What can I do about temper tatums?

Robin - posted on 02/19/2010 ( 7 moms have responded )

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my daughter seems to have already entered the terrible twos! She's only 19 months old and will through tempers tatums that aree so bad she will bang her head on the floor. She does get over them but it's kind of scary for me. Is there anything I can do to help her calm down?

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Robin - posted on 02/21/2010

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Thanks for all the helpful advise everyone! we are trying all of it and it all seems to help. She still has temper tatums but not nearly so offtin or for very long.

Bri - posted on 02/21/2010

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Robin:

Many of the suggestions given I agree with as we too would walk away from our daughter when she would start a nasty tantrum or (also watched supernanny) do the time out and keep putting her back in the time out.

Something else to consider is figuring out WHY she's throwing the tantrums and are you giving her tools that she can use instead of tantrum. I picked up a book titled Raising Your Spirited Child at a used bookstore... and much of what I read applies even if your child doesn't fit the definition of "spirited". For example- are there specific times of the day that the tantrums happen? Or are they before or after specific/types of activities? Our daughter has a hard time transitioning from one activity to the next- you can't just say "ok, do this now" or we'd end up with a tantrum. Once we figured out that characteristic, we read some of the books suggestions about how to help her transition... in her case, touching her to get her attention, letting her know she had X minutes to finish what she was doing and what we wanted her to do next... and then we rarely had a tantrum.

Now, don't get me wrong- there wasn't this miracle and she suddenly stopped having the tantrums but we saw a several hundred % decrease in both quantity and volume/length of her tantrums. There were some other characteristics we figured out and common circumstances when the tantrums most frequently happened and that helped us figure out what schedule adjustments, etc.

AND, make sure you're always giving her words to match the actions and emotions. Until we teach them, they don't know what "mad" or "frustrated" is and at least giving her words allows her to express herself in a manner other than banging on the floor. The spirited book also gave some great suggestions about coaching the children with different coping techniques that were easier on mom and dad (going to her room and counting to 10, etc.) And it also caused my husband and I to realize that giving her words and coping techniques now will set her up to be more successful in the future- to know how to handle her anger and frustration in ways other than screaming at the other person or other unproductive means.

Certainly found it easier to be proactive rather than reactive. We still have occasional tantrums but they are few and far between and usually when it's over and we evaluate the whole situation, we realize it was something that could have been avoided- that we forgot to help with a transition, that we let things get a little too busy in our lives and skipped "down" time or simply too much stimulation.

Oh, and don't forget to include child care providers, in-laws, etc. in the new techniques "hey mom, just letting you know that we've been working on transitions with Mary and are seeing less tantrums because of it. If you'd help us keep her consistent, we sure would appreciate it.... here's how it works- When you're ready to move to a new activity, do X, Y, Z."

Hope that helps!

Sharon - posted on 02/21/2010

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My 3 year old had horrendous tantrums from around 18 months. After trying lots of different techniques, I found the best thing was to just leave her to the tantrum (even by leaving the room). She might scream for 30 minutes - you couldn't try and speak to her in the middle of them because she'd just go crazy: hitting, screaming, biting, etc (when I was pregnant again she used to try and kick me in the bump!). When it sounded like she was calming down I'd go in and ask if she wanted a cuddle. She might start screaming again but after another few minutes she'd usually come and ask me for a cuddle herself and to say sorry. She still has tantrums but maybe only a couple a week rather than up to 10 a day! I'm really hoping that her baby brother is less of a rager. Now that she's a bit older if she is really naughty, after she has calmed down, I tell her I'm going to remove one of her teddies (I know it sounds horrible but I never take a favourite one) and she has to try to earn it back by bedtime by being good. This has really worked well.

Claire - posted on 02/20/2010

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Ignore her. Our 2 1/2 year old daughter goes to the corner (sometimes carried there when she's really screaming), and stays there for 2-5 minutes depending on what she did. I go about what I was doing. She calms down and does her apologies when she's allowed out of the corner.
The worst part -- and the funniest -- is when her 16 month old brother goes to play with toys just out of her reach. I think sometimes he enjoys gloating.

Lorie - posted on 02/20/2010

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Welcome to my world, my son is the same age and does the samething.

I have a "naughty mat" and when he is freaking out, not listening,hitting etc... I ask him if he needs to go on the "naughty mat" and if he keeps doing it i put him there for 1 1/2 mins. If he gets up and walks over to us I put him right back in without saying anything and the time starts all over again. I would say after 2-3 days of that he got the picture.

I saw the "supernanny" doing this.

Oh and you have to put them somehwere where they are away from all the toys,people and anything interesting to them.

good luck

Charity - posted on 02/19/2010

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I agree with Kathleen, but my oldest Merlyn used to beat the crap out of me. So I learned how to restrain him. After he stopped beating me during his temper tantrums, he decided to hit, bite and scratch himself during his temper tantrums. So I again had to learn how to restrain his whole body so he would learn to just cry it out. He didn't stop head butting things until he put some rocks in the grass, and we told him to put htem back in the walkway, he then decided to sit on the grass and butt his head on the ground because he didn't want to do it. Well, he ended up head butting the ricks, and when he lifted his head there were these little rocks stuck to his forehead. He didn't break the skin or anything, so I felt bad, but at the same time it was hilarious. He finally had learned to just cry it out. Now he's 6 years old, and sometimes he throws a fit, but usually he just lays down and cries. He has learned to control his anger much better. I honestly don't think that you'll have to go through all of that though. She probably just doesn't realize she can cry out her feelings yet, without getting physical. Good Luck, and keep up the good work!

Kathleen - posted on 02/19/2010

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WALK AWAY! Tantrums are useless without an audience. When she gets a bit more calm try distracting her from whatever she is upset about. With an older child you can use a bit of reason and consequence but at 18 months they have to learn that you will not be swayed by the tantrum. They need to see that you only react to calm requests (well at least not screaming requests). Good Luck!

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