My Toddlers Tantrum is Not my Fault

Katherine - posted on 02/23/2011 ( 69 moms have responded )

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Re-Posted from Cafemom
Hear that gawking bystanders and judgmental old ladies? That tantrum my daughter is throwing in the middle of the store at decibels high enough to crack eggs is not my fault. Scientists even say so, and I may just print it out, have copies of their tantrum findings made, and pass them out during one of Lila Claire's little shows.

Michael Potegal, Ph.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist, recently told Parenting that tantrums are "as normal a biological response to anger and frustration as a yawn is to fatigue." (I will be highlighting that line, for sure.) He said kids are "hardwired to misbehave" and no amount of perfect parenting is going to thwart them all.

Potegal actually does research in this area and found that tantrums follow a typical pattern in general and last an average of about three minutes ... which is like three hours in humiliated parent time. Fortunately, once they're done, they're done and go back to life as normal, looking all cute and innocent again.

We're smack in the middle of Tantrumville, USA, here at our house. You never know what will set my 2-year-old off -- from me choosing to sing a song to just looking at her the wrong way. She's all sweetness and sunshine, and then BAM. She has a special propensity for throwing them while we're crossing the street. Not sure what it is about those walk signs that pisses her off, but I've scooped her off the asphalt more than one time.

I've tried bribes positive reinforcement, anticipating her needs, threats repercussions, and a host of other techniques, but still the tantrums persist. So while Potegal offers some suggestions for taming the tantrums, the thing I'm most grateful for is proof that there's really nothing I can be doing to prevent tantrums anyway. Now, I'm heading out to the copy center so I can share this news with those whose scathing looks indicate they believe otherwise.

How do you handle toddler tantrums?

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Tara - posted on 02/24/2011

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It drives me up the wall when I see someone pushing a grocery cart with an infant car seat in it, with the infant wailing away in that distinctive new born wailing sound, the kind that makes my boobs leak and my heart ache...and there mom is pushing the cart trying to baby talk the kid into happiness or worse yet, she is ignoring the screams of her baby, whilst all of us other customers want to run over and pick the damn kid up!!!
I've actually had my own infant asleep in the sling while shopping with 3 other kids under 9 and suggested to a mom with a crying newborn that she get one. Her reply? "why would I want to carry him now, I carried him for 9 months!"OMG. I nearly grabbed her baby!!
lol
I think parents should take cues from their children and when possible avoid situations that are potential tantrum triggers.

Danielle - posted on 08/18/2012

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My daughter threw the WORST tantrum today when I told her it was time to leave the park. I had to pick her up and carry her while she screamed and clawed at me. She scratched my face to shreds. I honestly had to check my back mirror to see if anyone called the police because by the way she was acting, you would think I was taking kidnapping her! I cried when I got into the car. I was so embarrassed and upset that she just wouldn't stop. I had done all the right things. I had given her a 10 minute heads up that we needed to leave. I even offered her a treat if she came to the car when it was time to go. Nothing worked. I stopped every few steps to put her down and try and talk to her. She would try and run off and not listen, so i picked her up again. I told her to stop and we are still going. She's 2 1/2. The worst is that when I opened up to my friends about it, they think that when a child acts that way, it's the parents fault. I'm a good mom. I know I'm not perfect, but knowing I'm not perfect I think makes me a great mom. Because I know I'm human. I just close my eyes (scream into a pillow when I get home) and remember that in a few years it will be completely different. Deep breaths will hopefully get us through. And lots and lots of pillows :)

Krista - posted on 02/23/2011

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@April: It makes sense, when you really think about it. Have you ever been really upset about something, and instead of listening to you, the person you're with tries to "cheer you up" by telling you something funny, or by trying to otherwise distract you? I don't know about you, but when that happens to me, I get even MORE pissed off, because I feel like my (very valid) upset is just being brushed off and ignored. So by mirroring and vocalizing what they're feeling, you're saying, "I hear you, and I acknowledge what you're feeling." And that's very comforting, no matter what your age.

Sylvia - posted on 08/23/2011

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MOST of the time it's (a) not on purpose and (b) not anyone's fault.

Except when you could see your kid was one errand away from the granddaddy of all freak-outs and you decided to take her shoe-shopping anyway. In that case it's totally your fault. (Been there, done that, never doing it again!!)

Sylvia - posted on 08/23/2011

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I actually found the toddler (and preschooler) tantrums relatively easy to deal with -- it was the WHINING that made me insane :P

Which is not to say that I enjoyed that phase of DD's emotional development.

I had some emotional issues as a kid (which I won't get into here, but they basically boil down to emotional immaturity and lousy parenting on my dad's part, anxiety on my mum's, and a lot of moving around and upheaval which weren't really anyone's fault), and partly as a result of that I was still having meltdowns pretty regularly at eight and even nine. So I vividly remember what they feel like. It was like there were two of me -- the rational one who knew perfectly well that pitching a fit was a bad idea, it wouldn't solve the problem, it would ruin the [trip/outing/meal/day] for everyone but especially me, etc.; and the other one who just couldn't help it.

So I'm lucky, as a parent, in that the subroutine that's triggered when DD freaks out is less likely to be OMG I'm so embarrassed what will people think or Oh, for crying out loud, not AGAIN, what is her PROBLEM!? and more likely to be Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.

Removing DD from the situation until she calmed down was usually pretty effective. Once I took us off the subway until she'd finished pitching her fit about a striped vs. orange cheese string (seriously!), and then we got back on. Another time, when she freaked out because I took a sip from her straw at Second Cup, I picked her up under my arm like a sack of potatoes and strode out of there with my head held high, looking neither left nor right ;)

Kids' temperaments vary a lot, obviously, and meltdowns are part of that. DD is a very intense kid, but as fit-pitchers go she was nowhere near in the same league as me (or my little brother) at her age! I think this is mostly temperament but also partly (a) the fact that she nursed till she was 4, so I had the magic "meh-mehs" available as a calming tool for longer than my mom did, and (b) the fact that my own experiences as a kid made me start from "::sigh:: OK, let's just get through this, she'll be find once she's had a snack/nap/cuddle" rather than the "she's doing this on purpose to get to me" that seems to be some parents' default assumption :(. I'm not trying to sound like I think I'm a better parent than anyone else -- believe me, I don't! -- but I do think it's important to recognize that MOST kids will go through a phase of freaking out about apparently minor things, and MOST of the time it's (a) not on purpose and (b) not anyone's fault.

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Brooke - posted on 08/15/2012

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Thank you for posting this. I've been getting an earful from my mom on how horrible my 3 year old is and she keeps asking "what's wrong with him" because like your daughter, I have no idea what sets him off, one day it's if I try to help him put on his shoe, the next it's because I don't help him. He screams at me regularly, which I attempt to ignore (and I am successful...sometimes!). For instance, we will ordering our food when we are out to eat and the waitress is just getting to me, I start to tell her what I want and Blake says "I need to go potty," I quickly finish with the waitress so I can address him and take him to the bathroom as quickly as possible, but if I do not respond in 1/1000 th of a second he's yelling "I have to pee" at the top of his lungs. I just say to him, you don't need to yell at me, I heard you and told you I was taking you. He will usually scream at me all the way to the bathroom. He likes to wait till I'm about to take my first bite of food to tell me that he needs to go also...that's always fun. Then waste 10 minutes in the bathroom because he won't wash his hands and won't flush the toilet, then by the time I get back to my food my heart is racing and I'm so frustrated I don't even want to eat anymore. I feel like no wonder I have acid reflux. He's gottan mad more than once with the ipad in his had an thrown it on the ground...he always loses it for a looooooooong time after that. I just keep trying to press on. I figure he'll eventually stop and right now I try to think of him when he's 15 and 20...and so on...what response and reaction can I give now that is going to help him the most when he gets older...and I try to respond that way. It really keeps me from giving in...especially because I'd rather him learn the hard way with me than learn the hard way when there are no do overs. Good luck!

Stifler's - posted on 08/23/2011

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My kid just sits. I'm like come on put the hairspray back we don't need it and he sits down and refuses to move.

Merry - posted on 08/23/2011

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Haha Eric had a freak out over striped string cheese too! He always had the completely orange ones and I got the swirled ones and he flipped! Toddlers are funny :)

Shea - posted on 08/23/2011

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Okay..I'm going to ask a question because I don't quite get all of this. First what is AP and second why does the phrase my child beat me hit me appear after or at least in the same sentence?

Merry - posted on 08/23/2011

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If I haven't been able to prevent it and it's already happening full swing? I'll wait as long as it takes for him to be sentient again. Then I talk calmly in a happy voice about something else, suggest something to do or see or eat, and when I've received some normal type of response I'll ask him if he's ok, give a hug if the tantrum was about bring told no, or give a correction if the tantrum was because of something bad.
I can usually prevent erics tantrums, but sometimes I don't have the energy interest time or ability to prevent it and if it comes in public so be it. I've had plenty of front row views of other toddlers pitching fits so anyone whise ever been in public isn't going to be traumatized by seeing one more toddler fit :)
One time it was my first time alone in walmart with both Eric and Fierna, she was in the sling and he was in the cart, not the seat but the big basket area. He saw the balls and wanted to play with them but I was too nervous to let him down so I said no and moved on to another toy he could play with, well he started screaming and throwing himself around in the cart! Lol I was embarrassed at first but while he was still screaming I saw another mom with three kids, two of which were crying and whining at her and I felt better :) I waited it out and then got him happily distracted with another toy he could play with inside the cart.

Krista - posted on 08/23/2011

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I'm so sick of the parents who let their kids carry a toy through the store for HOURS and then get to the register and tell me to hide it and the kid starts screaming. Its not the kids' fault even.

I do confess to having done that sometimes, with various trinkets. My son will see something that he adores, and wants to carry it around, and I know it'll be an ordeal if I try to take it from him at that point in time. So we'll get to the cash and I'll say, "Honey, that's the LADY'S pudding (or car, or keychain, or whatever the hell it was that caught his eye). Can you give it back to her?" And so far (knock on wood), he does every time. I always do go in, though, with being fully prepared to buy it if I need to. And if I'm not willing to have to buy it, then no, I don't let him carry it around.

Denikka - posted on 08/23/2011

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I generally see 3 reasons for real tantrums
1)frustration or other high emotion. It's a blowing off steam mechanism for kids. Just like there have been times when I KNOW I should be able to do something, but I can't and I get frustrated to the point of tears, my kids are going to feel the same way and, at this age, they don't have the skills that I have to cope with those overwhelming emotions. I can't remember the study I read, but frustration tantrums are actually HEALTHY for the child. It's like a reset button. You know how you were told that if you get frustrated with something, to leave it and come back to it late with a clear head? Same concept. The tantrum clears the mind and allows them to tackle problems with a fresh perspective.
2)Needs aren't being met. This includes a tired, hungry, dirty, sick etc child. Sometimes these things can't be helped. Maybe you have a sick kid and are running to the store for meds. Maybe you miscalculated your time and are running a little late for your kids nap or snack. It happens.
3) I WANT!!!!! We all know this one. The I WANT tantrum is, obviously, exactly what you think it is. The child wants something and is not being allowed to have it.

How do I deal with tantrums? I'm lucky enough (so far) that there haven't been many. It depends on where we are.
If we're in public, no matter what the reason for the tantrum, I always try to remove my kiddo, as quickly as possible, from earshot for everyone else. It's not fair for them to have to listen to my screaming kidlet XP
Then, the process is generally the same, at home or when I'm out. If it's an * I WANT* tantrum, it gets ignored. I will wait until he calms down, tell him that we do NOT ask for things in that way, that if he wants something, he needs to ask nicely and then he MIGHT get it, but if he screams he most definitely will NOT get what he wants. (at this point, he will usually ask nicely for what he was screaming about and I will tell him no, you threw a fit, so you don't get to have the ______ (new toy, treat etc))
If it's a *need* tantrum, then after removing the child, depending on the need, I will either address it right away (diaper change etc) or wait until he calms down and then use distraction until the need can be met(waiting for food in a restaurant, finding a quick place to stop and eat, finding a bathroom, finding a drink etc)
If it's a frustration tantrum, I will tell him that he needs to calm down and tell mommy what's wrong. I tell him that I can't understand him when he's screaming and that I can't help him if I don't know what's wrong (even if I actually DO know, I want him to tell me) I generally hold him at arms length during these tantrums until he tells me what's wrong, and then we cuddle until he's done crying.
At home, this is done on the spot, excluding dangerous situations of course. When I'm out, he'll be removed to the bathroom, outside in the parking lot, or any other convenient, out of the way place that's not disturbing other people.
I agree that (most of the time) it's not the parent's fault when a child has a tantrum (not the kids fault either really). But it IS the parents responsibility to deal with their child's behavior. So while a parent cannot 100% prevent their young child from having a tantrum, they can make it more bearable for everyone around.

Tara - posted on 02/27/2011

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I always used a ring sling with all my babies, worked great from newborn right up to toddler age, when it became more a restraint mechanism than a bonding/convenience one. lol

Never had to worry about having a crying baby, could nurse on the go, always had two hands free!!

:) I got so many questions about my sling with baby number 5 (that I had designed and had made for me) that I went into business for two years when I gave it up because I couldn't do it all and family came first.

But I did make money from the start and better than that I also helped hundreds of new moms use a sling "for health, wellness and convenience." ~~ that was my "catch phrase" lol



Found a link to me on youtube, I didn't even know it was on! It was when I was with my ex so my last name is different but here I am preaching the virtues of baby wearing and my business for the local news.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HftGYKbSb...

Amanda - posted on 02/26/2011

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Having a tantrum and having a bad day are two totally different things, yet another study so parents dont have to take responsiblity for their own parenting and their childrens actions.

Btw if my kid actually has a real tantrum we go straight home (though it doesnt happen often because she knows its not acceptible behaviour in public)

Amy - posted on 02/26/2011

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We don't have too many. Our kids love grocery shopping so after a few tantrums and mommy taking kids to the car while daddy shopped stopped ours from it. Now if they act up we just say 'do you need to go sit with me in the car?" nope. straightened out.

Although, some tantrums I do believe are my fault. If I keep them out at nap, past lunch, or try and get stuff done when they aren't feeling well. There are some times though when I hear parents bickering with their kids. Nope, momma said this, end of story. Redirection works wonders. I don't bribe. To me it teaches them to be snots and then if they quick shape up they get a treat. Unless you count 'if you're good we can continue to grocery shop' a bribe. lol.

Mabel - posted on 02/25/2011

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Devin only seems to have them after he has been to his Nana's house over the weekend.We have found that getting everything he wants there is counter productive to getting him nothing at home.The one thing that works for me is letting him on my lap and talking to him very quietly so he has to pay attention to me to hear what I am saying.=)

Vegemite - posted on 02/24/2011

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love this, it's so true all kids have tantrums to varying degrees. My response to a tantrum is to get down on the ground with my son, take his cheeks in my hands to get his attention and ask him if he's having fun or would he rather be playing on the swing, looking at things in shops, going home for a yummy lunch or what ever we might be doing at the time or when we get home would he like to go to his room. Usually he stops the tantrum in favour of enjoying what we are doing at the time than going to his room. I do get some laughs when I ask my tantruming son if he's having fun.

But there is many things that can be done and avoided to stop kids getting to that point. Sometimes it just happens.

Minnie - posted on 02/24/2011

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I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I discoverd the mei tai carrier. The heavens burst open and poured forth their glory upon my happy content newborn on my chest. lol

Stifler's - posted on 02/24/2011

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I think a lot of time it's the parent's fault like Krista said... 'oh come on one more stop and we'll get new shoes' when it's clearly nap time and time to get home ASAP. One of my friend, is just s.o.o.o.o s.l.o.w with grocery shopping that her kid gets agitated by the middle aisle and screams the rest of the way. Then she'll give him something that is clearly not going to cheer him up as she's been yelling at him for ages. Then she gets agitated when random people make comments about her parenting and I'm just like "oh how dare they.... *sarcasm*"

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When Jacob was a tiny baby we'd use two carts to go grocery shopping. Steve would push one that the food would go in and I'd put Jacob's carseat carrier in the other (it wasn't one that hooked to the seat part). Nine times out of ten though, I'd end up carrying him and parking the cart up front (I used to work there, so I trusted no one would steal my carseat). I hate to see tiny babies crying in carts! I wanna hold 'em all! I'm not saying I picked Jacob up every time he whimpered but I never let it get to the wailing, miserable crying stage. I also think we did a good job in timing our shopping trips around his feeds so we were never in public and had a hungry baby. But still, I'd bring a bottle just in case and if need be, I'd carry him and feed him while we shopped. That only happened maybe twice that I can remember.

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omg someone actually thought tantrums WEREN'T related to a pissed kid? sheesh, i already know i'm in for it big time with my daughter, knew it long before i ever delivered her! she's only seven weeks old but if she wants to stay up and look at all the pretties in our house even though she can barely keep her eyes open, she will scream her head off if hubby and i even act like we're putting her to bed. and it's not because she's hungry or wet or dirty or in pain or anything. we will have just cleaned her up and fed her and burped her really well and let her sit in our laps for a good while until she starts getting sleepy. but when we start to put her down to sleep, she screams until we have her wrapped up and warm and with her pacifier. and then she fusses and fights until she can't fight anymore and falls asleep.

i'm scared. she's doing this NOW and she's not even two months? god, i don't want to see what she'll be like when she's big enough to throw a real tantrum.

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I don't know why moms can't just use one hand and cuddle baby, especially when they are that young all they usually want is mommy or daddy to be close to them and they don't exactly weigh that much in the first few months (the car seat is so much heavier than a newborn). I've made people wait because my baby needed seeing to first, I just apologise and if they have a problem they can kiss my arse my child will always come before them :-)

Jenni - posted on 02/24/2011

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There's been a few times I had to take a "break" from shopping to BF my little ones in the car. If I had lots of groceries I'd ask a cashier if it was ok to leave the cart in the empty checkout beside them. How could you let an itty bitty baby cry like that just because you want to get your shopping done?

Minnie - posted on 02/24/2011

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That is so sad, Tara! I saw a mom like that at checkout, babe couldn't have been more than two weeks old, sobbing to the point of that gagging silence...and she was offered help! So she could tend to her baby! "Oh, no no, don't worry, I'm just going to get my groceries on here, he's fine."



:(

Krista - posted on 02/24/2011

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I'm so sick of the parents who let their kids carry a toy through the store for HOURS and then get to the register and tell me to hide it and the kid starts screaming. Its not the kids' fault even.

And the other kids who have been shopping for hours and are burnt out and have been screaming and crying continuously for the past 20 minutes.


Oh, I definitely hear you, Mike. In many cases, the parents could have prevented the tantrum in the first place, by not being clueless as to their child's needs.

I've seen many a kid who's starting to get tired and fussy, and overheard the mother say, "Okay, now we just have one more stop, honey, to get you some new shoes, and then we'll go home."

And I'm thinking, "Are you INSANE? Your kid is already tired and grumpy, and now you're going to bring him shoe shopping? Take that kid HOME, lady."

Some parents, unfortunately, just push and push and push their kid well beyond his limits, and then wonder why the kid is purple and screaming on the floor of Payless.

Personally, it's always something that I've tried to avoid. If I'm running errands with my kid, I do our crucial, most important stuff first. The stuff that would be NICE to do, but could wait, is for the end of the trip. That way, if he starts getting tired and grumpy, we can pack it in, call it a day and go home. Yeah, it's a bit of an inconvenience, but it's worth it.

LaCi - posted on 02/24/2011

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It depends on the tantrum. If he's mad and screaming I restate whatever I said that pissed him off ("Mommy said No" whatever) and ignore the tantrum. If he's reached his "freak out" mode in which he CAN'T stop crying because he's gotten himself too worked up, I force hug him and rock him until he calms down (he'll kick and scream for a few minutes trying to get away, but then he hugs back and the screams calm to sniffles and he'll usually end up sleepy)

If he's misbehaving while having a tantrum (throwing things, etc) I've started putting him in time out. Which usually requires that I actually hold him there for a minute, then he still screams, then he calms down, and then I explain why he's there.

Sometimes when a tantrum is approaching, if I sit with him and tell him I know he's upset but (insert reason why I said no or whatever) he won't make it to the full tantrum stage.

Jenni - posted on 02/24/2011

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hmmm... you know, I never really thought of it but I do use the "validating his feelings" technique.
Like when we pass some chocolate or candy and he says: "Chocolate.... mmmm... chocolate... I want chocolate, mommy!"
I always say: "mmmm me too, Me Too!" and it's never elavated past that. Pretty cool. I'll have to try that more often. ;)

Sal - posted on 02/24/2011

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ignore them, harder than it sounds, just go on about my business, make sure they aren't going to hurt them self and not give them any reconition....

Becky - posted on 02/23/2011

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Cole and Zach aren't too bad with the tantrums. They don't throw themselves on the ground or kick or bite or anything. They just scream. Zach is annoyingly shrill though! And it's almost always at home. Neither of them really have tantrums when we're out in public. Cole had one the other day at the doctor's office because he wanted to stand on the scale while they weighed me, so I put him in the stroller and the nurse held him in there. It was embarassing, but short lived. Once I was weighed (which was also embarassing!), it was over and he was fine. At home, how I deal depends on the reason for the tantrum. If they're just crying because I said no candy when we're having supper in 10 minutes, I'll ignore it. Cole gets overwrought when he gets overtired, so if that's the reason, I'll pick him up and cuddle him until he settles down, and that usually works. For Zach, breastfeeding him usually works. His tantrums are usually because Cole took a toy away from him!

Stifler's - posted on 02/23/2011

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I baby sat this kid today. He threw like 7 tantrums in 40 minutes while his mother was gone. It was insane. He hit Logan with a DVD case about 6 times and I was like THAT'S ENOUGH. He's like sorry sorry sorry sorry. I'm just like... Give. me. the. dvd. case NOW. He was good for the rest of the time he was here. His mum and I went out for lunch and through the supermarket and seriously, she never says anything to him about his behaviour and he gets away with hitting and kicking and screaming for no reason. I'm just like pffffft how could you put up with that.

Nikkole - posted on 02/23/2011

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My son is 3 and has thrown MAYBE 2 tantrums at the store at home its another story, and its not that i dont discipline him or try to talk things out with him i think all kids throw tantrums at different severities!! We live with my mom for right now so its SOOO Much worse with my son my mother lets him get away with murder (lately she has been correcting him and he thinks shes being mean) but when he is with me and my husband he acts sooo much better! IF he throws a fit in the store i get my stuff quickly and go if i am there for something small i just leave! I also hate moms who give there kid a toy to play with then they take it away i DO NOT do that i dont even go near the toy aisle most times lol its just a bad idea!

Katherine - posted on 02/23/2011

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I love the "What are you gonna do about it" looks. Talk about judgmental!
@ Melissa, I am a mod in the autism group. I have also done ABA and I can't tell you how many stories I have heard of even families not understanding sensory issues. Smack it out of them, they say! People are so ignorant.

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Other kid's tantrums don't bother me one bit.... I don't have to deal with it! I have been lucky that my kids didn't throw public tantrums but I certainly feel sympathy for those parents that have kids who do.

Minnie - posted on 02/23/2011

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Yeah...I was there once- my hackles used to raise when I heard a child screaming in a store- and I'd get judgemental and think "those parents don't have a handle on their child. Just HEAR how that kid is shunning their authority!"

(lol- can you belive it?)

I imagine that a lot of people who think that way probably haven't had their own feelings validated- for example, when I thought the above when hearing a child screeching- I was going to a very conservative church- that taught that our feelings were unimportant- that we were no better than worms, that children were manipulative and wicked, sinners from the womb, who grew up into wicked people...who deserve to go to hell-

-that doesn't leave much room for compassion, understanding and some patience, does it? It's been an arduous journey from that mentality.

Sharon - posted on 02/23/2011

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I'm not throwing anything - and I probably made a mistake and didn't read every post, just scanned through, plus what I get at work.

I'm so sick of the parents who let their kids carry a toy through the store for HOURS and then get to the register and tell me to hide it and the kid starts screaming. Its not the kids' fault even.

And the other kids who have been shopping for hours and are burnt out and have been screaming and crying continuously for the past 20 minutes.

Johnny - posted on 02/23/2011

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LOL, I know those eyes Jennifer. I tried the returning it to the shelf trick. It worked like a charm. Except that I didn't have anything to cook for dinner that night and had to order in. She totally called my bluff. So I put all the food back and we left. She kept screaming. So instead I didn't let her hold on to anything, I'd pick her up as soon as we got to the til or stuff her in the stroller, I'd pay, she'd scream, we'd leave. It happens less and less now that she's getting older. In fact, today in the store she carried the apples I was buying and put them up on the belt no problem. It's never been about screaming FOR something, I honestly don't understand what the issue is. Unless she's just really cheap like her dad.

She threw exactly one tantrum in a restaurant. We left, sat in the car for an hour while everyone else ate spaghetti, she's never tried it again.

Mike, I don't see anyone justifying anything here. The fact is that most toddlers throw tantrums and have since the dawn of time. I remember being about 4 or 5 and watching another kid go absolutely ballistic in the bakery. I was actually kind of scared. If people can't deal with it, then they're impatient pricks and were most likely major tantrum throwers themselves as kids.

My parents were terribly judgmental of other parents whose kids threw tantrums because they thought I never did because they were such fantastic parents. Now they are grandparents and caregivers to a tantrum thrower and they can't handle her. They've certainly learned that there's nothing you really can do to stop it. You've just got to pick up and move on. And just like the OP said, it's really got nothing to do with how great your parenting skills are.

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Mike, you know I love ya girl but damn! No one's asking you to suck it up and I don't think anyone's trying to justify their child's rotten behavior. I think the OP was more of a funny (ha ha) post than anything. And so far, I haven't seen anyone say that they let their children go on and on and on in public. We've all just been talking about how we deal with tantrums.....in public and at home. I'm ducking now. Please don't throw anything hard or breakable at me lol

Sharon - posted on 02/23/2011

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Why do people continuously try to justify their childs' rotten behaviour in public? Or their inability to handle it in public? Why are the rest of us supposed to just suck it up?

If children are such a precious resource - why not nurture them and raise them with dignity, restrictions and discipline?

Krista - posted on 02/23/2011

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Exactly. If you're really upset and crying and you just want to cry, and your friends are going, "Oh, wait until I tell you this funny thing that happened to me! You'll laugh your head off!" -- well, it kind of makes you feel...lonely. And sadder than ever.



And Lisa, that's exactly right. If Sam is in a righteous fury, and I say "Sam is mad, mad, MAD!", it's letting him know what this feeling is CALLED. He points to the walls and the floor and the window and everything else in his environment and I tell him what they're called. So why wouldn't I also tell him what his emotions are called, so that he can hopefully someday recognize them and say, "Mommy, I MAD!" instead of turning the colour of a Cherokee tomato and trying to shatter the crystal with his belligerent shrieks.

Minnie - posted on 02/23/2011

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Krista and April: I think it's a very valuable tool, mirroring emotions- it helps children feel validated - they own their emotions, after all- and I think that it gives them better resources in the future to recognize and name their emotions.

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@ Krista...kinda like how when I'm crying and my friends cry with me, it makes me feel better ♥

Melissa - posted on 02/23/2011

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In addition, children are the only resource on this earth that mean anything at all... so maybe set aside your self-important inability to be inconvenienced in the slightest way and cut a parent a little slack.

Melissa - posted on 02/23/2011

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Oh and I once babysat an 18 mth old that would scream when he had gas...how was i supposed to know..the stares I got! I tried my best to get out of there but sometimes things like screaming babies happen get over it if you dont like it!

Melissa - posted on 02/23/2011

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I know this might not apply to your situation but I love this post from FB:
Next time you see a child 'misbehaving' or hear a child screaming, please stop and think 'could that child have special needs or sensory issues?'. Please spare a thought for the child who struggles to stay calm and regulated and for the parents who are constantly stared at, judged and criticized. **Make this your status in support of families living with autism and special needs.**

I can not stand when other people judge! It is so rude especially people without Kids Just look at them and say hey..this as normal a biological response to anger and frustration as a yawn is to fatigue." and kids are "hardwired to misbehave" and no amount of perfect parenting is going to thwart them all.
So stop judging me!!!!!! HA!

Sharon - posted on 02/23/2011

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Its your fault if I have to listen to it for 15 minutes. Pick his screaming ass up and take him outside.

Nikki - posted on 02/23/2011

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My daughter is 16 months and she already throws some fantastic tantrum. She is stubborn, frustrated she cannot communicate effectively and short tempered. I can usually tell when we are about to encounter a tantrum, so I try to prevent them as much as possible by redirecting her and figuring out what she wants. In situations where it gets to the point of a tantrum and there was nothing I could do to avoid it I just ignore it, make sure she is safe and can't hurt herself then leave her too it.

I don't see tantrums as a bad thing, it's difficult being a toddler and not being able to communicate your needs effectively or understand why you can't have something that you want. Tantrums can be a great release of frustration and anger, similar to us adults venting.

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So far Jacob's tantrums have been pretty mild. He's 3 now, but when he was around 18 months he tried doing the kicking and screaming thing with me for awhile and I'd just make a big deal out of stepping over him and getting on with my business. "OH, Mommy's gonna go unload the dish washer." And I'd do it as noisily as I could (save for breaking anything lol). I don't know if it was the noise or me ignoring him, but his tantrums only lasted maybe a month. Ever since then, he does these "silent protests". He's done it in public a few times and I basically just ignore it. He'll lay on the floor, cover his eyes with the backs of his hands and just lay there. The few times he's done it in public, I just make sure he's not in anyone's way and I'll just stand there and wait for him to be done. It usually only takes about 30 seconds and if he's not done by that time I'll just stand him up, ask him, "You finished?" and move on. When he does it at home, I just ignore it until HE decides he's done and then I ask him to use his words to tell me what he wants / needs / what's wrong. I tried all of the mimicking tricks but if I fake cry he laughs at me. I've tried laying on the floor like he does and again, he laughs at me. Ignoring works for me.



P.S. LOVE the OP Katherine! I may have to copy/paste it to a few friends or maybe my MIL. My MIL thinks that because Jacob has tantrums I A) need to spank him and B) I've lost control of him. Of course, it's my fault!

Stifler's - posted on 02/23/2011

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I think most of the tantrums I've seen and when Logan starts getting whingey is in the checkout line. Probably because the parents ( I know I do) are thinking OH GOD HURRY UP and shifting from one foot to the other while old mate in front of us unloads his 6 cartons of coke.

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My 14 month old is extremely well behaved for the most part. Usually after she goes with the MIL she comes back a pissy little shit. Since she was about 9 months old i guess. She throws herself on the floor arks her back screams so loud my ears hurt. Sometimes she just holds her breath until her face turns bright red and starts gasping for air. She punches me, kicks and flips, royally flips. I just walk away and sometimes(like when she busted my lip open) i put her in her playpen and went into my room for 5ish mins. I was the one who needed a time out...Other times i try to comfort her(like when its caused by over exertion.)After she calms down i explain what she felt to her, sometimes during the flip outs i do and it calms her down. It depends on how bad it actually is.

I think they give her sugary stuff, my sister gave her juice once and she did the same thing.

Jenni - posted on 02/23/2011

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Johnny, my son use to do the same thing about paying for things. He would hoard all of his favourite foods in the kiddie seat of the cart. Hug them close to his body and give me that "look". You know the one, chin down peering up at you with those "dont even think about taking my stuff, ma!" eyes.

Then I started telling him: "If we don't pay for those things we'll have to put them back." It worked wonders! Now he hands me the stuff and says: "here you go, mom!"

Johnny - posted on 02/23/2011

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My daughter's are intense but short. They started around 25/26 months and wow! it's not fun. She doesn't actually tantrum much at home, she usually saves it for the grocery store, the library or something like that. Her trigger right now is checking out or paying. She just starts throwing herself to the ground yelling, "I don't want to payyyyy!!!" It's not so bad because of it's context. Other people seem to find endless amusement in the toddler who doesn't want to fork over the cash. Usually some old man will say to the cashier, can I get this for free if I try that too? I find it embarassing, but since I need to pay for stuff, it's kind of unavoidable. They're very short and when she's done, she just says, "I tantrumed." I've tried mirroring her feelings, talking to her about what we are going to do, preparing her, explaining the process etc. etc. etc. They are getting less frequent, but it still happens. I just make sure I've got her physically under control and then just let it happen. Other tantrums happen once in a blue moon and usually just when she's really tired or sick.

Jenni - posted on 02/23/2011

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My son's tantrums maybe last 2 mins tops... it's kinda weird because his personality would suggest he should have relentless ones. He's very headstrong. But yeah, they're short and mostly consist of whinning not screaming like a banshee. The worst of them are when he's hungry, tired or thirsty so as long as I keep him full, rested and quenched, he rarely has em.

Depending on the situation is how I deal with them:

Frustration: we try to solve the problem

Anger: Hug it out. Use your words to tell me why you're mad. If it turns into hitting or throwing toys it's an automatic trip to TO to cool off and then we talk about why he was mad and how to express himself in the future.

Not getting his way: Ignore/Distraction

Stifler's - posted on 02/23/2011

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My kid is only 1 so if he throws a "tantrum" it's at home over me confiscating something he's grabbed off the table and isn't supposed to be playing with. I just ignore it until he stops screaming then give him a hug, it lasts about 2 minutes usually of him throwing things and screaming and crying with his head down on the floor. I'm a stay at home mum so we go to the supermarket or bank directly after nap time. If we have to go to the doctor or midwife or scan place I bribe him with rusks and toys to be happy.

Jenn - posted on 02/23/2011

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Tantrums in public haven't happened. Tantrums at home are dealt with accordingly. If it's because they want another cookie and I said no, then no it is and cry all you want because I will ignore you. If you carry on loudly enough to disturb the whole house, I will quietly take you to your room to calm down. If a tantrum is because of toddler frustration, I will try to help them with whatever is giving them a hard time (lately it's Elizabeth trying to put socks on and having a hard time).

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