are the awful tantrums normal in my 2 year old. at wits end

(25 Posts)
NessaWH123 Mon 25-May-15 21:47:22

My little one has always been 'spirited' and never really been chilled. Now at the age of two he has hit new limits. He is a very strong minded and determined child who is often quite angry. He tantrums about everything. Todsy for example he tantrumed because he didnt wsnt to get his shoes, didnt esnt ti get in the car. Screamed around the garden centre becsuse we wouldnt get him a book he saw and wanted, then continued as he didnt want to eat his lunch there. He went to play in an area fir chikdten next to the cafe snd just snatched, hit and shouted at the others so had to leave,then started again because after petting the plastic charity dog for 5 mins we told him to say goodbye as we needed to leave...it goes on like this alot and we ususlly leave most places carrying him under our arms screaming and swinging around. We do all the usual with distraction, staying calm, time out and when needed time in but dontfeel i am getting it right. Im so embarrsssed by him snd dont know what to do next. Is this normsl as he seems so extreme and soooo loud with it? Ladt weekhe was so bad he was physically sick! Does it improve? When? Could there be more wrong with him? He gets so angry so often x

AndThisIsTrue Tue 26-May-15 08:11:17

I have a 2 year old as well. Some things we do that seem to help are -
Realising what things trigger a tantrum, quite often its getting ready to leave the house/leave soft play it whatever. Give him plenty of warnings of what's going to happen eg. "we are going on the bus to the shops after lunch/infive minutes/putting shoes on in 2 minutes"
-he is allowed to take a toy out with him, nothing big just a toy car or a small teddy or something so he picks that which distracts him for having a meltdown before we leave or pick a bedtime story usually stops his bedtime drama.

Have you noticed anything in particular that sets him off? My DS definitely has trouble with transitions, even from when he was really little he can only cope with doing one or two things a day so no running several errands in one day or letting him out the buggy then putting him back more than a couple of times. I think I read about that on here and as soon as I realised and started working round it/giving him warnings of what was about to happen it made a huge difference.
It is hard work though!

TheVeryHungryPreggo Tue 26-May-15 08:47:38

No real advice but my DS is 2.8 and in the last 3 weeks has suddenly transitioned from charming happy child to ball of screaming rage. Had to leave parks and the zoo with him tucked under arms etc. I don't know what this is but it's awful. Seems to happen more when we are out or when there are other people around. He was a total terror the first night and morning my mum came to stay last week and then his normal charming self in between. But I've never seen him so angry with me to the point where he was looking for objects to throw at me and hitting me whenever he got a chance. DH took over bedtime then (as I'm 38 weeks pregnant and can't lift DS anymore) but it's only a one-level flat and there's nowhere to get away from the screaming and hitting let alone in front of guests.

I don't know what the triggers are, just that being around other people makes it much worse!

MiaowTheCat Tue 26-May-15 11:39:57

Yep - normal. My eldest was relatively OK in the early-twos, leading me to think I'd got away with it (I think that as she was very verbal she didn't get the tantrums of lack of communication frustraton that can kick in so we skipped that part of it)... bloody hell - about 2 years 8 months and hell unleashed and her temper was absolutely terrifying.

She's 3 and a bit now and coming out of the other end of the worst of the utter outrage - we're still working on the stroppy boundary pushing bit though.

Her younger sister's hit the tantrums earlier - but she's not a good talker so they're much more overwhelmed at not being able to explain herself ones.

TheVeryHungryPreggo Tue 26-May-15 12:48:12

Thank you MiaowTheCat, you have no idea how much better it feels to hear you have gone through the same thing and out the other side!

I was loving age two until now. The talking and helping and chatting away and being able to have really nice family days out just seemed to have disappeared overnight with some really unpredictable storms setting in and it's good to know it isn't something we are doing wrong - we feel very guilty all of a sudden for making him so unhappy.

NessaWH123 Tue 26-May-15 21:38:16

Andthisistrue thsnks for the advise i always try to give warnings but im not sure he quite understsnds and even when he does hd still kicks off if he dpsent want to stsy/leave somewhere etc. Tried the tsking a toy but despite trying to reason with him to take one only he then tantrums ovet all the toys he wants to take out and book at bed is s battle as he wont settle to pick and read one. He flits between many books trying to find othets to read . today he kicked off because he didnt want breakfast(he hasnt realky eaten in a month now!) Didnt want to get his shoes, didnt want to go out, didnt esnt to take only one book for the car, didnt want lunch, didnt wsnt to hold my hand, wanted to escape out of the front door and was told it wasnt safe, didnt want tea, only wants to drink
milk and was told not till bedtime , didnt want to go in the bath, didnt wsnt to get out of the bath!!!!ahhhhhh. Seriously is this normal?!!!! Its gone on along time now and feels a real battle daily. I dont wsnt to tskr him anywhere as it ends in embaressmentsad good to hear from the others of you who responded to know im not alone... When does this end? Xx

TheVeryHungryPreggo Tue 26-May-15 22:29:42

I don't know Nessa but I hope it ends soon! I've had to do the ten minute walk to and from nursery with a screaming child twice in the last two nursery days - one kickoff was because he didn't want to hold my hand on the way home (it's busy central London, no way is he going free range) and the other because I closed the front door behind us this morning and he only wanted to jump over the threshold and back but not leave the house. I hate having to drag him along the road screaming like a banshee but we have to leave when we have to leave and if it wasn't that, it would be something else like not wanting to wear shoes, not wanting to go to the park, or to go to the shops. Like you say it's hard to bring them anywhere - even for treats sad.

DH is doing bedtime right now - still - because we have had yet another kickoff tonight. I've given up. DH is far better than me at playing Neville Chamberlain to the Little Hitler!

I've never wanted to smack poor DS so badly. I fantasise about it blush and how satisfying it would be to "give him something to REALLY cry about" (in my mother's words from the 80s)... But I haven't because I know it's only frustration and he's only little and I would feel horribly guilty afterwards. But Jesus it's so tempting to want to shock him into behaving when it seems like nothing else is getting through...

NessaWH123 Tue 26-May-15 22:39:44

I know what you mean sometimes i wonder if that sharp shock would get through to them but as you say they are only little x i love the phrase nev chamberlin to little hitler that made me chuckle and sooooo sums my little one up right now aswell. Its so tiring and i feel the days are not much fun at the mo with the constant battles and unpredictable mektdowns! I know what you mean about sometimes having to yake them out as you have to leave the house with the embarressment of the screaming somedays i just want to dig a hole! Xx

NessaWH123 Wed 27-May-15 22:32:30

So today he has basically been like Hitler He is always so very loud in volume happy or sad . he has shouted and demanded akk day with zero patience. At the soft play we went to he was pointing his finger st everyone (children and adults!) Babbling on what he did or didn't want them to do (he has very limited speech still) and after trying to play with others then decided to start smacking and hitting those in his spaceand who ddidn't do what he wanted! He has had numerous melt downs today over many small things including not wanting to eat(that happens every meal) not wanting shoes etc..seriously is this something to be concerned about?! Xx

smicha Thu 28-May-15 10:05:38

I feel your pain! Going through exactly this with 2.8yo DS. Everything is a battle. I feel like I've tried so many things in response to it! What we have found works sometimes is a star chart, so if he gets three stars in a day for good behaviour and doing as we ask he can have a treat at the end of the day... eg an ice lolly, half an hour of Peppa Pig before bed, extra stories, a special trip out somewhere the next day... This does work sometimes, but others he's just completely unpredictable and has recently started this crazy rage of throwing toys round his room and jumping up and down! It makes both me and DH angry and we have to choose which of us is calmest at that point to deal with him as shouting gets us absolutely nowhere, and we know that but sometimes when you're at the end of your tether it's hard to remain calm!

I realise a lot of it is about him having control of the situation, so I have tried giving him choices that seem like real choices, but he still does what I want if that makes sense... but that went well...eg
- Do you want sandwiches cut into squares or triangles?
- Circles

- Would you like ham or cheese?
- tuna grin

I think the magic solution is going to be time... I hope!

BabyGanoush Thu 28-May-15 10:08:35

The magic solution IS time

I did not take my kids out much when they were two.

It's called terrible twos for a reason.

A very regular routine works best for this age, as they then know what to expect.

It gets better!

BabyGanoush Thu 28-May-15 10:10:40

Also, don't ask too many questions, instead tell them:

Here's your lunch (be it tuna/ham)

I see parents offering their tots endless choices and explanations, which never seems to work out!

smicha Thu 28-May-15 10:18:15

Yep, learnt my lesson sharpish with the question thing! It was one of those valuable parenting tips I read online so thought I'd try... He no longer gets an option smile

NessaWH123 Thu 28-May-15 12:31:51

Thanks so much for responding smicha I feel bit better knowing I'm not alone and hope it gets better I will def keep up with the not asking to many questions or choices but that dosent seem to stop him tantruming at the momentsad he is soooo strong willed and determined to do what he wants!! I did try sticker chart thanks I'll try again but he insists the stickers are stuck on him and pulled off the chart with his limited vocab I'm not sure he totally understands yet. Maybe I try again in a few months? Baby ganoush thanks for the advise. Yep prob best to leave to many places at 2 ! As u say just hope he settles as he gets older I just don't see others as bad as him!? Carried him to the park crying today as he didn't want his coat on and then he hit other adults when he was there (mortified) then screamed on the way out of the park as he wanted to walk the other way. Throwing himself on the floor!! I gave him warnings we were leaving but that dosent seem to helpsad is this normal 2 year old behaviour? X

BabyGanoush Thu 28-May-15 19:37:53

it does not sound un-normal to me, if that makes sense.

My oldest DS had terrible tantrums, and was best with a fixed routine: get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, a bit of telly. Then by 10 we were always out of the house, usually the park for an hour (in all weathers) or to the postoffice/shop, something really low key with no hurry.

Then lunch and a NAP until he was about 3. He needed his 2 hour afternoon nap. Then milk or juice, then outside again for at leafs an hour. (we lived in a flat so we went to all the parks within walking distance)

Anything like shops, going for coffee I did not really do with him in tow.

He became a very calm older child, he was just a high needs baby (reflux) and an angry toddler.

We really needed to get the balance between rest and running around like a loon right for him.

Does your DS have a daily routine? Does he sleep enough? I think they need about 12 hours sleep at this age! The more tired they are, the harder it is to get them sleep (arrgh!)

NessaWH123 Thu 28-May-15 20:45:37

Thanks so much for replying babyganoush after another awful day its good to read your experience and advice your little one sounds v much like my little one. Today he screamed and tantrumed over so many things I'm worn out and when he slapped me in the face and screamed at me at bedtime I have really lost patience now and feel quite teary with how long I can keep battling on...saying thst I know u just have t keep going. Yes my little one sleeps 730 till around 7 am and will sleep for 2 /3 hours in the afternoon. We have tried the odd day out where he only slept for 30 min in the pram but that turned into a disaster! My little one was a high needs baby with silent reflux and constipation and is def an angry toddler!! Fingers crossed he turns out to be happier little boy someday like yours x we have quite a structured routine ourselves which helps some days and others are still impossible ! Sane here I've found shopping and meeting up for coffee is def best when he isn't around. What age did your little one change and calm down? X

BabyGanoush Thu 28-May-15 22:12:43

It got gradually easier. 3 was easier but still meltdowns.

then DS2 was born, which took the focuss off DS1, whjch was good for all of us.

It can be a bit too intense, focussing on this one child. You end up livjng in a crazy small world, over-analysing the behaviour.

Playgroup was good for him/me too.

And getting as much help from the grannies grin as possible who were much less fazed by his screaming, and would just start reading the newspaper until he calmed down shock

Just give yourself a break, getting too wound up makes it worse!

NessaWH123 Thu 28-May-15 22:22:03

Thsnkssmile your right I probably get to wound up now but find it difficult some days to stay calm when he is constantly at it! And i reckon I probably over analyse his behaviour bring an only child. There is just me snd my husband as both sets of parents live away so it can take its toll somedays as we never get any time off good to hear it might start to improve by 3 light at the end of the tunnel;) he goes t s childminder a couple of days a week now but all iI hear from her is who has has hit or how many meltdowns he has had sad x

AndThisIsTrue Thu 28-May-15 23:05:57

Possibly a daft question but has he definitely grown out of the reflux? I'm sure I have heard stories of parents of older toddlers realising their child was unhappy not because of terrible twos or whatever but because their reflux was still bothering them? Maybe not but just a thought!

GozerTheGozerian Thu 28-May-15 23:23:09

This sounds just like my DS. He's 3 1/2 now, and I really thought we'd avoided the worst of the terrible twos as he didn't really have tantrums until he hit almost 3. It all went downhill when I was visibly pregnant and once DS2 arrived. He had reflux as a baby, and was always quick to grumble and cry, but had been a fairly sunny little toddler.

He would just resist everything, just to say no. Even things he liked (going to the park, eating his favourite food) - it was as if everything needed to be his idea, on his timetable, or he would refuse. It was exhausting. Bedtimes suddenly took hours, he'd scream and shout for seemingly no reason. We wondered if we were doing something wrong, or was he ok - and why didn't any of our friends' children seem to behave like this. He always saved the worst behaviour for us.

It has got better - I think time is mainly what he needed - and he has been absolutely lovely for the last month or so. It definitely helped to signpost everything to him multiple times - so i would tell him the night before what our plans were for the next day, then remind him throughout the day. I realised I was giving him too many choices so I reduced the number of options I was offering. I stuck to natural consequences - so if he didn't want to wear a coat outside, fine, I wouldn't argue, I would just tell him it was his choice and he would get cold. We also had absolute red lines - hitting, throwing etc.. We've tried limiting the number of warnings he gets - we realised we were trying to negotiate too much, when actually what he needed was one (or two) warnings and then take action.

Also - really importantly, lots of cuddles, hugs, telling him we loved him (even if it didn't feel like we liked him), noticing when DH was struggling with him and vice versa, making a really big fuss when he did anything positive (and sometimes you had to really search for it!).

Incidentally, we measured him for the first time in 3 months or so. He has shot up 6 centimetres, so I now suspect a serious growth spurt has played havoc also.

We are not out of the woods, and he's always been quick to anger even as a baby, but I feel like the real DS is coming back so I think you just need to be kind to yourselves, and him, and ride it out a little longer.

NessaWH123 Fri 29-May-15 07:26:17

Thanks gozerthegozerian that great advise I'll take on board I'm always Hoping there is a good reason why he is behaving as he is but I guess its probably just toddlers being toddlers and as you say ride it out ...just seems a long road!! ;) it dosent seem much fun or enjoyable really as always a very loud and explosive battle as you say I'll keep looking for the moments I can praise him a lot its good to hear your little one is improving I get sooo embarrassed when out or at friends/relatives houses and he starts. It dosent help thst I'm a primary school teacher and deal with kids everyday without worrying yet at home it looks like I can't handle him! I get a knot in my stomach some mornings before the day starts wondering when if will start againsad being on holiday this week has been the worse and sounds awful but I'll be glad to be back at work next week xsad xx

NessaWH123 Fri 29-May-15 07:28:18

And this is true thanks for responding I will check the idea of reflux out and do wonder sometimes as he gets bad hiccups at times ? But I think he is just v stubborn and strong willed. X

GozerTheGozerian Fri 29-May-15 16:30:23

Yeah I know those feelings. I am not sure whether anything we did really made a difference, and some days things worked and some days they didn't, but I felt better for trying. And if you do have a bad day, and end up shouting, don't beat yourself up about it - tomorrow is a new day - and it's all just a phase ...

NessaWH123 Fri 29-May-15 16:48:52

Thanks for your kind words I'll remember that esp after a day like today where nothing is pleasing him and he had now started shouting demands for food like 'crisps now! ' and when he is ignored keeps shouting it louder until he screams it! Seriously he is testing my patience: (

NessaWH123 Sun 31-May-15 15:14:08

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