Does anyone have any advice for handling severe temper tantrums?

Lauren - posted on 01/24/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My son is 3.5 and sometimes he takes these horrific tantrums if he can't get his way (usually when he has been playing and needs to stop). I have heard to ignore them but that doesn't seem to work and if I address it we end up screaming over each other and he shuts me out and doesn't hear a word. I have noticed as he gets older they are getting to be less frequent, but they are still pretty bad when they do happen. It is really frustrating.

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Leisel - posted on 01/24/2009

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I have a 2 and a bit old tantrummer (my eldest boy did not throw tantrums) I use all of the above, for bad bahaviour he gets a warning followed by time out if he repeats the behaviour, toys get timed out if they are being used violently(usually to assault his brother), and if he is playing and needs to stop I give a five minute warning with a two and one minute reminder and then we say "goodbye" to the toy or activity.



I have recently started to use a nice ticking and ringing timer for time out and this has really made time out more effective as he just used to stand and scream now he stands and watches the timer (he must not be able to reach it tho.) The time guide is a minute for year of age.



Goodluck.

Peggy - posted on 01/24/2009

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My son has raging tantrums too.  For my son, I stay close to him when he tantrums.  Putting him in his room makes things much worse.  So when he starts a tantrum, I stay calm and start talking to him in my regular voice and then I slowly start talking quieter and quieter.  I don't touch him but I try to say empathetic things to him.  He seem to mirror my calm behavior and his tantrum ends much quicker.  I offer him a hug once he calms down.  the school social worker once said to me that some children just aren't able to calm down without an adult there to help them.  I hope this helps.

Cassie - posted on 01/24/2009

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I always count with my kids.  Depending on how long I think they need to pull it together usually 3 long seconds.  I tell them, " I am going to count to 3 if you are not quiet, you can go stand in the corner and finish your fit."  I don't ever not follow through.  I think follow through is the most important part. 

Valerie - posted on 01/24/2009

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We have temper problems here. Try the book/DVD Magic 1-2-3 (or is it 1-2-3 Magic?), it works for our daughter. I find giving her toys a "timeout" work well too - I put them on top of the fridge for the three minutes. Also I find she likes to be very independent and do everything herself so i try to let her do that as much as possible.

Asha - posted on 01/24/2009

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My little boy Dylan is nearly 3 and a half years old and i found talking to him calmly (as hard as you all know that can be!) and asking him very softly what the matter is. At first he is screaming so loudly that he can't hear me but perservering helps. Even if you have to leave the room to calm yourself down, it helps! I agree with Natalie B, if they still don't calm down, them having "me-time" in their room helps. I've tried the naughty step as lots of people have recommended it but my boy is too hyperactive like his father to sit there! Good luck x

Jessie - posted on 01/24/2009

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Never scream at your child,makes things worse. You don't have to speak to him. Bring him to a quiet corner for him to calm down,with no one around him. When he's there,leave him alone. After a few times,he will learn that he can't get his way by throwing tantrums. Be consistent and firm.

Lauren - posted on 01/24/2009

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Thanks everyone. I have tried the put him in his room with the childproof doorknob and he hits it until it breaks off because he hasn't figured out how to use it. I haven't tried the timer thing. I am going to see if that will work. I have tried giving him time warnings as it comes close and that seems to help sometimes. The daycare gave me that idea because that is what they do with the kids. He is very high energy too so I wonder if that contributes sometimes to the tantrum. When we are home I have trouble finidng things to do to burn the energy and he doesn't take naps anymore. Keep the ideas coming if you have them. Thanks!

Lynne - posted on 01/24/2009

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my little boy is 2.5 and when he has tantrums we sit him on the stairs, on the naughty step. this has started to work and he apologises afterwards.

Desiree - posted on 01/24/2009

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I have a son that is 4. Out of the 3 he is the worst. So when he decides to have a complete melt down I will start by asking what the problem is. If this doesn't work I try to distract his angry thoughts to something else. Example look at that awesome bird outside! If that doesn't work I take himto his room and tell him when he's done he can come down. Any one of those depending how extreme really do work. Also don't touch him it seems to add fuel to the fire.

Natalie - posted on 01/24/2009

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I have an almost 3 year old and when she throws a tantrum, we put her in her room (with a childproof doorknob cover on the doorknob on the inside of the door so she can't get out) and make her cry it out. This works like a CHARM. She even apologizes when she stops crying. Also, any time she acts up, I ask her if she wants to go to "time out" and she behaves. Hope this helps!

Lynn - posted on 01/24/2009

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It sounds like he has trouble with transitions. My son is 4 and has the same problem. Most of the time if I set a timer and tell him that when it goes off it's time to stop what he is doing, it helps him transition to whatever we need to do next. It doesn't always work but has cut his tantrums by at least 75%.

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