Tantrums

Tera - posted on 10/17/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 2 year old used to be very well mannered, but recently he has started to become very hateful. He hits, kicks, yells, tells me no, and throws things. How to I handle these situations. He is my first child so I try the best I can but it seems everything I do doesn't work.

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Lisa - posted on 11/05/2015

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I hate to say it, but this is just the beginning. It will get much, much worse. I have decided that age 4 is the worst, so far. My 2 year old is easy by comparison, but often does the same things you are describing your own 2 year old doing. I say this to prepare you for the years ahead.

That being said, I do have a few suggestions that may help. Time outs work for some toddlers, but not others. First thing I would suggest is to stay calm during these tantrums.

Next step is to empathize with them. Use "You" statements so that your child feels like his feelings are heard. An example would be "You are mad. Are you mad? You are mad that mommy turned the TV off. And you really wish you could watch TV."

Welcome the meltdown, with limits. Provide a safe place for your toddler to express their emotions the only way they know how, which is crying and screaming. What I often do is say something like "You are mad, so so mad. The answer is still no. You may not hit or kick mommy, but if you want a hug, mommy loves to give hugs." Giving them something else to do to physically redirect them should help.

Let them cry it out in your arms while you comfort them, but do not allow the physical hitting, scratching. Say things like "Ouch!" If he tries to hit again, step out of reach and empathize with him. For example: "You are trying to hurt me, you must be MAD!". Then firmly say "You are MAD, but NO kicking mommy."

Teach your toddler other ways to manage their emotions. Physically responding by attacking is a human instinct sometimes, and it is sometimes stronger in one child as opposed to another. Give them tools and other options, for example, tell them "No hitting when you are mad, but you can stomp your feet like this!"

It will be a learning experience for the both of you. But the hard part will to try to remember to stay calm, and remember that they are only 2 and they need your help in learning how to handle their big person emotions.

It takes several tries before the interaction may be successful, but remember that consistency in responses is the key to success. I hope this helps!

Andrea - posted on 10/23/2015

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Hi Tera!

It sounds like you 2 year old is hitting the "terrible twos" stage! All of that struggle from him is to test your boundaries. He wants to know how far you'll let him go. So show him. If he goes past one of your boundaries (say yelling for instance). You can simply sit him in a designated time out chair for two minutes. Use a timer so he knows when his two minutes are up. It's one minute for every year of age. If he gets up, simply take him back to the chair and sit him in it. He will get tired of failing to get out of the chair and will stop trying.

That is the best advice I can give you. This is exactly what I did with my son, and it worked like a charm. He is now a well behaved 12 year old boy. :)

Thanks!

Andrea

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