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How bad do 'normal' tantrums get in a four year old?

(11 Posts)
Flumptious Fri 26-Nov-10 20:04:06

I'm really really worried about dd [4] as she's started having proper melt downs again. I thought we'd seen the last of them over a year ago, but they're back with a vengeance.

They always start when she is tired, which she is all the time. It only takes something like me tucking a collar in, or trying to help her with a zip and all hell breaks loose.

Last night, because I half pulled her vest off for her while helping her with her top [as she was so tired and asked me to help] we ended up with 30 minute of it. She screams, growls, dribbles and spits. Makes herself sick, hits, bites, kicks and throws things. Last night she punched me in the throat and tried to punch the telly.

We're at our wits end and feel like we're always walking on eggshells.

We've tried ignoring her, walking out of the room or shutting her in her bedroom, holding her and trying to cuddle her [just ended up with a scratched facesad]. I've tried to avoid shouting as it doesn't seem to have any effect anyway.

Is she normal? Or is this as extreme as it sounds?

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 26-Nov-10 20:07:21

DS has had quite a few of those since he started school in September (he was 4 in the summer). I think it is mainly tiredness, but they are horrible and exhausting to deal with. He was thumping me quite a lot, so had to do some Serious Talking (at a time when he wasn;t having a paddy) about house rules.

ItalianLady Fri 26-Nov-10 20:09:07

My 5 year old is currently kicking his bedroom door as he can't have his own way. Stay in charge and try and stay calm.

Flumptious Fri 26-Nov-10 20:11:46

It's her eyes. She honestly looks like she's possessed. She doesn't look anything like my little girls when she's in one.

Glad I'm not alone though.

What do you do when he's thumping you? Walk off or shut him away? Or neither?

And how do you stay calm??!!!

Aaargh

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 26-Nov-10 20:17:26

I know what you mean with the 'possessed' look, it is truly horrible, and he's generally a good natured boy. With the thumping I constantly repeated that I would not put up with it - he was allowed to be cross but not allowed to hit me because he was cross. I tell him (over and over) that I love him very much but that I don't like his behaviour. I do ignore, but also let him know that if he needs a cuddle to calm down I am available.

He also has a 'cross corner' (he chose this himself) where he goes sometimes and howls...

Adair Fri 26-Nov-10 20:17:54

What Rhinestone said. We had a couple of weeks of these, just after starting back in the routine in Sept. Tbh it utterly threw me as she has never really tantrumed - not even terrible twos or anything. A combination of calm ignoring, distraction and putting her by herself for a bit (though she;d come after me too confused) eventually calmed her. I did 'punish' her for hurting me and have to explain that that was not acceptable at all.

Think they scared her s much as me tbh. it was v telling when she said 'please don't go. just stay'.

When she was calm we did (do) lots of talking about strategies, she knows she needs to
-drink
-eat
-rest
and to deal with illness (ie medicine etc)

in order to avoid getting into a funny mood (just as mummy does!!) and she does take herself away.Did lots of praise for when she could have gone into one, but didn't and tried to be explicit about what she did well (ie when I said 'dd, go and calm down in your room, you DID and that was great').

The phrase 'I'm not cross with you' seemed to work well too. 'I'm not cross with you, I want you to be able to calm down, go and sit over there ad calm down. I;'m not cross with you'.

Hunger, tiredness, dehydration, illness. All turn me into a tantrumming nightmare, let alone dd.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 26-Nov-10 20:18:58

Oh, and that's me on a calm and 'ideal' day. On a not so ideal day (when my youngest has woken me at night for example) I scream at him so hard that my throat is sore sad, not recommended...

Adair Fri 26-Nov-10 20:19:34

Sorry, bit disjointed.

Had to add - we also talked about how it is NOT wrong to be angry or annoyed or to feel in a rubbish mood. It IS wrong to hit or hurt people because of it. So if she wants to go and throw a cushion, or come and have a hug and say 'I'm angry, Mummy' that's ok.

TrinityMotherOfRhinos Fri 26-Nov-10 20:20:08

I dont think there is a 'normal'

none of mine did anything you are talking about

we used to have stampy feet and huff off to do what they are told at 4

gecko is three and does stampy feet and screaming whilst she huffs off to do what she has been told

dont think anything is ;normal' they all do it different;y
they are all strugglling for power

keep being calm and following through

good luck

Adair Fri 26-Nov-10 20:21:03

Oh and x-posted massively.

Exactly what rhinestone said grin.

Flumptious Sat 27-Nov-10 09:29:37

Thanks. Some good tips there.

Definately agree about it scaring her as much as it does me, she's a hiccupping wreck once she's calmed down. Normally falls asleep soon after too so I know it's tiredness that the root cause.

Going to take her out for a big girls lunch today and see if we can talk about it.

Rhinestone, after a sleepless night, all bets are off here too. How I want to respond and how I actually do are two different things. Will try harder.

Adair, dd does that too. "go away, you're not my friend, noooo, don't go"

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