Violent temper tantrums

Kelsey - posted on 03/22/2016 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My daughter has severe, violent temper tantrums. She's 18 months old and this has been going on for about 4 or 5 months. Just about anything will trigger them. She is one of the sweetest little girls you will meet, but when she doesn't get her way or is tired she will have a huge fit. I've tried everything I can think of and just can't get them to stop. She bangs her head on the floor. If I don't get to her in time or walk away during the tantrum she will bang her head hard enough to the point it will start bleeding. She often gives herself bruises and scars on her forehead. It's so bad that the same spot that gets hit on never gets a chance to fully heal. She will also scratch, pinch, hit, and bite me. She's moved to biting herself and often leaves marks. I can't just walk away as she will just continue her fit and cause herself serious harm. I have to pin her down, keep tossing her back on my bed, or just wrap my arms around her and swaddle her with my body. Her fits last anywhere between 30mins and 3hrs. Any ideas for my daughter?

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Dove - posted on 03/23/2016

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As I said on the duplicate post last night... you need to demand a referral from your doctor to a child psychologist, get a second opinion from another doctor, or contact Easter Seals yourself. And now I just read your latest update... Good luck!

Yes... fits (even bad and frequent ones) are perfectly normal for this age... but the repeated serious self harm would have me constantly seeking professional assistance until it stopped.

I have a child who at almost 8 (on Sunday ♥ ) is still capable of freaking the heck out for 40 minutes over not getting his way. Thankfully those days are few and far between now, but at the ages of 3-5 it was several times a week at least... if not daily. Thankfully there was no serious self harm and the bouts of minor self harm were pretty rare, but just the fits alone were extremely concerning after a while. He was evaluated at 5.5 years old and was diagnosed w/ anxiety and depression. I was informed at that time that extreme bouts of anger in young children is one of the signs of depression (I knew about the anxiety, but the depression was a new concept for me w/ him). With her self harm I would be concerned that it 'could' be something even more.

I hope this is the start of you guys getting this figured out and getting the help she needs to learn to control herself. ♥

Sarah - posted on 03/23/2016

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First, having anyone try to reason with her is a waste of time and energy.
Head banging to the point of self injury is scary, usually starts around 18 months and end before age 4. The AAP advice is to ignore the behavior, move you child to a place where they cannot seriously harm them self. When a frustrated toddler head bangs, it releases frustration, when they do it hard enough to cause bruising or bleeding, they get a reaction (and often a big reaction from the parent) It is this reaction you need of control. Keep your feelings in check, move her to a safe place (no sharp edges etc) and let the tantrum burn out.
Try to see it for her perspective; I can't talk, I have so little control in my life, I feel so frustrated, I bang my head and it sorta helps, mom's eyes get big and she comes to me, begs me to stop, is worried about me, I get so much attention, I will keep doing this because it gets me what I want.
Most toddlers will not injure seriously due to pain. The discomfort will make her quit. I know it doesn't seem like it, but she has a natural self-preservation instinct and will stop banging before seriously hurting her head.
I agree 100% with Jodi, you need to talk to her doctor about this and make sure there is no underlying reason for the behavior.

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Dove - posted on 03/23/2016

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I'm not really sure... I do know there is a genetic component to both of those mental illnesses, but as far the likelihood of it passing down... no clue.

It will definitely be worth your time to seek advice and assistance from a mental health professional. I have no idea how that works on a toddler level either though.

And actually... anxiety and depression can both be 'passed down'... there are quite a few family members in my family history (including my mother, myself, and my son) that have both on some level or another. I do not know how it 'works' and won't pretend to, but one of the reasons I sought help for my son was because the stories my mom would tell me about me as a child were JUST like his behaviors.... ♥

Kelsey - posted on 03/23/2016

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So I'm guessing you know a bit about mental illnesses... I know I have anxiety and depression. (Doing better) but I know that can't get passed down. But her father is schizophrenic and manic bioplar (I'm sure he has more wrong with him, we aren't on speaking terms and he's not honest with me about anything, I can't ask him his health history without him starting a fight out of it) do you know of anything that he has or may have that can pass down to her?

Dove - posted on 03/23/2016

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Oh... and the reason things (other than the separation anxiety) didn't start to get too bad w/ my son until he was 3... that's when he was weaned from nursing. lol When he was still breastfed I could just nurse him out of almost every fit.

Dove - posted on 03/23/2016

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She's definitley not too young to have anxiety. I 'knew' my son had it as young as 6 months old (major separation anxiety for over 3 years). People that think a child is 'too young' to experience these things... are not really educated on the realities of life.

Some mental health struggles are situational, but some are also genetic... so they are BORN w/ it.... and it's no one's 'fault'.

You are a good mom to be looking for answers for your child and I hope you can find the ones that get you and her the help you need soon. ♥

Kelsey - posted on 03/23/2016

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I looked it up online and many articles say it could possibly be, anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, or other mental disabilities. From the beginning of them I have been stating I believe she has bad anxiety but most people tell me she is to young for it to be that. But it's what makes sense to me. My best friends sister has autism but she is very high functioning. Their mom said she doesn't think my daughter could be that. She is a very smart girl and more advanced then many kids I know around her same age. So I have mixed feeling about it all, I'm mainly confused about what's going on in that little head of hers.

Kelsey - posted on 03/23/2016

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Like I said I can't walk away from the tantrums bc she continues to head bang. She will not stop. I've walked away a couple times and bad mistake I walk away she does it ten times worse. I stopped walking away bc the last time I did l, it was so bad I was about to take her to the ER bc it busted open really bad. When it comes to the biting I do let her do that. that part just started about a week ago.

I have talked to my doctor before and she kinda just said how it could be terrible twos. Most people take it as that, and it's not until they see it for themselves to realize how serious I mean. Well a little bit ago, my judge mental jackass neighbor called cps on me accusing me of neglecting my daughter bc of the fits and loud banging noises, and the worker set me up with a community care worker to help find solutions. So far I've been meeting with someone m, but all that is a parenting class, and the prob with that is its not straight to the point. But, I actually just seen my doctor last night come into work and I told her how they are getting worse. She told me to call the nurse today so she can get me set up with a specialist and/or to do some tests.

Jodi - posted on 03/23/2016

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You need to find a safe place for her to have her temper tatrum and then walk away. How much do you truly believe she will hurt herself? Maybe that's what it will take. So she bites herself.....she knows you stop her, so why wouldn't she - she gets your attention. Let her bite herself.

However, have you spoken to your daughter's doctor about her behaviour? Some of it sounds extreme.

Kimberly - posted on 03/22/2016

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Have you tired having someone other than yourself have a talk with her during these fits?

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