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21 month old even more hysterical if held during tantrum

(10 Posts)
Wollyfish Fri 13-May-16 10:35:06

I've "lurked" for a while on Mumsnet and found lots of advice without feeling the need to post myself but after last night's epic screaming session I thought I would make my own thread

DS is 21 months, born at 34 weeks, still very small for his age. He was a very unsettled baby but started enjoying life more once he could crawl and walk. He can be a very sunny natured and exuberant boy, no stranger anxiety, loves the company of other children. But he also becomes bored and frustrated very easily. He has no words yet so I think this may be exacerbating the problem. He also is too small for a lot of older toys such as ride on trikes and doesn't have the concentration span for the next stage up of toys, yet finds baby toys uninspiring. I do try to fill the days as much as possible.

I was always under the impression that you are meant to offer the child reassurance by holding them or stroking them while they are screaming. Ignoring makes no difference, neither does distraction once it becomes a full-on tantrum. But when I hold him, he fights as if he is being constrained and screams until he becomes puce. It will stop if someone else enters the room and he's distracted by a new face, if not it just has to run its course.

He responds much better to my mother and even nursery staff or babysitters. In fact his previous keyworker told me he almost never cries or screams at nursery.

Advice would be really welcome

corythatwas Fri 13-May-16 10:59:36

All childrearing is about finding out what works for your child: some children want to be held during tantrums, some most emphatically do not. I would just let it run its course. Remember he is exploring his feelings: you are not responsible for stopping that. You are only responsible for making sure he does not hurt himself or others, or wreck somebody else's property. The rest is something he has to learn to deal with.

BathshebaDarkstone Fri 13-May-16 11:01:53

My DS is 4.5 but I've always asked him if he wants a cuddle during a tantrum, if not I leave him to it.

Wollyfish Fri 13-May-16 11:06:54

Cory, that is a good point. I shall be mindful of that.
Maybe I should leave him to it, and just stay in the room so he knows I am there.

Pollyputhtekettleon Fri 13-May-16 11:09:03

You can offer a cuddle but most of the time my kids need space during a tantrum and hugging them enrages them further. Especially as it's usually my 'fault' the tantrum started (or. Me saying they couldn't run banana on the tv or stick a pen in the plug socket set it off). All kids are different and tantrums are a minefield regarding how to get them to calm down (hugs or space or bribes or acknowledging or getting cross).

Wollyfish Fri 13-May-16 11:13:52

Yes, it's often my "fault" as well (stopping him sticking his fingers in a dirty nappy bag or climbing on the glass table..) I suppose from his point of view, he doesn't want to be held by someone who has caused his disappointment or frustration. I appreciate the replies, as I was beginning to feel I was the only one. He's not the type of boy who likes lots of cuddles even when not upset, so perhaps I have indeed been approaching it wrongly.

SeaEagleFeather Sun 15-May-16 20:31:40

Can distraction work? Once you see the cues beginning for a tantrum, finding a particularly nice toy or (even better) something new?

Agreed that if that doesn't work, if he doesn't want to be held then don't, except for ensuring safety. Our oldest is a complete huggy boy (which is lovely) but the youngest is much less so, and only when he wants to be hugged.

nopel Sun 15-May-16 20:42:33

DS has never wanted cuddles during a tantrum and touching him makes them worse. Once he could talk, he would ask me to stay in the room with him but not touch him. He just needed to know I was there and that his feelings were normal.

Gardencentregroupie Sun 15-May-16 20:46:36

My daughter doesn't want to be touched during a tantrum. As you say, she's often cross with me. I just stay close and let her know I'm there when she wants me.

Children often do behave worse for their parents. They keep their big emotions in check at nursery etc, then when mummy or daddy have them they know they're safe and can let it all out but still be loved and cared for. It's very normal and quite a good sign that he feels secure about your love for him.

PhylumChordata Sun 15-May-16 20:49:27

Much better to offer cuddles as he's calming after a tantrum imo.

Let him express how he feels (by all means offer him a cuddle but I can't imagine being held when Im angry) But reassurance that you still love him even though he's stropped when he's tired afterwards is really important.

Sounds like he's at a difficult stage. He probably doesn't strop for others because hes on best behaviour. It's pretty common fir the primary carer to get the worst if it.

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