The Vengeful Toddler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-09-2002, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh man. What on earth can prepare you for the toddler who hears "no" and then goes ballistic? My dd is 19.5 months old and somewhat of a handful here and there (she broke my nose this weekend). I have a "no throwing food" rule. I often end a meal if we get to the food throwing stage. It has worked so far. She likes to hang out in the kitchen at the counter on her step stool. She was eating cookies there today and then decided to fling the cookies all over the room from her high vantage point.

"No throwing food." I said levelly and put her back on the other side of the baby gate to contemplate her crime. She screamed blue murder and then ran straight to the christmas tree (which she has been an angel about) and began to destroy. Ripping and shredding and flinging. Shocked I put her into her high chair to chill out for a minute. I have seen her have tantrums but nothing like this. I guess I am still somewhat shocked by the depth of her anger. I calmly explained that we don;t throw food and we don't attack things when we are angry. She calmed down and I allowed her to go back to eating her cookies. "I no throw." She kept telling me and herself.

Phew. I need a drink after today. She was murder. Anybody see this? Raging in one so young? I do not rage myself. Where does it come from?

Denny and her still-broken nose.
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#2 of 9 Old 12-09-2002, 11:23 PM
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Hope tommorrow is better for you.
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#3 of 9 Old 12-09-2002, 11:35 PM
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I'm so sorry about your nose!

I shy away from "contemplation time." I just don't think at this age they understand what it means to "think about" what they did. I truly feel that in their minds, they are learning, growing, testing out new behaviors and trying to find the boundaries... no malice intended. I tend to focus on positive (and relative) redirection...

Food throwing is a good example because most of us have been there: When DS (23 months) throws food, I tell him that throwing food is not ok because it's wasteful and a mess to clean up . I then tell him that he can throw his ball. As he's getting to two, I find that I can get him to help me clean up the mess but at 18, 19 months, simple redirection seemed more appropriate. And remember, lots and lots of repetition with this one as with anything toddler oriented. There have been few temper tantrums in our house. Moreover, DS has learned to choose good behavior over unaccepatable behavior, I see him making better choices all the time!

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#4 of 9 Old 12-10-2002, 11:16 AM
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Yes, I have seen absolute fury from both of mine at one time or another when they were stopped from doing something they wanted to's not fun, but at least it is normal! lol

We tend to get tantrums which are less full-blown (although I've had the fury, as I said). When they really lose it, I try to stay with them, trying to talk to them to calm them down. If they are unable to resist 'destroying things', I would hold them gently (allowing them to move around, but keeping them away from anything they could destry). Otherwise, I just try to be there while they vent.

The tantruming article in the last Mothering magazine is pretty good about this...

Hang in there!
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#5 of 9 Old 12-10-2002, 11:22 AM
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The first thing I wanted to tell you is yes, it is completely normal for a toddler to exhibit that kind of rage.

I would always remind Maddy "we throw balls, not food" and then I would get her a napkin and tell her to gather the cookies and put them on the napkin and then throw the napkin with the cookies into the trash (or composter or whatever). Then I would hand her another napkin and tell her to wipe up the area where the cookie crumbs are. She did a lousy job cleaning but it was a terrific distraction.

My daughter tantrums rarely but boy are they killers! They can last for an hour and they are absolutely filled with rage. The good news is that she has never physically attacked me or anyone else but the bad news is that she will not allow anyone to touch her, talk to her or hold her. Anyway, this isn't about my problems, it's about yours!

Good luck!

Maddy Moo 2.5
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#6 of 9 Old 12-12-2002, 03:40 PM
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This is just a sympathy post. I hope today is better for you and your dd!

I'm reading all of the responses with great interest, because I see my 16 month old son heading down the same road. He has such STRONG opinions. He is already defiant in the face of "no" and is not easily redirected.
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#7 of 9 Old 12-13-2002, 11:04 AM
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Dentente - My 2.5yo DS often act this way, I don't understand where he can get such rage from. He is often very malicous in his actions. You can actually watch him step back and plot out how to "get back" at me for not letting him do what he wants.

I don't have any advice, just sympathy. I know how trying this can be.

My only hope is that since he is so strong willed, that he will be a great leader someday, and when he his peer pressured later in life he will be strong willed from them to. (: he doesn't listen to his own mother why should he follow along with anyone.....hopefully )

On the broken nose thing......I was laying on the floor flat on my back playing with DS and for some unknown reason something possessed him to climb on the coffe table and jump straight on to my unsuspecting chest (he was just playing, he didn't mean to be hurtful) I ended up in the ER with a brusied sternum, and pulled muscles in my back and chest. I couldn't move my upper body for three weeks!!! I can't wait to tell him when he's older how he put mommy in the hospital!

Hopefully they will grow out of it soon!!!
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#8 of 9 Old 12-13-2002, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. Bandage comes off my nose on monday. Still sort of bruised and sore though. Her temper is becoming something of a trial lately. She really does plot as the last poster mentioned her son does. Either she's really smart or I'm imagining things.

Just got to keep on keeping on I suppose.

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#9 of 9 Old 12-13-2002, 08:17 PM
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with the rage, I think it's toddlers going for the full undiluted emotional experience-you probably notice that other emotions are of this quality-happiness too. I also think they are way into cause and effect and especially observent of your emotional state.

my dd did this too, it peaked this summer when she was about 28 months. I had no idea where she would get the energy for her world class meltdowns. all I can suggest is to plan for the worst so you can be level headed with a response when they unleash everything. I have to believe that if you stay calm and stand your ground they will get it eventually, and the rages fade.
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