2yr old tantrums and random screaming...what should I do?

Irene - posted on 07/14/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 2 year old throws tantrums that my 4 yr old never did. She lashes out at the older child and screams when she doesn't get her way. She is also very clingy and makes it impossible for me to do anything when we get home in the evenings. What can I do?

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Deborah - posted on 07/14/2010

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not sure about the clingyness, but my daughter can throw tantrums that make other kids tantrums look like they're angels.



I tend to just ignore her, I will sit down at her level once and say in a calm voice tell me what is wrong so I can help you. If that doesn't work I walk away or put her in a cooldown area until she has calmed down. After that I get her to tell me what set her off, and what she can do next time. IE she got annoyed because the crayon wouldn't draw, I explain that it needs sharpened and that if she'd asked I would have sharpened it for her. Once I have sharpened it and handed her it back I say now if you'd only asked that in the first place you could have been colouring in instead of sitting on the steps etc.



At 2 though its hard because she's probably not talking well. Try to find out if something is frustrating her, if she's playing with the 4 year old its possible she's trying to copy something he/she does and isn't fit to which is annoying her... is it a common toy, a certain time, are you doing each time?



If its because she doesn't want to share explain that people take turns etc, try to think like a 2 year old and find out what is winding her up and why, and explain why whatever is happening needs to be done... I can't play with you now I need to cook dinner, but we'll play after. Or your brother/sister is playing with that now, its his turn, you can have a turn in 5 minutes (make sure you follow this through though and always play after dinner or make the older sibling hand the toy over)



Tantrums are usually caused by frustration at which a child doesn't know or can't express themselves, but you need to teach them that it isn't acceptable behaviour.



Nothing is going to be an instant cure, this is changing behaviour that is natural in a child, they will outgrow it with your guidance and their own maturity. But always make sure that you explain that the behaviour isn't acceptable and do not reward them for it. (reward can be any prolonged reaction - either remove everyone in the room, or remove the child from the room (assuming that she will be safe etc) No audience = no reward.



I offer my child 1 chance to snap out of it before I take action, and I always tell her why I left or why I put her out so she knows what she done wrong and that it was wrong in the first place...



Some say hold the child until she calms down, others say ignore completely. Find out what works for your child.



Luckily a few months on the tantrums are few and far between now... good luck, and perservere on.

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