To ask for help with these tantrums?(34 Posts)
DS is 2.
He's generally lovely, affectionate and a cheeky little boy but he gets very moody and sulky if he doesn't get his way.
Example: today I was looking at a magazine with prams in as we are expecting DC2 (DS doesn't understand yet) DS was sat on the sofa and I sat next to him and said "DS would you like to look with mummy?" he scooted up and I said "which one do you like?" He started smooshing and crinkling up the pages and not letting me turn over, when I tried to turn the page he's shout and babble and get angry and push my face away and tried snatching the magazine I said "we need to share" which prompted him to try even harder. I gently pushed him to the other side of the sofa and said "DS we need to share so we can both look" cue huge screaming and crying episode on the sofa. It lasted for about 5-10 mins.
I tried explaining we can both look together but it just made him go up in pitch every time so I left him to it and left the room. I knew if I gave him the magazine the tantrum would immediately stop he would just wipe his face and carry on as normal. But I think he needs to learn he can't just have everything his way.
He carried on and then came after me into the kitchen and wanted me to put the bubble machine on in between screams and unintelligible crying I said "no DS in a minute we haven't been sharing well" "we can have a cuddle first and calm down" he carried on crying and pointing to random things he "wanted" without vocalising which he is more than capable of I said "DS you can tell me what you want Mummy doesn't understand what you're saying right now" and he then settled for a cuddle and happily went away to play with his toys.
I didn't mind it today as we are in the house but he's capable of doing this in public too.
He tries to get his way and tantrums like that if he doesn't. No convincing calms him down and if you try and talk calmly and explain things he just gets louder, he can lash out and hit you or pull your hair.
I don't know if I'm dealing with these tantrums the right way and I'm getting worried I'm doing this all wrong.
I think at 2, that denying him the bubble machine is overshooting a bit. He's still small enough that I'd be working on simply distracting him when he acts as he did with the magazine.
Consequences are too vague for them to understand still.
He was just letting you know that he wasn't able to sit and look at prams...probably too boring for him. But he did want to be with you/share an activity.
Yeah, I think it's normal toddler behaviour. I would have let him have the bubbles on as a distraction technique. 2 is too young to understand that he can't have the bubbles because he wouldn't share the magazine.
Maybe I should add that my child ISN'T very tantrumy - he does kick up a fuss if he can't get his own way but not very often, and he's very easy to distract. I don't know if this is a result of my praenting technique or just my good luck. I totally ignore him and just get on with whatever else I want to do (unless he hurts himself while thrashing around, in which case he gets a cuddle). So if he'd asked for something in the kitchen, I'd have let him have it (bubbles, fruit, a toy) because I'd have seen it a) as a distraction and b) as a sign that he wanted to "make friends".
He is only 2. I dont think he would be interested in looking at prams. Perhaps he thought you were going to show him an age appropriate book?
Your expectations of his level of understanding are too high. It sounds as if he is getting frustrated.
Long sentences and complex explanations are really hard for a 2 year old to process.
I think you are maybe expecting too much at 2. At that age they can't relate the 'not sharing' the magazine to not having the bubble machine.
Also, your explanation sounds a bit complicated 'in a minute, we haven't been sharing well' it doesn't really make any sense.
'No bubbles because you snatched the magazine' (even though it's a strange punishment for taking the magazine) or 'in a minute when you've calmed down' is better although 2 year olds don't have any concept of a minute!
I would say him crumpling the pages was his was of saying 'mummy looking at prams in magazines is BORING!' You may have been better as soon as he did that to put the magazine down and say 'shall we play blocks/cars/look at this book'. It's really not worth trying to reason with a 2 year old over a magazine.
Save the 'stand offs' for non negotiables, such as not wanting to brush teeth/wanting chocolate just before dinner, etc.
Thank you for all the replies I'm taking it on board!
The example with the magazine is just from today, he's done it before where he won't do something or go somewhere and I think sometimes its just a case of being stubborn, if I try to distract him he will fixate even more on the other thing IYKWIM.
And he's not very good at sharing in comparison to similar aged kids from playgroup so I think that's why I'm a bit worried about it. E.g. He will have 10 little cars lined up or jumbled up together and if another child wants one he will scream and try to smack them to not share. Even though I'll show him he's still got lots left.
Other kids his age and younger seem to understand the concept a bit better...I might be teaching it wrong.
I wouldn't worry too much - they don't really understand the concept of sharing until much later (or ever in dh's case!). And as someone said on a different thread, we wouldn't much like being told to share our possessions would we?! I try to use the term turn taking in young kids but I'd agree that distraction is the way to go at 2yo. Board books like hands are not for hitting are helpful too.
Try not to beat yourself up, we're all doing the best we can.
There is a good thread about sharing, the link by one of the posters is really good and worth a read.
If DS is playing with the cars (even if you think there are loads and he only needs a few to play with - in his mind they are probably all 'needed' for his game) and another kid takes some away to play with, that's not 'sharing'!
If he doesn't want to go somewhere, sometimes acknowledging them can help, so saying 'I know you are upset because you really wanted to carry on playing'. Sometimes the tantrum can be a way of communicating they are really unhappy about something so you telling them you understand that whatever it is they are upset about is a big deal can help.
Pick your battles, if it's a doctors appointment then obviously you've got to go and sometimes having a tantrum is inevitable. If you are going to the park or somewhere, sometimes it's easier to say 'as soon as you've finished playing cars we can go'.
Sometimes giving them a choice works, 'do you want to leave your cars here or bring them with you'.
Some people use a sand timer, when all the sand is gone it's time to finish playing and go out.
I disagree slightly with PPs who said you shouldn't have tried to look at prams with him because it's boring. Boring is a part of life & you don't exist for his amusement, you have things to do. You won't have time to distract with blocks, produce bubbles on a whim when his new sibling comes along. It will be a rude shock to him to suddenly have to wait, be bored, not have you there to cater to his interests at any given moment.
i think you're doing the right thing to get him used to delayed gratification, boredom, sharing now- otherwise his little world will be rocked by the baby. Especially important if sharing doesn't come naturally to him.
Congrats on the baby!
Thanks for the replies.
I'm trying to figure out the best ways to manage certain behaviours but I always feel like I'm doing something wrong.
DS is very lively and can't sit still for long. I can't always make sure he gets enough exercise etc as I need to get stuff done too.
I don't know what are normal 2yo behaviours vs behaviours I should be discouraging.
E.g. He will be eating dinner nicely and then will stop what he's doing and start eating without using his hands (like a pup). I will tell him to use his spoon etc and he won't put food on it but will repeatedly gag himself with it and laugh about it. I will then take the spoon away and get a tantrum.
Yesterday he kept throwing his toy car down the stairs, I told him not to which just gets a giggle and him doing it when I turn my back. I took the car away which again resulted in a screaming and crying tantrum and asking for his DDad. I ignored and let him calm down but surely there's better ways I can go about it to avoid the tantrums ?
It all sounds quite normal to me.
My ds1 was quite chilled out, ds2 had epic tantrums if his wants are not met immediately.
I think they're too young to understand consequences like that with the bubble machine.
Ignoring when you can, distracting when you can, picking your battles, modelling calm, kind behaviour, and immediate consequences.
Not sure if you've name changed?
Throwing things down the stairs is completely normal, toddlers love throwing things down the stairs even though we don't want them to. Of course he will tantrum when you take the car away, you've ruined his fun game as far as he's concerned.
Ahh yes NC fail...well never mind.
He understands when I tell him I will do something or not to do something so he knows e.g. If he keeps on climbing on the back rest of the sofa and throwing stuff around the cartoon will he switched off.
Should I just try to distract him instead? But does that teach him anything?
I think immediate consequences work better. So fine to take the toy car off him for throwing it down the stairs, but still not surprising he had a tantrum when you did.
Things like throwing the car could be testing boundries or because he is bored/fed up or a combination of both. Either way, it's obviously behaviour you need to stop.
I would probably take it away and say 'I've had to take it away because you are throwing it and it will get broken/damage the floor'. At that age, I would probably give it back after a short time but say if it was thrown again it will be gone properly.
Sonetimes telling them what you DO want them to do can be more effective, so 'why don't we see how fast your car goes in the kitchen / lets race these two cars'. At the point of him starting to throw, you may be able to intervene and set up a new game, play it with him for 5 mins then tell him you'll be back soon and get on with what you need to do.
Him starting to throw might be his way of asking for attention, remember bad attention is better than no attention (I don't mean you don't give him enough attention). Just sometimes if you can work out the reason for the behaviour, it makes it easier to solve.
When mine used to start throwing, I used to get them to throw soft balls, get them to hit the cushions with something soft or do some rough play-it seemed to get the throwing 'out of them'.
If you can't always get out, look up ideas for indoor things-obstacle course with cushions/mats on floor (jumping between / around them), make a game out of star jumps, hopping, etc or dance to music.
With the dinner, I would maybe take his plate straight away when he started to eat like that. If he wanted it back say he can but he has to eat nicely. If he doesn't then it's gone properly. When you give it back you might have to distract so 'oooh DS, remenber XXXX today, wasn't it funny when XXXX'.
Again, is it his way of telling you he is full up or is he fed up. Do you sit with him eating dinner? I know mine eat much better when I am talking to them/we're doing little games at table. I can't always be botherered though, sometimes I just want to zone out and eat my own dinner. That's when they are more likely to start bickering/messing about though.
There is no right or wrong though, everyone does things differently and different children respond to different things. I think it's just about finding what works for you.
Explaining doesn't really work with 2 yo you'd be better off using distraction or removal of the item for a bit until they calm down.
I've always found with Dd I had to let her have the tantrum (even in public) and give her a chance to calm herself down before I gave her a cuddle.
If I tried to calm her or cuddle her before she'd worked it though it would make her worse.
It feels unkind leaving them to cry for a bit but as long as it followed up with cuddles as soon as they are ready it does help!
I did the leaving them to tantrum thing. It takes time and practice to manage emotions as well as learning that mummy will carry through any threats.
The only thing I might do is label the emotions. Sad, angry, hungry... He sounds like a normal toddler and it's good that you're being consistent,
Yes we usually sit together when eating. We do talk etc but he gets so giddy he will eat for a while and then he will start jumping off the chair and running around before coming back for more or wanting to sit on DPs lap and eat off his plate.
He's also recently become a bit picky, certain foods he will just say "yuk" to and won't even entertain trying them.
And one of our biggest struggles is in busy public places. E.g. In a big shopping centre he will walk nicely for a min or two then start giggling wildly, jogging/running in whichever direction he pleases, won't listen, pay attention it hold hands and gets in people's way and under people's feet. He absolutely refuses any pram/pushchair or reins.
I know he's a toddler but I've seen lots of kids in his age group acting nicely and following their mums, browsing the shelves without needing to pull things off or running between the aisles because it's "so funny" for whatever reason.
Am I being weird?
I think you handled it really well. He is having the terrible twos and you are being reasonable and explaining things without getting angry or giving in to him just for an easy life.
Its a phase and will pass. Have you tried saying you will tell daddy about his tantrums? Sadly, my nephew magically stops his tantrums when daddy and his uncle (my DH) turn up - I think this is particularly so with boys - very naughty but just shows it is partly posturing and pushing boundaries.
You're not being wired, but they're all different. I could shop nicely with ds1, ds2 won't sit there n a supermarket trolley without a huge commotion.
I do think you have to be firm sometimes. You say he won't sit in a pushchair or wear reins? Have you tried making him, letting him tantrum, and letting him get over it? I understand because ds at times refuses his pushchair, he arches his back and screams, but at times he just has to lump it and go in.
He was enjoying scrunching the paper and at that point I would have found an old catalogue / discreetly ripped a couple of pages out of the back of the catalogue and put my magazine away for when he was asleep. Your books and magazines aren't for sharing with a 2 year old if you want them to stay in one piece.
I don't like using other people as the boogeyman. "I'll tell Daddy about your tantrum" is bordering on "wait until your father gets home", wherein Daddy walks through the door after being where he's been all day and immediately has to play bad cop. (or Mommy, if the roles are reversed). It's not fair to hold that over the child's head, and it's not fair to the parent being named to be framed as the constant disciplinarian. The other side of that is that if you get in a routine of doing that, why would the child bother listening to you? All you're going to do is tell Daddy - Daddy's the one to "fear". You're not going to do anything (you're all talk).
My thoughts? Don't bother with "I'll tell Daddy". You're his parent. You discipline him.
Disclaimer: I do not have children. I am speaking from the perspective of a child who had a parent who would do this.
I personally agree that you expect too much about the magazine. Even if a 2yo shares and talks in full sentences like my neice did, they are going to crinkle the pages.
I agree I wouldn't use daddy as a threat.
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