temper tantrams, what should i do?

lisacaSeptember 7, 2005

HI!I am new to this forum and I'm hoping to get some advice on what to do with my 2 yr old son when he throws his tantrums , which is usually several times a day. I have 2 older children ages 16 and 14 and I know its been awhile but I dont ever recall them behaving like this. Whenever you tell him no or take something away he will throw the closest thing in site and hit you and throw himself down. This has been going on for some time. At first everyone was like "how cute, he has a little temper" now its getting old and lots of people are very annoyed by his behavior. My mom and sister say I dont do enough to let him no its not okay. I usally ignore it but they say I'm not teaching him right from wrong. They say he is old enough to understand and that he could use a good spat on the bottom. I dont believe I should be hitting him to teach him not to hit. Is this normal behavior? I was hoping this was just a passing phase but its been going on for sometime now and seems to be getting worse. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this type of behavior?

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My dd is almost two. She throws better tantrums than her brothers did. I think it's a birth order thing. We usually just try to walk away and don't watch. The kids do it because they get attention. Another tactic has been to videotape the tantrums and play it back on the tv. The kids really hate that.

I find that spankings work at times and sometimes they don't. Punishments work better if they are designed specifically for each child...usually whatever they hate the most. I have one child who reacts better to being stuck in another room where he can't be seen. It makes him mad, but he's a lot more cooperative when he comes out. I haven't found a good punishment for dd yet.

I'm also finding that I have a harder time with disipline when we're out in public. If my child throws a fit at the post office or store or wherever, some well meaning person will reward the misbehavior with attention, candy, or a sticker. It counteracts and aggrevates any form of immediate punishment, I might have. Kids at this age have forgotten their misbehavior by the time they get home.

Anyway, I don't have a lot of advice on the situation other than to do what you're already doing. At some point they'll get older and quit doing it or move on to something even more annoying.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 11:07AM
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A photo of the scene is good....even for older children having the pouts...
What worked for me was to walk out of the room and say very loudly..."When you are through acting up, come see me and I'll give you a hug...It's hard to hug you when you are acting like this"...you must say it loudly to be heard over the screams!...The tantrums got shorter in length and gradually stopped when I reminded them they were acting like strange monsters!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 6:14PM
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My 22mo is also quick to throw a tantrum when told no.
He'll try to throw whatever it is he has or if we get it away from him quickly enough he will actively (and in a rage) look for something to throw, hit kick or push. I pity the poor dog that happens to be standing near him.
We do not leave the room when he acts like that because that child has a wickidly good arm and aim. If we catch him before the throw or hit and can fend it off somehow before it manifests, we will let him have his fit (hey, he's angry how else is he supposed to react at 22mo), stick to our guns and then when he's done, tell him - 'hey, I understand - it's frustrating but....' and follow up w/ a hug and something pleasant.

If he gets a throw or hit in then he gets spoken to in a firm, raised (sometimes yelled at) voice and taken to his time out step and we go back to what we were doing but w/o him.

Every now and then when his arm is raised to throw or hit we can quickly get in 'think about what you're doing' and he will lower his arm and just cry. Then he gets praised for thinking about it and a hug and we do something fun. (We do still tell him that whatever he was originally doing that required the 'no' is still wrong though.)
This happening is few and far between but is getting better so obviously there is a thought process that he is learning.

I don't care what people in public think or say. If they offer him something in the middle of a tantrum (what I feel for myself is not to be confused w/ a meltdown due to hunger or sleepiness - a situation that I may have inadvertantly created & is not his fault) then I will take what they are offering him and explain to him that he is more than welcome to have whatever it is once he cooperates, settles down and does what he is told. And I will not hesitate to not give it to him if he continues.

If he is being offered something because of an emotional meltdown or overload I will let him have it w/o a problem.

And public be darned when it comes to disciplining him in public! I'll find a spot for a time out. My mom nearly fell over (from pride) one day while at Wal-Mart (where she works - we were there so she could show us off) and DS acted up at the registers on a busy Saturday afternoon. He was immediately whisked to the nearest wall (in front of everybody at the checkout) and made to sit on the floor in time out for 1 minute. People were surely looking in amazement. I flipped through a magazine for that 1 minute and then got down on his level - briefly spoke to him about what he did wrong, we gave a hug and kiss and went on our way.
A few weeks later my mom told me that her co-workers were so impressed that we actually took action immediately because they see so many parents do nothing solely because they are in public and their children are just monsters!

I've actually had his babysitter have someone come watch her son while she took her daughter and my son to sign settlement papers because she knew that she could count on my son behaving in public and if he didn't that he would at least immediately listen when told.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 12:00PM
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Tantrums in public. I would remove her to the car for an age appropriate time-out.

At home, it was a toy timeout for the rest of the day. "This behaviour is unacceptable. Your xxx is going in the top of the closet for the rest of the day." (yes big words, but she understood it). Then put it away while she watched, and walk away. Couple of days of this and she quit the behaviour.

It reoccurred from time to time, and it always seemed to be something she'd pick up at preschool periodically and come home and try it on us :-) When Tantrum behaviour would come up, I would focus on that behavior, and really let other things pass since at that age, it was hard to call her down on every little misbehaviour. I focused 100% for 2 or 3 days on just the tantrums, sticking to the punishment and repeating that "XXX is in timeout because of the yelling and screaming today" as the toy went into the closet.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 12:42PM
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Thanks for everybodys suggestions. I've started the time out thing and it seems to be helping. He seems to be thinking of consequences before his bad behavior escalates. This is a very trying age. They get better only to get worse at 15. My daughter is now 16 and thats a whole different story. LOL!
Thanks again, Lisa

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 1:37PM
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I am a Behavior Specialist and you are doing fine. Don't listen to your Mom and your sister. The function of tantrums is to gain your attention. The worst thing you can do is provide it. Simply say, let me know when you are ready to use your words and walk away. They may up the ante at first, but if you stay strong they will realize this is a lot of effort for no gain. Of course always be sure they are in an area where they cannot get hurt. Walking away in a parking lot or getting out of view in a store isn't a good idea. Good luck. Follow your instincts. They are usually right.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 3:48PM
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