My little girl throws HORRIBLE fits!

Kristina - posted on 07/14/2009 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I have a 5 yo step-daughter, who is VERY strong willed and if she doesn't get what she wants, she'll start pouting. When you ask what's wrong, she'll mumble then get really upset and start crying and screaming. The other day she started one in the car with my boyfriend (her dad). Since he had to go to work, he pulled her out of the car to stay home with me. She kicked and hit at him, then made her body extremely rigid - all the time screaming at him. He spanked her, which makes me uneasy (I don't think it helps when she's in such a rage), then I brought her upstairs and put her in her bedroom. I told her when she calmed down she could come out and shut the door. She screamed at me to open her door (seriously demanding it), for 40 minutes!!! When she calmed down, I went in and talked to her and gave her hugs and all of that, but it scares me to have her be so demanding and to act like that when she doesn't get her way. (btw, the fit that day was because she didn't get to wear the shirt she wanted to wear)



How can I prevent these, and is it okay to just leave her alone like that for so long? I worry that when she starts kindergarten next month that this will cause issues in school, too.

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Dana - posted on 07/15/2009

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This may cause an uproar, but I am going to say this anyways. When did we become so passive-aggressive in our parenting? I can tell you that my son knows better than to whine or throw a tantrum. I did what my parents did to me. I have taught him that he needs to respect me as his mom and as an adult. I never beat him, I never did time out. I spanked if necessary, I took things away, I actually left fun places during tantrums to teach him that that behavior is completely unacceptable. It took a little time, but he is a little joy at 7. You need to remember that you are the adult. Talking to a 5 yr old about why she does this is going to get you nowhere. She is too young to not verbalize her feelings, but to understand them as well. If Alex had acted like that I would have sent him to his room with no toys, no tv, no snack, no nothing until he calmed down and could act like a human being and not a little monster. No ifs, ands, or buts. You are the boss in your house, not a 5 yr old.

Sandi - posted on 08/06/2009

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My daughter used to have seizures too and her behavior was worse when she use to have them. We found that a special chiropractic technique sometimes helps with seizures as well as acupuncture so we starting taking her for those both once a week for 3 months and the seizures left and haven't come back. It may not work for all epilepsy but I firmly believe it helped my daughter. I had difficulty in delivering her and they finally had to take her c-section and I think that may be what put her neck out so bad. Here is the type of chiropractic modality we used http://uppercervical.org

Carrie - posted on 07/18/2009

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my 5 year old had the worst fits, now i've been though this i look at it completely different. if it happened now or with my next child,as long as they are not going to harm themselves or others i'd ignor and walk away, give no eye contact at all. i've been on about 5 courses to control bad behaviour as my sons was really bad due to his epilepy and meds he's on. the best technique i learnt was to ignor, it works to this day, the programme i actually follow is called strengthening families strengthening communities, it is actually an american programme even though i'm english. the process of disapline is this

- modeling

- clear instructions

- attention

- praise

- ignoring/praise

- first and then - to get attention

- confrontation

- logical consequences

- first ans then - before anything else

- family rule discussion

- time out

- incentives - contracts

- smacking

i follow all of this and i've don't even get as far as smacking, since i do this the smacking has stopped completely and in the past month or two i've used time out a few times, it really does work.

it teaches you the development and thinking stages of children so you can work out how your child understands you.

ANA - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hi Kristina,

I know this problem to well thank God not form my kids but have dealt with it many times with family members and a never fail cure that allways worked is as followes. Firstly I have to tell you all children want is security love and to know they are important fizzi fits or tamtrums are a call for you to notice they don;t feel safe or secure or are frightened of change. Never give energy to an act that is not acceptable I guess what I am saying is act as if the kikking and screeming is not happening they want attention and that is what her way of getting it so don't feed their tantrum she does not care if the attention is good or bad as long as she gets it. Punishment is not what helps as she will feel isolated which is part of the reason for her tantrum no matter wheather this is true or not this is what she feels. REDIRECT their attention to something else it takes a few tries but allways works this is a healthy way of giving her attention. The long term things you can so is have time alone with hwer bouth you and your partner this is very important in her finding out how she fit in your worlds and getting healthy doses of attention with each one as well as toghether by creating a wish day were the three of you or with additional children if you have them all get to do something you each want sharing a special day toghether. Make sure daddy nor you pass her to the other when she is been difficult she is asking for attention from that perent at that time. Children communicate what is bothering them while playing so play with her and while she is contenet bring up suttle cues to find out what she like and what she does not likeThis is golden time it will empower you both in so many ways to a better relationship with wer and eachother. I am not saying that she should be rewarded all the time it will take time but you have to let her know this behaiviour is not acceptable in a loving way and with time and the other suggetions in place the problem will fade away. Talk to her at her own eye level softly and lovingly.lol I know at this times that is the last thing you feel like doing. Trust me it will work with consistancy this is very important.She just wants to fit in to the picture and does not know how. Create little special things that are just daddy and hers and yours and hers alone nicknames special secrets story times cooking time daddy time and her wish time. But let her know that time out is there if she is not coopereating. Also have a dinner table routine were you each share a good thing of the day and a not so great thing of the day once againg priceless feedback time. I have so many suggetions which have worked for me and many othersI could go on and on. I guess the best advice I can give you is routine unconditional love and consistancy are really important. Don't forget to have fun with it and to make sure you and your partner also take time for yourselves alone to re energise your relationship and comunicate. Be creative in your days and have fun with it it will pass. Best of luck.xo

Jenny - posted on 07/15/2009

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I feel for you. My daughter when she was a little younger than that went through a very long stage. I tried everything I could think of, including talking to the dr. who pretty much said good luck. It was horrible and really wearing on me, since I was always the one with her. (Stay at home mom). It got to where she was having 3 or more a day-and yes, they lasted sometimes an hour. It was horrible. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying. It scared me to see my beautiful little angel in such a rage. Sometimes she would even throw up. If I put her in her room, it would get worse. She even punched me in the face once. I researched on the internet, but pretty much on my own came up with that she was not herself when she was in her rage. She kind of went crazy for awhile. I started talking to her about it at times when she wasn't upset (not right after), and ways she could calm herself when she was getting really upset. We worked on counting, and walking away, thinking about happy things, etc. It took some time, but after a month or so, things got so much better. She is nine now, and once in a great while will fly off the handle, but we still try to remind her that she is getting too upset and ask her to walk away and calm down. Good luck. My heart goes out to you.

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--- - posted on 08/06/2009

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for issues like a shirt limit her choices. offer 2 choices and she is to pick one. most children will be happy with that. if she is getting moody leave her alone and do not give in or pay attention. just make sure she is in an area where she cant hurt herself or others. when she clams down and comes to her senses (after realizing her fit is not working) she will do as you asked, if a shirt she will choose one of the 2. at this age it is all about control. she feels she is a big kid and wants to be able to do what big kids do or make choices on her own. I wouldnt worry about her doing that at school. kids typicaly do that around their parent because they feel comfortable around them . a teacher is strange so she is most likely to comply.

Sandi - posted on 08/06/2009

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Hi Kristina,

I know how you feel. My daughter used to get very physical like that too. It is heart wrenching to experience that as a mother and makes you feel like, what am I doing wrong? Comments from others like, "why don't you control your child?" don't help either. I realized that giving her some supplements helped and she is much better now. She probably has trouble focusing right? Not stupid just has trouble focusing. The brain needs fat, good fat to function properly. I cut out hydrogenated fats and replaced with better fats like olive oil and coconut oil. But supplementing with a good omega supplement is key the 3, 6, 9. There is also a supplement called gaba that works great for calming the brain. Magnesium is very important to supplement with as well. I know it is difficult because they want the candy and junk food but try to keep her away from processed foods and white sugar as much as possible. Good natural subsitutes are stevia, xylitol, pure maple sugar, raw honey and even c and h pure cane sugar. As a matter of fact my daughter LOVED stevia, I really don't like it, but she would get the dropper and sneak into it and take a whole dropperful straight. Yuk!!! But she loved it.!!! There is a good cherry energy drink without all the caffeine that has many of these ingredients in it I would recommend that may make it easier for you to get some of these nutrients to her. My heart goes out to you, you sound like a very concerned good mom.

Tina - posted on 07/18/2009

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My two year old has started to show some independence and the tantrums started to get worse. My baby sitter, who is the best in the world, told me that redirecting them to something else usually does the trick. So I tried it. When she starts screaming because she wants to do something, I redirect her to something that may be more interesting. For example, if she wants to go outside and I say no, when she throws a tantrum, I redirect her by saying, nicely, I need help in the kitchen because I can't get a pan out of the cabinet. It works every time. Clothing is something that little girls take pride in (stinks at an early age) but why not let her choose what she wants to wear and if people look at her funny, just smile and tell them she picked it and how great it looks. It's not gonna kill anyone to let her dress the way she wants, unless it's cold outside and she want to wear shorts and no shoes. You can explain to her that your going somewhere special and she needs to wear a special outfit to go there. I love telling my daughters when we go somewhere that they will be the prettiest princess at the party if they wear what I want them to wear. Hope that helps.

Sally - posted on 07/18/2009

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I don't think there is any reason not to give your child choices. There are certain things we allow our daughter to choose. Clothes being one of them. Granted our daughter is only 3 but she is a very determined and strong willed little girl. I joke that she is 3 going on 15. But back to giving her choices of clothing there was a day where I was getting ready to do some shopping and she was still in her jammies. She was bet bound and determined she was going to wear her chicken costume. Its like my mother says "choose your battles". I was not going to war over a chicken costume. So away we went to the grocers her dressed in orange fleece pants with chicken feet a fluffy long sleeved jacket with a hood (beak, eyes, and red thing on the top of the head). Some people just looked on in horror and some (mostly mothers with young children) smiled with a knowing smile. As for other things in her life we do allow her to make choices but almost always its between what kind of vegetable she would like to have for dinner or what puzzle would you like to do. I find with our daughter if she doesn't feel involved with what is going on that is when we have problems.
Not that we don't have our days. Trust me when I say we certainly have our days (often) where temper tantrums are an event. In those cases I will just take her to her room so she is able to have time to her self. I find it works well as she soon finds something to distract her. When she has calmed down she usually comes to me or I will go up to her and we have a "discussion".
I never went through any of this with my first. He was and still is a wonderful child. I just hope he continues to be this way as he enters his teens. He is now just shy of 11 yrs of age.

Leslie - posted on 07/18/2009

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go to a DAN or holistic (whole-body) doctor and get an IgG ELISA food sensitivity test. food causes (or contributes to) all sorts of behavioral and psychological disorders, including autism, adhd, sensory integration, and OCD/ODD. search the web for a DAN doctor - they are trained in behavioral issues and their biomedical causes and will be able to help! you do what they say and you will see a complete change.



in the mean time, eliminate petroleum dyes (FD&C reds, yellows, oacid orange, etc) and drastically reduce sugar/frustose. if you waiting for your DAN apptmt and want some good reading, go to the bookstore and buy "the Autism and ADHD cookbook" and start eliminating gluten, casein (dairy) and soy. good luck!

Robin - posted on 07/18/2009

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My doctor always told me to ignore tantrums, put them in a safe place, and let them go until they drop as long as they are not hurting their self. The tantrums are meant for others, to get their way, so when you stop paying attention they will eventually stop or wear down. Then when the tantrum is through you give them the punishment, I always took something away from them.
I also am big on the choosing your battles, I would not give in once a fit had started, but sometimes giving two or three choices when appropriate can stop the battles and help them feel good about doing something for them self.

Phyllis - posted on 07/18/2009

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Boy, there is a lot of really good comments here! Both Ericas, Becky, Dionne all have great comments. I have used a really great book Raising Awesome Kids in Troubled Times by Sam and Geri Laing (you can find it on Alibris book sellers for about $2.00). They raised 4 kids! Lots of differences there. Choose your battles wisely. This is the age when they want to do things themselves. Let her choose what clothes she wants to wear since it is an easy "battle" to let her have and she will feel that she has control. There are some areas the child has control and others where they do not. Her clothes can be one of those places. As for tantrums in general, the behavior is a form of disobedience, and parents cannot give in under any circumstances. Stand the ground. Isolating her was a good choice because her behavior was not acceptable. No bribes, no giving in, no anything. Tantrums are a NO. You not going into her room, even if it took 40 minutes, was a win! She decided how long she was going to take. As long as she is safe, it is ok. If you lose this battle, write the Laings, "she will become insecure, spoiled and a brat." Try to imagine this behavior in 10 years? Tell her to use her words. You can hear her easier if she uses words. As for spanking, that is something that should be done in a proper setting and letting the child know exactly what the punishment is for and never in public. It is not a pop action; it is to be done with the right time and explanations. Hitting adults is an unpardonable offense. Under no circumstances should that be allowed. I agree with a lot of the writers here: you are the adult, so be loving and firm. Be sure she knows you love her and that is your motivation. Someone once used the phrase, "I love you too much to let you behave like that."

Kim - posted on 07/16/2009

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A great book I just read is Easy to Love, Difficult do Discipline by Becky Bailey. It hits a lot of the topics covered above -- be assertive instead of passive or aggressive. And after you assertively tell your child what to do, give her two choices in how to do it. Like "it's time to pick up. Do you want to pick up the blocks or the balls first?" This was worked great with my daughter. It also covers what to do during tantrums, etc. And it makes a point of using "consequences" instead of "punishments" when your child doesn't make the right choice. Great book.

Mary - posted on 07/15/2009

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Love and Logic is good for the average, "normal" kid (whatever that means) and is a great starting place. There are many good parenting books out there. Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child (by MacKenzie) is another good one. However, once the basics are taken care of (consistency, unity between parents, nonemotional boundaries), there are still some kids who will challenge, resist and have struggles....the parents of these kids know who they are...nobody else seems to "get it". I have a child that has taught us a lot about parenting and about ourselves and "Parenting 101" (i.e., the basics) isn't enough. The best book I have found in that situation is "The Explosive Child" (by Ross Greene). He gets it. Take care of the basics and then if it's not enough, read The Explosive Child and see if that fits. Thinking of you. Mary

Jenny - posted on 07/15/2009

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I just read other posts. I can honestly tell you that we left fun places at the beginning of a tantrum, but it just accelerated the tantrum with my daughter. The ONLY thing that worked for us was to work on stopping it from going too far-calming her before it got too far. I do not mean I gave in to her. I did not. But I let her know she was starting to get too upset and we would start to try to calm her together. Every kid is different, and maybe the others never experienced a true tantrum. My other younger daughter never did this. It is really hard. My 3 year old punched me in the face once and tried to run down the street after her daddy when he had to go back to work after lunch. Once she got to the tantrum stage, there was no stopping her until she wore herself out. Punishment did NOT work. I sometimes held her down she she could not her me or herself.

[deleted account]

Ok so I have worked as the receptionist in a mental health office and I have had several talks with specialists in regards to children's tantrums. Believe me I feel your pain. I have a three year old daughter and a two year old son. You would think it would be my daughter giving me fits but it is actually my son. Yeas people say he is in the terrible two's but even his Pediatrician says " Momma you have got your hands full." Yes I do. I do believe in spanking when the situations call for it and I can honestly tell you that with time out it doesn't always work.



A screaming tantrum for 40 minutes should not happen. Depending upon how long you and your boyfriend have been together the little girl could be having a hard time adjusting and finds ways to get the attention she feels she needs good or bad. Every child is different and so comes the complications with teaching them.



Honestly have you ever tried talking to her and asking her why she gets so angry? She may be young but she still has feelings. Teach her to express her feelings in a better way and praise her when she does and ignore when she doesn't. This works and helps her learn control. If she doens't get to see her dad much and spend some quality time with him then you may want to help her set something up where it is just the two of them. Every little girl needs her daddy.



Make the punishment fit the crime. This being said remember she is only five. Reward her and let her know that you care by showing her when she comes and talks to you about what she wants instead of throwing a fit. She will learn that the real reward is the praise and good attention. It will help build her self esteme and it will help calm things down at home. These are thigs that I have been working on and that I have to remind myself with my kids and they have made a big improvement.

[deleted account]

Personally, I curtailed tantrums by ignoring them unless it became physical, then I put my daughter in her room until she calmed down, and there were always repercussions (like not getting to play with a friend that day). Hitting never solves anything, except to teach the child to hit, and you might want to point that out to her father.

Our pediatrician, who specializes in children with behavioural issues, said that ignoring tantrums, rudeness, backtalk, etc. is the key to overcoming them. It takes the power from them, you stop giving the children the attention they crave, and they start looking for better, more positive ways of getting attention. It's really hard at first, but it does work like a charm.

And I must say, I think that you're an amazing girlfriend, and this little girl is very lucky to have you in her life.

Leanne - posted on 07/15/2009

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First a spanking, if one is to be given should be given in a controlled setting-not while angry-it does nothing. Plus, it needs to be followed with a hug and explanation. I don't see any problem with leaving her in her room to throw a fit. As long as once she cools down you are there for her to talk. They will eventually get shorter when she realizes it won't get her anywhere. Obviously her life is in some sort of turmoil. You called her your step daughter but called him your boyfriend. This little girls life may be a little unstable and she needs to have control over something. Continue to be patient and loving.

Becki - posted on 07/15/2009

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Quoting Dana:

This may cause an uproar, but I am going to say this anyways. When did we become so passive-aggressive in our parenting? I can tell you that my son knows better than to whine or throw a tantrum. I did what my parents did to me. I have taught him that he needs to respect me as his mom and as an adult. I never beat him, I never did time out. I spanked if necessary, I took things away, I actually left fun places during tantrums to teach him that that behavior is completely unacceptable. It took a little time, but he is a little joy at 7. You need to remember that you are the adult. Talking to a 5 yr old about why she does this is going to get you nowhere. She is too young to not verbalize her feelings, but to understand them as well. If Alex had acted like that I would have sent him to his room with no toys, no tv, no snack, no nothing until he calmed down and could act like a human being and not a little monster. No ifs, ands, or buts. You are the boss in your house, not a 5 yr old.



I agree with you 100%!!!!! this is the same way i have parented and i have rarely had any problems in the "tantrum" area. i do have to agree with some of the others mothers who suggested giving their child choices. this really does help the child feel like they have a little control, it helps allot!!

Dionne - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hello moms, I am from the old school of raising children. My children are 21 and 15 and they are spoiled to a certain extent. However, I believe that children should stay in their place. For example, if you say it's to hot to wear that outfit today, and you can't where that, that should be the final say. I don't agree with letting children run the house hold and if you keep allow her throw tantrums she will continue to do. As a step mom you have to be firm as well, I think time out may work sometimes but may be you have to try taking something away. The problem is if everyone is not on the same page raising the children that has to go back and forth from mommy and daddy she will continue to throw the tantrums. I am not sure that I would leave her alone for 40 minutes, afraid that she may harm herself. I think that you, mom, and dad needs to have a conversation on how to handle this situation. It starts with not being able to wear what she wants to where and then it will get worse as time goes by if she see that throwing a tantrum will work. Love and Logic is always a good way to go.

Lisa - posted on 07/15/2009

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Hi, I am sorry that you are having so much pressure and difficulty with this child.

I bacame a step-mom and had the same issues. It was horrible. Screaming and tantrums to get her way. She wa 10 years old. This child at 5 has learned this behavior and is in need of therapy if it continues. Her FATHER and MOTHER need to get on board because this behave will ruin her socially and hurt all the people that are forced to deal with her.If a good family plan does not work, get her Help, she is acting out and needs to learn that she is not in control. Children need loving and structure to choose the the behaviors that will make them successful.

[deleted account]

offering them choice may help you out with this. Often at that age kids are experimenting with their independence so by offering them choice you are giving them the "power". Maybe starting with picking out the bottoms for her then giving her two shirts to choose from, also doing the same thing with crafts / crayon colours / books. You can offer them choice with anything, hopefully this eliminates some of the tantrums.

Fonda - posted on 07/14/2009

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Love and Logic has been the most incredible tool for my husband and I. You should give it a try. Google it.

Rickii - posted on 07/14/2009

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It sounds like you have a strong willed dependent little girl! That can be a good thing as long as she knows that she is still only 5. Choices for little girls such as yours are important but limit them. If this seems to be a daily occurance where she tantrums because she doesn't get what she wants then let her start choosing stuff but I would give her two choices only... "You can have this or this" if she doesn't take either, then she doesn't get to choose. Time outs work wonders if they are used properly. I highly recommend the 123 Magic book (you can purchase at any book store) and if used properly, this technique is simple and it works! Basically, you give her the choices. If she picks one great! If not and you see she is starting to act up, you tell her, "that's one" if at all during the tantrum she hits, that is automatically three as you don't want to encourage physical aggression so once she gets to three, you put her in a time out, and you do not talk to her. When she is calm, set a timer (the stove works best as she will be able to hear it when it beeps) for 5 minutes max. If she is not calm, you continue to put her in the spot (if she is trying to get out of it) without talking to her and you do not start the timer until she is ready (calm). Once she appears calm, set the timer and for the first time, you can say, "now that you are calm, I am starting your time" but if this works her up, don't say anything next time. When she has completed taking her timeout, explain to her her choices again, ask her if she wants to pick or if you should pick for her and let her know that her behaviour was not ok. Always pin point the "behaviour" as a bad choice, not her as a bad girl. Hope this helps! My own daughter is adopted by us and she came to us from a very unstable background and was very volatile and stubborn but using these techniques consistently, works wonders. It is important to get your boyfriend on board with you if you are going to use this as she will try to play one against the other if only one is using it. Good luck!

Amber - posted on 07/14/2009

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My 5 yr old does the same thing. It's always over miniscule things, such as wanting the pink pencil instead of the blue one or not getting a piece of candy before supper. Her tantrums are similar, lots of screaming, kicking, saying she hates me, and such. I have yet to find anything to stop them, other than they don't last as long if I walk off and leave her to herself. I have whipped her, tried time out, attempted to stand her in a corner, taken toys and priveleges, nothing works. I don't think anything is wrong with leaving her alone as long as u know she is safe. I wouldn't give in to her, because that makes it worse...if she learns by throwing her fit she will get what she wants then she will do it constantly. My 7 yr old did go through a bit of this, but not to the same extreme when she was 5. My only advice is not to give in, make sure she is safe, and leave her alone. Love on her after the fit is over and she has calmed down and explain y she couldn't do or have, whatever the fit was abt. My daughters fits ar getting fewer the last few weeks, she has gone to more pouting now:) I believe a lot of it is personality and age:) Good luck, sorry I couldn't be of more help

Erika - posted on 07/14/2009

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I have actually had that happen to me believe it or not and in my situation i was actually the nanny! The idea of kids wearing what they choose is ideal allthough not always ending on a happy note. I would pick out 2 different outfits and she gets to choose one of them. When she is in a rage speaking from expirence I held her until she was calm. I wrapped my legs around hers and held her arms tightly beside her so that she couldn't hurt herself or you and just waited. Don't raise your voice take a deep breath and say "when your calm we will talk about this"!!

Erika - posted on 07/14/2009

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Well keep in mind that your boyfriend needs to be the disciplinarian, not you, and you need to tell him as much. It is difficult to have a blended family...she is probably testing you and her Dad...never know the Mom influence or what is happening at home...first I would suggest (if you don't already have) a good relationship with the Mom. This helps the child understand that you all are on the same "team" and will give her a sense of stability which she may not be feeling right now and thus the temper tantrums. Kids don't know how to express their feelings at this age and if this is a new relationship for her or even if there is "problems" between the adult parties she knows about it and is expressing her feelings in the only way she knows how. Going through it right now with my 7 year old son...he seemed to really calm down when me and the "stepmom" became friendly and he could see that we genuinely liked each other and our focus was teamwork! Don't know your situation, but I know this helps! Good Luck!

Angelica - posted on 07/14/2009

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I feel your pain too. My daughter will wine...wine... when she is asked to do anything she doesn't want to do. Every morning she wines to wake up..drives me crazy! Like your daughter my daughter pitches a fit when told no or when i make choices for her. I feel she is only 5 years old she can't decide on everything for herself..right? I leave my daughter in her room too with the door shut for up to an hour sometimes she falls asleep from crying so much. After all the drama is gone I go in her room and tell her I love her and give her a big hug. What can I do?

Tamara - posted on 07/14/2009

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Well, you've got the right idea by trying to pinpoint the causes of the fits. As far as clothes go, I'd just let her wear what she wants as long as its not weather inappropriate. I find that giving my child choices between 2 or 3 items helps reduce tantrums quite a bit. When she mumbles, I'd ask her to kindly speak up because I can't help you if you mumble. I wouldn't leave her alone for long. If you can, stay with her during her tantrums, show her that you're there for her even when she's upset.



HTH

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