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To comfort rather than scold?

(100 Posts)
metimeisforwimps Tue 06-Sep-16 22:27:44

DS (5.5) had the tantrum of the century earlier, kicking, biting, screaming. He rarely has tantrums. He was wearing his school shoes at the time (attempting to go to work with his Dad!), and has bruised my legs.
He has just started a new school, which is a lot bigger than his old school, and he loves it but I think it's a big adjustment.
Although his behaviour was unacceptable my instinct was that he needed comfort more than anything else, he was in such a state. So I gave him something to eat and a cuddle and laid with him in bed until he went to sleep (also put some lavender in the diffuser).
Would you have done the same, or have I just let him get away with behaving dreadfull? I don't have much experience with tantrums as have been lucky so far in not having many.

CocktailQueen Tue 06-Sep-16 22:29:39

You know your DC best. If it's out of character for him, then do what you think best.

My Ds would have reacted better to a cuddle and quiet chat than punishment in the same circus.

You can chat to him tomorrow about his behaviour. You comforted him - I think I would have done the same.

Crunchymum Tue 06-Sep-16 22:30:06

I might be harsh but I wouldn't accept that from my 3.10yo.

I don't punish tantrums but I don't reward them.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Tue 06-Sep-16 22:30:39

As a one-off I would probably have done similar. Go with your instincts, he's possibly just over-tired. Hope everything is better tomorrow flowers

Crunchymum Tue 06-Sep-16 22:31:35

A bit of quiet time (not time out, a very important difference!!) and a 'we can talk when you have calmed down' is my preferred method.

UmbongoUnchained Tue 06-Sep-16 22:33:34

My 2 year old had her first tantrum today. I just sent her straight to bed. Not having it.

hownottofuckup Tue 06-Sep-16 22:35:21

I think in those circumstances you did absolutely the right thing

SanityClause Tue 06-Sep-16 22:35:39

I agree.

Tantrums are often caused by strong emotions that the child can't deal with. Empathising can work wonders.

This is not the same as giving in to bad behaviour for an easy life.

bumsexatthebingo Tue 06-Sep-16 22:36:07

I think I would do a bit of both. Comforting the upset but being quite firm in letting them know I wouldn't tolerate hitting. Do you know what triggered it?

Champagneformyrealfriends Tue 06-Sep-16 22:38:22

When my nephew tantrums I say "do you need a cuddle?" and usually he says yes. I'm quite strict too by most people's standard but I do think sometimes children get upset because they feel anxious or lonely and can't vocalise it.

LucyFuckingPevensie Tue 06-Sep-16 22:44:08

What was it all over ?
I think you know your ds best and did instinctively what he needed, I have a low tolerance level for boundery pushing and acting out, ( not that it stops them from doing it of course) but there have been times when I knew that they were just really tired, stressed and overwhelmed and couldn't cope with it.
Let's face it, it can't be nice to get in to that state. I really dislike that heart pounding, anxious angry feeling, and I am an adult, I know why I am feeling like that and have figured out ways to help myself over the years. He is too little for that.
I think you did the right thing.

cornishglos Tue 06-Sep-16 22:46:36

I do what you did.

metimeisforwimps Tue 06-Sep-16 22:51:43

On the surface the reason was that he wanted to go to work with his Dad, which he knows is impossible (it was 8.30pm and he was in pyjamas and supposed to be asleep). I suspect it was more to do with feeling overwhelmed at new school.
My boundaries are fairly clear for behaving badly, but I really felt this was different, he was completely hysterical, I actually considered slapping him at one point in the hope of breaking through.
Thanks for the replies, I feel like I've done the right thing, not sure whether to mention it to him tomorrow.

Memoires Tue 06-Sep-16 22:53:58

It's probably the reason why you haven't had many tantrums to deal with. At 5 he should be growing out of tantrums anyway as his ability to express himself improves along with his ability to understand the world around him. So as he's not an habitual tantrummer then you know that he's become overwhelmed and comfort and quiet time is what's called for.

converseandjeans Tue 06-Sep-16 22:57:40

I would have done the same. It's totally different from a tantrum about not getting sweets or a treat. He was obviously tired and overwhelmed. Telling him off would have probably exacerbated the situation. Hope he settles in OK at the new school.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Tue 06-Sep-16 22:59:34

I probably wouldn't mention it tomorrow, we try and start with a clean slate every day.

metimeisforwimps Tue 06-Sep-16 23:00:02

Thanks memoires and converse, that's what my instincts said, DH's too I think, as he looked more worried than cross as he left for work while I was wrestling DS to the floor! (not had chance to discuss with him yet)

MyNewSpecs Tue 06-Sep-16 23:00:25

It depends. I try to get a feel if it's a wilful tantrum or if dc is not coping / overwhelmed /tired etc. If it's wilful they get calmly spoken to and possibly time out or ignored by dh and me. If it is because they can't cope I offer comfort and support.
Sometimes I ask them why they feel so strongly and when they explain their reasoning for wanting something it does sometimes make good sense. I do not give in to a tantrum though but I offer alternatives for a 'next time' if they behave well and calm down and if it makes sense to me. I have learnt the hard way to pick my battles.

PuntasticUsername Tue 06-Sep-16 23:02:15

You certainly did the right thing in not slapping him! Not sure that would have helped really smile It sounds as if you dealt with it fine generally - at that time of night, you needed to get him calm and asleep or he'd have been wrecked tomorrow as well.

It's hard to judge as only you know your own DC, but my DS is the same age as yours and if he'd done this, tomorrow morning I would mention it at breakfast, saying that I knew he was very sad and cross last night, and I understand why he was sad and cross that he couldn't go with his daddy to work. It's ok to be sad and cross but it's not ok to hurt people and bruise their legs because of it. I would ask for an apology, give him a huge cuddle and then never speak of it again.

For me, the main thing is the "it's ok to feel this way, but it's not ok to behave THAT way", then forgive and draw a line under the incident.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 06-Sep-16 23:08:21

You sound like a lovely person, and personally I think you did well to follow your instincts here. I am no behaviour expert by any means, but on the (mercifully very rare) occasions my dd has had any kind of extreme emotional reaction, I have done as you did. Lying down with her I think has been particularly helpful. And as she has not done it often at all, I am confident I have not reinforced her behaviour by being nice about it.
The only thing that would give me any cause for concern in your son's behaviour is the level of violence you describe. Hopefully it was a one off, but I think if it recurs, then for your own sake as well as his you may need to give careful thought as to how to tackle this/get to the heart of the problem.
Hope you are both ok now - good luck!

bookwormnerd Tue 06-Sep-16 23:08:57

I think you did right thing. You knew the underlying cause and you responded to that rather than the reaction to it. He obviosly needed reassurance and you gave it. If you had sent him off for time out or shouted he would have just been more stressed, gone to bed angry which would have made anxiety he was feeling worse. I think sometimes people are to quick to jump to punishment. You actually did something more effective as you taught your ds you were there for him, that its ok to show upset, that you recognised his emotions and understood. That's better than teaching repressing emotions and not dealing with cause. You are raising a child who can deal with emotions more effectively next time. Of cause sometimes kids will need to be told behaviour is unacceptable and tomorow you will be able to talk to your child about that. When a child is that stressed they revert to the primitive part of brain and becomes fight or flight, it was not time for rational conversation. Only you know your child and what works

PickAChew Tue 06-Sep-16 23:11:08

Just back to school - I would have done the same. Calm now, talk later.

SlightlyperturbedOwl Tue 06-Sep-16 23:11:25

Boys are often more 'physical' when they can't express themselves verbally, so if the kicking is not usual it's probably nothing to worry about.

Italiangreyhound Tue 06-Sep-16 23:13:39

I'd have done the same thing.

But if it kept happening I would impose some light sanctions missing favourite programmes.

Unicorntrainer Tue 06-Sep-16 23:13:58

Sometimes someone needs someone to calmly say 'when you are ready we can talk about why you are so upset'. Applies to grown ups too, we all have melt down moments and how they are handled can make all the difference. Happened to a friend of mine with heartbreaking consequences. Sometimes care works better than punishment. Good call OP

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