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Dealing with Major Tantrums

  • My 2 year old is really living up to the Terrible Twos. Every little thing sets him off and he just freaks out, kicks, screams, hits, bites and throws everything within reach. He´s broken many of his cars and toys. Changing his diaper and bedtime are the worst, but literally anything will cause a tantrum. We´ve tried time outs, hugs and ignoring him. He gets completely hysterical and starts banging his head against things!

    Any tips would be VERY welcome . . . I have no idea how to deal with this. When he´s not having a tantrum, he is the sweetest little boy in the world, but those moments are getting awfully rare these days.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Genesis on 26th January 2008
  • That must be really hard on you and it seems like it's hard on your little guy too.

    There is a book called 1-2-3 magic parenting Effective parenting for 2 -12 yr olds.

    I hear it's pretty good and an award winning book. Try

    I can only tell you what I did at the start of 22 months. When my son would get out of line I put him on the step. We have a pass through so I could keep on eye on him from the back. At first he would get up and resist. I would continue to put him on the step until he sat. Believe it or not I picked that up from watching the "supper nanny". Her methods work. I always got down to his level looked him in the eye and spoke to him calmly and explained why he was on the step. At the end of his time out I told him I loved him and we would hug. Before getting up he needed to apologize for his behavior.

    They always say a child wants and likes when you to say things like " I understand you are upset becasue of so and so" . They need to feel understood(don't we all) and they will calm down. I tried it a few times and it has worked.

    Also, talk to your pediatrician because sometimes they have some good words of wisdom.

    Best of luck!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 26th January 2008
  • There's another post similar to this somewhere around here so I won't repeat what others have to say. I just want to remind you that it will pass. It will, seriously, so don't cringe when you read that ;).
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mandy Nelson - Dandysound on 26th January 2008
  • Please, keep the tips coming on this subject. I'm gonna need all the help I can get. I just know my 15-mo will put me through hell too when she gets a bit older. I can feel it coming!! She's already so freaking cranky about being messed with: hates being dressed and undressed, hates diaper changes, ugh. I should probably get that book you mentioned, mo2ls.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 26th January 2008
  • I´m going to see if I can find that book! The problem is that I live in Guatemala, so it´s tough to find stuff like that sometimes. :P

    I´ve seen some nanny shows in Spanish and the techniques look good, but trying to make my son sit in one place is basically an exercise in futility. He just gets madder. Usually what I do is put him in his room for a couple of minutes, then I go in and say, "Are you calm enough to come out?" He says yes and stops crying, but ten minutes later he is flipping out again.

    We do try to talk to him, though he is in no mood to listen when he´s having a tantrum! I say something like, "I know you´re frustrated because your truck is broken, but that doesn´t mean you can hit your brother." Not sure if it helps.

    Thanks for the advice, keep it coming!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Genesis on 26th January 2008
  • Try to find the book. It may be easier for you to get it that way.

    Also - the step method...chair...bench what ever works. Time outs should last according to their age. If he is 2 then it's two mintues, 3 then 3 mintues etc.. At 22 months I did 1/2 minute to a minute.

    I know it is hard and sometimes we can't always be calm - trust me - I am not always calm. My voice reach a high level when I have had it.

    Now when I say "B do you want to sit on the step - it's a choice you can make." He'll say no mommy. Then is he acts up shortly after I count to 3 and by 3 he cools it. I have a feeling my daughter may be a little tougher. She's a feisty little thing.

    Someimes I have thoughts of him at his wedding saying "mom - I really hated

    that step and I want to live in a ranch for the rest of my life" But it's working for me now and maybe he'll end up thanking me....yeah right.

    It's what works for you...I think every child is different and may be a little trial and error to find a method that works for you. All we can as moms is try our best and I am sure you are.

    Good luck!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 26th January 2008
  • My youngest just turned 3 and she has entered the world of throwing some amazing fits. I am at a complete loss and she is the youngest of five! I just remind myself to breath and tell myself this will pass... hopefully soon.

    Grandma recommended doing what she did with my uncle (he was a head banger too!)... she would get down on the floor, kind of over him and throw the fit with him. For whatever reason it helped stop it. I guess he didn't think it was so much fun when Mom joined in.

    Just turn the iPod up and walk away. Usually they don't hurt themselves. If he is hurting himself... intervention is necessary... whatever it takes.

    Right now... I'm stocking up on wine, at this rate I won't need a glass, just give me a freakin straw!

    Know you are not alone. I screamed at her the other morning. And I am not a yeller. After 30 minutes of tears and screaming over nothing.... I was all "SHUSH IT!!!!!!!!!!!"... I may have actually used the banned words in my house, "SHUT IT". I can't quite recall. It was a really tough morning.

    But hey, we are both still alive, so it could've been worse!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yes, Mommy has to work today on 28th January 2008
  • My 3-year-old doesn't have fits that often, but when she does I can pretend to cry and it snaps her right out of it. My 15-month old, though -- my god, he just carefully lays himself down on the floor and then goes to town... thrashing, shrieking, the whole 9 yards. I tell him that he can have his fit where it's safe and, when he's done, I'll be here.

    My oldest, who is 14 now, was a champion fit-thrower when she was little. She's still combative at times, but she and I have a system... i tell her to go to her room, that's she's not in trouble but she obviously needs some space, and to come out when she feels she's able to discuss things calmly and respectfully. And she does. And she's usually fine within about 10 minutes...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 28th January 2008
  • My 16 month old already arches his back whenever we try to put him in his high chair for dinner (for some reason, that's the meal of resistance) ... he's also quite fond of saying "nonononono" and pushing things out of the way that he doesn't want. The tantrums are coming, I can just feel it!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Justine on 1st February 2008
  • These tips are pretty much in line what me and my DH are trying with my 17 month old son. When he first started banging his head on the floor he was about 11 months old. I really had no idea what to do. I know you aren't supposed to freak out yourself or that encourages the behavior, it gives them the attention they want. We have already started the step time out too. I heard (on super nanny) that you shouldn't do that where they also play, like a favorite chair.

    He gets even madder, and starts to push himself on the floor when we try the time out. The last time he had a fit we just kept putting him back up on the step and finally he stayed there, just kept crying. It does take a while for him to calm down, and each time he sees us looking at him he starts crying again.

    In a way, I think it may be that we are not just conditioning them to stop the bad behavior, but also conditioning ourselves so that we react the proper way to the outbursts!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by asoulm8 on 7th April 2008

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