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Strong willed toddler = strong willed child?

(4 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Sun 25-Oct-09 13:01:14

DS turned 2 this week and living up to his age, he has, over the last couple of months become very 'strong willed' when he has to do things he wouldn't necessarily choose to do (have his nappy changed, get in car seat / high chair, go indoors after playing outside etc).

He has frequent tantrums and I've never quite experienced the level of noise/lashing/kicking out on any child before. We're trying to keep consistent, firm, explain simply why he has to do certain things and beginning to use 'time out' whilst he calms down (which he inevitably does and then he's smiling 5 minutes later after being distracted).

Anyway, I was just after reassurance really that this is an age thing? How long does this tantrum stage last?

By the way, he only really says a few words so far, which may be contributing to his very visible frustration. Any help / advice very much welcome - thanks.

AtheneNoctua Sun 25-Oct-09 13:20:10

I don't know if you want to read this. But I think it may be a sign of his personality. DD (now 6) was a strong willed toddler. And little has changed. She is fiercely competitive. I don't discourage her competitive nature because I think it's just the way she is and any battle to tame this aspect of her personality would surely end in defeat for me. But, I do try very hard to show her where competition is appropriate and where it is not. For example, the tennis court is an appropriate place to be competitive. Criticising her 2 year younger brother for not understanding her math homework is not appropriate. Not ALL of life is a competition. But her hunger for competition does motivate her to do things like learn her times tables. And that's a good thing.

So you might look at your son's unusual frustration and think that this frustration is wht he needs to drive him to learn the things he wants to say/do. It could be a sign that he will be a very determined individual.

I also have a neice who was a strong willed toddler. She is 13 and little has changed.

sheeplikessleep Sun 25-Oct-09 13:31:16

Thanks so much for posting, and I totally see where you're coming from. I do really agree that I think determination is a good thing (DH says DS gets it from me blush).

Hopefully in the future, it will give him drive to learn new things and explore his interests (and hopefully school work and times tables too!)

It became really apparent yesterday when my niece was over and my sister saw one of my ds 'outbursts' (which are far worse when he is tired/hungry) and she said something along the lines of "I thought my dd was challenging me, but she's never reacted like that, maybe in hindsight she is quite chilled out". 18 weeks pregnant and I'm finding the physical 'fights' hard to manage. (They're not fights - he lashes out generally and attempts to get out of whatever scenario he doesn't want to be in, like having his nappy changed or being asked to leave his toys to have dinner). Any tips on managing the physical resistance when he gets so worked up?

Thank you so much for posting - it's good to hear the positive side when it feels like all I'm doing at the moment is setting boundaries.

AtheneNoctua Sun 25-Oct-09 14:16:18

My neice used to get down on all fours and hit the ceramic tile floor with her forehead. You would think that would hurt! shock

And, if it's any consolation, child number 2 (DS) is much more passive. My two have definitly swapped the gender stereotypes.

I gues I just always restrained them when it was for there safety, but walk away when you can and do not engage in the tantrum... but still let the tantrum continue if that what he needs to deal with his frustration. (this is of course age appropriate advice. And older child does need to leaarn to control him/herself without the outburst) For example DD (6) is expected not to throw a strop at the table in a restaurant. I tell her if she wants the priviledge of eating out that she will have to behave herself while we are there.

I suppose I believe in "safety first". A child who is protesting about a car seat gets buckled in anyway even if through physically over powering him/her. If he is having a strop because he doesn't like the dinner laid before him, I'd probably let him leave the table and have some peace. (but he wouldn't get anything else to eat until the next meal)

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