How to properly deal with 8 month old's frustration tantrums - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I know that it's not *technically* a temper tantrum, but my son is extremely frustrated and I don't know how to help him. He has taken his first few steps and is pretty free range, although we are always with him and engaging him/watching him.

He wants to pick up and eat EVERYTHING he is not supposed to. Pens, dirty old books, socks, every crumb on the floor, e.t.c. We have baby-proofed to the best of our ability, but the past couple of days he has been hysterical every time something is taken away from him. I am talking back arching, screams, tears, leg kicking, the whole nine yards. In the perfect world he wouldn't ever see or touch these things and not ever be tempted, but in our world he wants everything we are holding.

I understand his frustration, but the tantrums are killing me. How best to deal with them in the moment?

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#2 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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I'm sorry you are dealing with this! I think really the only thing you can do at that age is distract, re-direct, distract, re-direct. They really don't understand why it's being taken away...they just know that they wanted it and should have it! Try to have something to trade with him, so mama gets the pen but baby gets bright, colorful, hasn't-seen-in-a-week-or-so toy. Then HIDE the forbidden item. Fortunately they are easily distractable and have short memories at this age.

Also, change of scenery seems to work well for us. So, a quick walk outside or just even onto the front porch to see the birds or leaves or whatever.

Good luck!

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#3 of 11 Old 12-09-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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Comfort, distraction, and thinking ahead.

The thinking ahead is really key, I think. I learned this with my twins, because you just can't possibly watch two mobile babies every single second. So I got in the habit of every time I'd walk into a room, I'd do a fast survey, identify every unsafe or gross or breakable object, and take steps to remove them right away. The more you can get ahead of baby, the fewer episodes of having to take something away you're going to have. It basically for us meant spartan neatness in the house for a few months, which I suck at, but it was better than constant yelling.

Otherwise, when you have to take something, I would offer comfort-- "yes, yes, I know, you LIKED that, and mama took it, and you're mad, here let me hold you, do you want to nurse about it" and then go for a change of scenery or distraction.

Like the PP said, it does help to have a little stash of cool stuff that's safe for baby, stuff baby rarely gets to see, so that you have neat stuff to offer in return. I like that idea.

And brace yourself-- honestly, it gets worse before it gets better. The months between 12 and 18 were tough in this sense, for us. They get so much more mobile, and so much more able to thwart your babyproofing efforts, but their "wheels" develop before their common sense and impulse control do.

One thing that really helps me is to work on staying calm in the face of the baby's anger. If you get upset, and try too hard to make baby stop crying, or let yourself slip into getting annoyed or angry, I think it makes it worse. I like to think of letting my kids' frustration/anger/sadness just kind of wash over me, like I'm a rock in a stream. That helps me stay calm, so that I can really be there for them when they're losing it. I don't think I'd ever get through the toddler years without this little mind-trick of mine.

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#4 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing that really helps me is to work on staying calm in the face of the baby's anger. If you get upset, and try too hard to make baby stop crying, or let yourself slip into getting annoyed or angry, I think it makes it worse. I like to think of letting my kids' frustration/anger/sadness just kind of wash over me, like I'm a rock in a stream. That helps me stay calm, so that I can really be there for them when they're losing it. I don't think I'd ever get through the toddler years without this little mind-trick of mine.
This is so poignant! Thank you for this. I often don't know whether he is frustrated more than me or if I've got him beat! We do practice meditation in our family, so the state of mind you have described is very relevant to our approach. I will tune into it more. As for the exchange the bad thing for a good toy, this too I have to master. I often give him a bunch of toys at once and they are all out for him to use. I need to hide some for this purpose! Thank you both!

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#5 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 08:41 AM
 
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It gets better. I just went through that stage with DD last month (she's about 9 months now), and just this week she turned back into her cheery self again.

When we were in the thick of it, the biggest thing that helped was going out as much as possible. DD would be distracted by all the exciting new things and new people, and she'd stop being so grumpy. Then when we'd get home, she'd pass out and sleep like a log.

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#6 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Then when we'd get home, she'd pass out and sleep like a log.
Amen to that. Leaves me hopeful.

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#7 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mrs-Mama View Post
I'm sorry you are dealing with this! I think really the only thing you can do at that age is distract, re-direct, distract, re-direct. They really don't understand why it's being taken away...they just know that they wanted it and should have it! Try to have something to trade with him, so mama gets the pen but baby gets bright, colorful, hasn't-seen-in-a-week-or-so toy. Then HIDE the forbidden item. Fortunately they are easily distractable and have short memories at this age.

Also, change of scenery seems to work well for us. So, a quick walk outside or just even onto the front porch to see the birds or leaves or whatever.

Good luck!
Ditto to all of this. My DD is always calmed by a quick trip to the front porch. Even for just several seconds(which is really good because it's getting COLD out there!!). Also, having an item handy for substitution is a must.

And, of course, like a PP said, think ahead. Scan a room for anything and everything and try to anticipate what she might go for.
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#8 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mrs-Mama View Post
I'm sorry you are dealing with this! I think really the only thing you can do at that age is distract, re-direct, distract, re-direct. They really don't understand why it's being taken away...they just know that they wanted it and should have it! Try to have something to trade with him, so mama gets the pen but baby gets bright, colorful, hasn't-seen-in-a-week-or-so toy. Then HIDE the forbidden item. Fortunately they are easily distractable and have short memories at this age.
This. My daughter is the same way-- wants EVERYTHING, wants to chew on my cell-phone, wants to eat the cats (and throws a FIT when they run away), etc. Sometimes pulling out a favorite toy and replacing with that helps. Sometimes it doesn't, and she just has a "tantrum," in which case we go to the rocker, and hold/rock/sing/nurse until she calms down.

My mom says it gets worse at 2 years old, because at that point they can really hit hard when they have the emotional breakdown-- at least at this stage, it's easy to hold her when she's crying.

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#9 of 11 Old 12-12-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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We are going through the same thing, same age and everything. It seems to have gotten really bad in the last week. I find that taking her to look at the ceiling fan works to break a tantrum after I take something away from her...But I am sure it will stop working soon. I also usually put her on the floor with heaps of toys, I tried just giving one or two but she had no attention span, she plays with each toy for like a minute then is scanning for more and new toys. I need ideas for more homemade toys made from things around the house so I don't run out of toys here. I don't want to buy more before Christmas, she's already getting 2 new ones then.

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#10 of 11 Old 12-12-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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I need ideas for more homemade toys made from things around the house so I don't run out of toys here. I don't want to buy more before Christmas, she's already getting 2 new ones then.
What "homemade toys" do you already have? I'd love ideas ...

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#11 of 11 Old 12-12-2009, 11:48 PM
 
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Medela breastmilk storage tubes filled with lentils (makes a rattle, and they are BPA free in case she chews on the plastic), a big cardboard box from Amazon that she likes to sit in...And her socks. When she gets bored with all her "real" toys, I give her a bunch of different color clean socks to play with!

But she now has like a 1 minute attention span these days! I need more ideas.

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