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What is a normal Toddler tantrum?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
OK I haven't really posted on this board before even though my DS is a three year old now. My Son is showing a lot of violent behavoir and I just don't know what to do. For example, today we went outside to play with the side walk chalk he just got for his birthday but it stared to rain so I went to bring him inside and he bit me. In our house thats an immediate time out so then in the process of trying to give him a time out he hit, bit, scratched and tried to throw things (mostly successful) at me while screaming at the top of his lungs. I am so ashamed that I'm crying because I lost it and spanked him. I hate myself so much for this, it is totally against my parenting philosophy which is that hitting kids only teaches them to hit but the fact remains is that I don't know what to do when he gets like this short of restraining him physically. I guess I need to know if anyone else has ever had a child like this before and what they did for discipline. I know I need counseling because hitting a child is never OK. Oh he also frequently bites himself very hard during these fits and I am very concerned about that as well i just forgot to mention it because for once he did not do that.
post #2 of 20
Mama, we all have days where we feel we didn't do our best. I highly recommend reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.
post #3 of 20
I just posted a thread about this last night, also! My ds just turned three, and although his tantrums do not include biting - he does hit and head-butt, and yell very loudly. He did this in the grocery store last night, and I was so upset and embarrassed I left all the groceries in the cart and walked out of the store. People were staring as he yelled and screamed and clenched his fists... It was horrible... I didn't hit him, but I had a moment when I could tototally understand the urge to. Trying to talk with him calmly just was not working at all. You are certainly not a bad mother for losing your patience - being a parent is incredibly stressful, and toddlers are difficult to reason with!
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you ladies so much for making me feel better. I'm starting to be scared of putting ourselves in the kind of situations where these tantrums occur because they frankly scare me. I'm starting to wonder if I should bring his car seat in at the house so I can strap him in for time outs because I think maybe tht would be the best way. I do think that this is the result of so much change, potty training and the new baby coming. I think he has speech development issues and i'm currently trying to get him tested for speech therapy so we can work through this and he will get the communication skills to cope. I though a lot about it too and I realized that i'm not giving him any choices (like food and clothing) and I think he feels like I'm treating him unfairly. I'm starting to believe that it is me, not him who isn't being fair.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckula View Post
I'm starting to wonder if I should bring his car seat in at the house so I can strap him in for time outs because I think maybe tht would be the best way.
I really wouldn't do this. Picturing myself being restrained like that during a meltdown, I can't help but think that would be a very scary thing. It would also probably set up all sorts of issues for him consenting to being buckled while in the car.

The tantrum you described sounds pretty normal for some of the doozies that DS threw at that age. It really really sucks, but it's what happens sometimes. I've reacted badly too (I hit him back a few times and felt like total crap) but it's a learning process. Reading some good parenting books and talking to parents whose parenting philosophy is similar to yours are some good starting points.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know, i probably wouldn't do that either it was just that he bites himself so hard that he actually leaves marks and i'm worried about him hurting himself. it feels so good to know that other people have gone through this with their kids. Some of my family act like they've never seen a kid act this way and he has to be tested for a mental disorder which makes me want to have a tantrum right there with DS.
post #7 of 20
I've seen quite a number of two and three year olds have tantrums like you describe. I know its hard to watch your child hurt himself when he's so out of control like that. I don't have any good advice except that it will pass eventually. Big hugs!
post #8 of 20
You might also want to visit the gentle discipline forum here at mdc for ideas...the stickies at the top of that forum have really good info and ideas for handling tantrums and other concerns without spanking.

I personally like the Dr Sears Discipline Book...there's a whole chapter on toddler tantrums. And some of the info is online in the Sears website "temper tantrum" section http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/t063300.asp

Another good article to read is from mothering and it's online at http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr.../tantrums.html

Hang in there mama...my 2yo dd can throw some amazing drama queen tantrums as well, so I know how frustrating it can be. Especially when she is at risk for hurting hersel, her newborn sister, or me!
post #9 of 20
I just want to say hang in there. I have a very high spirited 2 yr old ds who screams, hits, kicks, and head butts. He gets so upset that he will bash his own head into the wall or floor. I lost my temper the other night and screamed at him. I too feel horrible, but after we both calmed down I used it as an opportunity to explain to him that even mommies get upset and make mistakes. I think its important for them to see that we to are just human and have the same emotions that they do, but this is how we apologize, etc... I too highly recommend the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. I wouldn't restrain him in the car seat, that seems to me that it would only make him more upset. Hang in there (I'm hoping) that it too is just a phase.
post #10 of 20
I just wanted to add that I am another mom of a 2 yr old with such tantrums. My daughter does not like when she can't have what she wants. That is the usual trigger of a temper tantrum, but also when she clearly wants something and I don't understand what it is. She gets so frustrated. Her tantrums include throwing herself on the floor, resulting in banging her head (she's gotten better about looking first and finding a clear spot before throwing herself on the ground, though), screaming, crying, throwing things at me, hitting me, flailing her arms and legs, kicking me, shaking her finger at me and saying no, no, no, no.
Sometimes I let her shout and kick it out and tell her I know, you're mad. When she kicks me, or hits me, or throws things at me, I say, that's not a good choice, or kicking is not nice, or hitting is not nice, it can give owies. At times, hugging her helps, other times it makes her angrier.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimProbable View Post
I've reacted badly too (I hit him back a few times and felt like total crap) \.
Ever bit? LOL. Dont feel bad mama! Spanking is all I know from growing up. (Oh, and having meltdowns once a week.)

I have lost it lots of times and I am committed to AP. :

When my ds started biting me while nursing (around 2, and it was for fun-not teething) I tried biting him back several times before I figured out it wouldnt work.


Jenny
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
I will check out some of these books and i guess just try to wait it out as best we can. I appreciate this more than you will know.
post #13 of 20
Heh. My child is not a toddler but my nephew was three and had such tantrums REGULARLY. A very passionate child. His parents never hit him that I saw, it was a nice family, no violent issues otherwise.

He stopped sometime before turning four. He does fine in pre-school and is a lovely boy.

Good luck!
post #14 of 20
I just thought of a quote I like. There was a fabulous speaker at an AP conference I attended and the best part of her talk was when she said "Hitting? Oh, that ends when they're around 12."

I think it did a lot to normalize children hitting for me. Not that I consider it acceptable behavior but I now try to look at it as being a normal way for kids to react. DS, by the way, still tries hitting every now and then and he's almost 7. He did eventually grow out of the violent tantrums, but it certainly was tough dealing with the hitting, kicking, biting, and head butting.
post #15 of 20
I am teaching the kids to stand up for themselves when one or the other hits. They usually cry to me but I want their first response to be to tell the hitter "No, dont hit me."

(And I struggle with spanking, so I guess I might sound like a hippocryte but I am trying!!!)

Hitting is normal, but for the victim of the hitting, they have a right to protect their body.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by transformed View Post
I am teaching the kids to stand up for themselves when one or the other hits. They usually cry to me but I want their first response to be to tell the hitter "No, dont hit me."
Hitting is normal, but for the victim of the hitting, they have a right to protect their body.

I love that. It is very good to teach kids to stand up for themselves. A parent can't stop hitting, since all kids will be hit at some point in time. But teaching the victim to not feel like a victim is a great thing.
post #17 of 20
I am a beginner to the world of toddlerisms... I have a suggestion for a book that was passed on to me. You might have already heard of it, but.. "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Harvey Karp, M.D. I haven't read it completely yet, but have been trying bits and pieces of it with success. I hope his frustrations decrease. Our little one has decided that ouch is a really funny word to hear said. UGH
Enjoy your weekend
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uff Da View Post
Our little one has decided that ouch is a really funny word to hear said. UGH
I can relate to that. When my toddler smacks on my stepson, and he yells OOWWW, she laughs hysterically and does it again. I have to intervene so save him, although he's 8 years older than her.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uff Da View Post
I"The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Harvey Karp, M.D.
:

I love love this book. This is about communicating with your child at the appropriate level based on their age and it is a life saver. I look like a total loon speaking toddler-ese and am a bit shy about it in public (at first even in my own bathroom) but I just posted on another thread about how I can quell a tantrum in seconds usually - maybe a little longer if she's really upset.
post #20 of 20
I so need to get this book. My 2yo is going through what seems to me a very unhappy time. We just had a new addition, and he is all of a sudden very touchy. He likes to hit, especially with foreign objects, and it scares me that he will eventually hit the baby.:
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