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DD1 had frankly scary tantrum - how do you deal with these??

(8 Posts)
Hadeda Wed 07-Oct-09 16:50:31

My DD1 is 21 months but we seem to have started the Terrible Twos already. She has had tantrums/melt downs for a few months now and I generally try to distract her before she gets too upset but it doesn't always work. Anyway, we were on holiday last week with a group of friends. Everyone had gone out and I was at the flat with the DDs as they were sleeping. DD1 woke up from her nap and asked where our friend's dog was (dog had gone out with everyone). She then asked for 3 other friends and finally for daddy, getting more upset as I had to tell her that each of them was out. She finally just had a complete melt down over it, was completely hysterical and actually made herself sick. It was actually pretty scary and nothing I did seemed to help - I tried walking outside with her, showing her other things, hugging her but she just screamed and screamed for her daddy. I'm not sure I could even call it a tantrum, it seemed to be more of a panic attack. Anyway, I finally had to text DH to come back from wherever he was (I knew they were almost done anyway as he'd texted me just before she woke up). I managed to get her to calm down by sitting holding her (and poor DD2 who is only 12 weeks and was upset by the crying) and singing a nonsense song I made up on the spot. I don't think it was really about DH not being there, more a reaction to something that upset her.

Anyway, I'm sure hope she's not the first to have done this so I'd really love any tips on how to deal with absolute hysterics tantrums please. I don't like to see her so upset and obviously it's not much fun for her either but none of my bright ideas on tantrum management worked.
(I'll only be able to get back on pc tomorrow but any replies gratefully received even if I don't respond for a while!)

Rosebud05 Wed 07-Oct-09 21:54:42

My dd who's now 2.5 has done this a few times too, also after waking from an afternoon nap and also in the first few months after a younger sibling arrived. It's also been when she's woken up somewhere strange (ie not at home) or woken in a different place to where she was when she went to sleep. I think she's woken up in a bad mood, she's felt a bit thrown (maybe your dd did when other people weren't being there) and a lot of pent up emotion has come out. I've just sat near her to ensure that she's safe (she didn't want to be hugged) and just said softly over and over again 'it's okay or something like that. Distraction seemed to make it worse. She needed lots of hugs when she'd calmed down, as I think she'd scared herself too.
TBH, I think you did all the right things and that this too will pass as they say...

geraldinetheluckygoat Wed 07-Oct-09 21:59:38

my ds used to do this too sometimes when waking from a nap, it will pass. I actually used to put him back in his cot and walk out sometimes, which probably sounds horrific, but he calmed down much quicker if i did this - it seemed to enrage him more if i was there!! sometimes he would call "Ive finnished screaming now, come and get me" afterwards hmm - in his case , i think he just hated waking up!

geraldinetheluckygoat Wed 07-Oct-09 22:00:42

although if shes making her self sick, you cant leave her really , sorry not that helpful advice afterall.

GhostWriter Wed 07-Oct-09 22:03:06

It's linked to the nap. Very common, hard to say exactly why but often happens when they're in an unfamiliar place or when big changes have happened (like a new baby). I wonder if it's that they've been dreaming, perhaps of being at home and have woken up in a strange place. Dreams seem so real to us I suppose to them they are real.

Travellerintime Wed 07-Oct-09 22:19:17

Ds (also 21 months) has also hit the terrible twos early, and can have pretty ferocious tantrums. These most often occur after nap-time - he can be really out of sorts for at least an hour.
I find that going outside for a walk in the buggy helps - obv difficult to get everyone ready quickly if you've got a baby as well, but can work. Also, TV is sometimes the only thing that can distract ds out of a nap tantrum.

Hadeda Thu 08-Oct-09 16:18:16

Thank you all - as usual, it's reassuring to hear she's not the only one to do this smile. Interesting that it's linked to the afternoon nap. I've always found that I wake up SUPER grumpy if I have an afternoon nap, so I can sympathise with her if that's how she's feeling. I hope she doesn't get that upset again and I'll just keep up with my strategy of trying to comfort her without making things worse. God help me when she does turn two!!

bewareofthedog Thu 08-Oct-09 20:20:51

Ds also used to have some almighty tantrums on waking from his afternoon nap. I've since heard that their blood sugar levels can be low at this time, so offering a biscuit upon waking can help. I don't know if it works because ds was out of it by the time I heard. Worth a try though?

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