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Please help - can't cope anymore with hitting/tantrums/breath holding toddler

(6 Posts)
hattyyellow Thu 18-Aug-11 16:36:29

Would appreciate any ideas or help! (apologies for x post with behaviour)

I know tantrums are common but feel like DD3's tantrums are just impossible to deal with.

She is a very determined and independent little girl (2.9 months). She started walking very early and talking and I think she is frustrated at not being able to do everything her older siblings can.

For the last year she has been having the most awful tantrums. Pretty much every day, sometimes 3-4 times a day. Often I don't get a chance to actually provide any interaction that I could change in the way i handle things as her tantrum will begin as soon as I walk into her room in the morning. She will want to open the door if i've opened it or she will want to pick up a different toy or want me to pick up a different toy. It's not even 7am, I haven't even had caffeine yet and she's already screaming and kicking me.

She is also prone to breath holding which I find terrifying. She will get so mad over a tiny little thing, after being happy playing with us/siblings/by herself for a while and she will pass out - turning blue and sometimes convulsing. The doctor keeps reassuring me this is perfectly normal but I hate it, hate it -seeing my 2 year old lying limp and turning blue on the floor.

She can be a fantastic little girl, kind and funny and full of life. But she will flip without warning so often that it's impacting on the rest of us. Her siblings try and be patient but we'll often end up snapping at them as they try and ask something while we're trying to stop her kicking and throwing things.

And DH and I keep falling out as I try and go off to do something and he's struggling to pull her off me - we try and stay calm but after a while we can tend to start suggesting blame on each other.

We're getting to the point where we are restricting massively where we take the DC, particularly if one of us is by ourselves. I can't safely look after the older two (both under 7) somewhere public if she decides to have a huge screaming kicking breath holding fit. I dread going to birthday parties as all the other parents sit with their children calmly on their knee while she's screaming and kicking and shouting at other adults.

Our strategy, as much as we have one, is just to keep calm and try to ignore it/try to distract her. To walk away when she's really losing it and we feel like we can't cope, but ensure we can see she's safe. I try to make sure she has regular meals and sleeps, but she's been dropping her lunchtime sleep on and off for months so often doesn't settle well during the day.

I mentioned this to the doctor who said it's normal toddler behaviour but is it? I don't know any more. Friends are consoling and say their toddlers have tantrums too but the frequency and volume seem so much less.

She attends a childminder 2 shortish days per week which she hates going to at the moment - but we can't afford for me not to work on those days and I do think it's a friendly and pleasant environment with just a couple of very peaceful other children whose mums i know. i've started to question also whether she would be happier if I didn't work but that's such a difficult financial path to follow I just don't think it's possible.

So any help or advice would be so incredibly appreciated. Sorry for the long essay!

niamh29 Fri 19-Aug-11 09:35:35

Wanted to bump you!
My advice is to give her no attention positive or negative when she does the tantrums, if my two start a tantrum I promptly leave the room (as long as it's safe to do that) and do something else, if they follow me I leave again. Generally if a child feels she's not getting attention for a behaviour she will stop doing it. Also make sure to really praise her good behaviour, really really praise it, so she knows what is the right kind of behaviour. She's probably just trying to get your attention and your time.

Hope this helps!

ContraryMartha Sat 20-Aug-11 14:06:41

Hi Hatty

I had one like that. Not the breath holding, but he would bang his head on the ground until it bled. I cant tell you all the places I have had to leave - concerts, playgroups, supermarkets (weekly!) because his tantrums were so loud and so disruptive, and so... Violent and distressing really, for him and me.

No one wanted us around, and tbh, can't say I blame them...

Fast forward 11 years, he is head boy and was awarded an academic scholarship. Not here to brag, just wanted to let you know there IS light at the end of the tunnel...

At the time I got through it by putting him in his room. Made sure it was totally safe in there, and when he started up, away he would go.
When he calmed down, and came out I would treat him normally, almost as though nothing ever happened.

Hang in there, I bet with age she will improve... If you are really worried, perhaps you could take her to the pediatrician?

But maybe its just her trying to asset herself as the youngest or whatever else is going on in that tiny head... All the best to you.

ContraryMartha Sat 20-Aug-11 14:07:12


belgo Sat 20-Aug-11 14:10:54

Have you read about reflex anoxic seizures? My dd1 and ds had these, often mistaken for breath holding, but very different.

My children grew out of them.

hattyyellow Sun 21-Aug-11 20:36:41

Thanks so much - it's just so reassuring to know I am not the only one and that difficult toddlers can blossom into sensible young people! I will keep on persevering! Haven't heard of the seizures - will go and google..

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