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Violent 2yo Tantrums

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've been reading other posts about time-outs and redirection, but nothing seems to work with my son. He's 28 months old and much of the time he is silly and sunny and loving and goofy, but for the past 3-4 months, he's started throwing HUGE, screaming, thrashing, drooling, hitting, convulsive tantrums. Usually when I'm trying to get him to do something he doesn't want to, like get in the car, get dressed, change a diaper. These days it happens EVERY day at nap time.

When he gets this way, he will throw anything he can reach and/or hit me. At this point, he will break my house and/or hurt himself, so the only thing I can think of to do is to put him in his crib in order to keep him safe. He still whacks his head against the side of the crib, but at least he's basically safe.

Time outs don't work because he simply won't stay wherever I put him. He's very strong and I can barely restrain him when carrying him up to his crib. I hate the idea of making him feel sad and alone when he's already out of his mind, but I feel like I have no other choice. He will seriously break a window or whirl himself into a table or something if I just let him go at it.

Is there anything else I can do? I've never considered him high needs, but when he gets this way, I've been on the verge of taking him to the ER! It's sometimes really scary. Any advice is welcome. It doesn't seem normal.

Another note: he reserves this behavior for me. At daycare - 2 days a week - he eats lunch then gets his pillow and blanket and goes to sleep. I can't even imagine it. For me, he fights nap time like it's a brutal torture.
post #2 of 9
I believe, and certainly in my experience, children cycle starting around age 2. We will have a few great months and a few months of highly emotional meltdowns. The good news is that your ds CAN control it obviously if he if fine during daycare days. You just have to find what works for him. The more you remain calm, even toned, and in control, the more easy this will be for you. GL mama.
post #3 of 9
How are you approaching naptime with him? Maybe a change in that time, or routine, or the way you get him to sleep may help.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
After a punch in the face, I find it SO difficult to remain calm, but I'm trying.

He knows that nap time happens after lunch, so he's reluctant to eat lunch. If I mention nap time, he screams, "No nap!" and launches himself onto the floor. I like to do a diaper change before nap time and that usually becomes a 15 minute wrestling match where I feel like I'm going to hurt him just trying to get the diaper on. I sometimes read him a story in his dim room, but if he's really out of control, I have to just leave him in bed. He will throw everything out of the crib: pillow, animals, blanket, sheepskin. if I go in to check on him and there's anything left in the crib, he whips it at my head, so I leave. Eventually, he passes out. I just hate that it has to be this way every day.

If he doesn't seem the least bit tired, I won't force a nap, but that's only happened twice.
post #5 of 9
My son is two , and the best thing that has helped me is keping him on a schedule , I still boob feed him at nap time, and sometimes he avoids that because he does not want to nap, I found out when he acted out the worst I checked his diet, and he is sensitive to sugar , cow milk, and wheat and gluten, Sense I watch this he is alot easier to calm down . So U may want to try that
post #6 of 9
Sometimes DS ends up "crying in arms", in part because he seems to need to be swaddled to settle down.

Sometimes if we can catch a "sweet spot" when DS is tired but not overtired, he'll go to sleep in about 10 minutes.

Would it be possible to move lunch and/or nap time earlier? We have had occasions where DS is so tired he falls asleep before eating, and we feed him when he wakes up.
post #7 of 9
Originally Posted by kcstar View Post
Sometimes if we can catch a "sweet spot" when DS is tired but not overtired, he'll go to sleep in about 10 minutes. Would it be possible to move lunch and/or nap time earlier?
I was going to suggest that you try exactly this. Even if it doesn't seem like he's truly tired yet, he may be able to quiet his mind more easily if it's a bit earlier. And even if he doesn't fall right asleep in the beginning, he will benefit from just having down time alone (and so will you!). Skip or reduce morning snacks to make it easier to have lunch earlier. And don't worry if that puts you on a different schedule than at daycare. I think it is very normal for little guys to behave one way at daycare and entirely differently at home (as hard as that can be for us to accept), and likewise it's not usually a problem for them to have totally different schedules at the two places as long as each schedule is more or less consistent and is associated with a certain place.
post #8 of 9
Maybe it would help if he wasn't on a schedule. I distinctly remember having anxiety about naptime. I did not do well at all knowing that a set time was going to occur and I would have to stop what I was doing and go to sleep. Obviously he is not doing well with this schedule at home, so why not try changing it up a bit...

When it's lunch time and he says "no nap" then say, "okay honey, we won't have a nap right after lunch today". Try going to his room or your room around 2:00ish and getting in bed with a book. Call to him and say that you are reading a book and ask him to come join you. You can try different ways of engaging him.... I sometimes told DD1 that I wasn't feeling well and asked if she would come and help ME lay down for a nap. I also layed with her on the couch and watched a short movie and then turned off the tv after, and she would fall asleep....

Does he like baths? After lunch, try a warm bath and just let him play. Put lotion on after, and you've got a great formula for sleep haha.

You will most likely find yourself happier if you can just alter your expectations of him during this time. If he is otherwise a sweet, helpful, and "in control" little boy, then this nap time anxiety is not just bad behavior....he has some real issues with it, whatever the reason may be. Change the schedule up a bit to lesson his trigger times and see what happens.
post #9 of 9
He sounds like my ds. He has trouble with transitions. I have discovered that he will do at daycare/preschool/storytim/Grandma's house things that he fights me tooth and nail on. He has been known to kick, break and destroy things if he is angry or frustrated.

It hasn't solved our problems 100% by FAR (I just posted about him recently!) but it does help us to have a structured routine, lots of verbal warnings (I am thinking about making him a picture schedule as well) and "sameness" whenever possible. My SO doesn't get it because he thinks you should just be able to tell him "come here" or "now you have to go to bed" and he should immediately comply, but for some kids it's not them being bad, they just really can't keep up and handle that kind of change with no warning.

Also I had to learn that it was NOT doing CIO, or being abusive, to leave ds in his room or a safe place when he gets explosive. Over time the explosiveness has (sometimes) gotten better, but he does know now that if he starts destroying things in a rage he will have to go away from everyone until he gets it together. He just gets so out of control! Now though he will sometime come out on his own after a while and say "I'm sorry mommy, I want to be gentle now."

Also, does he have any food snesitivities? Ds gets out of control to the point I can't handle him (being pregnant I can't afford to get kicked in the stomach) at all if he has red 40. Soemthing else to keep in mind.
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