Tactics for dealing with toddler frustration and possessiveness

(6 Posts)
Bubbinsmakesthree Wed 13-Apr-16 08:50:16

My 21mo DS is what you might call 'expressive' - his language isn't particularly advanced but he leaves you in no doubt about his emotions - he's usually the one stood in the middle dancing and shrieking with delight at song time. But equally he gets very frustrated and possessive over toys and doesn't hold back - he will scream, shake and wail if another child has a toy he wants. Because he is so dramatic other mums tend to leap to give him the toy. He is similar over other issues like waiting for snacks or getting frustrated by toys.

I know this is basically normal toddler behaviour but I'd be really grateful for tips to deal with it effectively. I am worried that when he gets his way after getting hysterical it just reinforces the behaviour, but on the other hand it's his way of telling me what he wants? Advice please!

MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 10:05:13

It's typical when language isn't quite in yet. Does he have any words yet?

Bubbinsmakesthree Wed 13-Apr-16 10:28:16

He has lots of nouns and is just at the cusp of stringing two words together so can communicate basic wants (a book, a snack, to be put down etc).

I know it's a phase to be expected (although observing other toddlers I rarely see any quite as vocal about it as DS!) but just want to respond to it the right way.

MattDillonsPants Wed 13-Apr-16 10:58:09

I think you will need to be very firm and very routine about it. If he screams and shakes and wails over a toy for instance, then remove him from that area. Pick him up if he won't walk.

Say firmly "No. Tom has the doll. It's Tom's turn." or whatever it is that's caused him to be angry.

If he cannot calm, then take him home. It's boring and sometimes embarrassing but it has to be done otherwise, before you know it, they're 4 and still having tantrums and people aren't so nice about giving things to them and putting up with it then. smile

Hithere1982 Wed 13-Apr-16 12:51:42

I have a son the same age who is similar although I find him worse when he's tired. I do encourage turn taking but I always keep in mind that this is something they won't really understand until they're older, so don't panic if he doesn't get the idea! I tend to briefly explain, something like 'wait your turn', or 'the ball belongs to the other boy' etc and pick him up and distract him with something else. He tends to calm down quickly once I've removed him from the situation and he goes off and plays with something else. Occasionally we get melt-down after melt-down and that's the time to go home and put him to bed! The other thing I've started to encourage is sharing when he's not already wound up. So for example, asking him to give a toy to another child or to give his brother one of the grapes he's eating. When he gives the object to the other person, which is often quite reluctantly (!!), I make a little fuss of him and say well done, good sharing. I hope this helps.

Bubbinsmakesthree Wed 13-Apr-16 17:16:57

Practicing in less stressful situations is a really good idea, I will try that.

MattDillon my current approach is more gentle than firm. I tend to go with 'reassure and distract' - eg "that boy is playing with the ball now, but that's OK, you don't need to be sad, let's find you a different one". He really seems to be genuinely upset so my natural reaction is to comfort but I don't know if I'm just reinforcing the behaviour?

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