18 month old tantrums

Victoria - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )




My son is 18 months today, and this weekend was quite a whopper! I am also expecting another baby boy in August. I'm not sure if his anger/frusteration/tantrums are due to him getting older and not knowing how to express himself, or the "terrible two's" are approaching, or if it's new baby anxiety. Bottom line is that I want to nip it it the butt now before things get too out of control. My question is: how do you effectively discipline an 18 month old so he understands that this behavior is not acceptable? I'm not sure at times if he understands what I'm saying to him - however, I do not want to underestimate his intelligence!


Vicki - posted on 04/06/2011




My boy is 21 months and has had a few tantrums, not many thankfully. I believe that tantrums happen when they are upset about something (usually because I won't let him have something he wants) and the emotion just explodes out of him. He can't control it, this scares him and the situation escalates. In my opinion the tantrum itself isn't manipulative, although the initial whinging is an attempt to get what they want. Once he is having a tantrum he's forgotten what it's about.

The way I deal with it...I don't give in on whatever boundary he was testing. I offer a cuddle, if he pushes me away I say that I understand that he is upset and I know that it hurts when you can't get what you want. I say that I'm there are ready for a cuddle when he needs it and just sit next to him. Once he's calmed down he has a cuddle then we do something else.

Emotions exploding like that are frightening for toddlers and I think they need support through it rather than punishment. The feelings and terror are real even if the initial reason for it is insignificant in our eyes. That doesn't mean I give in to him, I just support him when he needs it.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/06/2011




you don't necessarily need to discipline him for having a tantrum..you can avoid them by teaching them that they don't work

When he has a tantrum it is for attention or to get what he wants...so instead of feeding the bad behaviour..ignore it

If it is because he wants something..tell him what to say to get what he wants( age appropriate..dont expect full sentences)

Maureen - posted on 03/28/2011




He is of the age the communicating is hard. All my kids reacted when the baby was getting closer. When my lap was shrinking for them to sit on was the start of them acting out. I am also due in July with my fourth. The youngest will be three in May. Getting them in a quiet spot to calm them down helps a lot. I even sit with him or am close by so if they try to leave you quickly put them back down. After the 2 min then we calmly talk. I acknowledge that they are frustrated but this is how to respond correctly. All my kids went through this phase at 18 months. It is normal and patience on your part. THe first two weren't bad at two but three's were a challenge. The youngest I hope will have a easier time being three. Just love on him and tell him that he is a big boy and here are ways that are ok to act. I tend to focus on the positive and not the negative. Good luck.

Louise - posted on 03/28/2011




You are absolutely right most of these tantrums come from him not understanding what you need him to do or wanting to do something but his mind is telling him to do but his body does not have the coordination to do.

Find a quiet area in your house say the bottom step and when he is making a fuss and not listening to you put him on the bottom step for 2 minutes to calm down keep putting him back there if you have to. When the 2 minutes is up go back and talk to him simply and tell him what he did wrong then ask him if he knows why he is on the step. End the chat with a hug. When he steps out of line again warn him that he will have to sit on the naughty step if he continues and then take him there. Again when the 2 minutes is up talk to him about what he has done wrong and end the chat with a hug. If you stay consistant he will know what to expect punishment wise but be quite lenient on him as alot of this is frustration. Help him achieve things before he flips out and has a paddy as much as you can. All the terrible twos is is parents not understanding what is going on with there child and not being able to help them through. I have raised three children and have never had the terrible two's. You just have to think outside the box and think why are they reacting like this and what can i do to help before it gets that far. Good luck with the new baby!


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Victoria - posted on 03/28/2011




Thank you for the words of advice. I've actually tried the quite place/naughty place and it doesn't seem to work. #1 - he doesn't stay and I have to put him back about 100 times! and #2 - he starts throwing an even bigger fit!!! I just feel like when I try to explain to him that his behavior is unacceptable, he doesn't get it at all - like it doesn't even phase him! We just got back from a doctor's appointment for my husband, and of course while my husband was in getting a test done, my son thought it was perfect time to begin throwing a fit! I wanted to crawl under the table and hide! It was all over because he wanted to start exploring and he couldn't! So when I told him to stay in the area, it all went downhill from there. Then I tried putting him in his stroller with some snacks - no go! Then I tried reading to him, singing, playing a game - nothing worked! So then I took him out and sat him on a chair in "time-out" That made him go even more bizerk! When things are going his way, he's an angel! As something upsets him - it's all over! This is just so new to me because I have never seen him act this way. This new behavior just started within the week and it's making me a nervous wreck!

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