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normal terrible two's or more

(11 Posts)
theloveyoumake Wed 29-Jul-15 20:24:05

I'm a regular who name changes frequently due to general paranoia!

My son has been with us for around a year and was placed at 10 months. He is generally a happy and calm child as toddlers go. In the last few days however we have experienced some very intense tantrums and I'm a bit shell shocked. I guess I'm looking to get a 'baseline' for a normal 'terrible two' tantrums or whether this is something more.

We have spent a few days at my parents house - a place he is familiar and comfortable but we haven't done many over night visits there. Broadly he seemed ok although took longer to settle to sleep than he would at home - but nothing that had me too concerned. However, he had some very intense tantrums. His usual tantrums would be very loud crying / tears, pointing and gesturing for what he wants, rolling around on the floor, back arching etc. He can generally be sidetracked with a toy or cuddled /tickled etc and distracted back into a good mood. This time however the tantrum came from nowhere - his whole body went stiff, he tried to bang his head repeatedly on the floor then also tried to headbut me (may have still been trying to bang his own head rather than hurt me as such), banging his feet and fists, throwing anything he could reach. He was making a very intense throaty, wailing sound but no real tears as such and making himself gag from the wailing noises. Midway through one of the tantrums, I asked him if he needed mummy to help him calm down and he launched off the floor into my arms and put his head on my shoulder and continued to wail (still dry eyed) while I rocked him for a while. It did calm him although he had a couple of minor flair ups afterwards and his whole body is blotchy - a regular sign of anxiety or nervousness in him. He is very tired and has gone down very easily in his own cot tonight without a peep so definitely tiredness is involved but it was intense, I can still feel my own adrenaline pumping in reaction.

Does this sound like a normal toddler tantrum?? Any thoughts on how to handle it?

ASAS Wed 29-Jul-15 20:27:24

Sorry for your worry. But sounds normal if that helps (non adoption situation here).

ASAS Wed 29-Jul-15 20:32:49

Did you see 3 day nanny last night, she talked about frustration which is something that my son shows, no tears Etc

makesomenoise Wed 29-Jul-15 20:43:39

Oh bless him. Definitely in the realms of normal. But what stands out to me is you being very in tune with him, 'do you need mummy to help you calm down?' what a fabulous thing to say and then the fact that he immediately accepts this help - brilliant. So - as difficult as it is to experience and live through tantrums like this - there are some really positive signs here of a good attachment and good communication skills between you both.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Thu 30-Jul-15 09:40:20

We were in your shoes around six months ago and still have flare ups. In our case, although the tantrums themselves are on the extreme end of 'normal' it became clear that the triggers for this had some level of adoption-related cause. For example, my DW returning to work and how DD responded to bedtime when she felt that DW had only just got home.

We've just ridden it out, trying to be consistent and giving her outs to the situation. It sounds like you're already doing a better job than us at that.

As DD' s communication improves, we're encouraging her to talk about her feelings and just give heaps and heaps of reassurance. We're just back from a trip away and we spoke a lot about when we all came home. Since we're back, we've kept things quiet and predictable.

So for us, it's definitely a mix, or a compounding. I've been given the advice on here before that if it doesn't feel quite right to you, trust your instincts. That has served me very well.

It sounds like you're doing great.

theloveyoumake Thu 30-Jul-15 19:27:20

Thanks all. He was better today but very, very cuddly with me all day. It's only recently that he has initiated hugs so it's quite noticeable that he has increased it.

GrimbleGrumble Thu 30-Jul-15 19:47:56

It sounds like you are doing a great job. It is always so difficult to know if something is just what all kids do or if it is adoption related. I suppose the question is 'what difference does it make?' and I guess the answer might be 'it affects what response is needed'. So I ask myself, 'if this is adoption related - what response would I give?' and go with that, because I can't see how that is ever going to make things worse, whereas the other way round it might. I am not sure if that makes sense but it has worked for me. I'm no expert but I think grief can come in waves and sometimes the strange wailing might be that - now things have settled with you a bit he may be starting to process the losses a bit. My LO has a very particular way of wailing 'mummy' which happens now and then and when I respond by repeating something like 'mummy's here, I'm never going to leave you, I will always love you' it seems to have more of a calming effect that other things.

As said above, lots of reassurance and explaining what is going to happen can ease the anxiety - even though my LO has been with me two years he got really out of the ordinary upset when we visited my parents at easter. I was at a loss and then realised that I hadn't explicitly told him that it was just the end of term and we were going on a visit and then going home and he would be going back to nursery. I guess I thought it was obvious but of course it wasn't to him and when I explained what was going on and that we were always going to be together he seemed much better.

As for dealing with two year old tantrums - just hang on in there, stay as calm as you can and don't beat yourself up when you don't manage to pull off the perfect parent response!

Saltedcaramel2014 Thu 30-Jul-15 19:54:08

Sorry to hear about this. All tantrums are stressful! How is your LO's speech? If speech is limited, tantrums are often worse. These tantrums sound worse than my Ds's (he's 2) but prob on a par with my friend's DS (who is a lovely generally happy boy)

theloveyoumake Thu 30-Jul-15 22:53:59

His speech is very limited - about 10 words in total and only "more" used regularly.

Saltedcaramel2014 Fri 31-Jul-15 10:43:02

Hopefully when his ability to communicate improved, he'll be less inclined to lash out/get frustrated.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Fri 31-Jul-15 21:35:52

I was going to say that that sounds very like an outburst we had from DD when she was very little and had been with us for a few weeks, at the point where she realized that she was with us for good, and I'm 99% certain it was grief related. She has never done it since, but I won't ever forget it sad

She has definitely had plenty of other tantrums, though! I think these were "terrible twos" normal but often with adoption related triggers, if you see what I mean. Eg she has to be in control, which is a relatively normal two year old phenomenon, but she is more extreme with it and we think there is a clear adoption angle to it.

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