How do I stop my 7 month old baby from throwing temper tantrums?

Jenni - posted on 11/24/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My seven month old baby will hit and kick and scratch and pinch and scream if he doesn't get what he wants. Every time I leave him it gets worse and he won't calm down until he is in my arms again. Please help!

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Nicole - posted on 11/24/2010

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I also need to respectfully disagree with the idea of a naughty chair for a 7 month old. 7 months old is, in my opinion, a baby and babies cry because they need something; food, comfort, a clean diaper or a nap. A child learns to trust their caregiver when their needs are met. There is a time and place for letting them cry it out, but not for punishment.

Karli - posted on 12/14/2010

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Hi Jenni, I know this is a little late but I had a little guy just like that. He's 3 now and I have finally found what I need to understand and cope with it. I picked up a book called raising your spirited child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I have to tell you it is enlightening. It sounds to me like you have a "spirited" infant. I could be wrong but I wish I had heard of this term before my son was 3. You can also start with emotional coaching, even babies can learn it and over a couple of years they can tell you how and what they are feeling instead of acting it out. Look online for spirited babies and see what comes up. If your baby fits the description time outs and other forms of discipline don't really work. I love the energy and intensity that my son has and I am working hard to help him understand what he feels and how to control it by teaching him others ways to channel it. I think ignoring babies and young kids teaches them that they are not important and what they have to say and what they feel are only important to themselves. Your babies and kids need to know that you are listening and that you will help them understand what emotions are and why we feel them.

Lisa - posted on 11/24/2010

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I think it is more he is telling u he needs something rather than a tantrum.

Anna - posted on 12/11/2010

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Hate to say it, but you can't really prevent that behavior. It's perfectly natural for babies and toddlers to have tantrums, and in fact it's healthy for them; it's how they release tension and frustration, since they're too young to adequately express themselves or deal with their emotions. You CAN, however, modify the behavior. The key here is consistency. If you are inconsistent and give in to your son's behavior, that will be far more reinforcing than anything else you do. For a baby your son's age, I would do small time outs. If his behavior starts, put him down or in his crib and walk away. He will probably throw a fit, and let him do it. Don't pay any attention to him at all. After a moment or two, return to him and remind him that you love him. If the behavior continues, repeat the time out.

Don't expect him to remember this right away. Your baby has the short term memory of a fly, so it will take a lot of repetition, but he will eventually learn that acting out doesn't reap any rewards or attention. Also, remember to praise the good behavior a lot. Positive reinforcement works wonders.

Jackie - posted on 12/08/2010

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Babies that young do not understand cause and effect. I also have to disagree with times outs, CIO and thing like that. What I would do is exercises every day. Leave him the first day for 5 mins and come back to reassure that you will be back. The next, leave for 8-10 mins then come back and give him snuggles and reassurance. Keep doing that until you've reached 1 hour. This may help. Good Luck

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Karli - posted on 12/15/2010

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Hi Jenni, I'm glad that you have found a few answers. I wish I knew about all of this when my Callum was that young, and welcome to the world of a spirited child. You may feel the book is for slightly older kids but you will know how to manage all the little steps along the way. Callum has started to predict and sense some of his emotions before it gets to the point of volcanic eruption...lol..Can I also recommend emotion coaching books by Dr. John Gottman. There are a few raising an emotional intelligent child books but these are very good and they taught me how to help Callum understand and express what he feels using his words. I see lots of advice here to walk away and leave him screaming but our wonderfully spirited beautiful little ones will not let you do that!!!! Keep me posted on how things are going and I hope it all helps.



Karli

Cristal - posted on 12/15/2010

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Walk away and let him throw his tantrum no matter how mad he gets. He is ok once he gets your attention and you are holding him. Once he sees your not going to pay him any mond he will quit.

Lisa - posted on 12/15/2010

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hes doing it for attention hun, honestly ur giving in and letting the kicking and scratching be acceptable because ur letting him back om you to calm down, he knows he only has to push u so far!!! and us as parents feel guilty cos they are still babies, instead of walking off, stay in the same room (so he doesnt think your going to leave wen hes naughty) but ignor him if he kiks or scratches you turn them around so ther are not facing you and sit them down with a firm no, trust me im going through exactly the same with my 1 year old i found leaving the room makes him feel insecure and screams worse just ignor him and turn him around, then hes not getting the attention he wants and will get bored of this tactic but i cant promis he wont learn another 1!!! hahaha good luck :)

Jenni - posted on 12/15/2010

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Thank you so much Karli! Since I read your post I have done some research online and everything I have found about spirited babies defines my Kendall to a T. It really helps to know that it's not something we are doing wrong and that we can't do anything to change it. I am going to pick up that book you recommended! Hopefully it will give my husband and I some better insight on how to deal with our situation to the best advantage for us and our sweet little man!

Jenni - posted on 12/14/2010

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Thank you everyone for all of the advice. I am going to start trying your tips and see what works. I have tried putting him in his crib and letting him cry it out, going in and reassuring him after so long, but he will cry for over an hour. I still haven't found out what his limit is because after so long I just can't seem to take it anymore and I end up giving in to him. I do try and praise him for his good behavior. Thanks again.

Stifler's - posted on 12/10/2010

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he's 7 months. they get all boisterous and whingey when they're teething or need a nap.

Gina - posted on 12/10/2010

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My son did this really bad, even when everything was fine. I just chalked it up to him being a big mommas boy lol. What I did, and this helped... I would put him down and tell him mommy would be right back. Then I'd walk out of the room until he stopped crying, which usually takes no longer than 10 min. By that time he has moved onto something else like a toy. I know it's very difficult to see them crying, but as long as you've done everything for him, it wont hurt to let him cry it out. It probably wouldn't take him very long to move onto something else :) I hope that helped!

Trish - posted on 12/08/2010

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Hi, Jenni! I am a mom of 2 cute li'l boys, eldest is 4 and youngest is turning 2. Right now, I could say that my eldest never tried getting his wants through tantrums because I've managed to establish authority. I'm not sure if I can explain this in a clear manner, but what I did before was whenever he wants something so bad and was trying to impose like he should win it, I talk to him in a nice way-make sure you talk to him in his eye level (psychologists say you should do that so you won't intimidate your child). If he insists. I won't talk to him, completely ignore him. I believe the key here is to talk to him, making sure your child will listen, no distractions like tv, cartoons, toys, etc. And I've read that we shouldn't underestimate a child's intellect, for sure they would understand. Hope this helps. :)

Kyra - posted on 12/08/2010

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I read most of the posts from people. Great info everyone. My daughter is 13 months and doing the same thing. I dont have any advise im sorry. But I have to let her cry it out like everyone is telling you. Its hard and I hate it but, she does stop or fall asleep when she is done or ready to come out.

Heather - posted on 12/08/2010

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i found that the easiest thing for me too do with both my son and daughter is to put them in there bed and leave them cry. my son was known for throwing a fit every time i left the room or if he didn't like something. i would put him in his bed where he couldn't hurt himself and let him scream all he wants and when it got to the point to where i couldn't handle him screaming no more i would turn up the music so i could still here him but not as loud. he either would eventually stop or fall asleep. normally it took him about and hour to realize he wasn't going to get his way and that mommy had things to do besides hold him.

now my daughter on the other hand would throw a fit so bad that she would hold her breathe till she passed out that freaked me out so i asked a doctor about it and they said that its not uncommon for children to do that. and told me let her do it because her brain will tell her to breathe before she actually hurts herself. and my only way of getting her to stop was to lay her in the middle of the floor and walk away but i still had to keep my eye on her because of the whole holding her breathe things because some babies that do that can throw themselves into a seizure and that is no good so normally i would leave her in one room and sit in the other room and listen to music on my mp3 and just watch her making sure she was ok. it took her about three times then she gave up. i hope this works he will eventually grow out of it as long as you don't keep giving into him the more you give in the worse its going to get good luck

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By the way, my youngest is almost 7 months and he's a head butter. If I don't give him what he wants he tries to head butt me and gave me a fat lip the other day. He is already getting better about it because I put him down and don't give him attention when he's being a little turd.

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Jenni, This is a tantrum and the best way I can think of to nip it in the butt is to firmly say no, if he continues put him down in his crib or playpen with toys and walk away. At this age you can't really do time out but you can teach self soothing. Tantrums are very normal to start at 7 months, I have 4 kids and they sure didn't wait till 16 month to start throwing fits. It sounds like he has been a little spoiled and there is nothing wrong with that, it's just time to turn it around. After 5 minutes or so go check on him and show him some love but if he hits and kicks repeat the whole thing. I found most of the time a firm no usually does the trick but not always.

Jessica - posted on 12/06/2010

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it sounds like you need a play pen and a swing so you can take him in the room your in and give him toys he needs that way he still knows hes with you and the thing with you leaving of corse he is upset that is the age he is at were he dosent want anyone but mommy you should enjoy it while it lasts my daughter does the same i love that she misses me when i go to work and shes home with dad and she will eventually calmdown and play with him and i have something in every room i can put my daughter in to play with along with some toys to play so she knows im there even if i need to do things because she also hates to be away from me

Kimi - posted on 12/06/2010

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Wow. What a confrontational little guy! I really feel for you. Just start setting him in his crib or a play pen when he throws a fit like that. This is more like something a 16 month old would be doing so he must be very smart for his age. Try to keep his hands full when you carry him around or he's on your lap at a desk, it might decrease the chances of him grabing for an ink pen or stapler in the first place. Soon as he can play better independently it shouldn't be as hard on you. Just hang in there.

Jenni - posted on 12/06/2010

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His diaper is clean, he's been fed, he's had a nap, I've held him and loved him, I've sat him down and put toys in front of him to play with, I've laid him in his crib to give him a break. I've tried everything. He is doing it when he wants to play with a pen that I don't think he should play with or when he tries to pick up paper and put it in his mouth and I take it away from him. He gets upset and pinches and scratches me. It's even worse for my husband when I have to leave him, he gets even more distressed and just plain throws a fit and my husband can't figure out what he needs. He tries everything while I am away, even if I am just in the other room. While I would love to do nothing more than just hold my baby all the time it's just not possible. I have to work and I also sell Pampered Chef and have to leave for parties and there are things around the house that just have to get done. I try to give him attention when I am doing things around the house. I will hold him while I am working, but that's when he tries to get things that I think are dangerous for him and have to tell him no or take them away. I work at my family's business so I am also lucky enough to take him to work with me some days so it's not that I'm not spending time with him. I spend a lot more time with him than most working mom's because I take him to work with me. I have tried everything I can think of!

Kimi - posted on 11/24/2010

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Of course if he knows you aren't going to give him what he thinks he needs he's going to become supper distressed. Just give him what he wants. Are his needs really that unreasonable? At this age he just needs to know that you are there to make him happy, not that you're the boss of him.

Caitlin - posted on 11/24/2010

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if he hits and pinches it is okay to sternly tell him no. He will respond to your tone and begin to understand that is not okay behavior. If he really needs your attention then holding him with you is best. If he is tired then sometimes, my daughter does the same thing, and he will just need to cry for a few minutes in his crib and then probably fall asleep.

Nicole - posted on 11/24/2010

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it sounds like he's over tired. I would suggest soothing him to sleep as soon as he shows signs of drowsiness.

As far as separation anxiety, he will get used to being apart from you. If you promise to be back soon and keep that promise, trust will be built up over time. Find good babysitters and practice this and he will adjust.

I would also suggest a sling or harness for the days when you need your arms free and he needs to be close to you.

Keshia - posted on 11/24/2010

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what ever you do when he throws a fit do nto pick him up it just makes it worse then they think they can do it everytime my son is 15 months and he gets time outs when he does something naughty like hits or climbs on a table or something and if he throws a fit in his "naughty" chair I dont let him get up until he calms down and he knows when he does something naughty I will tell him he needs to go sit down he doesnt like to but he will pout the whole time hes walking to the chair but it helps alot id rather dicipline my child rather than having a naughty child in the future

Missy - posted on 11/24/2010

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How long do you leave him for until you come back? I would take him and kind of put him on time out I guess you can say. Maybe lay him in a crib or something and let him flip out. It may take 30min or 2hrs but eventually he'll figure out that its not a way to get your attention. And just do it every time he does that. Thats what I've had to do with my son if he does things like that and he's learned that every time that he does that he's not going to get what he wants. Its really hard to try and ignore him exspecially when its like an hr or so but I think it works.

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