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Tantrums...urgent help needed please?

(27 Posts)
Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 18:52:35

DD1, 4 years and 8mths old has the most horrendous tantrums. I am finding it harder and harder to cope with them.

I have tried time everything I can think of to stop it happening/escalating but once she starts there is no reasoning with her.

It has got so bad that she is actually hurting me, throwing things and screaming so loudly that my neighbours must think I am hurting her. After a week with major meltdowns happening every day I just feel like a terrible mum and don't know where to turn.

Todays tantrum was because I refused to let her get ice cream before dinner! I said no and all hell broke loose sad
After her screaming and kicking things I told her that her behaviour was not acceptable and she would be put in her room to calm down. This resulted in her kicking, punching me and slapping me in the face all the way there. Once in her room she started throwing things and actually chipped the paint off her wall!

Is this normal behaviour? I have seem many a child have a tantrum (friends kids etc) but never to this extent.

Where am I going wrong?

elmoandella Thu 21-Aug-08 18:57:58

first off. can you start by not buying in stuff like ice cream and cweet or anything that she asks for that starts this.

this will have benefits.
1)if there not there she will understand she cant have them.
2) perhaps she's getting things in her diet which are contributing towards these tantrums.

then you should tackle the behave.

what do you do when she kicks off.

be honest.

do you ignore, naughty step, shout, smack!!

something else

popcal Thu 21-Aug-08 19:05:07

Hi sounds just like my DD1, 4years 4months. If she doesn't get what she wants (especially where food is concerned) and more so when she is tired ,she starts to have tantrums (screaming, crying, thumping me etc) Have tried to put her in her bedroom to calm down but it seems to have no effect. I usually end up giving her a bath to see if that calms her. She also has tantrums over clothes which really annoys me!!!! Her behaviour at nursery and pre school is great and we just hope she will grow out of it !!! Sorry not much help but Im glad its not just my dd!

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 19:05:26

Have you spoken to her about it once she has calmed down?

dandycandyjellybean Thu 21-Aug-08 19:06:26

avoid no as much as possible.i.e. yes of course you can have an ice cream, after dinner. sorry to be a bore, coz i quote this a lot but get 'how to talk so that kids listen and listen so that kids talk' it has some really excellent strategies....sorry have to go and help ds 2.9 fix his bike, will check again when i can

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 19:14:41

It all started tonight as she was playing with her friend (a neighbour), they heard the ice cream van and neighbours child announced she was going for ice cream (she is a couple of yrs older) DD then asked if she could have something, I said no. If neighbours child had not said she was going there would have been no tantrum. Tonights was just one example, it could be anything, wanting a toy in a shop, not wanting to go to bed, not wanting to go out as she wants to play etc etc....

When she kicks off I give her a warning that I won't stand for her behaviour and that if it continues she will be sent to her room, if she continues I pick her up put her in her room and shut the door.

Sometimes I guess I do the wrong thing as I try to reason with her, explain why we have to do what we are doing or why she can't have what she wants. Then she just lashes out at me sad

In the past I have tried the naughty step but this only worked when she was younger. Have also tried shouting, sometimes I can't help myself! Soon learned that it doesn't work it just makes things worse.

I don't think smacking will solve anything, I want her not to hit me! Not to thinkit is ok hmm

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 19:19:24

popcal, sorry you are having a hard time too. It is of some comfort to know that it's not just me!

Juuule, I always try to talk to her when she calms down. When I put her in her room I always tell her that I will talk to her when she calms down and when I hear she has stopped throwing things I ask her if she feels calmer. I talk to her, feel like I am getting somewhere with her, she apologises, says she loves me etc but then it starts again over something else! I always tell her why her behaviour is wrong but it keeps happening sad

Thanks for the advice hairybikermummy, will have a look for that on amazon.

BigBadMousey Thu 21-Aug-08 19:38:02

The worst thing you can do to a 4yo DD IME is to ignore them.

She wants something, you say no, she throws a wobbly, you don't give her an audience.

It takes a lot of practice, if you are out and about then you can still ignore her just pick her up and carry on or stand there and let her get on with it (you learn to switch off). You'll get horrified looks from people who have never been there themselves so you'll need thick skin. At home, put her in her room or somewhere safe where she cannot hit her head badly or pull furniture onto herself then leave her to it. Don't return until she has stopped it herself - at her age she is more than capable of stopping once she realises it doesn't work any more.
Expect it to get a lot worseand expect it to be hard but get easier with practice.

I am having to do this (and worse) with my DD2 who is 2.4. It's hard, she goes for 2+ hours atm but with this techinque she is improving already thank goodness.

All that tooing and froing about the whys and wherefores just made things a lot worse for us. If she wanted something and the answer was no, I would say no, give the reason and leave it at that - no argument required, you are the adult and you call the shots on certain things thats just the way it is.

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 19:41:56

It takes time.
When this has happened with us we've done much the same as you.
We try talk and reason first.
If that doesn't help or it makes things worse then ask if they want to go somewhere quiet to calm down.
Instead of putting her in her room which gives her an opportunity to hit you, why not walk out of the room she is in and let the storm blow out that way. Obviously stronger action would need to be taken if she decides she's going to start throwing things that would break. In which case I would hustle her off to somewhere safe where she can't do much harm until she's calmed down regardless of flailing limbs.
Once the tantrum settles I've then talked over what had happened and give lots of hugs.
As I said it takes time but you get there in the end.

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 19:45:26

Thanks, I guess persistance is the key, just feel like I'm getting nowhere.

Will try leaving her in the room she starts the tantrum, giving her the opportunity to slap me in the face is no fun!
(though I couldn't have done that earlier as it was in the kitchen where I was cooking dinner)

elmoandella Thu 21-Aug-08 19:53:23

even if she's hitting you. as hard as it can be, just ignore. she's also hitting just to get a reaction.

worth a try if putting her in room isn't getting you anywhere.

BigBadMousey Thu 21-Aug-08 19:55:34

If you do nothing because you were in the kitchen cooking dinner while she was kicking off she'll just kick off every time you are in that situation. You have to stop what you are doing, make all safe then drag her up to her room or some other place and leave her there (it's hard with an older one as they have better escape abilities) then go back to what you are doing. You are going to get kicked and punched in the process of moving her but in the end it will stop the behaviour (although you may develop rather large biceps and/or do your back in)

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 19:59:55

Sorry I think you misunderstood, I did stop what I was doing and took her to her room. What I meant was that I couldn't have walked away and left her there as the cooker was on.

Putting her in her room just doesn't seem to be working it just giver her the opportunity to lash out at me.

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 20:02:44

It isn't unusual for children to lash out when they are being forcibly moved to somewhere else. Not pleasant but not unusual.
Think about if someone was making you do something/go somewhere that you didn't want to. What would you do?

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 20:09:50

Good point juuule, I guess I shouldn't take it personally sad

BigBadMousey Thu 21-Aug-08 20:12:10

Sorry, yes I see what you mean now. Certainly don't mean to sound pushy either as I know what hell you are going through as it is without some stranger saying 'oh, you just do this ....'grin.

I have nowhere I can shut mine away so she just goes off all round the house.

Lomond Thu 21-Aug-08 20:14:42

grin BigBadMousey - hope you don't have many breakables!

BigBadMousey Thu 21-Aug-08 20:21:35

grin - not any more....all broken!

DD2 gets a lot of bruises from her tantrums though. It's really horible to watch sad

pagwatch Thu 21-Aug-08 20:40:06

the thing is that children tantrum because it is the most obvious and basic reaction to anything they don't like. Think about it. hat does your brain want to do when you get a parking ticket or miss the bus or spill wine on your fav dress.
We stop doing it because it does not work and we learn that it is tiring and nothing good comes from it.

Children who continue to tantrum are gettng something from it.
once you find out what that thing is you eliminate it and they stop.
and you preferably make something they don't want to happen, happen.
then they stop quicker

My son used to tantrum because he wanted my attention. He wanted me to get good and close and talk to him and preferably get close enough to lay a good slap on me. Even better. Bad attention is better than no attention at all.
If he was pset about something he wanted huge drama to match how fed up he was feeling.
also when children are upset the moree that is going on and stimulatingthem the more upset they can get. so if you are close to them and louder than usual that just ratchets it up
So for me saying "no" clearly and calmly and getting as far away from him as possible worked best. He followed me sometimes and i would whistle or sing as he thrashed around.
It worked.Muttering 'gosh this is all very silly' used to work too.
My guess is that your DD is liking all the heightened emotion because it echos her feelings. I wouldn't move her anymore but would just walk away from her without responding at all . And you need to find a punishment that she doesn't like. She does not mind the ones you have thought of.

Lomond Fri 22-Aug-08 11:56:21

Aww, that's a shame BBM, luckily my dd hasn't really hurt herself yet, its others that get the brunt of it.

Pagwatch - You have a good point there, I know it's a learning process for her I just thought she would be over them by now. I've bee trying to think about what punishment she would dislike the most. Yesterday I kept her in for the rest of the day, she didn't like it one bit.

Is it enough that she apologises for what she has done or am I right in punishing her? Once she apologises should I let it drop or stick to my guns and remind her that she is being kept in because of her behaviour.

BigBadMousey Fri 22-Aug-08 12:34:27

Well (as I've said before) I'm no expert but IME if you don't follow through with the punishment then they just carry on with the bad behaviour.

If I get an apology then I accept it but still cary on with the punishment. The one time I let it go bacause I had an apology I just got an awful lot of wailing next time of 'but I said sorry mummy' to which I replied - 'people who are really sorry don't do it again'.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 13:02:57

My 4 years old was getting increasingly difficult. Lots of anger, agression, tantrums.

I got 1-2-3 Magic, after less than a week he is transformed, unbelievable. I'm enjoying being with him so much now & our home is so much calmer (and with a new baby & 3 boys ages 4, 7 & 9 tomorrow, that's saying something)

SO that get's my vote. It's very easy to read too

tazmosis Fri 22-Aug-08 15:03:06

This thread has made me feel so much better!! My DD1 4.2 has started having the most dreadful tantrums everytime she can't have something she wants - she can be sweetness and light and its like somebody flicks a switch and she turns into a shrieking, shouting, kicking, hitting, stamping whirlwind. Today has been particularly bad, and I was feeling really down, thinking - what am I doing wrong and I must be a crap mum etc so it was really good to see this thread. Like you popcal she is really well behaved at nursery and with just about anybody else but me!

I've got 'how to talk so kids listen..' - it was recommended a few weeks ago on another thread, but when all hell is breaking loose I forget what I've read and just react emotionally sad - I need to try harder.

Morloth Fri 22-Aug-08 15:18:53

No discussion, once you have said NO that's IT. Honestly in this situation if my DS acted that way I would tell him to stop immediately or there would be no dinner and he would be going straight to bed.

We don't get many tantrums cause I am a hardarse and he knows the consequences will be immediate/consistent/harsh.

We do smack if absolutely necessary but the boy is 4 and I think it has happened 3 times.

I am not as mean as I sound, if he wants an ice cream after dinner, then as I usually have some in the freezer he is most welcome.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 22-Aug-08 15:29:58

lomond, tazmosis etc, try this book this book

I find it a lot better than 'how to talk', cos most of the time, esp when so young, I find we talk too much

then you don't have to remember much more than to count to 3, so not too difficult to learn, remember, implement, or them to cotton on. Seriously my ds has been transformed, and I've not raised my voice or got cross with him , whereas before I tried this, the volume, tension & tantrums ( from him, dh & me!) were nightmare levels

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