Am I doing something wrong?

Miranda - posted on 07/25/2016 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I know temper tantrums are a normal thing for toddlers, but I can't help but feel that my 3 year old has them too often. I feel like everything is a constant battle with her. Especially when it come to sleeping (both napping & bedtime). Or when she asks for or to do something and I tell her no, it's this huge fit where she screams and cries and just repeats whatever it is she wants. I've tried many approaches when it comes to trying to avoid tantrums, such as telling her earlier before we do things so she expects it, I've tried giving her options and instead she tells me no to both and wants what she wants, I've made sure her schedule isn't out of whack, but no matter what, it's still a constant battle. Again, I know there is no way to completely rid away tantrums, she's a toddler and she's going to have them, but I feel like there's something I'm not doing here. I feel helpless. So please any advice or even if there's any articles I can read up on, that would be very helpful.

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Snow - posted on 07/26/2016

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My daughter went through a phase like this. What worked for me was just telling her that if she wanted to cry, that she was allowed, but that acting like that wasn't going to get her anything. I would explain briefly that she is a big girl, and that big girls don't act like that. I would then ignore the tantrum, often sing a little song to show her that it didn't bother me. At first she would scream and cry for 15-30 minutes, but after a few days of worse tantrums, it quickly started reducing in frequency, intensity, and duration. After 1-1.5 weeks she had far less tantrums, and when she did, they would only last a minute or 2 before she gave up (assuming I continued to ignore them). It is important to note that these were manipulative tantrums, not due to frustration (if she had a tantrum because she was frustrated about not being able to complete a task, like stacking a certain number of blocks, I would help her to figure out how to do it). The manipulative tantrums I am talking about revolve around not being allowed to do something or have something that I have said no about (ex. Coming inside for lunch, toys she wants at the store, getting her diaper changed, etc.). I also always make sure to explain WHY she cannot have/do whatever it was (ex. We cannot stay outside because it is lunch time. The food we are having for lunch is in the house, so we have to go inside to eat it.), and NEVER give in once I've said no (if you give in to a tantrum, they will push and push to see if they can get you to again, resulting in longer, and more intense tantrums). I hope you manage to get them under control; I know how draining and frustrating they can be. Good luck!

Miranda - posted on 07/26/2016

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She's an only child. I'm still living with my mom so the only kids she's around are my younger step siblings who range from 12-15. They're constantly bickering with each other and I'm wondering if maybe she's picking up on that? And I've definitely tried distraction, but it rarely works.

Sapana - posted on 07/26/2016

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Is she playing with some kid who is like that? Kids learn from surroundings.
When my elder kid used to throw unexpected tantrums I tried this trick, whenever he was about to start showering his anger upon me, I would start doing something funny which he liked a lot. e.g. some scene from his favorite cartoon series. Or a song or divide his attention to something else. Or ask him some other question e.g. what he would like to eat tomorrow and unknowingly get the things done by him. This doesn't work every time but many times.

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