tantrums and screaming fits

Erin - posted on 12/17/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have a son is going to be 2 years old at the end of December. He is a very well behaved child and listens, most of the time. He understands what we are saying to him, he can communicate back, and ask for things he wants. But here in the last 3 months he has started having tantrums anywhere and everywhere and they are over anything and everything. He will start screaming extremely loud and throwing himself down or trying to get out of the stroller or cart. He does this at home too. Now when he gets mad he will stiffen up and just scream and scream. He does cry during these fits, but it's not the "I'm hurting or upset cry," it's the "I'm mad" cry. We don't know what to do for him. We have tried time outs on a naughty couch and he responded well to it for awhile. I ignore his tantrums as long as he is not going to hurt himself and he is having them some place safe and most of the time it stops. They seem to be getting worse, He is our only child and we would like to know how to deal with these and go about handling him during these fits, whether they are at home or in public. Please be nice and only give advice that will help or things that you have done to deal with similar situations. Thank you.

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Iysha - posted on 12/19/2010

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My daughter hasnt had a huge fit in public but boy can she scream at home!!! i just leave her screaming and it stops after a while. I let the people that watch her know not to panic if he is throwing a tantrum, just to ignore her and watch tv, cook, clean, whatever, but not pay attention to her until she is calm. So that is what we do. My dad used to drop everything and take me to the car if i was having a public fit and ust sit me in my car seat and say that we werent going anywhere if I didnt stop. Apparently, according to him and my mom, it worked well. I plan on doing that too.

Sarah - posted on 12/19/2010

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Welcome to the 2's :). Keep doing what you are doing. Ignoring when at all possible is the best. The tantrums are for attention and to try to get their way. If you give no attention and don't give in they figure out that it does not work. But that does not mean they won't keep trying it the next time they want something. Part of it is just being their age. They are just learning how to control their emotions and at 2 the world is suppose to revolve around them, so when it does not they get upset. What we would do with our kids when we were in public and they were throwing a fit if it was possible either myself or my husband would take them out to the car and put them in their carseat and let them throw their fit. After awhile I would ask if they were ready to go back in (if we were still there) then I would explain how I expected them to act if we went back in. Not always was it possible to take them to the car for the tantrum, so there were times that I was that mom with that screaming child in the cart trying to get my things done. Just ignore the crying and screaming and finish getting the things you needed. Sometimes I found that our shopping trips would go easier if I tried to include them in the process....having them help me get things. I have this rule that if time allows you can walk instead of ride in the cart or stroller, BUT you must be good and hold onto the cart/stroller/hand. If you did not do both of those things then you went into the stroller or cart and that was it. When out in public also know their limits. Try not to go during naptime, pay attention to food times and stop for food if it is meal time, and know how long you can be out before they are just tired and worn out (for my kids this was about 2 hrs and then we would be garanteed a melt down). Good news is that this stage does pass. I also do daycare and find that at 2 they are having many tantrums and lots of time outs, but by time they hit 3 the tantrums are MUCH less and the time outs are also. Big thing is to be consistant.

Tricia - posted on 12/17/2010

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Usually ignoring works best along with never, ever giving in to his demands once he starts a tantrum. It sounds like your son is very smart and very determined so this is extra important. I have read (although I personally haven't tried) that when a child is having a tantrum if you splash a bit of water in their face it will help them get control by surprising them and breaking the hysteria. Maybe worth a try at some point...

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