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Tantrums worldwide?

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Anyone know anything about whether it is uncommon for toddlers to tantrum in certain cultures? It seems like such an odd thing to me. I've heard that there are cultures in which babies seldom cry (and Simon was like this, for the most part), so I guess I'm just hoping that we can avoid tantrums too! He's 14 months old.

Here's my gut feelings: In some cultures, toddlers spend their time watching a lot of business, going for long walks b/c of errands (getting water), and are still carried quite a bit. I know that Simon is 1000 times happier when this type of thing is what is happing in his life than if we sit around the house all day long and he stares at the same confined space. It also seems that other cultures don't have nearly as much stuff -- like delicate tech gadgets -- to attract the child in the first place. If I have to take something away from Simon in a busy, somewhat unfamiliar place, he accepts it far more easily than if I have to do so here. In a larger and more interesting place, there are other items and goings on to catch his attention.

So is this wishful thinking? I know I don't live in the type of situation I have in mind, but we can increase our outings and general business (so that we typically go out 2 or more times, or one longish outing, each day).
post #2 of 86

Only 14 months old?

So Simon is only 14 months old and he doesn't seem to be prone to tantrums yet? I hope for your sanity that he doesn't switch to "terrible two" mode like mine did a month ago! He was a sweet little guy and all of a sudden he has been going ballistic in public and making it difficult to get anything achieved with him.
I loved your comments about tantrums around the world. I think you're onto something about keeping kids out of small boring spaces, hiding remotes and phones, and getting back to simplicity. There are obvious dangers in nature, but generally it's okay to play with what's lying around (as apposed to the cell phone which might cost mucho bucks to replace if it's tossed into the lake!)
We go for walks and work in the garden together, and his best days are the ones where I wear him out by playing in "safe places." When we stay in our tiny apartment, we both go nuts.
Mine is 22 months, and it was about a month ago that he turned into a different kind of kid. Wow! What a change! Any advice for handling tantrums?
post #3 of 86
Interesting topic. Other cultures are less obsessed with time & strict schedules, too. Bet that helps. I look forward to hearing others' responses.

post #4 of 86
Good luck Carrying and avoiding gadgets didn't help my daughter. She outgrew them for the most part. It might be more about temperment than anything.

Promise me you won't beat yourself up and think you're a bad mom if your child has tantrums though. Some kids just do. All you can do if you have a child who is prone to tantrums is to love him through them.
post #5 of 86
I think getting sad and/or frustrated is part of being human. Maybe some things vary by degrees.
post #6 of 86
This is an interesting subject. My son is 17 months and never has tantrums in public, but does have mild ones occasionally at home. His mainly come from me not giving him an object he wants (I usually let him explore objects with me, but things like sharp knives are not allowed!). He also doesn't like being moved from one area of the house to another if he is not ready, but sometimes I am tired of hanging out in the upstairs hallway while he flips the lightswitch for the 40th time and I want a snack from the kitchen, lol.

I do think that they like the stimulation of being out in the world, seeing things and interacting with people. My son loves it!

I doubt that gd will prevent tantrums entirely, but it will make them less often and less severe, I hope!
post #7 of 86
: Interesting topic...
post #8 of 86
I am reading "Teach Your Own" and he talks about a man taking a trip to China to learn about education. He asked what they did about bullying, tantrums, back talk, etc. He was told that it is not a problem there. The author went on to say that we have these problems because we expect them. In China, they simply tell their children that is not done, and that is the end of it.

Personally, I think that is crap. Their children are having all their emotional needs met, are not experiencing developmental challenges, and if they do a simple, "We don't do that" will suffice? Baloney. I think that in cultures where children are routinely subjected to coporal punishment, they have fewer tantrums. Why? Fear. I doubt these cultures have any respect for children or their emotions. Children learn early to keep themselves in line or face violence.

We had no tantrums until about two months before my son turned three. The 2s were heaven. The 3s are trying. Of course we added a new family member, so I think it is more because of the baby than anything.
post #9 of 86
I think it is dangerous to play anthropologist in this context. Some of these generalizations lean toward essentializing "other cultures", none of which have actually been named in this thread with the exception of annab's mention of China.

Annab-- is that the book by John Holt? I haven't read it, but I've heard that example used before and I tend to agree with you. I think it is crap.

My oldest child threw a total of two actual tantrums in his entire toddlerhood. My 3yo throws them almost daily. My 16mo old seems to have a temperament similar to that of my oldest, so the jury is still out on her. I think a lot of it has to do with temperament. I'm not sure that what people in "other cultures" do is all that relevant considering we live in our culture, not an"other" one.
post #10 of 86
It is by Holt and the newer version, updated by Farenga (sp?).
post #11 of 86
We have never had a tantrum from either of our children.

We never told our children what to do all the time either. We made a safe environment, and let them loose.

And involved them, in everything.

post #12 of 86
I believe it is the temperament of the child. My DD almost never cried as a baby - as long as she was being held. Now put her down to go to the bathroom, OTOH, and that was a completely different story. Honestly though, we could sometimes go an entire week without her crying a single time, as long as we held her constantly. Then suddenly one day, she started crying about everything. She wants what she wants and she wants it now and if she doesn't get it, she will scream, cry, arch her back if you're holding her, roll around on the floor if you're not, etc. This started at 11 months and I have to admit, I get a little upset when people try to claim it has something to do with my parenting.

On the one side, I've got people telling me she's used to getting what she wants all the time, so she's learned to scream when she doesn't get her way. On the other side, I've got more baby-friendly people claiming that if I held her more often, made her environment more friendly or something else, she wouldn't need to throw tantrums. It's frustrating. My house is babyproofed and I let her get into literally everything that's safe. I hold her as much as she wants to be held. I involve her in everything. I wear her in the Sutemi while I clean or when we shop. I take her for walks in the stroller every day it doesn't rain because she prefers the stroller for walks. I hand her every object she wants to look at. The kid is getting plenty of love and attention and her environment is NOT frustrating! She is just a persistent kid with a low tolerance for frustration.

For example, a couple weeks ago she saw the empty dish detergent bottle on the counter and reached for it. I had already rinsed it out for recycling, so I gave it to her to play with while I supervised. She was thrilled and banged it around for a few minutes, before suddenly throwing it down and screaming. She picked it up, looked at it, threw it down again, then threw herself onto the floor face down and started crying almost hysterically. I tried to pat her back and she rolled away. She picked up the bottle again, handed it to me, I couldn't figure out what she wanted and she threw herself onto the floor again, crying some more. I tried to remove her from the room, but she wouldn't let me pick her up. I put the bottle where she couldn't see it, thinking that would help, but it made her cry even harder, so I got it back out. I gave it to her and tried to ask her what she wanted and talk soothingly to her, but she threw it on the floor and cried even harder. This all went on for about ten minutes, before I finally realized she wanted me to take the cap off. I took the cap off, handed it to her and the crying stopped instantly. My point is that, short of being a mind reader, there was nothing in this situation that I could have done differently to prevent the meltdown. I gave her what she originally asked for and supervised to make sure it was safe. I tried to help her when she got frustrated by talking calmly to her, trying to rub her back, attempting to remove her from what I *thought* was the source of her frustration or remove the source from her. Nothing worked until I finally figured out the problem. And all of this happened when she had a full belly and wasn't tired. It's just her personality.
post #13 of 86
I don't think we should be so fearful of normal human emotions or tears. Children and adults alike should be able to express their feelings. Crying can be cathartic, even for children. It's OK to cry! There is a range of 'normal' human emotion--and I don't think we should be disrespectful of that. Range means the meter is not always stuck on 'bliss'.
post #14 of 86
I think tantrums (in our culture) are pretty much a temperament thing. My dd started with them at 11 months (early) and has had a lot of them- even over stuff I couldn't give her if I wanted to (like imaginary friends becomming real.)

One thing, for my dd, is if she could stay naked and around the house all day it would cut down heavily on her frustration. She would probably also be a littl happier if she had other kids to play with all day- but that is not a 100% guartantee about tantrums.

She still gets upset playing with other kids. She also still gets upset naked around the house sometimes, I'm just saying it might cut down.
post #15 of 86
I don't have time for a long reply but I wanted to suggest the Continuum Concept by Jean Leidoff (sp?). I read it while pregnant & just picked it up again (dd is 3). The author is an anthropologist who studied a tribe in S. America & noted the lack of crying & tantrums in their children. There is a website where you can do some reading (I don't have it handy, just google it) & there have been a few threads about it here on MDC.

I'll try to come back later & post some more.
post #16 of 86
since i was raised in a different culture i can see why children in other cultures dont cry or tantrum much. more hands. as simple as that. u always have attention from various age groups (which makes a huge difference) when u need it and because u r in a group u tend to behave like in a group too. if u fall ur mom is not the only one to comfort u. for an infant more experienced moms can tell when a child is tired and put them to bed immediately. or as a toddler the child can go sleep with whomever he pleases - grandparent or uncle.

does that mean they never tantrum, never cry. of course not. that is a temperament thing. but say u r at the store and ur child wants to run around. u have limited time so u cannot go where he wants to go. now if u had a friend with u they both could toddle off and explore while u shop in peace. so when u have more hands there is less reason to tantrum.

also tantrums are sings of frustration. if u have a v. high energy physically active child who enjoys callenges and u keep saying no jumping on the couch, no dont do that and yet u dont really allow any outlet like going to the park that is enough for the child --- hello u r in trouble.

i feel one of the worst things that progress has created is the nuclear family. children are not meant to be raised alone. not even the shy child, the loner child. i see my dd losing out on so much that i took for granted as a child.

the main thing that happens is if the personality of the parents and the child dont mesh, then there is always guidance from somewhere. if the parent does not rise to the ocassion then the child can seek someone he prefers.

for children an extended family is great. for adults it is really hard. too much politics. for adults a nuclear family works out better. but for young children and older people - an extended family is irreplaceable. it honestly takes a village to raise a child.
post #17 of 86
Now that you mention it...since I have been living in Malaysia, and visited Thailand and Indonesia, I don't think I have ever seen a local kid having a tantrum. It's nothing more than anecdotal evidence- interesting though.
Local people who have witnessed my son's tantrums, reacted by immediately giving him what he wanted/letting him do what he wanted or, if they didn't know what it was, they'd give him candy or a treat. (He got a big ice cream, before his lunch, at a restaurant in Bangkok, for pitching a fit when they brought him his iced tea. A drink he had ordered.)
post #18 of 86
I find it hard to believe that no matter where you are on the globe, an exhausted, overstimulated 20 month old, when given a popsicle and then suddenly had it taken away, would not throw a tantrum. but that's just me.
post #19 of 86
I think that your response meemee was very thoughtfull and clearly stated. I have often thought that moms in particular have lost a lot with this whole nuclear family set up, but now that you mention it the kids have lost a lot too. We do live in a way that I believe makes things harder on all of us, having lost our extended families. My husband and I have lived far away from any of our family since we were married. Having our son with no one around to help was hard, now of course family makes visits to help but the constant support has never been there. I am envious of those who have family around all the time. I just think of an evening when dh has just come home from work and is wiped, I am trying to cook dinner and ds just wants some attention, someone to play with him. This is when it can get tough, some one has to give. And just as a toddler may throw a tantrum, honestly sometimes I would like to as well. Now my ds has never had one and he is almost 2, so I consider myself lucky to have a pretty mellow guy, but there are situations when I could see how a toddler with a little less tolerance would lose it. I just think of how I feel sometimes trying to do some many things with so few hands.
post #20 of 86
part of it is temperment

I have a dd that didn't tantrum until past 2
I have a hn, intense, persistent dd who started tatrums at 6m.

the other part is lack of help for the family...mine tantrum less when there are more hands to help

the other part is lack of sleep...my oldest tantrums b/c she isn't napping well, which if i had an extra set of hands, instead of me and two kids 16.5m apart... I'd be able to get her to sleep

The other part is just I think we have more 'stuff' we don't want kids to get into, than some other cultures.

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