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18mo awful tantrums

(12 Posts)
HoggleHoggle Sat 11-Jul-15 08:04:18

18mo has started having awful physical tantrums where he really hurts us. He knows what he's doing, ie that he will hurt us and that's the intention. The biting is really bad (he's always been a biter, worse when teething) but also now kicking, hitting, getting us by the cheeks and twisting/scratching them etc. He absolutely loses it when he doesn't get his way, to watch the anger that takes him over it's actually quite unsettling. I find myself getting nervous when I know I've got to say no to something, which is ridiculous. I equally try not to say no to everything so he doesn't feel that he's always being controlled, but he's a really active child who gets into everything so it's inevitable that there are some things not possible.

I know tantrums are expected behaviour around this age, but do these sound extreme? I don't see it from his peers to this level.

I try my best to stay calm and say no we don't hit/bite etc, you hurt mummy etc. But I find that increasingly hard with the frequency and hurtfulness of the actions. If anyone else basically started beating me up, you wouldn't stand for it would you?!

Is calm yet firm the best approach? That's my gut instinct but I also don't want to inadvertently be too soft on this behaviour because it feels as though it's getting out of control.

HoggleHoggle Sat 11-Jul-15 08:22:23

Meant to say also that other people who have seen the behaviour seem very shocked. At a toddler group a few weeks ago the leader audibly gasped when she saw ds lash out and bite me. This is a woman with lots of experience and she's not judgemental, she was just very surprised.

I feel as though I'm doing a really bad job.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 11-Jul-15 08:26:24

I would get a play pen and every time he hits it bites etc, he goes straight in

I would just say "No. We don't hit. Kind hands only". That is all I would say but make it 100% consistent each time. I would out him in for a minute each time but if he was having a total paddy, I would leave him until he calmed down. No attention but I would stay in the room.

When I got him out, I wouldn't mention it again but go straight back to playing etc and give lots of positive attention.

I would block out next week so you're not going out much and stick to it. The first two or three days will be hard-ish but after that he will start to get it. It's just the total consistency that's needed.

Then, when you're out, you can do the same but with the pram if needs be. I don't think you'll hopefully really need to though as I think you can knock this in the head fairly quickly

Wishful80sMontage Sat 11-Jul-15 08:26:39

My 2.5 year old lashes out at me sometimes when she's having a tantrum. I'm hoping it will get better with age. I'm trying to divert the tantrums before they start ie she gets mad when people leave fare a play date so ill take her into garden while leave. If we're leaving toddler group and I'm desperate I will offer her chocolate or sticker book to get her into car. Not ideal but you have to get through it how you can.
If it's happening a lot though I would speak to hv mayve

flanjabelle Sat 11-Jul-15 08:30:28

I don't know what the range of normal is, but yes to me they do sound extreme. Could you ask your hv for advice?

Is there any chance you are feeding these tantrums with attention? Could you try walking away instead of trying to calm him down. so he hits you, you put him on the floor and walk away. Only engage with him again when he is calm. At that point I would reinforce the message that he shouldn't hit.

Massively praise his good behaviour. Even the tiniest of things. He plays with a toy nicely for a second, amazing! He gives you a hug, fantastic! Etc etc.

that would be my strategy. Ignore the bad, dont feed it. Go wild for the good.

flanjabelle Sat 11-Jul-15 08:32:00

If out and about, he gets put into the pram and you leave. He will soon learn that this behaviour means he doesn't get to enjoy something.

I have to say I think he is far too young for timeout. he won't understand the meaning of it at all.

HoggleHoggle Sat 11-Jul-15 08:45:13

Thanks all, find this feedback really helpful. When the behaviour was more low level I would ignore what I could and just do lots of praise for other stuff but it's become so extreme (to my thought, anyway) that I can't do that at the moment. I def still praise the good but recently that is backfiring too, so if I say 'you're eating your dinner so well' because he's really starting to master using cutlery, he will look at me and then throw all his dinner on the floor. I don't understand why. In fact I'm finding it all really hard to understand at the moment. I expected tantrums but not such anger. I must be doing something wrong but can't think straight on what it is.

I had actually thought about contacting my HV. But then sometimes I think maybe i'm looking for a problem and actually this is within the range of normal and I'm being too hard on him. I feel so guilty when we're with his friends (all same age) and I have to ask him to stop doing stuff etc whereas the others don't have that. But on the other hand his friends are playing merrily and ds is climbing bookcases, playing with electric plugs, going through people's cupboards etc. Stuff I have to stop. Friends seem sympathetic but also occasionally a bit exasperated. Ds has been like this from birth though. Friends would have long lunches with their contented babies in prams, I would rock up with my screamer and have to jiggle him constantly. It was even called the 'hoggle dance'.

I love him so much but am finding things really difficult at the moment. It's just so intense.

Greenrememberedhills Sat 11-Jul-15 09:01:48

I would definitely try Gobbos strategy. It works.

If it doesn't then contact HV.

WutheringFrights Sat 11-Jul-15 09:10:35

I asked a very similar question a couple of weeks ago as DS (2) is a biter.
The advice I was given was to simply say NO! We do NOT BITE!
I am an explainer, ie: we don't bite because it hurts, how would you like it if someone bit you blah blah blah... A short sharp retort is soooooo much better.
He also gets removed from anything fun...albeit briefly, but after two weeks it is already do much better!

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 11-Jul-15 09:12:23

The playpen isn't to do with time out. It's putting him somewhere safe where he can't hurt himself or other people. Same with the pram. It also makes it much easier to disengage from unsuitable behaviour and make sure it's not inadvertently being given more attention than good.

As I said in my post, you shouldn't leave the room. Just sit quietly beside the playpen until he calms down

HoggleHoggle Sat 11-Jul-15 09:39:02

Thank you. Will def try this strategy and already feel more positive with a plan.

Littlef00t Mon 13-Jul-15 21:47:32

If he's hurting you, I would definitely put him somewhere he can't get near you. Dd would go on and on and on if I didn't try to intervene with the tantrum, so if you do go down the playpen route, do try and see if he's ready to calm down.

I presume you're also assessing the environment like mad to preempt likely issues, and have areas he can explore, I have a drawer or cupboard or box in every room.

I also presume you're trying to redirect without being confrontational unless hurting you etc, I've found 'ooh let's find you something else to do, it's not a good idea to whack the tv' while taking her away can avoid a meltdown when 'No! Stop it!' Would send her over the edge. You're still consistent with boundaries so he learns what he can and can't do.

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