14 month old throwing huge tantrums

munkosAugust 8, 2007

So, I am not a parent, but a sitter. However, I have been around since this little rugrat was concieved and his mother is my cousin. We are both at a loss with what to do with him.

He throws real live hardcore tantrums. Over everything. If his hitting the other little one (or the cats/dogs) with a toy and take it away he will promptly throw himself face first on the floor and scream and kick and hollar, and throw things and if he decideds to throw a fit when you're holding him he will hit, and kick and punch and occasionally bite.

He's been doing this since he was about 11 months old. I generally try to just walk away but occasionally he's not in a spot where he's safe to throw his fit, like if he's around the fire place, or coffee table. I worry that he's going to injure himself. He also holds his breath when he's upset, he has since day one. He will go right blue and purple and often you have to jiggle him or blow in his nose to get him to take a breath.

I know ignoring it is supposed to work, but with him it just makes it worse sometimes, or he gets too upset to just leave be. I'll never give him back what I've taken away, or allow the behaviour that got him in trouble in the first place, but I will pick him up if I feel he is in danger or just way too upset.

Also lately he's been pitching forward onto the top of his head and then trying to get his feet off the floor, when he's upset. He puts all the weight on his neck and it scares me that he's going to get really hurt.

But how do you stop these tantrums?? I've watched a lot of children his age, and these are extreme in my experience. And it doesn't take much to set one off.

He understands no, and no hitting, and things like that. On a good day he will comply with the rules and stop hitting if he's told no, or whatever. But most days he'll keep the behaviour up until something gets taken away or he gets removed from the situation and then watch out.

He also does things like following the cat around grabbing her tail and laughing hysterically as she cries and attempts to get away. He hits the dogs all the time. No is still funny, yelling just gets a blank stare, the best thing I've found is to remove him from whatever he is doing and hold him in my lap until he cries and then calms down. Kind of a mini-baby time out.

He's a great, great eater. When he's being good, he's REALLY good. He plays well with me, by himself, with other kids. He's very smart and vocal, rarely asks to be picked up, infact he'd rather not be picked up and he naps well. He's either on one extreme or the other, though.

From my sitting experience, he's exhibiting behaviour most kids don't start until 2+ and therefore doesn't understand any punishment or consequences that come with it like most kids would, when they start this behaviour.

So I'm asking for advice not only for myself, but for his mother - And also in concern for his saftey, and our sanity!

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Vickey__MN

Personally, I think he has you trained very well to respond to him when he is angry. He is old enough for time outs. 2 minutes max..and he has to stay in the naughty spot. Doesn't have to sit quietly, but has to sit there. Naughty spot is safe.

Holding his breath...let him. He found the longer he holds it, you'll come running. He'll take a breath soon enough. Yes he'll turn purple a few times, may even faint (and then he'll automatically breathe). BUT, IGNORE THE BEHAVIOR. What fun is a tantrum if you don't have an audience? It's not.

He won't hurt himself more than once usually. My youngest threw a good hissy fit...slammed her head onto the floor, it made a good KLUNK. Next time she slammed her head...to within an inch of the floor, then gently placed her head on the floor. She still had the tantrum, but learned that it hurt to KLUNK your head on the floor so she just placed it on the floor.

Some kids are GOOD at tantrums. Leave the room, it's the best way to ignore them. He will quit when he realizes he has no audience.

As far as hurting the animals, kids that age don't always understand what they're doing is hurting, he just knows that pulling the cats tail makes her meow...cause and effect. So he needs a cause and effect. Pull cats tail, she meows, he goes in naughty corner. Don't like naught corner, don't pull cats tail.

Yes he's doing the "terrible two" stuff. Just because it's called Terrible Two's doesn't mean they only exhibit it at two, it starts earlier for some, later for others.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 5:37PM
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munkos

Thanks for the advice.

He however does not care if he hurts himself. It just makes his fit bigger and stronger, and he will still do it the next time. Which is the problem, as I said I generally try to walk away and ignore it but his saftey IS at risk because he pays no mind to whats in front of him when he throws his fit. Coffee table, fireplace ledge, banister railings, sliding doors, etc, etc, etc. You get the point. If he's in the middle of the floor with nothing unsafe infront of him, by all means wail away, and Ill leave the room.

If he were my own child, I would probably be more willing to allow him to throw his fit and possibly injure himself a little more than he has, and turn purple and faint, but I'm pretty sure no one pays their childcare worker to let their kids get that upset when they're in their care, family or not.

Walking away out of the room has not done anything but increase the strength and length of his fits slowly over time, for the last 3 months. When he gets really bad I place him in his playpen where I know he can safely throw his fit for how ever long he needs to, but his mother prefers if I don't use that method often, so I can't make it a regular thing.

I however do not talk to him, look at him or direct any attention towards him when I stay in the room. Unless I notice he's getting too upset or hurting himself.

Like I said, it works to pick him up and place him in my lap and hold him still. He freaks out since he dislikes being held unless he's tired, or hurt, then he eventually calms down and I let him back down to play and he'll be good again for a while.

Also, I know terrible twos isn't reserved soley for two year olds, I was just meaning that in my personal experience with 10+ kids his age, this type of tantrum combined with his generally violent nature (the hitting, kicking and pinching/biting when he's angered in the slightest) hasn't been seen in most kids until they're 2 or older. I've seen the tantrums, and the hitting, but not this extreme and not so put together. Thats all I meant.

Thanks again though, for your input.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 8:03PM
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lindac

There's something else going on here.....seek professional help. Tantrums are not unusual...but he sounds like his are over the top.
If what you are telling us is true, you need to get someone else to listen and then have him evaluated. That is not normal bratty behavior.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:06PM
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munkos

Linda, I am starting to wonder if that is the case.

He also has other little weird behaviours, like dispising having his hands touched. Lining things up, getting frustrated if someone puts the toys in the bucket in the wrong order. Doesn't like to be held very often. He's very smart for his age as well. He tells me when he's hungry, needs to be changed, tired, etc etc. He's very good at communicating his needs.

I'm almost starting to wonder if he is maybe starting to show some signs of autism,(the touch thing, lining things up, needing order) however, I don't know if the tantrums would have anything to do with that??

How do you tell a first time mother that you think her child may need to be evaluated, though??

I may wait until his next doctors appointment, she generally tries to book them so I can go with her, considering I spend more awake time with him than she does she likes me to know what the doctor has to say, and be able to express any concerns I have with him, so maybe I will bring it up then, so the doctor can either reassure us that he's fine, or be the one to say something may be up with her baby.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 12:26PM
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lindac

Absolutely!...Get him help...even if it is just a behavior problem, you will be relieved to know you checked it out.
I have an autistic grand son...his mother suspected something was wrong very early on but the Dr's Phoo-phooed that...until finally she really insisted and got into University pediatric clinics and he was diagnosed. By shortly after his 3rd birthday he was in special ed classed for a normal length school day....he improved dramatically.
You MUST consult with his moteher....she is your cousin. This won't get better without help of some sort. I have a friend who kept following blind alleys with her autistic son because she couldn't face what really was wrong, finally when he was about 16 it just became too dangerous for him to be in the house....she couldn't physically handle him and put him into an institution. He does much much better with everything predictable and regimented.
Tantrums often go with autism...because of the frustration....And there maybe an additional problem as well.
Tell his mother that you suspect there is something more than just bratty behavior and she really needs to see about getting him help..."getting him help" is the operative phrase....because he can't help the way he's acting.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 2:48PM
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