get her to use her words to discribe her anger, frustration, etc.

She doesn't quite understand 'time-out' yet, so that doesn't work for us right now. I try not to use food distractions, like cookies to get her to calm down, but in a pinch I will ask her if she'd like some water or a glass of milk. I found it's usually a trial and error thing in figuring out the best way to stop a tantrum. Hope this helps! Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 01/04/2011

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I also use timeout and so far my son has stayed in his place until I tell him to get up. I am anticipating that to change though:) I give him a warning to stop his behavior, and I speak to him on his level, but once he is in timeout, I DONOT look at him, when he does get up I still do not give him eye contact nor speak to him while I pick him up and put him back in timeout. After wards I make him say I'm sorry (or something that kinda sounds like it) and give me a hug and kiss!

Jennifer - posted on 01/03/2011

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Kim, when I started with the time out chair my son (20 months old now) didn't want to sit in it at first either. Its really just repetition. As soon as he gets out of the chair you put him back in it and keep repeating till he stays in the chair. I'll tell him the first time I put him back "Mama told you you have to stay in this chair for x amount of time, you need to sit here now" (or something similar) I probably had to do that routine for a day or two at most and now if he goes to his time out chair he stays. I actually got that from the Super Nanny and its worked! Now if I can just get my son to listen to me at other times I'd be happy. :D

Jill - posted on 01/02/2011

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Good luck to you...I have found that ignoring my little one works most of the time, but if she continues to throw a fit, I have a little stool that she sits on for her time out. You have to be consistant. If he is hitting you in the face, that means you are getting to close to him or picking him up while he is having his tantrum. Make sure he is safe and walk away until he calms down ( I usually just go around the corner and peek on her to make sure she is ok) ...he will get the point really quick! Hope this helps!!

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Kathleen - posted on 01/15/2011

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Hi Jamie, My son does the samething, I used to work w/ children w/ autism and we always said to ignore bad behavior, of course there is expections. But what I do w/ my son is say, "Ok let mommy know when ur done taking ur fit." and he will then proseed to throw himself on the floor, hit his head or throw items. but after a minute or so he gets up finds a toy or comes to me to pick him up. Every child does it..ur not alone!

Meghan - posted on 01/15/2011

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Both of my kids (3 and 2) respond well, or REALLY get annoyed (I should say) If you not only ignore them, but give them the silent treatment. I get in their level, both of their hands in mine, look them straight in the eye and say :that was VERY mean! You don't hit! I'm not going to play with you if you hit"... I walk away, they usually sit there stunned for a minute (make sure you use your mad, but not screaming voice) if they get up, tell them "No, you sit down on your time out mat until you are nice"... not only does is this punishment, in my opinion it teaches them a good real world lesson. Their friends at school aren't going to let them be mean, and still want to be their friend. So, I don't either. When they come to you, say, "you say sorry" they usually will (if they don't then it is more time out time) until they are happy again. Before you let them up go over and say "remember to be nice, and no hitting ok?" and then all is forgiven, no more grudges held.

Ashley - posted on 01/13/2011

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The hitting is a behavior you can use the timeout technique for as well. With timeouts, it's about letting the children know what behaviors aren't acceptable, and that there is a tangible consequence for breaking the rules. The more you use the timeouts, the more children realize you mean business when you issue the first warning, and the bad behaviors gradually decrease.

Stefanie - posted on 01/13/2011

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What do you do about hitting? I am not sure if he understands NO HIT! I have tried catching his hands and holding them and saying we don't hit etc. Any tips that will help are much appreciated!

Christy - posted on 01/12/2011

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my daughter is also 19 months and throws tantrums here and there. we use to put her in the playpen too but she doesn't like it there. she would get more loud and fussy...i feel she could almost climb out of the playpen, and if she doesn't get her way she sometimes hurt herself so its scary because she already fell twice in one week because she moves too much. i just tell her we will put you on time-out.

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Get a timer he can hold or look at for the time outs. When it goes off and he has calmed down he is free if he gets up before the bell goes off start over. Until the bell goes off you walk away. Also praise him when he does anything good/positive (even little things) and listens to you the first time. They want attention any attention so make the attention positive for positive things and minimal for negative things. All easier said than done but keep breathing and stay calm your self.

Morgan - posted on 01/11/2011

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My daughter started doing this a few months ago. We decided to start time outs when she began hitting..... seems to work and when she has calmed down from the time out she is more reasonable and more willing to figure out a solution to her original problem.... We only do timeouts for hitting. I think this has helped her understand why she is there.... good luck Your babe is totally normal.! there is a reason they are called "terrible Two's".......

Samantha - posted on 01/10/2011

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Totally agree with the super nanny thing. It works amazingly well for my 19 month old. I also like the book "The Happiest Toddler on the Block..." by Dr. Harvey Karp...although not the toddler tantrum bible, it did have some really helpful nuggets of info! Especially to think of our toddlers as little cave people. He talks about how in a few short years a child matures rapidly and that it is tantamount to a "super fast re-run of ancient human development". So it makes sense that they get frustrated and even lash out occasionally! All we can do is keep trying!

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2011

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I agree, once they learn to stay in the chair you can put it pretty much anywhere. I got a cheap $5 plastic kids chair at Family Dollar that I use as his timeout chair, and funny thing is he likes to play with it when he's not in timeout too!

If you want to learn more about it Super Nanny actually has a couple books out, which are really good! I'd say check your library first to see if they have it, if they don't half.com or amazon.com will have them really cheap!

Angela - posted on 01/06/2011

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Also, you can just get a small chair that they can sit in on their own and place it in the kitchen. Or if you have a playroom, or a spot in the living room, just anywhere you can put the chair. Even if there are toys in the room, remember if they get up, you put them right back on the chair. So they can be in a room with toys. You have to make sure they stay in the chair.

Angela - posted on 01/06/2011

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Ok...lol...so i didn't read ALL the comments! So I guess that's what I get for not reading them all! I guess the Supernanny thing has been brought up already. Sorry!

Angela - posted on 01/06/2011

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If you have cable or a chance to watch Supernanny I strongly suggest it! She gives EXCELLENT advice on time outs. There are like 6 steps. I am trying them with my 19 month old when she throws tantrums or throws stuff at me. It's actually worked. I've had to bring her back to her "time out" spot about 20 times, and there's a lot of crying, but she gets it after a while and stays there for the 1 1/2- 2 min we put her there.

Amy - posted on 01/06/2011

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I whole heartedly agree with the super nanny technique! It works. My 20 month old sits in time outs and does not get up until it is over. He has also observed how it works from his older brother...I really felt that at age 2 they started to work for him.

Jamie - posted on 01/06/2011

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Thank you! I will def try that! I first need to find a spot where he can't get into anything lol! Our house is filled with toys!

Grace - posted on 01/04/2011

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Sounds similar to what my daughter does sometimes (she's 20 moonths old). The other day at a restaurant she had an episode and ended up throwing a spoon and it almost hit me in the head. I can laugh about it now but it was pretty embarassing at the time. I just try to get down to her level , look her in the eye and say "thats not nice, thats bad". I think she understands. Thats all that I could suggest.

Kim - posted on 01/03/2011

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For the people who are using time outs in a chair, how do you get them to stay? My son is 20 months old and he will not stay still. I have a friend who has told me to by the book "One, Two, Three Magic" which is a book based on the time out theory.

Jamie - posted on 01/02/2011

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Thank you guys! I will def try your suggestions. It gets so frustrating especially when he hits me. I know he's young and might not really understand but when he slaps me in the face there's only so much I can take lol! So hopefully I will find something that works!

Anna - posted on 01/02/2011

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Our little guy was king of our house. No form of discipline was effective since,ultimately, the biggest reinforcer for him was being in control of everything. Now, when he misbehaves I do a few things that work pretty well.
1. Get on his level and make close eye contact while telling him what I want.
2. If he continues in the behavior, I sit him on his rump immediately, wherever we happen to be.
3. I count to either 10 or 20 slowly while he is still sitting. (At first, I had to stand there and make sure he stayed sitting. Now, he knows that he waits quietly most of the time.) If he screams or tries to get up, I stop counting and wait until he is seated again. As he gets older, we increase the time.

This sounds like it shouldn't work... but it really has been quite effective as long as we're consistant. It is a deterrent because he is unable to be in control for even that brief amount of time.

Kandice - posted on 01/02/2011

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Time out mat would be great. You'll need to put it in a spot that he is safe, but that you can walk away from. If you sit next to him, he is getting attention. You are right by not putting him in the crib. He'll begin to see it as a place of punishment & not a place for sleeping. That will cause a fun new set f night time drama, LOL

Heidi - posted on 01/02/2011

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My son is 19 months as well and is definitely starting in with the tantrums. I have been doing time out for a few months now. and it works. I use the same chair every time and make him sit until he is done throwing his fit. Then he comes to me and loves on me, and usually after that he's good. Some days it's more than others that he is in time out but, that's expected. You have to be persistent with it though and stand your ground. It works for me.

Jamie - posted on 01/01/2011

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We dont have a play yard or anything. I've put him in his crib but I heard it's not a good place to put him for time out since it's his bed. I've taken away toys. I was thinking about trying maybe a corner to put him in or a time out mat?

Kandice - posted on 01/01/2011

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While it is perfectly normal (and healthy) for our kids to throw tantrums at this age, it can be quite frustrating. As a mom of three (and oldest of 6 kids), I suggest ignoring them. Yes, if he is throwing things you will need to take them away. If you have a playpen/play yard, put him in it with no toys. Time outs are perfectly acceptable at this age if you use them correctly. Our daughter has learned that she stays in the play yard until she calms down. This is for her safety & the safety of our belongings. :) She still does it, but has also learned to stop when I say "Would you like some alone time" & she will usually respond with a whiny "no mommy." If she continues the behavior, time out is next.

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