single mom vs 17 mo old tantrums

Michelle - posted on 02/21/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I'm a single mom, working full time with a 17 month old son. He hits and throws things a lot. Usually I'm the only person he hits, although the walls, floors and furniture take quite a beating too. Why is he doing this and how do I handle it? Sometimes it's because he's angry/upset but mostly it's just because he wants to (as far as I can tell). It's a work in progress for me, figuring out when to discipline him and when to just let him act out. I know kids this age have lots of emotions they don't understand so I try to let him vent sometimes but the hitting is becoming an issue. I'm also trying to figure out how to teach him all the things a mom and a dad would. Any suggestions on any of this would be so appreciated. Thanks!

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Lyndsay - posted on 08/25/2010

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Unless he is in danger of hurting himself, I believe that the best course of action with tantrums is to ignore them. Usually they are a method of attaining something he wants, whether its a physical object or even just attention, and when you give in you are reinforcing the behaviour. My son had a few good ones at that age, but I just let him rage until he tired himself out. Then I would ask him calmly what I can do for him, and go from there. He's 3 now and doesn't throw tantrums at all, thank god.

Denikka - posted on 06/04/2010

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I don't have a lot of advice, but if you're okay with letting him act it out, steer him in a more appropriate direction. Like instead of hitting walls/floors/himself/other people, give him something it's okay to hit to work out his frustrations. One of those pop back things (weighted on the bottom so you punch them, they *fall over* and pop back up) or some kind of punching bag, even a pillow that he can beat on.
I firmly believe in redirection at this age (my son is 14.5 mo) If he wants something that I can't give him (like he wants me to play with him and I'm busy at that moment) and he throws a fit, I put him on our bed where there's lots of pillows he can beat on. He usually does a few punches then goes off to do whatever catches his interest at that moment. Really young kids are easily distracted. I think it's best, when they display inappropriate behavior to tell them "no, you can't do that, but here is something you CAN do". It gives them tools to deal with how their feeling versus just telling them they can't do something.

Jeanette - posted on 05/01/2010

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does your schedule really limit quality one on one time with him after work hours? maybe the acting out is partly a need for more mommy time? time doing fun things - maybe some playtime together every day or little outings - making sure you have fun together, in case it is just a lot of fussing and most of the time is trying to discipline

Kelly - posted on 04/18/2010

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I agree with Abby...my son is 17 months also, he is also throwing the tantrums...hitting himself, walls, furniture, toys, whatever he can find. I have already made him take a time out, he doesn't fully understand but while he is sitting there, I try and explain to him that hitting is not nice and that he just needs to calm down. Not sure if he understands what I am saying but he will. Hang in there.

Abby - posted on 03/16/2010

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Single parenting is hard but the same rules apply. Be consistent! I have been a single parent for quite a while and raised my kids unfortunately with absent dads. Anyway, at 17 months, he can learn that hitting and throwing are not appropriate and not nice. You might even give him words to express things like, "I am sorry you feel angry, but you cannot hit/throw/etc.". Just keep it simple. *Every* time, take him to a time out area or his room and firmly tell him "no". If you think that he wants something, then teach him to ask or sign for it (I think learning basic motions and signs works wonderful while they are developing language) and then praise him, hug him or provide positive attention when he does. If you have been inconsistent in the past then it will take some time, but he'll catch on.

Sheryl - posted on 03/04/2010

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the other girls sound just about right. is his dad in the pic. at all? if you don't mind me asking. cause even at that age i think kids realize lil things like that. my son does it sometime to cause he wants me. so i till him to say mommy play. if that what he wants! keep you head up! sound like you are doing a good job.

Sherrilynn - posted on 03/01/2010

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When it comes to my 2 1/2 year old throwing a tantrum I make him go to his room. If he wants to throw a tantrum he has to do it in his room. And everytime that he would hit, I would make him say he is sorry, let him know that it isn't nice and give whoever he hit a hug. He still occassionally throws a tantrum, but the ending has stopped.

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I can't give first-hand experience advice on this as my son is only 3 month old but all children go through the stage of tantrums etc. Make sure you tell him it's not ok to hit anyone. You could try using the naughty step technique seen on Supernanny or try a reward scheme. If he's good all day, or say half a day as he is only 17 months old he gets a star and for every so many stars he earns a new toy or soemthing he likes. I can;t imagine how hard it is being a single mam but I'm sure you're doing a great job! Completely random question but was he exposed to violence between you and his dad? Also does he have any male role models - a granda perhaps? Fair enough he can't be there all the time but he could try explaining that it's not right to hit mammy, he may listen more to a male. Does he go to daycare - is there a chance there could be a problem ging on their perhaps?

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