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to think that the tantrums will never end?

(18 Posts)
scottishtreehugger Wed 17-May-17 13:35:38

Please help Mumsnet!

I have a 3 year old DD. Her tantrums are driving me to the point of despair.

We have one most morning before getting out of the door.

But the worst ones are when we get in from nursery. Every day without fail she totally loses her shit either in the car on the way home, or when we get in the door. Starts hitting me, screaming etc. So I send her up to her room where she throws shit around and screams.

I go up every few minutes and try to make up with her. Ask her if she wants to talk. It takes 4-5 of me going up there like that before she is ready to calm down.

We had two days last week with no tantrums and it was a total joy. Otherwise it is at least twice a day. And they last anything between 10-40 minutes at a time.

I am beginning to dread coming home with her at this time of day, because I know what is going to happen.

The tantrums have been going on for months now, although have been particularly special over the last few weeks.

AIBU to think that there is no end in sight?

Areyoufree Wed 17-May-17 13:48:00

Are they tantrums or meltdowns? My son (who is NT before I get accused of 'arm chair diagnosing') used to have daily meltdowns. He would scream, throw himself around, and be utterly inconsolable for about 45 minutes. His triggers tended to be food or lack of sleep. He has now completely outgrown them - thank god. They started when he started eating solids, so at about 9/10 months old, and starting disappearing at about 3. Sometimes the littlest thing would set him off - the wrong spoon, putting his food down wrong - and once he had clicked into one, he couldn't get himself out. However, I do find with him that he will click out more quickly when I hold him - maybe putting her upstairs on her own is counter productive?

I sympathise though - tantrums are tough!

FadedRed Wed 17-May-17 13:53:16

Very difficult for you and sad for her. It's distressing to see your LO like
Is she getting enough sleep?

CaveMum Wed 17-May-17 13:53:44

They don't call them Threenagers for nothing! My DD is 3.2.and can throw some spectacular tantrums.

Has anything changed in her routine/life in the last few weeks/months that could be a triggering factor for the new level of tantrumming? We've got a 4 week old DS and I'm sure his arrival has sparked off some pretty impressive wobblers!

Otherwise I guess it's stick to the old MN mantra of "This too shall pass" and keep counting to 10.

scottishtreehugger Wed 17-May-17 13:55:22

Thanks are you free. Not sure if I know the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown!

She just tries to hit and punch me unless I take her somewhere away from me. Worth a try though!

I'm sure part of it is lack of food. They don't get lunch in the nursery and pick up is at 1pm. So we get home 5 mins later and she is always starving. But the tantrum starts before I can get any food in to her. Today she had a cereal bar thing in the car and it made no difference, and even if she has lunch in the car coming home, she will still have a tantrum / meltdown when we get here.

What is NT?

scottishtreehugger Wed 17-May-17 13:57:40

Red -yes she is a good sleeper, largely. Although sometimes if she nods off in the afternoon it sets her bed time back a bit. I usually like her in bed 7/7.30pm-when she wakes (usually between 7-8).

But yesterday she had a whopper and that was after 12 hours the night before.

Cavemum - I wondered if she was picking up on tension between me and DH. Things have been very tough. Although we have managed not to argue or even discuss things in front of DD, I worry that she is picking up on something.

LadyRoseate Wed 17-May-17 13:59:50

I've been there OP, both mine have been epic tantrummers and I know how totally exhausting it can be brew

When DS was 3, and in fact just coming up to 4, was the absolute worst. Anything would set him off and no amount of "discipline" - i.e. consequences, time out, losing privileges etc made ANY difference.

You don't want to hear this but DS carried on until about 5 and DD still has the occasional one at 7 (though hers are a lot shorter so easier to cope with).

All kids are different of course but I've found I get the best results by talking to them about what's upsetting them, and being sympathetic - as in "I know you are so upset that the crisps are all gone, it's made you really angry. Would you like a nice big hug?" If not, I leave them alone to calm down, but not in a punishing way, just "I'm going to cook the tea now, come and see me if you want to." IMO it's good for them to realise they can get over it and come back to you.

My DS is almost a teen now and the loveliest, most mature and thoughtful boy. I think maybe some top tantrummers are very frustrated about being small children and not being able to articulate or control anything.

LittleOwl153 Wed 17-May-17 14:02:04

One thing I have learnt from my older tantrumer is to not keep going back to try and talk them down, let them work through it by themselves. Mine burns it out much quicker if left than if (dh persistently) pursued. Kind of show them they won't get attention for it. Also works to a degree on my threenager!,

LadyRoseate Wed 17-May-17 14:04:24

re your later posts, I think so many things can be a factor. Food is definitely one. We also had tension in the household (now separated). With DD, she's massively sensitive to what happened at school (or in the past nursery) so something like a sharp word from a teacher will have her stewing all day and then she's ready to blow when she gets home.

You can't always control all these factors but you can acknowledge their effects and let the child know you understand - this is what seems to help my DD.

Areyoufree Wed 17-May-17 14:07:49

Sorry! NT = neurotypical. Tantrums tend to have a purpose - I will scream until you give in. Meltdowns are more about being overwhelmed and overloaded - they are not in control of themselves. There are better descriptions out there, but the main thing is that there are slightly different ways of dealing with them.

Anyhow, the food thing sounds very likely. However, she if she is kicking off before and after nursery, I would wonder if it's related to nursery. Not saying she is unhappy or anything, but maybe it's just taking all of her resources right now. Development takes a lot out of them - mine tend to go crazy just before they learned a new skill.

Areyoufree Wed 17-May-17 14:08:57

So many errors in that post - sorry!

requestingsunshine Wed 17-May-17 14:13:02

I think the key would be to try completely ignoring her until the tantrum is finished. It will be very very hard, but even if she is hanging on your leg just try to go about your business and completely and utterly ignore her. Once she has finished just cheerfully say, oh good you're finished and then start including her in things again as though nothing had happened. if she is hitting you just move her into another room but dont talk to her. Shut the door if you have to (and its safe of course). Only thing you should say is just the once say 'I'll talk to you when you're finished'. She is old enough to understand.

Obviously this works on some kids faster than others (DD1 got the message after 1 week and never had another one since, but DD2 took about 2 months to stop throwing them. The other 2 took about 2 weeks)

mollyminniemo Wed 17-May-17 14:35:53

OP- I feel your pain. DS is 3 1/2 and getting out of the house/into car is by far the most stressful point of the day, just trying to wipe his face/brush his hair/put his shoes on results in horrific whining/screaming/wriggling/kicking...he is a right moody pain when picked up from nursery too- they are just so knackered/hungry etc they take it out on us I think sad

Then I spend ages afterwards feeling guilty for shouting back/being too firm in physically holding/forcing him down so I can put his shoes on/strap him into car seat etc...horrid.

mikeyssister Wed 17-May-17 14:41:22

DD used to meltdown coming home from school so her psych said to wrap her tightly in a fluffy blankie and put her quietly in a room watching TV to give her chance to come down. She was just totally overstimulated in school, following rules constantly etc.

CaveMum Wed 17-May-17 14:53:03

Can you take some food with you for nursery pick up - a banana or even a biscuit that she can nibble on on the way home. It won't ruin her appetite but will be enough to stave off hunger until you can give her lunch.

scottishtreehugger Wed 17-May-17 15:20:25

Thank you everybody!

Lots of good ideas, and actually nice to know it's not just me! I mean deep down I know that, but sometimes on your own you feel like you are just really bad at this job!

Dianneabbottsmathsteacher Wed 17-May-17 16:55:05

Totally sgree requesting I did exactly that with mine and all tantrums stopped quickly.

And you are doing a good job op it's quite normal for kids to tantrum it's not you love so be reassured.

228agreenend Wed 17-May-17 17:03:14

To agree with pp in that you should try and leave her to it. Maybe be by trying to calm her down, you are inadvertently prolonging it.

Don't offer rewards to try and stop the tantrum. She will then sub-consciously learn that if she has a tantrum, she will get a nice treat at the end of it. By all means, say we will watch Peppa Pig when she is calm, but don't say she can have an icecream if she stops crying now.

If Food is the issue, will a smoothie or cereal bar or even small bar of chocolate in the car will help.

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