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Tantrums - not the usual thread - serious help needed

(37 Posts)
lisalisa Mon 11-Jul-05 15:44:32

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koalabear Mon 11-Jul-05 15:50:35

bump for lisalisa
sorry, i can't help - i only have a 15 months old hug though

wishfulthinking Mon 11-Jul-05 15:58:23

Lisalisa: I'm very sorry to hear about your dd's tantrums. It almost seems like a waste of time posting you this thread as I have no solutions or recommendations to pass to you. I have a dd (16mths) so will soon be approaching the terrible twos and am intersted to read what other people will suggest. Has she always been quite demanding? Is this as a result of being given what she wants earlier on in her life? (Please, please do not take that the wrong way). What would happen if you said 'no' in a very normal tone of voice, walked away and ignored her? (If you've already tried this then sorry). I hope (really hope) you get some helpful information to get you through this time from other MN's. Thinking of you .

binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 16:01:42

A very quick post while I think some more. Without dismissing the obvious difficulties here, you did go through a very frightening experience last week. Don't underestimate how much overspill can come from that. (Just as a silly parallel, I spent much of Friday mistaking our nanny for our cleaner and vice versa - this is while looking at them and talking to them. It was quite embarrassing.) So the shakiness may well not be just the tantrums.

Will be back once I've had a think about dd.

WideWebWitch Mon 11-Jul-05 16:08:44

God, this sounds horrible LisaLisa, I don't know what to suggest other than have you looked at food? I have a friend whose dd is wild on chocolate, e numbers and sugar and guess what made her wildest? Smarties, which are a nice combination of all 3. It sounds like you're doing all the right things, have you tried sitting her down with a written set of rules (positive ones like 'we are kind to each other) and explaining what will happen if she doesn't follow them? What about a behaviour book? I know a lot of people don't like the idea but when my ds was being partic difficult I found writing it down each time meant a) I had to get the book rather than reacting immediately, which gave me time to calm down b) I got a picture of how bad it REALYL was, rather than how bad I thought it was (and it wasn't as frequent as I thought it was, it just felt that way!) c) he saw a record being made and knew what would happen if I wrote 3 things down = something taken away. And we also had a star chart with a picture on it of what he got for good behaviour. Sorry, I know tihs is same old same old but posting in the hope that something in there helps. It's prob to do with your being pregnant again too and attention seeking but that's so obvious as to almost not be worth saying! Poor you, esp at 6 months pregnant.

lisalisa Mon 11-Jul-05 16:11:49

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lisalisa Mon 11-Jul-05 16:20:52

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binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 16:25:40

Right, lots of thinking, so probably cross-posted with a million less long-winded and more practical people.

1. Can you just bear with it/her for five more weeks, till you are spending more time with her? To me it sounds like the sort of problem that makes you both more wretched if you're trying to deal with the rest of a very pressured life at the same time.

2. Is either your nanny or the au pair someone who has good ideas & approaches? Or, on the other hand, are either of them treating her in a way that means she is getting mixed messages? Also, is she like this with them too? At nursery etc.?

3. Your dd sounds quite highly-strung altogether. Are your other children similar, or is she the exception? Do you have other concerns about her? (Sorry, should search for background, but not sure where to look.) Do you and she share characteristics, so that it's a case of naturally locking horns? (I'm like that with my mum - so, when I was little, I found it easier to obey my dad, on exact same things. Probably made her LIVID.)

4. When & where is she good/nice?

I am sorting of heading in the direction of: in a perverse way she perhaps needs you (and you personally) more than the other children do; and that once you have a little more time at home perhaps you and she can find something special that is just for you two to do, so that (a) there is a forum for that attention she needs from you; and (b) she then has "something to lose" (ie that special thing) if she behaves badly to you - because, at the moment, does she have anything to lose?

Weatherwax Mon 11-Jul-05 16:27:53

My just 4 year old dd has horrible tantrums too and I find the ignore/distract idea works quite a bit. I used to try putting her somewhere else as dd1 always went to the bottom of the stairs but this one fights back! So I find leaving the room works quite well. ~ She wants my attention so desperately that she often calms down. I dont quite understand how I manage to distract her but I do IYKWIM. It helps having dd1 who will throw an imaginary tantrum too, they both end up on the sofa kicking their legs and laughing. The distraction I use usually ends up with a lot of laughter involved.

Just wanted to say good luck and you are not alone. When she asks for sweets can you say something along the lines of "but I was planning on us" working out the words to XYZ or some such musical game and we cant do that if your mouth is occupied?

charliecat Mon 11-Jul-05 16:29:25

My dd was like this and I too was at my wits end. She is now 7 and is fine. Nothing I did stopped her having a tantrum and I ended up just putting her in a room and leaving her till she was finished(like you are now) Turn up the radio and wait till its over.

My one suggestion would be treats for the other kids good behaviour that she misses out on when shes been tantrumming?

Good Luck!

Oh my dd was bright too and now in year 2 the school must be exhausting her brain enough as she no longer has these big huge temper tantrums.

butty Mon 11-Jul-05 16:31:43

Hi LisaLisa, I can totally sympathise with you as i have experienced the same experience for the past 2 years with my almost 5 yr old daughter. I have recently posted 2 threads that are relating to suspected ADHD, but as people not all two things are the same. I have tried everything and nothing at all works, my family is being ripped apart with anger, fustration and the inability to cope with her violence and abusive tantrums. We have seen a specialist and are going through the motions, but my only advise is not to lose it and stay calm even when pushed to the limit as i feel this way of dealing with things has helped and has angered her into thinking WHY no attention etc... and although she carries on this behaviour regardless, i don't tend to feel urge to break down and cry or launch at her or sometimes is extremely hard not to do so. See your doctor if in doubt and ask for help if you feel is appropriate. Good luck.XX

WideWebWitch Mon 11-Jul-05 16:32:31

Lisalisa, I used to say calmly, 'oh I'd better get the book and write this down' and he'd either stop, in which case I didn't have to, or continue, in which case I would write it down. It took a while for him to get used to it and to realise that I meant what I said, lots of testing me at first to see if I meant it. Your dd doesn't sound dissimilar to my friend's dd -the one with the food enumber issues They suspected ADHD or similar at one point and although they now DON'T think this is it, they do know that her behaviour isn't quite 'normal' - she can keep up a tantrum for hours and hours and she doesn't always react in the way you might expect for her age. I'm not suggestubng your dd has adhd btw, just that it sounds a bit like friend's dd and friend's behaviour management techniques are therefore tailored accordingly. She absolutely doesn't do confrontation with her dd and always lets her know what's going to happen and when, this seems to help too. She's firm with it too though, not a pushover, just knows what works and what doesn't and a lot of traditional stuff doesn't work with her dd. Just thought I'd add this in case something there helps.

happymerryberries Mon 11-Jul-05 16:33:12

Lialisa, Oh you do have my sympathy.

I'm not sure if this helps at all, but my dd was very like this. She would have tantrums that made her look as if she was having a fit! They could last up to 3 hours. They started when she was 1 and went on until past 6....but declined in frequency, if not intensity, as she got older.

She is now delightful 8 year old with a reading age of around 13.5 / 14 !

Ignore/ distract was the only way that we coped with it. She eventually learned that she was allowed to be cross and angry but she wasn't allowed to make everyone else's life hell while she was feeling that way! The bedroom was the place for a melt down.

binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 16:33:42

weatherwax has reminded me of the best advice we ever got about ds (not a tantrummer, but other stuff, probably related to giftedness): "That Boy Needs JOKES."

Funny poems are a great help.

spidermama Mon 11-Jul-05 16:35:23

I was going to post similar to www. Well worth trying the food thing. I now know it makes my son behave like a different boy.

You must be feeling so low with it, and pregnant too. I'm so sorry. It won't last forever.

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{ hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

PS. Don't worry to much about the back thing. You're only human.

WideWebWitch Mon 11-Jul-05 16:37:48

Oh gawd, yes, agree, absolutely don't worry aobut the back thing!

happymerryberries Mon 11-Jul-05 16:39:17

Oh and grit your teeth when people think that they can talk the child out of it. Ha, ha! A friend of mine tried that for half an hour and retired white faced and shaking at the end of it with dd still giving it some!

flashingnose Mon 11-Jul-05 16:45:36

Having read your posts again, the following things stand out for me:

- she's in the worst position in your family (3 of 4)

- you're pregnant

- she's bright but in the year before Reception, so probably doesn't have anything to really stretch her and is more mature than a lot of her peers

One thing I'm trying with ds (now 6 but possessor of the most violent temper) is to get him involved in solving the problem. We've sat down and made a list of "desirable" behaviour and then a list of things he can do if he feels himself "lose it". Like your dd, he can carry on for quite some time, but he's going to be too strong for me to manhandle into his room soon (plus I really don't want to be doing that tbh). After he's had an explosion, he too just wants a cuddle and is sobbing his heart out - in the cold light of day he really doesn't want to be behaving badly but it's almost like a "red mist" descends and he can't help himself. We're practising walking away, deep breaths, counting to 10 etc

I hope this helps - good luck, I know just how you're feeling

SenoraPostrophe Mon 11-Jul-05 16:47:25

oh god, ds has awful tantrums at 18 months (much louder, much more frequent and much longer than dd ever did). If he is still doing it at 3 they will have to cart me off somewhere.

Nothing constructive - except to say that I think food might be the key too, but much sympathy, lisalisa.

happymerryberries Mon 11-Jul-05 16:51:14

For what it is worth dd was much better when she started in recpetion rather than nursery....and better in nursery than when we were just at home together. I used to do m and t groups, tumble tots, music groups, walks, library trip and nothing satisfied her curiosity. For example ay 18 moths she was using gramitaly correct sentenses of 7-8 words and could recognise the letters of the alphabet and would point them out. At 3 she was teaching herself to read.

Please understant this isn't a brag, she was a royal PITA! Because I couldn't give her enough stimulation, she was unhappy. things got better when school started.

happymerryberries Mon 11-Jul-05 16:51:43

God, my typing is getting worse all the time

binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 16:55:09

yes, agree with hmb: it does seem to be a particular feature of super-bright little girls that they are at their worst (sorry) around 4 - my niece is another, now um around 11? I think - and a mature, calm, utter darling - but at 4 there were mutterings of psychologists.

binkie Mon 11-Jul-05 16:57:23

oh, also wanted to say: was thinking of my niece because she too is third of five, as your dd will be

Furball Mon 11-Jul-05 16:58:05

I also suffered bad tantrums with DS(4) and still do occasionally. With the chocolate thing, I used to say he could have some AFTER he'd had his meal, but only if he'd eaten most of what was on his plate.

Another art I've learnt is distraction. We had a pretend hedgehog and rabbit in our garden and it was amazing how I used to peer out of the patio doors, pretending to see them saying, ooh look, Mrs Hedgehog is crawling under the fence, Quick, come and see. If he came running up I'd say oh, she's just gone, You must have frightened her off with your screaming but lets keep a look out til next time she comes, etc,etc.

Another tip is get some headphones and when the screaming and shouting starts, just say, 'you're not listening to that rubbish, it's hurting your ears'. Then put your headphones on. If they still carry on, lift off one of the ears and say 'what was that? I can't hear you I've got my headphones on.' Of course it makes no difference at all, but they think you can't hear and soon realise it's a lost cause.

I also say 'well, if you're going to scream like that, I'm going back to bed until you've calmed down' Which also works in your favour if you're a bit tired. (helps if you have a tv in your room in case it's a long one!!)

We always discuss the behaviour quite soon afterwards and have a kiss and cuddle etc to make up. But he knows he can have a kiss and cuddle anytime and quite often will just throw himself at me. But it's quite nice just to say sorry to each other. I also have told him I do not like that sort of behaviour and it makes me really really sad inside.

It was the best part of my life for a good 12 months (sorry!!) and we still endure them occassionally now, but with picking one of the options above he knows he aint going to win with screaming and shouting (sometimes banging his head on the floor) But if you speak nicely you might just get what you want.

Huge sympathies

flashingnose Mon 11-Jul-05 16:58:22

I think this from Binkie sums up what I wa trying to get at:

<<I am sorting of heading in the direction of: in a perverse way she perhaps needs you (and you personally) more than the other children do; and that once you have a little more time at home perhaps you and she can find something special that is just for you two to do, so that (a) there is a forum for that attention she needs from you; and (b) she then has "something to lose" (ie that special thing) if she behaves badly to you - because, at the moment, does she have anything to lose? >>

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