What do you do when your toddler has temper tantrums or acts inappropriate?

Sarah - posted on 10/18/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Just wondering how everyone disiplines their toddlers when they are acting bad? Temper tantrums especially!

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Joanne - posted on 10/23/2011

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Our kids aged 3 - 14 all know what we've placed as acceptable behaviour. This includes tantrums, hurting eachother, speaking in harsh tones etc.... When they choose to step out of "our family ways" they are requested to go sit on a chiar or in the passage or by a wall away from us until they choose to change their behaviour and they can then come back. We don't say how long it must take they decide. Often they go sit and cry for a bit and will then either just sit there on thier own for a while or come back straight away. They generally come and appologise or I will say , "so glad to have you back would you like to try ask with a big strong voice now." or "are you ready for your bath now." if not then they are simply put back at the wall - I pick them up and place them there - without saying anyhting, they know what needs to change to join us. It may take 3 min or an hour but they soon learn self management which is something every human needs to develop in order to live a hppy, successful life.

Jenni - posted on 10/20/2011

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Temper tantrums: "Wow, you're mad! Mommy will help you/talk to you once you calm down." Then ignore. When they've calmed down: "Good job calming yourself down, now I can help."

If they've experienced a great disappointment, I comfort them.



Acts inappropriately; it depends on the behaviour.



Removal from the situation if they are harming others, themselves or property. Wait until they calm down or provide them with appropriate ways of venting strong emotions. Ex: squeezing a stuffed animal, counting, deep breathing, stomping...



Address the behaviour when they're calm and appropriate solution. "I know you're mad that Josh took your toy, it's ok to be mad. But we don't hit, it hurts. We say: "I'm really mad!"

Or: "I know you want a turn with the toy. But we don't pinch. It hurts. We ask for a turn." Then bring them over to ask for a turn. Or we wait until they are finished and find something else to play with. Basically, I try to teach them fundamental, critical problem solving skills in place of an inappropriate behaviour.



Toddlers are usually more receptive after they've vented and had their little meltdown. They become more open to other solutions once they are calm.



Redirection: "We don't jump on the couch, it might break. Let's jump on the floor instead."



"You can't do that. But you can do this instead."



"You can't touch that, but here is something you *can* touch."



Teaches them what they're allowed to do, and what they are not allowed to do. Teaches boundaries.



I stay positive. This prevents a lot of tantrums. If my children want something in the store. Instead of saying, "No you can't have it". I say: "Wow that sure is a nice toy, maybe you'll get one for Christmas." I want to raise optimists or realists, not pessimists. ;)

But my children have only tantrumed over not getting something in the store, maybe once or twice per child. In which case, we have stepped outside until they calm down. Then return to our shopping.



I try to reserve a flat out "No" for more imperative situations. Like issues of safety. That way it doesn't lose its power.



I use "Red Light" when I want them to stop in their tracks and listen up.



For more positive behaviour strategies join our community here on COM: http://www.circleofmoms.com/positive-beh...

Christina - posted on 10/18/2011

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Most of the time I am able to ignore my 3yr old daughter when she breaks out in a temper tantrum. She usually sees that he behavior is not getting her any recognition. After a few minutes she will calm down and then I will ask her what the problem is and we figure it out.
As for the acting up or inapproprite, I have found that spanking does nothing for my child (shes hardheaded lol) but that taking things away seems more effective. For instance, a few nights ago she threw a hellva fit because she wanted to watch her movie and the movie had been left at my parents. I told her we would have to watch another one and asked her to come help pick on out. That was when the fit started. I made her go to her room (kicking and screaming) until she calmed down. When she did, she came to me and said she was sorry. I told her it was okay and that I love her but explained to her why we could not watch her movie and why she would now not be allowed to watch a movie because of the way she acted. Since I have been trying this approch, the tantrums and the acting out have seems to subside almost to non-existant...unless its within the few days of her returning home from a visit to the opposite parent, but thats a whole other box of worms!

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Ayls - posted on 01/16/2013

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I try to know what causes his temper tantrums. Oftentimes, he is doing that because he cannot figure out how this particular toy works, or sometimes he just want to get my attention. I try to know it by going on in his level, and then I'll try to help him out. I also use some distraction techniques particularly if what he wants to do might harm him, like jumping in the stairs and so on. I also try to tell him that doing these stuff may hurt him and so on.

Claudia - posted on 10/27/2011

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time out and a spanking in his bottom if needed. I do not tolerete tamtrums so with me he is fine but my husband tries do talk, and my 4 year old son takes his dad for a long tamtrum ride.

Carole - posted on 10/25/2011

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This was so over-the-top that her Mother and I were really caught off guard. She fell asleep at 4:00 PM and slept thru to 6:00 am. I think the key in extreme cases like this is to just put her in her room and tell her that when she can put her tears away she can come out.

Kathleen - posted on 10/24/2011

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Depends on what they did. If it's a sterotypical tantrum from not getting what our son wanted, we either walk away, or tell him to go sit down until he can calm himself. He doesn't want to go so he says, ok i'm ok, i'm done lol it just depends on what was done...there are times occasional times we have had to spank our son but very rare. Our son does not like time out and does not like being told no. If he doesn't want to do something fine, he just doesn't get what he wants later. Usually a treat lol he likes his goldfish, and frosted cereals.

Katrina - posted on 10/24/2011

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We use time outs and a chart with pictures of calm down ideas - deep breaths, draw and angry picture, look at books. Not always easy.

Carole - posted on 10/24/2011

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I'd love advice on this one! Today saw my 1st temper of 2 3/4 yr old granddaughter. Involved deliberate disobedience, refusal to pick up toys then throwing them at my face, then insisting that she didn't have to be in "time-out" because I am not the "boss of "her! Was sent to her room where she promptly fell asleep.

Katie - posted on 10/24/2011

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Well I would either tell them they weren't going to act like that and put them in time out or take something away. Or if we were at home and the mood was light, I would mimick him, and then he would go to his room himself. lol

Timora - posted on 10/23/2011

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Most of these responses seems really great - one other things I've found that is helpful is actually trying to prevent meltdowns. My daughter is much more likely to have a tantrum if she's tired or hungry, so I do my best to prevent either of those situations. Other than that I agree with ignoring and never give in. When she really gets going I put my daughter in her room and tell her to let me know when she's done throwing her fit - it doesn't usually take long before she's at the gate saying "Mommy I'm done with my fit" and then I talk to her about what happened and appropriate ways to respond. I discipline with time-outs and taking toys away mostly and then I try to turn incidents into teaching moments. I also try to stay positive with "here is what you CAN do" rather than always saying no.

Anmarie - posted on 10/21/2011

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my son (very hard headed) he doesn't care if u take things away, smack (i don't do unless he has inflicted pain on his sister) NOTHING worked! I near had a melt down myself until I worked out I WAS THE PARENT and he is my son! I now don't yell, scream, take things away my way of disciplining him (I have worked out works!) when he packs a tanty he gets a warning ( just 1 ) then he goes on his mat in his bed room until hes over it, it didn't take long for him to work out its easier to get over the tanty and come back and play than it is watching his sister play with toys ect... If we are in town he gets his 1 warning then if he continues to push (He usually did) I stop whatever we are doing and he sits beside me on the ground as I said i no longer yell which doesn't feed his tantrums, if he try's to hit me i grab his arm and sit him down. I know people look at me like i'm a bi**h but I really don't care its my way of having some control.

Anna - posted on 10/21/2011

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I hug my son stroke his back and tell him calmly, "It's OK, I know you're frustrated." If he resists being held I sit next to him and try to reason with him calmly. Also, try distraction. If you're breastfeeding, offer the breast, it's the best temper tantrum calmer in the whole world.

Jennifer - posted on 10/20/2011

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When my 3 year old does not get what he wants. He falls out , screams, kicks.....I pick him up sit him in the middle of his room and shut the door..just a couple minutes later he peeks out the door. I ask him if he is finished having his meltdown. He normally says yes. I bend down to him on his level "try" to explain to him that is not the way to act when we want something. Give him a big hug and kiss and everything is good. He still doesn't get what he wanted and he forgets all about it..Sometimes I will just pick him up during the tantrum and hug him as tight as I can....all is good

Regine - posted on 10/20/2011

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When my daughter has a temper tantrums I put her in time out. After she needs to apologize and I explain to her that it's not polite to behave like that.

Heather - posted on 10/20/2011

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Ignore temper tantrums. You shouldn't punish them for having one. It's there way of dealing with being upset or angry. You can tell them that you can't hear or understand them when they act like that, and that when they are done being upset, they can talk to you about what they need or want, and you will discuss it. Toddlers aren't acting inappropriate to piss you off or upset you, they are doing it because they don't know how to act yet. You need to explain to them, calmly, what they are doing isn't right, and show they how to act appropriately.

Tabatha - posted on 10/20/2011

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I have 4 year old son with ADHD, so his tantrums can be bad. My advice is to ignore the tantrum and it will surpass much more quickly than if you try to talk to the. That's what they want...if you don't give them the attention that they expect, then they begin to learn that it's not getting them anywhere with you. When they calm down, then try talking to them.

Kimmy - posted on 10/20/2011

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Most of the time I ignore my son when he is having a temper tantrum. Although if it gets really bad I tell him if he wants to have a fit he has to go to his room and then I take him there and let him have a fit and when he is done he is allowed to come back out and play.

Amanda - posted on 10/19/2011

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With my 3 yr old, I will send him to his room until he calms down. Like Amy, my son doesn't care about timeouts, taking things away so thats why he gets sent to his room. My 2 yr old I can pretty much ignore until she has calmed down. If she gets in a real state she will also go to her room to calm down. Usually with her you can ask her what the problem is and she will tell me and we can fix it.

Amy - posted on 10/19/2011

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Our 4 yr old has O.D.D, pretty much is defiant all day. But when he gets real bad we put him in a corner. Spanking and time out chairs don't work for him. Yes we have taken things from him too and he didn't care. So the corner is what works best for us

Sarah - posted on 10/19/2011

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Thanks for the reply! I dont like to spank. I find it doesnt work for her either, she just continues to cry or cries more strong or longer. My husband is more hard on her though and I usually do the whole time out thing but was wondering if it was actually working in the long run. When you say she is returning home from the opposite parent do you mean your parents or hers? I find she acts up more with grandparents ect...

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