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Entering the demanding, bossy, tantruming me set the tone for the next few months/years

(16 Posts)
margoandjerry Wed 16-Jul-08 20:18:38

So DD is 21 months and literally in the last couple of weeks has started on the mini meltdowns several times a day. Usually she heads for the toy box and wants bubbles blown for her or wants her baby book (photo album). This could be 20 times a day or the minute I've walked in or when I'm on the loo hmm

Neither of these things is forbidden but I don't want to become a slave so we are entering the world of "no" and trying to distract although the last is not working very well as she is very very focused on the damn bubbles (or whatever is the latest thing).

I'm all for calmness and ignoring bad behaviour with a time out option if it really escalates and all that but it would be useful to know how those of you who have been through this phase set the tone for this period.

Just interested in hearing reflections on this I guess.

Bubble99 Wed 16-Jul-08 20:28:32

DS4 is 20 months and going through the same thing.

I've found the "no" coupled with a (simple, obv) explanation seems to work.

Words like "soon" and "later" seem to be understood, so I can defer the bubbles/book etc to the time when it suits us both.

MrsTiddles Wed 16-Jul-08 20:31:30

Unless I am being biten in the arm which completely sends my blood pressure to max (and I simply remove the child and put him in his bed and say "you sit there for 5 mins and think about this, you, do, not, bite people"

I just ignore tantrums.

Sometimes I say very calmly and clearly "thats fine, if you want to have a tantrum about it, ok, you can scream and you can even throw yourself on the floor if you want, but I'm telling you now, it won't make the slightest're still going to feed yourself/ have a nappy change / get in the buggy / put that back / whatever

And if he's kicking and throwing himself around while I'm holding him, I am careful to keep my head to one side so I don't get a bloody nose from the back of his head. And I tell him that I love him and that its ok.

LEMONADEGIRL Wed 16-Jul-08 20:54:29

So glad to read this. Ds is 21 mths and his behaviuor has dramatically changed in the last few weeks.

He fights everything from nappy change, taking his pjs off & on, in and out of buggy etc it is one continuous battle ending in tantrums and tears.

Funny thing is I get the worst of it dh & gps seem to be only getting the good behaviour (hmm)

madcol Wed 16-Jul-08 21:00:28

Also have 21 month old. I walk away from tantrums or ask him to leave the romm - which he does do - rather bizarrely.

Out in public diferent matter - I find it really hard to cope with. Can hear those tutting bystanders from miles away.

margoandjerry Wed 16-Jul-08 21:01:52

Lemonadegirl, that's just why I posted. I'm really aware that this can easily descend into an endless power battle where you are refusing to blow bubbles and toddler is screaming and there's a massive meltdown and everyone is stressed and miserable all because of the bloody bubbles which frankly you're not that bothered and wonder if you should have just gone with the bubbles!

Sometimes it's about an optional thing like bubbles and I know some MNers take a "don't sweat the small stuff" approach and blow the bubbles anyway and save the tantrums for the essentials like nappy changing but I really do not want a spoilt, bossy little madam!

I don't have one yet, to be fair. I just want to set the right tone so it's really interesting to here others' views.

margoandjerry Wed 16-Jul-08 21:03:11

bothered about


LEMONADEGIRL Wed 16-Jul-08 21:24:35

I agree about not wanting to spoil them so really having trying to sort out some bounderies recently.

So far basic explanations seem to be successful and taking my time with him. If I rush him trying to help put on t.shirt/ teeth brushing, we have a tantrum I am trying to give him a choice to - red/ blue t.shirt. Weetabix or ready brek. Sometimes this works other days he throws a huge strop.

merryberry Wed 16-Jul-08 21:41:25

got a zillion things i could say, but with me it's all been about planning with ds1, just turned 3.

- endless distractions lined up to bump past known triggers until they have internalised jollying themselves along 'upstairs to brush your teeth now, race you to the new bet i can go faster than you'
- storing up good stuff he has done and re-praising him later to encourage repeat of it 'you played so quietly when ds2 had milk this morning, can you do it again do you think?'
- knowing your triggers and managing yourself through them (for me any argument during my lunchtime post-prandial crash, or any banging doors anytime). very hard not to get over aroused to somethings.
- having a clear mental picture of how next 20 mins, 2 hours, day, 2 days are shaping up and telling him and coaxing into it
- and in those plans knwoing all the stages and gradations of things you can take away/reward with.
- always feel prepared, not at a loss. when at a loss, make a joke 'oh I just don't know anymore, silly mummy, let me think, hmmmm....i give up, let's start again/let's tickle/pretendy scream/have a laugh'

- i've developed a way of being really firm and unarguable where i don't have to shout. i sound like a victorian nanny i think, with formal english, but my god it works. 'i expect you to sit at the table for lunch'. 'you may not shout like that at me'. 'yes, you may watch tv now', 'ds1, it is the rules that you hold my hand now'. i think it works as i sound firm but not freaky, having to chose my words stops me swearing or shouting. i rarely have to repeat myself anymore

whatironing Thu 17-Jul-08 16:10:09

I have scratches all over my face and neck from my 20 month old's reaction to being told no choo choo's (thomas the tank engine), no cake (it was 6am), no apple (he had one already), no crayons (he was eating them), no knife (self evident) and the list goes on...

No doubt the troubles are only just beginning.... I really must cut his nails though...

MrsTiddles Thu 17-Jul-08 17:40:50

the other thing to remember is that developmentally they have a very hard time making choices at this stage, so if you're saying do you want X or Y, and up til now they've chosen one and stuck with it, around 2 yrs they don't - they become quite indecisive and flitty about it - which can result in a tantrum out of frustration with the fact that they cannot actually decide.

stealthsquiggle Thu 17-Jul-08 17:47:41

The one and only 'tip' I have on this is giving them notice wherever possible.

DD is 21mths. Standard reaction to "Would you like a sleep/bath/snack now DD?" is a resounding "no" and if you confront that head on it ends in huge tantrum, but if you wait 5 minutes you will more often than not get an announcement of "DD go sleep/bath/snack" and off she goes - it having magically become her idea.

On things that she wants and can't have we are not doing so well hmm

HonoriaGlossop Thu 17-Jul-08 18:54:16

weeeel, bubbles can be blown and books looked at from the loo, IME grin

I do say don't sweat the small stuff. And don't say no unless you absolutely have to. And even when you're saying no, say yes "YES, dd let's blow bubbles! Let me just go to the loo, now I'm in the loo, let me just GO to the loo, then when I'm up I'll blow bubbles," etc etc etc - running commentary and don't give 'em time to think.

Get round things rather than fighting things, eg awful nappy changes = use pull ups instead of fighting to get them to lay down

basically the 'No' can be saved for danger, hot things, knives, traffic etc

children of this age want games and play; so many interactions can be turned into a game, and children will readily join in because they ARE doesn't have to be all 'put your shoes on' it can be much less direct than that.

oh and the other thing is that you have this approach for this phase - it doesn't mean you never say no to them, or that they don't have boundaries or become bossy. IME because they don't feel thwarted much, they are LESS bossy and oppositional and therefore easier to deal with. All this is is getting round an awkward time rather than walking straight through it with armour on!

obviously we all have off days but this was my aim at this age with ds and it was an approach that really worked.

margoandjerry Thu 17-Jul-08 19:27:06

Honoria, I'm really interested in your approach here.

My issue is that I am a single parent with an only child - the fact is when I am at home I usually am free to blow bubbles, read books etc. But I am just wary of getting into a relationship where I meet her every demand when we are already quite intensely intertwined because there is no one else in our unit iykwim. She has a full time nanny 9-5 who adores her and is on full bubble blowing mode all day long grin

So I find myself wanting to say no sometimes just so I don't become her automatic playmachine and all round permanent 24 hour desire-fulfiller. Hope I'm making sense here.

Would love to hear any views on this. It's very possible I'm worrying unduly.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 17-Jul-08 21:37:28

I think you might well be worrying unduly.

I do see what you mean about it being quite intense as it's just you as a single parent. But I still think that saying yes whenever you can, and finding ways round things, and jollying along, is the best and easiest way through this phase...children change and develop and don't always have the same needs; as a toddler they cannot put off their need for whatever it is so it's about finding a way round it that avoids a tantrum if possible; when they are four or five, they HAVE some capacity to wait so this approach is not so necessary.

That capacity DEVELOPS as the child does, it is not something that has to be 'practiced', they will get it anyway.

The other thing is that capacity to play alone develops too so it won't always be that full on for you.

And these things WILL develop without you having to 'make a point' to her that you're not a slave or making her practice....

I think it's absolutely fair enough that sometimes you will have simply had enough and cannot do more bubbles or whatever. That's fine and I think it's ok to say "I'm having a little rest, you make me some toast in your kitchen" or something.

But it's not necessary to do it just because you worry about your dd's development smile

MARGOsBeenPlayingWithMyNooNoo Thu 17-Jul-08 21:42:35

At this phase I find that distraction works really well.

I look out of the window and exclaim "Wow, isn't that a big cat/bird/squirrel! Look how fast/colourful it is."

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