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Timeouts and tantrums

(10 Posts)
Tenochtitlan Fri 05-Jul-13 19:03:33

My 2.5 yr old boy tantrums at the drop of a hat ie building block doesn't fit in his tower, leaving playgroups, going in shops and very often I have no idea what started it. Friends have called him very emotional or spirited. I was wondering if naughty step/timeout would be any good? The thing is, he isn't really naughty, he doesn't hit or take toys of other kids or anything like that, he just blows his top all the time. Would timeouts help with this?

personally no I don't think they would. toddlers have tantrums because of overwhelming emotions - they're hungry, tired, frustrated, disappointed, there's something going on that's out of their control or that they don't understand or that they don't have the words to express - punishing them for that is IMO only going to make them feel worse and IME it doesn't actually work anyway. I'm still pretty new at this, my DS is about the same age, very articulate but also very sensitive, independent and high needs strong willed - I think I've tried everything to minimize tantrums and what works (to avoid some and calm the ones he has quite quickly) is 1) the usual make sure he's fed regularly and given a nap and bedtime routine that's at the same time each day, 2) naming feelings whenever I see them and talking about feelings a lot (got books from the library too) 3) giving warnings when things are coming to an end 4) letting him help/do things himself wherever possible (takes longer but worth it) 5) having a visual timetable of what we're doing each day so he knows what to expect, I let him move little icons on the chart after each step of our routine; get dressed, brush teeth etc 6) try not to expect too much from him 7) if I feel a tantrum coming on (he usually starts whinging before hand and getting a bit 'desperate' but I'm sure all kids have their own signs) STOP what I am doing and offer a cuddle, if that doesn't work if I'm at home I actually put earplugs in and cuddle him until he's done screaming. it's what he needs but the noise was making me react very differently before I tried that! and once it's over, I'm trying to just forget it and move on. I've spent so many days resentful and angry where I just can't let it go, I've given myself a good talking to recently and realised that I was expecting him to act rationally and quietly and that's just not a toddler's style, they have big emotions and one of the best ones is forgiveness, so I am trying to forgive myself for taking it personally and just accept it as part of life for now. sorry that was long, in a nutshell I don't think your DS is misbehaving, I think he's communicating and you just need to teach him the appropriate way to do it smile

Tenochtitlan Mon 08-Jul-13 16:32:24

Thanks for that. Yes, I tend to agree it is more of a frustration/communication problem than anything else. It is really disturbing though when you can't work out what started it at all. I took him to a playgroup the other day where he will be going to preschool in september and he had a major tantrum (took a few hours for him to calm down), cannot for the life of me work out what happened! Starting to worry now that he'll do it the next time I go there for his settling in morning, and they'll advise me that perhaps he's not ready for it yet.

Jergens Mon 08-Jul-13 19:22:29

Thanks for that post Nicecup. I found that really helpful thanks

CreatureRetorts Mon 08-Jul-13 20:53:24

Is he getting enough sleep? Has he dropped his nap?

Suzietwo Mon 08-Jul-13 21:31:21

Tantrums at this age are often down to the frustration of not being able to communicate. So ther ar very helpful things labelled by nicetea. But sometimes, you just need to ignore them either actively or via distraction. Distraction really is brilliant

Hillsnearby Tue 09-Jul-13 09:55:21

My ds 24 months has tantrums like this too. They get more frequent when he is tired.

I distract as much as I can as I know they are because he is frustrated and I want to help him 'forget' his frustration and move on.

They are a different from his 'naughty' tantrums he also has if he wants something or wants to do something he knows he can't, I ignore these ones or try and distract him without giving him direct attention.

Timeouts wouldn't work for either in my opinion. It would be unfair to give him a timeout if he is frustrated, although I might remove him from the situation to calm him down, but I would stay with him. Timeouts also wouldn't work for the 'naughty' tantrums as it might escalate them more as he knows he has got my attention.

Hillsnearby Tue 09-Jul-13 10:04:17

Thanks nicecup I'm going to have a try at making a timetable like you use, I think that would be very helpful flowers

I used the printouts on this page (scroll right down) - I know a lot of tantrums are about lack of communication (although DS is very verbal, he sometimes just doesn't like being told no) but I think they've just discovered they have some control so they want to have a go at controlling everything and obviously we have to set boundaries and stick to them so they know where they stand. I just think something like this helps them to feel a part of the process, that they know what's coming next and have a part in it even if it's not something they're particularly happy about doing.

I have also found this CD particularly effective. DD loves the song about nappy changes ("..we'll have a little wipe, and make me nice and clean, then I'll have the cleanest bottom you have ever seen!") and DS loves brushing his teeth now (" I'd like my lion to give a big roar, then I get to brush just a little bit more") - I think it's encouraging me to make things a bit more fun because it's not something I'd naturally do.

Sometimes when it's been a particularly hard day I read this for a giggle and to remind myself I don't always have the answers and it's hard being a toddler

I am going to watch this thread now and re-read it on tough days, if I followed my own advice all the time I'd be great at this parenting lark grin
I think the most important thing (and probably the thing I find hardest at times) is to remain calm. as the saying goes - this too shall pass!

Tenochtitlan Fri 19-Jul-13 19:22:29

As a matter of fact he is just dropping his nap, and think it has made him a little worse, although he's always been tantrummy.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised on a few (a very few) occasions in last few weeks when he has actually appeared to listen to me and calm a little during minor tantrums, so hoping that as his language progresses, tantrums will lessen.

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