How to react when they are having a tantrum?(13 Posts)
My DD just turned 18 months and she already had a few tantrums. Whenever she doesn't get what she wants she gets really upset, starts crying and even bangs her head against the floor, even if we are in the middle of the street! I am not sure if it's best to try to calm her down or just ignore her until she calms down by herself, so she doesn't think that tantrums are a way to get whatever she wants. Any advise?
Watching with interest. 11mo DS does the crying thing if I ever dare so NO to him
say climbing out the window or eating something he found under the sofa
So I'd like to know for when the head banging starts! And he hasn't yet done this out of the home so when that starts too.
My dd is 21 months and if she throws a tantrum we tend to put her in as safe a place as possible and leave her to it. When we tried to calm her down it just prolonged it/made it worse! She hasn't done one in public yet though and you would obv have to intervene if she was going to hurt herself so not sure about that one...!
Make safe then ignore. So in the street case I'd strap back into pushchair for example.
DS2 is 19mo and will fling himself to the ground, screeching and howling with all limbs flailing. Attempts to pick him up/calm him down make it so much worse so I now just make sure he can't hurt his head on anything (I've even shoved a coat under his head when we were on a concrete footpath before), and let him get on with it
He comes out of them so much quicker now that when he started 3 months or so ago. The tantrum ends with a few tears then thumb sucking which is when I give him a cuddle.
Definitely ignore them. I have 2 yr old twin boys, one has been tantruming since about 18 months and the other started more recently. One also head bangs, he did it yesterday while we were out and I just moved him onto some nearby grass and let him get on! They don't last as long now they know that they will be ignored. x
Definitely ignore completely.
This is what the relaxation breathing exercises they taught you at antenatal classes are really for - so you can keep calm and go to another place while your DC are tantruming in public!
If you ignore completely every single time, it will be a short lived phase. If they get loads of attention from it, or what they wanted in the first place, it could go on
until adulthood for ages.
I wouldn't exactly ignore so much as not jump to sort out whatever they are melting down over and give them time to work through it. . I sympathise, 'oh dear, it feels horrible to be so upset , if you need a cuddle I'm just over here folding the clothes(or whatever). ' or 'I can see you really wanted that ice cream (or whatever), what a shame it's not ice cream time!' Distraction is also good once they've calmed down a bit.
Tantrums happen for two basic reasons.
They start when toddlers are either in an environment where something has overloaded them so much that they can't cope with or they have become aware that they can influence your decisions by their interactions with you and can't cope with the emotions they feel when their efforts to get you to do something aren't working.
The second type usually happens if your response to the first teaches them that they can make you change your mind by losing it.
They are all best dealt with by maintaining a reassuring, calm, quiet presence. Children in true overload meltdown aren't usually good at processing language so suggestions, compromises and promises of rewards and punishments aren't worth your breath. Some children respond to being held, some hate it so you need to work out what helps your child.
If you saying they can have what they want stops the tantrum in its tracks, that should tell you something.
Give them time to come down from the state of total loss of control while staying close and making sure they feel as safe as possible. Once they are calmer, acknowledge their upset and suggest ways to move on. Remember that it's very easy to trigger another meltdown at this stage so don't bother with recriminations. Just focus on the next step.
If they are old enough you can talk later about the emotions they experienced and how else they could have expressed them.
Whatever you do, don't try to avoid a threatened tantrum by changing your mind and giving your child the thing they are kicking off to get. That is the best way to reinforce this behaviour and guarantee you will be dealing with tantrums for years, not months.
I used to watch a friend of mine give in to her toddler to prevent him having tantrums. He's now 12 and still having them to get what he wants and it's not pretty. It's an awful lot easier to stand your ground and be calm and firm with a two year old.
I continue with what I am doing and ignore the tantrum until it starts to calm down. I then offer a cuddle. If she says no I carry on with what I'm doing, but usually she says yes.
I find the tantrums last a lot longer if I try to calm her down. if I ignore she will usually only scream for a minute before starting to calm down.
If its a really bad one, and I feel she is at risk of hurting herself, I stay near but don't try to engage her. I just sit quietly near her, so I could grab her if she went to hit her head on something or the like.
She usually sees me being very calm and starts to calm down herself. That is the biggest thing, you need to be super calm however you decide to deal with it.
I pick my ds up and hug him, make soothing noises, etc. I don't automatically give in and allow him what he wants, but equally obedient believe ignoring him whilst he's so upset is the right way forward either.
He has tantrums out of frustration generally. It's because he knows what he wants to do/have but isn't physically able to do it/say it which must be incredibly difficult for him. So I just give him cuddles and try to help.
The few times DS had them I would make sure there wasn't sthg genuinely wrong first, then say 'I'm going to wait over here til you're ready to come and have a hug' then take myself away e.g. to another room or further up the street til he calmed down. Seemed to work as he'd always calm down eventually.
A big, comforting hug. My 4yo DD has only ever done it properly twice, and both times she was so tired and overwhelmed, she had no clue what to do except scream.
She once played up in a supermarket and ended up on the floor yelling. On that occasion I told her to stop being a sodding stereotype and carry the bananas. And she did.
Not sure if there's any 'technique' really. I think you do what works for that child. And there are so many reasons for a tantrum - tiredness, a big change at home, frustration over their struggle to communicate or their efforts to achieve a difficult task...
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