Epic tantrums- scared I'll do something awful(9 Posts)
My DD has recently ramped up the tantrums to an epic scale... They are triggered by any tiny thing- this week it's wearing pants. I am at a loss as they are so awful and can last an hour. I'd do anything to stop it. My mum hit me a lot and I feel a huge range and urge to hurt DD. Haven't so far. I am pregnant with #2 and worried I won't cope and will end badly
I feel rage too with DS when he's tantruming. There are two things I do when I feel it coming on:
1. Leave the room and count to ten. I know it's a cliched one, but it works. Counting gives me time to focus and calm and as soon as I'm out of the room I feel better. Then I go back to him, make sure he's safe and ignore him until he's stopped tantruming.
2. (got this from MN!) I imagine I'm being filmed for a tv programme. It makes me think consciously about how I would want strangers to view my parenting.
Okay temporary measures for now - if she is having a tantrum indoors, you need to find a safe place where you can dump her and leave her - e.g. in a playpen, in a cot, in her room where there is a stairgate - take anything throwable out of her room and leave her there so you can go somewhere and calm down. Try putting an ipod on so you can't hear her so loudly. Also try putting an elastic band on your wrist and when you feel that urge to kick off, flick it as hard as you can. Go somewhere she can't see you and scream into the pillow.
Perfect the 'bored policeman voice' - the tantrum does not make you angry, it bores/irritates you but that is as far as it goes. Say in a bored voice - no X we don't hurt or 'everybody has to wear pants'. Go into where she is and repeat it every now and again. When the crying has lessened, give her a way to make it better / save face - come and give mummy a cuddle and say sorry, or lets have a cuddle and calm down now.
How old is she?
FWIW, when I was at the same stage as you I shouted in my two year old's face that he was a horrible boy and I didn't want to be with him anymore. I felt awful and cried for ages about what a shit parent I was. My lovely friend said it is okay for him to know that adults lose it sometimes, and that they can calm themselves down and come back and say sorry and never do it again - i.e. even when you have dealt with something in a shit way you can model good behaviour in dealing with it.
Try and anticipate the tantrums. Hunger/tired or you feeling wound up will make them tantrum.
When you tell them off keep it neutral. Hitting them may well scare them but then what? What happens when they hit someone else?
Also look after yourself. Make sure you rest (early to bed) and eat regularly as low sugar levels and tiredness makes it harder to retain a sense of perspective.
At my lowest I felt really angry and it briefly cost my mind whether I'd hit ds but I didn't. I took a step back and tried to rationalise it. There were times I got angry and shouted but this was when I was at my lowest and very tired. I started taking the easier road, letting things go and once the horrid stage past (once baby dd slept better) I could parent properly again.
I feel your pain. DS once had a tantrum that lasted over 2 hours it stopped when I started filming him!
We were doing really and I was learning to handle them better but we have gone back to me screaming at him stage as I have been really stressed.
I found for his huge tantrums/any hitting that putting him into his room helped as he does not have an audience and starts playing nicely again.
Ignoring helps to but is difficult or shutting myself in my room. It is hard but people tell me it gets easier
I do empathise about the rage - sometimes I feel the red mist descending and know that I am about to lose it and yell irrationally. You have to have some coping strategies for dealing with it when it happens - leave the room, go into the garden, go and put the kettle on. Remember that whatever your views on smacking, even a parent who justifies smacking can never hit a child in anger. So you have to find ways in which to help yourself calm down when you feel that way. As a parent it is easy to take everything so personally - when they don't do as they are told, or tantrum. It isn't personal - they are just small children acting up! I like the tip above of pretending you're being filmed or watched. I might try that myself next time I morph into stressed shouty mum
Oh, I get where you're coming from! If your child is in a safe enough place - you just need to walk away. Close the door behind you, if you need to keep separate - you can even hold it shut if they try and reach you. Just let them get it out. Initially, this will take some time. You can deal with the behaviour when they're calmer.
I found that any intervention, but especially those that involved touch or trying to soothe usually meant I ended up getting hurt, which elevated my anger and usually led to shouting, and sometimes saying things that weren't helpful. Then we all felt yukky. And the problem wasn't resolved.
If they're in an unsafe environment, pick them up, hold them tight (remind yourself this is a comforting cuddle, not a fight) and pop them into bed until it passes.
At the time, I know it's incredibly difficult - especially if you are on the receiving end of anything physical. But, walking away give you and the child the space to deal with this. Follow up when all is calm with a couple of quick statements - one should show empathy - eg - "You must have been very cross/sad/angry to have had such a big tantrum, but we don't (insert inappropriate behaviour description here)". Leave it at that - stay calm, reduce the opportunity for negative attention seeking, and best of luck to you. I must admit, though, I'm only successful at taking this approach 90% of the time - although, I have a lovely friend who always reminds me that I tend to react negatively to only the most extreme behaviours, and that it is fine for kids to figure out that you have a snapping point.
I have found this thread very reassuring, thank you everyone.
My DS who is 3 years 9 months has terrible tantrums. It took us a while to realise his rages & poor behaviour were actually tantrums.
While I was pregnant with #2 (now 6 weeks old) his behaviour was at its worse & I struggled with him emotionally & physically. His tantrums consist of screaming, shouting, hitting, kicking, throwing etc etc. generally toward me or my husband (never the baby). He is a very strong willed, intelligent little boy which makes it even more of a challenge!
We have just resorted to shutting him in his room to calm down as we can't ignore the behaviour otherwise & so there's no improvement. After doing this 3 times its already working & just the threat of going to his room is working!
I too got very angry & took his aggressive behaviour personally! So feel for you. I am usually a very calm person but after 2 years of this I was beginning to snap & was worried I might lash out but by giving us both the time to calm down things are much better.
It is so much harder whilst pregnant but if you can find a safe place for you both to calm down things will get better.
Join the discussion
Please login first.