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Tantrums ruling our house, any ideas please??

(10 Posts)
CPRTowers Sun 14-Apr-13 06:22:46

I have had a look at all the toddler tantrum threads and am still looking for new ideas. My 2.5 year old DD's tantrums are taking over our house and I am horribly demoralised, losing my temper and the will to live.

She's always been a screamer from birth and had been having these tantrums since she was 11 months, we usually have around 6 a day mainly caused by her not getting her way I would say, they usually go on for around 45 mins if she's left to it and she sounds/looks like something from The Exorcist rolling on the floor plastering her head with snot. I know there is an attention issue, she has always been clingy with me and it's getting worse as my DS gets older (now 8 months), she won't let anyone except me touch her or do anything for her (e.g. Daddy getting her out of car results in epic melt down).

Am doing my best to give attention to both children but poor DS rarely gets any of my time as DD utterly monopolises me with her tantrums and it's making me feel so sad. He has to listen to her screaming all day, am terrified he's going to turn out to the same.

Am reading Calmer, Easier Parenting book and trying some of those tactics. Naughty step pointless. I usually leave her to have her tantrum and go to her when she's calmed down enough to stop thrashing and cuddle, verbally explaining I will come back when she's calmed down so she knows she's not been abandoned. For really bad ones I have resorted to putting her in her cot upstairs until she calms down. Reward chart didn't work. We talk about why tantrums and screaming are not good when she calms down, we talk about her emotions of anger, none of this seems to help. We are all treading on egg shells to avoid tantrums. She usually does them at home with me rather than out with me and/or other people. She always has one when she wakes from a day time nap and always has (these are particularly nasty ones and ruin the whole afternoon several times a week).

When she's not screaming (which feels like about 50% of the day), she is utterly divine, energetic, happy, well nourished, socialises well and her speech is very good so we can communicate well.

Will keep reading the books for ideas but please share if you have any tactics I haven't tried you think could work I am pretty desperate and having horrid feelings of not liking my own child some of the time.

mummybare Sun 14-Apr-13 06:58:05

Oh poor you, OP. It sounds very trying and you are obviously a very caring mum so have some flowers

The only things I can think of are maybe trying to give her some more control over certain things by giving her lots of choices (all options being acceptable to you of course - this jumper or that one, carrots or peas, that sort of thing) in case she's feeling as though things are out of control and getting frustrated.

The other thing is perhaps trying to get her to help do things for the baby, where it is safe - fetching nappies or wipes, helping get things ready for dinner/bath, maybe? - to try and develop their relationship and make her feel like a 'big girl'?

I don't know if these are things you've tried or not but I hope they're helpful. Good luck, OP.

NoPartyDay Sun 14-Apr-13 07:06:50

The treading on eggshells is sometimes a sign she is having major trouble working out her emotions/understanding acceptable boundaries. This means continued patience on your part (very hard, I know). Continue ignoring the tantrums-Well done- this was really the hardest part for me, I used to sometimes yell back- not good at all!!
Having thoughts like this is normal when under such stress, but also a sign you really need time out just for you- difficult for many, but if you have a supportive family/friend/babysitter- please take regular breaks just for you.

Or could be food intolerance( my son(11) & daughter(6) were much more even tempered once I changed to additive free bread and yoghurt/food)
I returned to home cooked/basic food with low additives.
have you checked out her diet for preservatives in the bread, (281, 282, etc) and yoghurt (natural colour 160b is known to cause irritablity/headbanging in toddlers). Could try looking at additive free eating websites- 'whatsinyourbasket' or fedup.com

Also, try ensuring protein at each meal (eggs, whatever) and low GI meals - aim to ensure even bloodsugar and avoid drop in bloodsugar that may occur after a high GI, low protein meal
Ideally, aim for a really good sleep(10hours & a nap) to ensure not irritable
If all of the above is generally under control, try a reward system for tantrum free times- e.g. pretty stickers for her. I didnt think this would help, but it was an amazing incentive for my daughter
Thinking of you in sympathy! xx

spanky2 Sun 14-Apr-13 07:21:10

Raising a Spirited Child is brilliant . My ds2 is very similar . He is 5 now and screams much less. Keep her mentally stimulated and the time out in the cot is good . Ds2 broke the back of if pushchair when he was 3 because I wanted to put the wrong blanket over his legs.

Mummydoctor Sun 14-Apr-13 07:31:21

Have some flowers and wine. I remember when DS1 went through various stages of bad tantrums, usually at times when DS2 was going through a new developmental stage - crawling/walking etc. It does and will get easier. They are 4 and 2 now, and although we still get squabbling over toys they are both getting better at coping with the emotions.

Firstly, does your DD definitely still need a nap? Just the major tantrums after naps may indicate she's going through the transition where she could be ready to drop the nap, especially if she takes a while to then get to sleep at night. Once we stopped DS1's nap (25months old), he had some 'special' time with mummy while his brother was asleep. I have found this really helps him reconnect.

With regards the actual tantrums, I have found the articles on this website particularly eye opening and really helpful. I'm sure it's not off everyone but worked for us. And I still refer to their other articles/ advice about other issues.

These early years can be so difficult, so be kind to yourself.

OccaSheila Sun 14-Apr-13 07:51:23

I. Feel your pain! This is what we did, it was full on but we are now tantrum free. We child proofed the bedroom, removed almost everything she could bang herself on, we already had a stair gate on. Every start of a tantrum I said I would count to 3and if she didn't stop she'd go upstairs. Then I manhandled her up to her room, kicking screaming all the way. She'd be in exorcist mode by then. I'd say I'll come back when you've stopped being silly and walk away.

I would go back every 2-3mins at first, then every five, asking if she was finished yet, ready to say sorry and come back downstairs. The firs day she must have been in her room about 7times, from an hour to 30mins, in full screaming, sobbing, toy throwing mode.

The first few days of this were awful, but we got rid of the tantrums within a week. She quickly figured out she was getting no where and we have a calm girl again now.

exoticfruits Sun 14-Apr-13 07:56:29

The fact that you are losing your temper and walking on egg shells shows her that she has control- they read body language very accurately.
Hard as it is you need to stay calm and ignore, ignore, ignore. Make sure she is safe to hurl herself around but don't do anything else. Once she has finished is the time to cuddle and talk about it.Ask her in a calm, slightly bored manner, what it was all about, why she thought it would get her anywhere and what was wrong in just asking in a normal way ( dependent on her language skills of course)
Has DH time to do more with her? e.g. Send them out alone to the park, go out and leave him to spend time alone, leave him with the baby and go out alone with her. Do you have family where she could spend a day with Granny?.
It strikes me as very intense with just the two of you and her not wanting to share and you could do with diluting with more adults, if possible.

exoticfruits Sun 14-Apr-13 07:58:58

Cross posted with OccaSheila which sounds worth a try.

Loveleopardprint Sun 14-Apr-13 08:08:39

Instead of a naughty step do you have a beanbag you could put her on and then leave her? She is obviously testing the boundaries stay firm and it will improve. My 13 y dd was very much like that but she is lovely now. It will get better!

exoticfruits Sun 14-Apr-13 08:17:37

You could say 'I know you are angry- hit the beanbag and come back when you feel better'.

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