tantrums and extreme mood swings

Jenny - posted on 08/19/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Hi my daughter, born october 2007 keeps having these major tantrums both during the day, at bedtime and during the night. She has only recently started doing this and she is fine when she stays or is looked after by by parents. She will scream at anything and everything ranging from not wanting to go to sleep, to there are flies in the room she is in, refusing to eat the food she is given or just asking or doing something she knows i will say no to.
she also has extreme mood swings, one second she is screaming hysterically the next she is laughing and has no idea that she has been naughty and screaming for over an hour!

I have tried every kind of punishment, praise and even ignoring it. i dont know what to do and no two days are the same. yesterday she was screaming most of the day and today she has only had a few screaming fits and as usual the bedtime fight, which we now walk away and have to ignore. I have a 17 month old son who shares the same room and i feel sorry for him, she never used to be like this, she would take herself off to bed and was almost an angel in the day.

Any advice????
PLEASE HELP!!!!!!! XX

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Adelle - posted on 08/23/2010

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Hi Jenny. I agree with what Sheila said...keep calm and consistent. My son was also born in October 2007 and has the same mood swings you mentioned. I also tried everything. I don’t believe in hitting a child because that teaches aggression. What I found worked very well with my son, Jayden, is the 1 - 2 - 3 system. This is system works very well and it works like this: When he does something naughty or throws a tantrum, I look him in the eye and say very calmly "that's 1" and then walk away. If the behaviour continues, I say to him "that's 2". If the behaviour does not stop at 2 (and believe me in the beginning it is not going to) then you calmly say "that's 3 and you earned a time-out”. You then send her to her room or a corner (in our house it is a corner). The length depends on the age of the child....it is 1 minute for every year in age. Jayden now gets 2 minutes of time-out because he is 2 years old. Don’t get discouraged because the system takes a few tries before it works. In my house it took a week. Jayden now understands the system and most of the time stops his bad behaviour when I say "that's 1". The key is for you to keep calm and consistent. And explain to your child the system before you start implementing it. This is actually based on a book I read called "1. 2, 3 Magic". The author is Dr. Thomas Phelan. The thing I love about this system is that it gives me time to calm down as well. When Jayden comes out of time-out I also explain why I punished him, give him a hug and tell him that I love him.
Of course they take chances. The other day Jayden was misbehaving in the car while I was driving. When I finally could not take it anymore I said to him “that’s 1”….he calmly turned to me and said (very confidently and proud of himself) “there are no corners in the car”. I struggled to contain my laughter. Just remember this is a testing phase they go through and it will pass. Good luck and I wish you well. Stay sane!!

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Jenny - posted on 10/03/2010

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thanks girls for all your help and advice fingers crossed she has started to calm down and we are only getting the odd one or two tantrums now.!!!!

Melissa - posted on 10/02/2010

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just talk to her i a calm voice, let her scream it out but in her own space. ASK her if she needs some quite time to herself in a quite space, like her room. take away privligae and things she is most attaced to, and tell her that she can have them back when she wants to listen, or talk to you about what is wrong. bed time just keep trying, if she gets up juat put her right back in bed and wake away....if she gets up again just do it again and tell her "nO" it is bed time and wake away...yes it can get fustrating but just stay ontop of it and it will get easier. ,,,YOU ARE INCHARGE, NOT HER...and SHE needs to understand that.............hope this help!!!

Jenny - posted on 09/04/2010

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thanks everyone, thankfully she seems to have calmed down by us ignoring it and not rewarding the bad but the good behaviour. thanks for all the advice and help its been very helpfully. hope your little ones get better too!!!

Ceri - posted on 09/02/2010

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we are going through this too. I try and give him a choice. You can ____ or you can throw your tantrum in time out. Make a choice. Some times he chooses time out. We do a notty spot. I circle of carpet from ikea. We have done time out since he was 1 ish. Some of it you just have to ignore. They are learning that they have choice and "control" over their emotions. I have not read either of the books but have heard great things about them both. My son is also is in speech therapy. His teacher says less info talk when giving them choices. She says they do not understand if you do this, then you get this yet. She says first _____ then _____. She also says not to say I like your choice. It doesn't matter if you like it or not or dislike it. Just say thank you, or good choice.

Sheila - posted on 08/27/2010

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Like Adelle's counting strategy. I usually count backwards but does give them a framework to work within. Yesterday we couldn't get Zoe out of a massive puddle. We let her play in it but then we counted down to tell her we were going to take her out then. She kicked off but not for long because she expected something to happen then rather than it being a complete surprise. Stay consistent. They get used to the pattern. Sx

Sarah - posted on 08/24/2010

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Look up Love and Logic early childhood magic bood by foster and Cline. My son was having tantrums so bad he busted his face open on a doorknob on one famous event before I started L&L and it is SOOOO much better he hasn't had a tantrum over 5 minutes in MONTHS! And he hasn't gotten seriously hurt since just a lil head banging.

Sheila - posted on 08/22/2010

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... also I am a musician and we have various percussion instruments in the house. Zoe is always free to have a good old bang at a drum if she wants or her glockenspiel. Good outlet. Sx

Sheila - posted on 08/22/2010

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Stay calm and consistent. Don't make a fuss when she goes into one. Lots of hugs. "Does that feel better now?". Talk about her feelings and emotions. We play 'nice or nasty' with Zoe where we say something and she says whether it's nice or nasty with no reprisals. Thankfully nearly everything is nice for Zoe but it might help your little one express her feelings.
Keep up the good work. You're not on your own and it won't last for ever. Sx

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