How to stop a 3 year old's tantrums?

Nicole - posted on 03/31/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My daughter is almost four and just recently started in a preschool here in Okinawa. When she was younger she had a short phase of tantrums that lasted about a week. I ignored her tantrums (even though she'd follow me around the house and 're-throw' her tantrum lol) and then she gave up with them and the full blown tantrums have been gone. Well, she just recently decided it was a good idea to start throwing tantrums again! I don't know if she saw other kids at school doing it, but where she got this from is beside the point. She will scream at the top of her lungs and throw herself around and it's just full blown toddler tantrum from a preschooler! I know she's young and doesn't understand her feelings but she needs to know that these tantrums are unacceptable! Her dad and I don't scream or anything at each other ever, so she doesn't see us acting that way. I don't want to punish her for being angry, but can a tantrum be punished? I've told her its OK to be upset but she cannot act like that, but she's obviously not a little adult so I don't think that get's very far. How can I best deal with this? She's also always been a very stubborn and hard headed little girl! When she was 10 months old she crawled over and started messing with her grandma's books and I told her "no no, don't touch" and she looked at me, smiled, and put one finger on the books while still looking at me. It's all been downhill from there with testing every boundary. She might make a good leader one day but right now she just makes mommy nuts! I'd love some input! And we are a military family, so I know that puts her under some more stress with daddy coming and going, and then our move overseas, but she's always been OK with dad leaving for awhile and he's been home now since July, so I don't think she's acting out because of any of that, I think maybe it's just the age... but I'm still clueless! Thank you.

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Jennifer - posted on 04/16/2011

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Amanda, how did you get yours to stop after only five minutes?! When my daughter works herself up she runs with it! lol She has had fits as long as 45 minutes and she will not talk to me (literally will push me out her bedroom door) until she is done with her fit and good and ready to. I let her have her fit and then she gets the hug and we talk about how that wasn't fun and what else she could do other than throwing a tantrum.

Amanda - posted on 04/12/2011

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Time out has always worked with mine, you are not punishing them for be angry but you are teaching them that throwing a tantrum is not the way to deal with it. I used to put mine in their room until they had calmed down but no longer than 5 minutes. Then i would go in and tell them that the way they had behaved was unacceptable but mummy still loves them and now it is all over, this along with a big hug. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 04/12/2011

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My daughter is younger than yours at only 2 1/2 but she can throw some monster fits! :)

I would never punish her for being angry but I will punish the behavior she exhibits. When she gets into a full blown tantrum she gets put into her room until the tantrum is over. I try to head it off before it gets that far but that's not always possible.

When she's done with her tantrum I go into her room and give her hugs, wipe away her tears and we talk about whatever set her off. Most often it was something she got told "No" about because she wouldn't ask properly. The talking lets her know that it's o.k. to get angry, but it's NOT o.k. to throw a fit just because you don't get your way and the hugs are to let her know that Mommy loves her no matter what. :)

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