Melissa - posted on 08/24/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )
My daughter who is 18 months old is already throwing these major tantrums. I was feeling so helpless and actually considering possibly a spanking. That's when I went to speak at a behavioral specialist at her daycare that offered me her email when I needed any input.
She did discuss with me a really simple but useful method around understanding the difference between a tantrum.
There are two kinds of tantrums
1- The Frustration tantrum (for example, daughter is trying to put on her own shoes and she can't get it, eventually she gets so angry and upset and starts throwing a fit) this is a sign that she really needs help and my help and attention can avoid this.
2- The Manipulation Tantrum (example, you say no to your daughter and she FLIPS out and throws a fit in public or at home) this is when you sit down, or stand looking at her, tell her firmly but calmly "Ok than, go ahead, let me know when you are done" and do NOT even flinch, do not attempt to get upset with her, or accommodate her or even say "Stop please!" as this is drawing to her the attention she is seeking. She is only trying to get her way.
Once you figure out what tantrum she is throwing, its best to respond to it depending on what tantrum she is throwing.
To be honest, I also had to do a quiet check in with my own parenting style. I have very low patience, I am a single mother, full time student and when for example, I spend a good amount of time on a meal, cooking and thinking she will like it (since she loved it last week) and than finally have a break for us to eat dinner and she THROWS It all over the floor as I repeat "STOP" with my sign language and my voice --- This frustrates me to no end!! The old me would start cleaning it up and with each throw of food on the floor the heat and anger in me would rise, not realizing just how very much she is feeling it, it would feed into her meltdown thereafter.
Now, I recognize when something similar to that, which upsets me so much happens, the best thing for me to do is either walk into the next room and breath....................... calm calm calm down before I even bother cleaning up her mess. -- than model behavior I want. Ask her to help me clean up the mess by showing her where it goes - back on high chair. -- Even if I am going to now throw it out, its good to show her that it was supposed to be on plate, NOT FLOOR.
I can pull her out of high chair, sit her down in our QUIET TIME (time out) spot, and both sit there and I tell her "Mommy is very upset, I need to take a break, you need to take a break with me" and we both sit there, I count to 10 and show her BIG BREATHS in and out, exaggerated breaths and ask her to breath with me --- even if its like a game to her, it helps her suck in her breath and get the oxygen that melt down took away.
These are just small examples of things I worked on by the advice and input of this specialist.
It has helped.
On another note' when they throw a tantrum - it helps me to remember that.... it takes 18 years for a brain to fully form -- if my daughter is only 18 months old, that helps remind me who is the adult here - and puts things into perspective!
My daughter bites, hits, yells, screams, throws her body back, at times bangs her head, bangs my head -- in the worse tantrum.
She is an angel when she isn't throwing a tantrum, loves to smile and dance and laugh.
I get the frustration - that's why I am passing on the input I was given, as it has HELPED!!! I am so much more MINDFUL OF MY OWN RESPONSE!!