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SIL thinks DS's tantrums are not normal

130 replies

Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 15:55

DS is 3 years old (since June).
He is intelligent, active, curious but he is also very stubborn and constantly pushing boundaries and misbehaving.

I read a lot of books and tried to implement a lot of gentle solutions. I try to be consistent but also caring and open to listen and understand.

But he is starting now to have a lot of tantrums. More or less everyday. He does better when he is with me, with DH it is a bit crazy.

Tantrums can last several minutes, with non stop screaming and crying. tantrums are always "issue related". Meaning that he consistently cries for a specific thing from start to finish.


Daycare thinks he is doing fine and with a normal development, but today he was out with DH and SIL and he had a big tantrum, and SIL suggested they are not normal anymore at 3 years old - and we should speak with a specialist.

AIBU to think tantrums could be also part of normal development? Or do you think something is strange?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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tiredanddangerous · 19/07/2022 15:57

gentle solutions? I expect that's probably your problem tbh. You can't reason with a tantrum if three year old.

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BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz · 19/07/2022 15:58

What qualifies her to say this? What did dh say to her when she said this to him?

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TibetanTerrah · 19/07/2022 15:59

What do you do when he has one?

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Coffeaddict · 19/07/2022 15:59

Tantrums don't necessarily stop at 3 however when you say gentle parenting what do you do when he's having a tantrum? Do you bargain with him?

I would just ignore the tantrums and see if that helps them reduce. As long as he is not in a position to hurt himself let him scream his lungs out and never give him what he wants from one, it only makes them worse.

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Franca123 · 19/07/2022 16:00

Gentle solutions rings alarm bells.

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Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 16:03

When he has a tantrums normally i sit down on the floor to be at eye level and i just hug him. I normally do not speak until he is done.
If we cannot stay where we are, we go to a different room/area and I do the same.

Like this he normally calm himself within few minutes. Sometimes it takes only few seconds but sometimes longer.

DH is not implementing the same method and the tantrums just excalates like crazy every time.

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MolliciousIntent · 19/07/2022 16:05

What is he tantrumming about, and how do you address the issue post-tantrum/cuddle?

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Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 16:10

Well, tantrums triggers are always new ones but here from the last few days:

He wanted the blue cup but we forgot it at grandma place
He wanted a t shirt which was in the washing machine
He wanted an ice cream but it was time for lunch
He was playing with another kid and the other kid took DS chair and did not want to give back

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Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 16:11

After the tantrum, when he is calm, i try to explain to him why he could not have what he wanted. I define timelines for when (if possible) he can have it. And i tell him that it is better to explain with words instead of crying.

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karmakameleon · 19/07/2022 16:14

tiredanddangerous · 19/07/2022 15:57

gentle solutions? I expect that's probably your problem tbh. You can't reason with a tantrum if three year old.

Surely gentle solutions is just distraction etc like most people use with preschoolers?

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user1471462428 · 19/07/2022 16:16

Which end of three is he?
if he has just turned two then tantrums are normal but if he is nearly four then I would agree this level of tantrums isn’t the norm (one off will happen but not regularly).
I think inconsistent approach in your parenting team is doing doing your son no favours whatsoever

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Franca123 · 19/07/2022 16:16

If my 3 year old had a tantrum because he couldn't have an ice cream, he wouldn't be getting cuddles and attention from me. He'd get a short sharp warning and then ignored. I've not got time nor energy to be dealing with all that. Strikes me the most important thing is getting on the same page as the Dad. You have to present a united front.

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Franca123 · 19/07/2022 16:18

I suspect you think you're being kind to give your son all that attention when he throws a wobbly but in my opinion it's cruel as you're fueling it. Give it no mind, he'll stop doing it terribly much and he'll be happier.

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N4ish · 19/07/2022 16:18

Your method of dealing with tantrums sounds spot on to me. There's no point trying to punish or reason with a child at the end of their tether. That doesn't mean that you give them what they're asking for, just means you're helping your son to dial down the high emotional level he's at when he's tantruming.

Time outs and punishments for tantrums only escalate things as you've seen in the methods your DH is using. If nursery aren't expressing any concerns I would ignore what your SIL is saying.

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MolliciousIntent · 19/07/2022 16:20

Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 16:10

Well, tantrums triggers are always new ones but here from the last few days:

He wanted the blue cup but we forgot it at grandma place
He wanted a t shirt which was in the washing machine
He wanted an ice cream but it was time for lunch
He was playing with another kid and the other kid took DS chair and did not want to give back

Yeah I would not be giving cuddles for any of that. I'd be explaining firmly why it wasn't happening, and then I'd ignore it. I might say, just once, that he should come for a cuddle when he'd calmed down, but I would not be rewarding kicking off like that with attention and affection.

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howdoesatoastermaketoast · 19/07/2022 16:22

@Annaritanna "When he has a tantrums normally i sit down on the floor to be at eye level and i just hug him. I normally do not speak until he is done."

It sounds like you're doing great. I remember doing this in a store and a guy came up and asked if we were alright (like I guess do we need an ambulance) I just looked up and smiled sweetly and was "Oh no I'm totally fine thanks and he'll be ok again in just a few minutes" people who haven't been there have no idea I think.

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UWhatNow · 19/07/2022 16:23

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

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Soontobe60 · 19/07/2022 16:25

I agree - if Nursery do t have the same concerns then it may just be him playing up for you and his dad.
I actually think you shouldn’t hug children when they’re having a tantrum. When I’m angry, the last thing I want is the person who’s making me angry hugging me!.
I think the tantrums are perfectly normal at that age, as are the reasons for them. With my children, when they did this, they’d get a calm sentence explaining why they couldn’t have what they wanted, then ignored until calm. Once calm, I’d then use distraction such as ‘time for a story now’ and smartly change the subject.

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Soontobe60 · 19/07/2022 16:26

howdoesatoastermaketoast · 19/07/2022 16:22

@Annaritanna "When he has a tantrums normally i sit down on the floor to be at eye level and i just hug him. I normally do not speak until he is done."

It sounds like you're doing great. I remember doing this in a store and a guy came up and asked if we were alright (like I guess do we need an ambulance) I just looked up and smiled sweetly and was "Oh no I'm totally fine thanks and he'll be ok again in just a few minutes" people who haven't been there have no idea I think.

Maybe he had been there and was offering some support?

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sellthesizzle · 19/07/2022 16:27

N4ish · 19/07/2022 16:18

Your method of dealing with tantrums sounds spot on to me. There's no point trying to punish or reason with a child at the end of their tether. That doesn't mean that you give them what they're asking for, just means you're helping your son to dial down the high emotional level he's at when he's tantruming.

Time outs and punishments for tantrums only escalate things as you've seen in the methods your DH is using. If nursery aren't expressing any concerns I would ignore what your SIL is saying.

Agree with N4ish on this. Children feel emotions they don't know how to handle - punishing them for those emotions doesn't give them the tools they need to learn to handle them. 3 or nearly 4 years old is still very young and he is only doing it where he feels most safe (home) and handling himself well at nursery.

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Bigmouthshouthotair · 19/07/2022 16:27

Annaritanna · 19/07/2022 16:10

Well, tantrums triggers are always new ones but here from the last few days:

He wanted the blue cup but we forgot it at grandma place
He wanted a t shirt which was in the washing machine
He wanted an ice cream but it was time for lunch
He was playing with another kid and the other kid took DS chair and did not want to give back

I wouldn't be hugging over these things

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easyday · 19/07/2022 16:28

I do think it's an extreme reaction to not having the right colour cup or ice cream. A bit of pouting and stubbornness yes, but not a full on tantrum on a daily basis.
He may not do this at daycare as there are other kids about.
But you and your child's father do need to approach things in the same way. Not sure your 'gentle' approach is working (I mean it's not reducing the amount of tantrums is it)?

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Whoareyoumyfriend · 19/07/2022 16:39

Op that sound perfect. I never gave in to my kids but why would you ignore a child in such distress

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puddingandsun · 19/07/2022 16:39

I think you're doing great. You said he is intelligent, active and curious.

As long as he is happy and nursery haven't raised any issues I wouldn't worry about your SIL’s opinion at all.

Also with DP not being on board you can't have the consistency the child needs, which makes things more difficult for everyone, but kids eventually adapt to different parenting styles.

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N4ish · 19/07/2022 16:40

All the 'just ignore' them comments - does that really work? It's a very young child overwhelmed with the emotions they're feeling and expressing them loudly!

Obviously you don't give them the ice cream, the blue cup, the sweets or whatever else it is they're screaming for but I don't think treating tantrums as just bad behaviour is effective. If a 8 or 9 year old was still having regular tantrums I'd think something was wrong but the poster's child is very young.

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