Screaming and violent tantrums

Kristen - posted on 12/16/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I am at my wits end trying to deal with my little guy. He turned 2 in September. I know tantrums are supposed to not be such a surprise with 2 year olds, but he is far beyond that. The biggest issue that has me and my husband seeing red is the screaming. Not a whining/fussing at home, but everywhere we go when he doesn't get what he wants, he shrieks and screams at the top of his lungs for several minutes at least. On top of it being embarassing, its a safety issue in my opinion for him to scream bloody murder because he's not allowed to run off. To make it even better, he has gotten into this frame of mind that he can hit/kick/slap me. I have no idea where that behavior came from and he isn't in daycare or anything - strictly me and my husband up until a couple weeks ago when he went to a babysitter's for 4 hours/day and she reports him being very well behaved, no tantrums, and gets along well with her and her son.

We've been doing anything we can think of - time outs (he starts kicking me and screaming louder), getting down to his level and speaking firmly telling him that its not ok to act that way and he needs to use his words, distracting him, putting him in his room, tapping him on the mouth with the back of our hand to get his attention, ignoring it....but I am at the end of my rope. Nothing is working and I'm really concerned about this leading to behavior problems when he gets older. Help!

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Heather - posted on 12/16/2010

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oh i feel your pain...it is so frustrating and embarrassing and hard to deal with. Often kids at this age will tantrum becasue they do not have the words or wide enough vocabulary to voice what they need or if they do they feel like mom and dad don't get it. so they tantrum. Once method you may want to try is: (say he wants a cookie at the store adn you say no and he starts to spiral down, you look in his eyes and firmly and with a bit of volume start talking to him "You want that cookie. You really want that cookie. I get it i know you want that cookie. You really want that cookie and you are soooo mad that you may not have it. I know i understand. You reeeaaalllyyy want that cookie. You want that cookie soooo bad and you are really mad you cannot have it. I hear you . I know you want that cookie..." just keep going till he calms down and listens to you and understands that you get it. They when he is calm you can expalin. "it really stinks when we cannot have what we want. I want that cookie too but right now that is not a choice. It may be a choice later but if you act innapporpriately then it will not be a choice for a very long time. You do not get what you want when you yell and scream. You only have a chance of getting what yolu want when you ask nicely using your manners. even when you ask nicely you will not always get what you want but you will never get what you want when you behave like that.
This may not work perfectly the 1st time but the more you practice and the more he hears this the quicker it will work. You need to be really consistant and make sure that he NEVER gets what he wants when he behaves poorly becasue it will just reinforce the bad behaviour. Hang in there.

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