talk to me about tantrums (meltdowns?) in 17 mo - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 12-05-2010, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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She is a great kid, and very mellow and easy going.  I am not sure if these are even tantrums.  They have begun happening in the last week, mostly if she is tired.  I try to keep her from getting over tired but it does happen... life is busy. 


So anyhow, she will start screaming if I tell her no about something.  Or this evening, because I picked her up for a moment, we were happy, and then I set her down... and usually she will say, "up!" if she wants back up, but she just launched straight into screaming.  So she will scream, run off and scream some more.  The screaming goes on and on.  If I try to pick her up too soon, she pushes me away and shakes her head, so now I give her a little bit of space to be mad.


I tell her that I would be happy to hug her when she wants, and I try to offer her word to talk about her feelings.  ("Are you feeling mad because x?"  etc)  I don't want to talk too much because it seems ineffective at least during the tantrum.  And I want to stay calm and not get mad too (which so far I don't really get mad... it seems obvious that she is frustrated and I am the adult, so should act like one... but I would not be surprised in the future if I felt frustrated too), but I don't want to be cold either.  I don't want to be lax in my duty as a parent to help her learn how to control her feelings.  I also don't want to over-dramatize stuff for her, either.


I am working to resolve the tiredness issue, but in the meantime, I also want to offer her empathy, boundaries, tools.  Big feelings happen.  I have to admit tonight I told her I would hug her when she was ready, then just laid on the floor and let her scream for about ten minutes.  I felt like it would have been rude to go do something else.  Then I offered to pick her up, and she came right to my arms and soothed fairly quickly after that.  I know what I want to do... I just don't know about how to do it.


I guess perhaps after the meltdown might have been the time to give her some words, but her dad came home at that exact instant and they started playing.


Basically, I'd like to hear what y'all have to say about tantrums.  What worked for you, what didn't, your thoughts, etc.

DD1 6/2009 DD2 5/1/2013-5/5/2013 (HIE) DS 3/2014
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#2 of 7 Old 12-06-2010, 08:04 PM
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My DD (almost 16 months) is fairly easygoing, and generally doesn't *want* to tantrum, so she will take an easy out, if given.  If I have to say no to something, and she starts screaming, I can usually suggest an acceptable alternative and she'll calm and agree.


Sometimes I have success with finding a way not to say no, like "yes, we can do X, but we are having lunch first.  Lunch, then X.".  or "yes, I know you want that game, but it is your sisters.  Not for you.  This one is for you."


If none of those works, then basically I have to get her to sleep as soon as possible LOL

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#3 of 7 Old 12-06-2010, 11:55 PM
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I don't have much of anything but sympathy for you!  My daughter will be 17 months this week and doesn't talk with words yet.  She is one of those children that has only extremes and I haven't found the right solution for us yet.  I'd be very open to replies!  Good luck and KUP.  I think you're doing great so far.  I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels like I'm being "cold" if I let my daughter scream for a minute while she's throwing a tantrum.  It seems to be what she needs at that moment and since I've got no other solution...

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#4 of 7 Old 12-07-2010, 06:57 AM
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This is the exact age when DS started trantruming. When he's throwing one now (23 months) I offer to hold him and just talk to him soothingly. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. If he wants nothing to do with me, I tell him to come see me when he can calm down, but I don't leave the room. I don't know if what I'm doing is good or not but it's the only thing I know to do! I don't put him in timeouts for tantrums though at this age.

DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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#5 of 7 Old 12-07-2010, 09:01 AM
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DD started throwing little tantrums about 6 weeks ago (@16mo).  I would usually say "DD mama isn't going to talk to you while you're throwing a fit, if you want something come over and talk to me".  Then I would go sit on the couch and within 2-3 minutes she would come over and ask to be held or ask for a cracker or to go outside etc.  It worked for us, she went from throwing a couple of fits a day, to only 1 this week.    

Working, freshly graduated! mama.  Loving life with DHguitar.gif , DD 7/09energy.gif, and DS 06/11 babyboy.gif.

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#6 of 7 Old 12-07-2010, 09:38 AM
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springbride that sounds good.  I'll have to remember that. 


DS is 17 months and he does the falling on the floor tantrum, but it's very short, and sometimes it's just cute (though we try not to smile and laugh).  He's moved a bit away from this to just going limp in your arms if you need him to do something and start crying.  We tend to either leave him on the floor to cry for a minute (it's always brief), or pick him up and tell him this is not a choice (like if we are trying to leave somewhere) and then distract him. 


We started using "quiet time" around 14 or 15 months.  I could usually tell his tantrums were sleep related issues, so when he was fussing and nothing seemed to be the right thing to do (you know those moments: I don't want that, give me that, no that's not it either, scream, repeat) I would ask him, "Do you need quiet time?"  I would then put him in his crib with his binkie, basically give him an opportunity to take a nap if he wants.  All of the times I have used quiet time it's worked wonders for both of us; sometimes Mom's need to step away for a moment and regroup.  He'll calm down and plays quietly in his crib, and then when I get him (10-30 minutes later, because I'm waiting to see if he'll nap) he's a different kid afterwards. 


I have used "time-out" once.  Again, it was a sleep related issue, but he deliberately threw a ball at my head after I told him not to throw at me (he was just 16 months old).  It was that whole scene from Kramer Vs Kramer, but with his arm cocked back looking at me with that *look* daring me to punish him if he threw it.  We had the stare-down with me telling him, "You better not throw that at me. You better put that down.'  And then wham!  He hit me right in the head and it hurt!  I snatched him up and put him in his crib for 2 minutes.  He hasn't thrown at me since, and if he's acting up all I have to do is say, "One more time and you get timeout."  Funny, but that one expereince was so effective he always straightens up.  But I have to be careful between a time-out and quiet-time, because I don't view quiet-time as punishment, more that I know he's sleepy and just needs some time alone to calm down and rest.  Sometimes we both need that.

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#7 of 7 Old 12-07-2010, 10:46 PM
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We are using quiet time too I suppose although I didn't know it was called that!  When Phoebe gets really "bad" with the tantrums I wait for a break in the tide.  (This usually happens once I hold her for a minute.)  Then I take her to her play room and set her down and tell her to play with her toys or take a nap and mommy will be back in a little while.  Lol, she usually ends up passing out within 20 minutes or so after she's emptied the whole of toy bin across the floor.  I do however, usually leave our dog in there with her.  She doesn't feel alone that way and he just sleeps on the couch in there.  (Lol, I know this breaks a cardinal rule for many but I trust my daughter and my dog.  I also realize that if anything DOES happen, it is MY fault and not my dog's or my daughter's.  Additionally, the walls and doors are paper thin so I can be there in a flash.  Also, it's only with THIS dog.  We had another for awhile as a foster and I would NEVER have done that with her even though we'd had that dog longer.  We'd been fostering it since before Phoebe was born.  But I digress...)  Somedays when she's still obviously tired but refuses to knock out I'll then go in there and sit on the couch next to our dog and read a book.  Within five minutes usually she'll have climbed in my lap and passed out.  But it doesn't work if I do that to start with.  Lol, funny how are kids tick isn't it?  :)

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