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drama queen tantrums

(20 Posts)
morsey Tue 29-Oct-02 20:54:49

Hope this starts a new thread!
My daughter - 3 1/4 - has always been extremely loud / screamy overly dramatic when frustrated /angry, but things seem to be getting worse recently. She makes a huge embarrassing scene over (what seems to me) very little and is now using the "I'm not your friend", "you cant come to my party" (what pary?) "Youre naughty" to me / dh / her friends. She said it to her best friend (since 6 months old) at nursery last week and made me feel very sad and worried that she's turning into some sort of bully. She also does "fake" smacks / bites to me / dh when really angry - even if it's not our fault!
Am I being over anxious?
And any tips? We are trying the ignoring / extremely patient / time out, but I sometimes feel like strangling her!

Lambchops Tue 29-Oct-02 22:00:32

You have my sympathy,Morsey. Both my DD and DS have red hair and had SPECTACULAR tantrums. I found the only way to deal with it was to completely ignore them. Not easy in a supermarket but any reaction at all(positive or negative) would make the tantrum continue. It gradually became better and certainly was not an overnight cure, but as my mum always said 'it's only a phase and will pass'.

karenanne Wed 30-Oct-02 07:56:11

nice to know im not the only one with a drama queen in the house,mines only 2 and a half and if shes in that frame of mind shes a complete nightmare.we've just got our photos developed from our holiday and dp has taken a picture of her in full drama queen mode ....we were in hysterics when we saw it so its definatley one to be kept in a safe place to show (and embarass)her when shes older.
we try to keep calm and patient to but to be honest prefer these scenes to normal tantrums as we actually find these funny and amusing but then when she realises we're laughing at her it only makes her worse.
im just hoping shes going to grow out of it soon.

aloha Wed 30-Oct-02 10:53:10

Personally, I wouldn't intervene between children unless one is getting psysically hurt or there is really mean teasing. Maybe when the tantrum is over you could say something like, 'you seemed very cross with XX today" and see how she feels. I bet they will both have forgotten it. I wonder what sort of things trigger the tantrums? Could you could try to head them off before they start. My son is too young for tantrums yet (14months) but some of the children I used to look after had fairly predicatable triggers which I would avoid (eg hysterical if not allowed in sweet shop so altered route so as not to pass sweet shop. Hated leaving anywhere so gave them lots of notice before we went etc) and also giving in when it didn't matter and saving the battles for the important issues like safety. For example, if they really didn't want to wear a coat on a cold day, I wouldn't make them, but I'd take the coat with me for when they felt cold. Little things do matter a lot for small children but I do think she's exhibiting pretty good self control if she 'fakes' her bites and smacks - she clearly wants an outlet for her frustration but is holding herself back from doing something she knows is wrong. I think the ignoring works, provided it's really obvious. ie walking away, really serious face, no eye contact, and is followed up by lots of cuddles when she is calm again. Also I found praising ANY good behaviour was effective with the wilder children. Praise every single time she follows an instruction, praise her for calming down after a tantrum or for anything she does at all that is nice. Personally I would even praise her when she doesn't hit you, even if she clearly wants to. Sometimes kids do like to live up to our good opinion of them and vice-versa. Of course, it is probably easy for me to say this, the toddlers I worked with weren't mine. I might be a lot less rational with my own ds!

Fionamc Wed 30-Oct-02 16:22:35

Has she just recently started nursery? My daughter started in September, and has had some terrible tantrums since, something she never did before. I'm trying to just wait till the phase passes, while being firm and fair as usual, but at times I do feel my patience being stretched very thin lol. Like your daughter, her tantrums are usually about the silliest things, and if she won't calm down, I send her to her room until she has - I usually go through 5 mins later to find her playing as though nothing happened!!

sobernow Wed 30-Oct-02 17:45:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle Wed 30-Oct-02 17:48:39

IKWYM & dd (28 mths)'nipped' down the road on the bus (no buggy, she refused) to get daddy a card & birthday present. she had at least 3 major strops, did one poo (of course I had nappy but no wipes), getting up from one of her strops she (accidentally) head butted me on the nose and the pain was so extreme I shouted even louder than her. no one dared approach.....

needless to say, we got a hello kitty card (picked by dd) and NO PRESENT. went to chippy on way home.

hmb Wed 30-Oct-02 17:51:59

Oh Bundle, Your story made me smile and wince at the same time. I've been headbutted by ds, and *boy* does it hurt. They always seem to do these things when you are most rushed.

CP Wed 30-Oct-02 18:23:48

Hmm - is this what we have to look forward too? My dd is 1 next week and I am dreading the tantrum phase, you all seem so calm about it though, I hope I can be too when my turn comes. If she is anything like I was (am) then there are going to be some spectacular ones.

bundle Wed 30-Oct-02 18:25:02

some of them are pretty spectacular, CP. but I also smile when she's being grumpy and she says "Don't smile at me mummy" with an even grumpier face

emsiewill Wed 30-Oct-02 19:24:59

My dd was a MAJOR deama queen from the age of about 2 until around 4. Although she can sometimes get angry and frustrated about things (usually her little sister/cousins), she is soooooo much better nowadays. If I could manage it, I found the best way to deal with these outbursts was the ignoring way - it's all too easy to get dragged into trying to argue or placate, and when they're in such a mood, it only seems to make it worse.
Please believe me, though, there is light at the end of the tunnel - she really is a joy nowadays, and the days of a 45 minute battle over putting her socks on "the wrong way", or a 20 minute screaming fit because *we* opened her yoghurt, or cut her sandwiches the wrong way seem a distant memory.
Now I just have to find a way to deal with a silly 3 year old and life will be a dream......

eemie Wed 30-Oct-02 19:38:56

My dd started doing the same at about 3 and a half - also after nursery - and it became apparent that she was re-enacting in her head scenes she had witnessed during the day.

She was copying other children's strops - the language was a giveaway, she was using phrases we'd never used at home including 'you can't come to my party' and 'I won't be your friend'. Sometimes when she yelled at me I'd say 'who says that?' and she'd say the name of a kid at nursery who was constantly in trouble.

Then she moved on to acting out the scenes with her toys, pretending they were all shouting at each other and she was a teacher intervening.

Gradually she got it all sussed and now she tells me in words what has happened (B**** was SO CROSS with me and he SHOUTED and said I was a BAD GIRL but D***** told him to say sorry).

I think she was a bit overwhelmed by some of the other kids' angry behaviour at first and needed to work it out of her system by trying it out herself at home. She's an only child and some of the bigger boys are boisterous, there's nothing serious going on.

Low-key ignoring or distraction did work, it all got easier quickly. I told the nursery staff about the kind of thing she was saying so they would ensure she wasn't being picked on, which she wasn't.

It does sound like something similar - try not to take it personally.

KMG Wed 30-Oct-02 20:45:36

Hmmm ... my youngest (ds2) has also started doing this. He's 3.5, and has also just started nursery. In my mind 'temper tantrums' are for little children - 2 yr olds, and are definitely best dealt with by removal of attention. But he is so much older now, and there is an aspect of it which is 'unacceptable behaviour' in itself. It's more like he is 'losing his temper', and needs to learn to control his emotions better, and express himself using language more.

Has anyone been through this, and come out the other side? Any helpful suggestions?

I am quite worried as ds1 is 5, and he has not learned to control his emotions well. He loses his temper quite spectacularly at times, and it does cause problems at school, as well as at home. If I did something wrong first time around with ds1, I'd like to do it right this time round!

monkey Thu 31-Oct-02 12:02:02

I have to say, this thread has got me a bit nervous. My ds is 3 and a bit and I thought I was past the tantrum stage, but some of you seem to be saying yours didn't start til 3.5!

Maybe it's just not all kids? I was out with a friend yesterday & her dd (2.4) had a real tantrum over nothing at all - a full on lying in the road thrashing about & screaming one. I thought her mum was pretty good, she was so calm (although deep down she didn't feel it!), and walked out of sight (but only a few feet away, and we were in a quiet dead-end lane - no vehicular danger!) and waited for her to stop & come of her own accord, which she did. I just thank God I haven't yet had any of those, especially in town, that must be soooo stressful & embarrassing.

I definitely agree with aloha re avoiding unnecessary battles. If dh refuses to put on a coat I say fine, and just bring it with me, and he'll usually put it on after a few minutes. If it's something I really think he has to have on, eg shoes, glasses, I might offer an alternative, eg can ride in pushchair instead, but can't get out without shoes, or no glasses, no story. And there's nearly never an argument or confrontation. I do think it's important to stick to what you've said (and that means thinking through what you've said before you say it!). I recently drove with a friend and her dd out for a day trip & her dd started playing up. 2 of her threats were "if you don't behave I'll ask *** to stop the car and I'll get you out and spank your bottom" (We were bombing up the fast lane of the M1 at the time) she then said "if you don't behave we'll turn around and go back" (hmmm, thought i, after 1 hour driving, and only 20 mins from destination, there is NO WAY I am turning round) Never issue a threat if you can't or won't carry it out!

The trigger is also a big factor. I tried a couple of times to grab a couple of things from the shop after playgroup, and each time at least one would have a tantrum and it was so stressful. It took me 2 visits to twig we never go to the shop after playgroup - no matter what!

Bumblelion Thu 31-Oct-02 14:30:08

I hate to upset you all with younger girls, but my DD1 (now nearly 10) is a complete drama queen - she has been since a very young age and has not grown out of it. Doesn't have tantrums as such (too old for them now) but is very dramatic when it comes to any sort of reaction. I tell her she should be on the stage - everything that happens in her life is a drama! She is very over-reactive to the extreme. And as for her attitude, I always thought they got this "attitude" when they hit the teenage years and the hormones set in but she has got hers early (although saying that she has got "hairs down below" and "buds" - start of boobies - growing and she is not 10 until the end of November) so it may be that it is the hormones that are kicking in.

monkey Thu 31-Oct-02 15:21:33

are girls moe tantrummy than boys then generally?

slug Thu 31-Oct-02 15:23:23

Ha CP watch out! The sluglet turned one yesterday and she is already showing drama queen tendencies. She just doesn't understand why she can't crawl and have her nappy changed at the same time and just to prove it she screams and arches her back. I'm thinking of enrolling her for gymnastics, such flexibility in one so young. She got so excited by the blocks she got for her birthday that she waved them around and hit me in the mouth with one. I still have a swollen lip.

morsey Fri 01-Nov-02 19:06:27

thanks for all your thoughts - I totally agree about not arguing over unimportant issues, dd's tantrums don't usually start like that. For eg, because the dancing teacher asked her to hold the hand of a little girl she didn't know instead of a friends, screaming tantrum this morning because her 18mth old brother was playing with his balloon and she wanted it (she had one of her own!)

I agree with you, KMG - it does seem like she's losing her temper, because she can be sooo grown up and sensible and is pretty articulate. Also eemie, many of the phrases seem to have been learned at nursery. I just find it worrying as she says them so vehemently and nastily.

Judging by the responses, it does seem that her behaviour is pretty average - perhaps I am worrying too much.(It doesn't help that I see so many dysfunctional children every day in my job - and I don't want her to turn out like that!)

Bumblelion - how depressing! I think my DD may also have a future on the stage!

KMG Fri 01-Nov-02 19:22:35

I agree about not arguing about unimportant things, but sooner or later they have to learn that if an adult (i.e. a teacher in a very short time) says 'Jump!' they do it, they don't launch into a discussion about why they can't do it right now, or have a tantrum.

Corbin Sat 02-Nov-02 17:36:18

Oh no...I was just coming to post about this, hoping my dd is going through a phase (isn't that wishful thinking). She's 14 months and has been a little drama queen for months now, but has started some serious tantrums lately. She headbutts, she flings herself backwards headfirst and hits floors, walls, chairs, anything in her way. I don't know how she hasn't damaged her little brain yet. She's nearly broken my nose twice and bloodied it once when she was angry over something. Just yesterday she learned a new scream, and it's the most awful thing I've heard come out of her sweet mouth. You know the one-the high-pitched shriek that only dogs can hear. She sounds like Mariah Carey on speed. So far she hasn't done it while we're shopping but I know I'm in for it.

Ahhh...tantrums are the worst.

She comes by it honestly. I was a truly horrible child, and I feel very sorry for my mother. Once, she had taken me to some sort of park concert, and I ran away making her chase. I was running straight for a cliff (stupid child). She stepped in a hole, broke her ankle and managed to snag my foot on her way down keeping me from going over. Later, she was laying on the couch with her leg in a cast and I wanted something. She said she couldn't get it then and I'd have to wait. You won't believe what I did. She says I told her she was a bad bad mother, I picked up her crutches and pitched them out the front door so she couldn't chase me. Straightaway she called a crisis line and told them to send someone immediately, because she was going to kill her child.

I hope I don't have a child like me.

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