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DD (2.8) unleashing a whole new species of tantrums - help!

(6 Posts)
lisbapalea Mon 05-Nov-12 11:16:16

Just wondered if anyone can shed any light on a recent EXPLOSION in tantums from our daughter.

She's always been 'spirited' (nice euphemism for being a little madam!); very articulate, bright, knows her own mind and isn't afraid to rock the boat by demanding things but is generally really good, with the odd expected tantrums when things don't go her way, which we just manage as best we can.

But recently the tantrums have become incredibly extreme - really aggressive with full-on exorcist style screaming that often results in making herself sick.

Anything can trigger the tantrum - a 2hr car journey back from a mini-holiday took 5hrs on Saturday as we kept having to stop to remove her from the car as she was thrashing around dangerously in her seat and we were nervous of her vomiting and choking. It also happens for more typical toddler reasons ("no, you can't have the pens, you have a case full of crayons" = WAAAAAAAH!!!), and for the past few nights bedtimes have been absolute hell taking about 2hrs to get her to stay in her bed. When negotiation clearly wasn't working at midnight last night we relented and she ended up sleeping in with me and was sweetness and light this morning.

Her nursery cannot believe it as she is a little angel for them so this is just reserved for me and DH. It's also a particular shock at bedtime as she has always been freaksihly good at going to bed, so I think that we are totally blindsided by this even though I am well aware it is what millions of other parents deal with every day.

I know it is all just a phase and normal toddler behaviour but just wondered if anyone had experience of this really aggressive style of tantrum, especially the vomiting which does mean we can't really leave her to scream it out herself. My half baked theories wondered if part of child development means some kind of surge in testosterone at this time (I know girls have some testosterone, don't we?! Or does that not happen until puberty?!).

We are really just baffled as we thought we were already dealing with textbook terrible twos behaviour, but she's taking it to a whole new level! There's nothing new going on in her life that could be triggering this as far as we can work out; she has no siblings and although we want another one hopefully next year she's not particularly aware of this; no other changes in our circumstances that could be troubling her.

Reassurance / words of wisdom / hints and tips will be greatly appreciated!

(sorry this is so long).

lisbapalea Mon 05-Nov-12 17:00:36


DolomitesDonkey Tue 06-Nov-12 08:31:13

hello, I've got a Chief Tantrummer - I'm afraid I'm a little more "no nonsense" than you wink, he would not be able to thrash around in his car seat because I have the straps done up tight - wave your arms darling, that's right, that's all that's moving.

I have also gone up to bed and found him asleep on the landing when he's refused to get back in to bed and I won't allow him downstairs. Obviously I just scooped him up and popped him in to bed.

AngelDog Tue 06-Nov-12 21:00:42

2.5 - 3 years is a huge developmental leap which affects sleep & behaviour. You can read about it here. Children are often experimenting to see how their behaviour affects how you feel.

We had a rough time between about 2.7 or 2.8 and it's calming down now at 2.10 (though it's been complicated by the arrival of a younger sibling). Our DS1 has always been very chilled but the tantrums have been hard work.

UsedToBeAContender Tue 06-Nov-12 21:04:45

I was chatting to a friend today about how the 'terrible twos' didn't really happen and for the last week my DD has launched herself with great gusto into having some 'terrible threes' instead!

Full on lying down, stamping, screaming tantrums! She's the youngest of three though, so she needs to do better than that if she thinks she's going to show my anything I haven't seen before! grin

I'm going to re-read a book called 'Toddler Tantrums' that i bought a while back. It really helps to understand (as you are trying to) the mental development and emotional changes that can cause this stuff to flair up.

In the meantime have a wine and may the force be with us!!! wink

lisbapalea Wed 07-Nov-12 07:42:01

Thanks all! We tried to be hard-lined on Monday evening but that resulted in her trying to both slide under and climb over the stairgate so we just couldn't leave her to thrash it out. In the end dh took her back to her room and quietly talked to her about why she had to go to bed. It worked! And it worked again at midnight when I went in and stayed calm and quiet and explained things. Worked again at bedtime last night - as soon as she started to grumble when it was end of story I stayed calm and quiet and reasoned with her rather than letting it escalate. I was downstairs within 5mins of the light being switched off and we didn't hear a peep until she woke up this morning at 6.30.

I think she gets too angry with the "leave her alone" approach and just can't calm down from there, but it seems that if we stay calm and explain why she needs to behave as we ask, she responds better. Not sure if it'll last, or if this approach the "crayons not pens" style of tantrum but I feel much better knowing that something has worked!

Will still take your glass of wine recommendation though!! Also quite like the sound of the book so might look for that in the library.

Haven't had a chance to look at the link to 2.5-3yr development as my blackberry doesn't seem to like the page but will check it out later - thank you!

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