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incredily persisiten 2 year old. tantrums. If I ignored them I'd ignore her forever, please share your tips!

(20 Posts)
beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 14:39:54

dd is almost 2 and is a very high needs child. always needs you with her, she is unable to play alone, and calls for me if I so much as pop to the toilet.

I have just about coped with this for 2 years, but now the tantrums have started. If something doesn't go her way, or I say no, or take a brick off her which she is smashing against the door, she goes into melt down. Just now she had a 20 minite screaming fit because she left her my little pony at her nanny's house on Thursday and we won't go and get it.

distraction does NOT work. when she wants something, she just repeats it oevr and over and over again, will not listen to why she can't have it.

Ignoring just makes me sad TBH. She starts to get upset (ie becasue she doesn't have the horse and we won't drive and get it) I try to get her to play with a different horse, then when she screams in my face I get up and walk away from her telling her that we do NOT speak like that in thi house. I will sit on the sofa and ignore her.

Then when she is upset, rather than angry I will offer a cuddle. But all she will do during that cuddle is ask about the horse, and when I tell her it is not here she hits me and we start over.

How on earth does anyone cope?! I am with her constantly, this morning we have all been out as a family, to the library for some books, then playing outside, then dancing to music in the lounge and playing with her kitchen. she is now outside with DH, but I can hear her calling for me.

I am exhausted. my lovely, interesting toddler has gone, replaced by this contrary, miserable whinge-bag.

please share your tips with me whilst I quietly despair into my tea grin

beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 14:44:19

sorry about the appalling typos.

Greatfun Sat 15-Aug-09 20:10:14

My DD who is now nearly 4 used to soend all day havng tantrums at this age and it would test me to the limit. I would suggest three things: Firstly, try and head off any incidents that you know could result in a tantrum. This won't work for everything but will educe some of the tantrums, secondly you say this doesn't work but distraction can be great. It may have to be really silly like pointing to the sky and saying look there is a pink fairy or whatever and lastly, time out. I really needed this at this stage as I needed to be removed from DD as much as she did from me. Everytime a tantrum started she would be put on the bottom step or if we were out taken to one side. I woudl keep her there for 2 mins bring her back and talk to her for a few minutes and if it continued she would go back again. Alot of the problem at this age is struggling to communicate so if she is not talking clearly maybe set up easy to understand signs/words to cover most of her needs - although from what you say she is very vocal!

Its a phase and it will pass. I actually dont remember the last time DD had a tantrum. grin You just know she will ahve the mother of all tanrums tomorrow now I have said that.

Just thought of another thing. DD began to drop or reduce her day time naps when all this began. IN retrospect I think alot of it was down to tiredness which coudl have been better handled by me insisting on longer naps at the time.

pagwatch Sat 15-Aug-09 20:19:38

Small comfort but my son was waty worse ( but he has SN).
In the midst of it I thought I was loosing my mind but actually , ultimately I had to ignore because I knew every time I gave in it just encourged him to scream louder and for longer.
He did get it eventually.
I found that leaving altogether made it easier on both of us and distracting myself rather than watching and waiting for him to finish - so stop sitting on the sofa as that perpetuates the factthat she is in control of your attention. Tidy up or go and get a cup of coffeee. My favorite was putting on some music and dancing smile

Sounds odd but it did help. All the time I had been sitting patiently waiting for him to stop he was totally in charge and waiting for me to give in.

And try and cut down how much you explain /talk to her. If she is very upset then processing all your explainations add to her stress level. When DS2 starts to get upset I don't 'argue' with him I just articulate for him that I understand. I will say 'you are cross - you want the toy. Poor you. Poor pagboy' and then stop talking.

But it will get better. If my boy can start to process and calm himself then your lovely DD will eventually too.
I know it feels like a battle but it will get better.
Try the dancing thing - but don't have the music too loud grin

ttalloo Sat 15-Aug-09 20:25:12

Poor you - it's awful when the tantrums start, and not much comfort to know that it is developmentally normal when your little angel has turned into psychotoddler.

My DS1 is nearly 2.6, and very clingy; his tantrums can be spectacular, and if distraction and ignoring him don't work I take him to his cot and leave him there, for my own good as much as his. It usually does the trick within 5-10 minutes. We then have a kiss and a cuddle afterwards and talk about what happened (he is very articulate), before he's off doing his own thing again.

I agree with greatfun that your little one is probably just frustrated; even if she is very vocal, she still doesn't have all the vocabulary she needs to express what she's feeling, never mind sufficient understanding of her emotions to know that it's not worth throwing a wobbly just because you've forgotten something somewhere.

beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 21:46:50

ooh pag, i wish i could, but half of dd's tantrums are over fecking dancing. she loves to have music and dance, but i don't dance quie right, or don't move the horse in quite the way she wants, or won't let her pull threads from the tassles on my cushions to put on said horses head whilst he dances, and the whole tantrum starts again. I then ask her to stop crying or the music will go ff. Musis goes off and when she can compose herself enough to scream at me for more music and then stop crying and ask nicely at my request, it goes back on again. Only to go off again 30 seconds later. I'm starting to dread the request for music and dancing grin

I'm not sure I like the idea of ignoring her, no idea why, but it feels a bit abusive to just ignore someone (obviously losing m temper and shouting is not great either blush) but ignoring just seems so, I don't know, cold i suppose. Does it not cause long term psychological damage or am I being ridiculous now?

beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 21:48:51

oh and I agree, a lot of it is frustration, and tiredness, dd does still have a nap but would like a longer one (not negotiable if i want her to sleep all night) and i think is also ccutting her last 4 teeth. But oh god, its hell i tell you, absolute hell. not helped by the fact that I was at home with her more than usual as I had extra day off from work this week

CarGirl Sat 15-Aug-09 21:52:07

with one of mine I used to ask her "are you ready to stop now" and it worked, it's almost like she need a prompt to help stop herself?

You could try that approach once or twice and see if she responds to it.

beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 21:53:46

I can almost see her screaming "no" at me cargirl, but that might make me grin so it's definitely worth a try! thank you

GwarchodwrPlant Sat 15-Aug-09 21:58:31

Tough love bees, tough love. You will not cause any lasting damage by ignoring tantrums. trust me. I am a childminder and I have dealt with my fair share of them.

I just have time-out if they cannot be avoided. They need to learn that tantrumming does not work or help and by being consistent and timing them out you are doing them a huge favour.

All the best!

CarGirl Sat 15-Aug-09 21:59:35

well when she says "no", say "okay" then walk off - read a magazine in the loo with the door locked for a bit?

You may have to just try the ultra ignore completely for a few weeks until she learns it gets her nowhere?

Evil times I tell ya!

beesonmummyshead Sat 15-Aug-09 22:02:02

oh god, i can feel my stress levels rising already. what is it about hideous screeching that makes me want to throttle bite anything else utterly hideous run away and shove my head in a sand pit? grin

Twill be a loooooong time til I have another I can tell you!

CarGirl Sat 15-Aug-09 22:04:32

ipod & magazine at the ready, it will be the making of her. Perhaps she's desperate to find out what the boundaries actually are when Mummy will withdraw all good will?

ttalloo Sun 16-Aug-09 09:51:28

Ignoring them when they're tantrumming doesn't cause psychological damage - it just gives them space to have their feelings, while poor, worn out mummy goes and bangs her head against the wall has a cup of tea and does some deep breathing. Toddlers need to learn to cope with disappointment, whether it's caused by mummy's rubbish dancing or their brother looking at their books (this morning's effort from DS1), and if coaxing, distraction and cuddles don't work, I've found that ignoring them is the only solution. The shock of having no audience for their tantrum is usually enough to stop it; let's face it, it's no fun throwing a wobbly if there's no one to see it!

piscesmoon Sun 16-Aug-09 10:14:22

I think that you are giving her too much attention and it doesn't sound as if you are managing to totally ignore them. It is quite normal, I would agree with ttalloo. She knows that eventually it will get her, her own way-she just has to keep going long enough! Along with ignoring I would make sure that when she is being good you give her lots of attention and play with her. I would pick up a book-sound bored with her behaviour and tell her that you will listen to her when she calms down-and then read your book; totally ignore her and don't allow yourself to get drawn in. Once she has calmed down give her attention, ask her what it was all about and explain that you can't understand unless she tells you calmly and quietly.Whenever she starts tell her you are going to read your book-you will stop when she has finished.

sunfleurs Sun 16-Aug-09 12:12:53

This was my dd. She was awful. I love her to bits but she was just horrible for about 5 months. I had stand up arguments on buses with people pulling faces and making comments about her.

She is almost three now and almost completely over them. Still high maintenance but much happier than she was. It will end.

pagwatch Sun 16-Aug-09 12:26:25

smile I know it feels awful but it really won't harm her and you are not ignoring the child youlove - you are explaining silently to her ( in a way that she could not yet process verbally) that her behaviour is not going to achieve anything.
Hovering around waiting and praying that she comes out of it is actually more 'cruel' because you are encouraging her belief that he upset is rational.
You are equating her screaming and crying with her being upset and distressed and hurt. Her screaming and crying in this instance is simply upset that she is not getting what she wants - not the same thing at all.

DS2 has OCD along side his autism and his tantrums would be about whether I sat exactly next to him or not, whether his cup was given to him by the handle of the body.
He was driven by compulsions and not whimsey and yet it was still kinder not rto give in.

I honestly DO know what you are experiencing and how hard it is. But really - she need to feel confident that she can cope without the things she is demanding. It is kinder of you to reassure her that she will be fine if she doesn't get the pony smile

But I really really empathise.

beesonmummyshead Sun 16-Aug-09 17:51:06

thanks all. I will definitely try the ignoring. It has to be better than what we are currently going through anyway. And rationally I know ignoring her can't do her any harm. I think it's just because she is sooo high needs and demands so much of my time, that I have got used to giving it to her.

She knows exactly how to get my attention, when I do ignore her, she shouts for me saying "dd crying"

But I shall ignore, ignore, ignore and then reassure when tantrum is over.

However, if this drives me to drinking in the day I shall blame mumsnet grin

junkcollector Sun 16-Aug-09 19:41:01

Haven't read all the posts but I think it's about saying " When you ask me in a nice way I will let you .....". Then going and doing something else (usually the bleedin waashing up!)If they follow you to carry on the tantrum just bend down to their level, repeat, then carry on with wahtever you were doing.

If you just go and sit on the sofa and refuse to look at your dd, than that is not really ignoring the behaviour that is just ignoring her. You are giving her just as much attention by ignoring her as you are by pandering to the tantrum.

On saying that 2 year olds are a nightmare and it gets better.

KTNoo Sun 16-Aug-09 21:52:30

With practice you can tell the difference between the genuinely upset crying and the more manipulative stuff.

This is the age where you have to start as you mean to go on. If you are not firm and consistent now you will end up with a whiney tantrumming 4 or 5 year old. My SIL is lovely but cannot let any of her 3 dcs cry even for second. She has 3 kids pulling at her, demanding food and in shops demanding toys, and she can't say no to them as then they will cry and she can't handle that. She's knackered.

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