4 month old tantrums with certain people - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-17-2012, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Since my DS was born in January, I have made it a priority to make sure he sees my parents at least once each week.  We live about 2.5 hrs apart -- so this is no small task given all the tasks and responsibilities that come with a new babe (and returning to work 6 weeks ago ... but I work at home).  We have both shared in the travel -- they've been here and we've spent entire weekends there.  I did this because my immediate family is very small and he's the first grandchild.  I wanted him to know them when he saw and heard them.


At 3 months old, he was baptized and about 30 people passed him around that day.  He was his usual cranky self, but didn't seem to oppose any one person or persons in particular.


Two weeks later, when I arrived at my parents' home, he went into a full-on tantrum.  He screamed and turned purple and cried real tears when they so much as spoke to him.  By the end of a very long day, he allowed them to look at him and talk to him but he had a fit when they held him.  THis past weekend, my mom visited my home.  He acted similarly initially, but it wore off rather quickly.  He still clearly didn't prefer to be with her, but he tolerated it.


Also, since I could put him in a sitting position, I had him looking at the computer screen to skype with them.  He tantrums that way as well ... in fact, I literally JUST ended a session with my mom with whom I couldn't even speak because of his carrying on.


Meanwhile, I took him to a bbq at my husband's work yesterday and two different women HELD him .... and he was smiley and chatty with another baby about his age. 


I don't know what is bringing this on ... or why it is just them and all of the sudden.  But it is deliberate and his tears shut off INSTANTLY when he is back in my arms or when i shut down the computer screen from skype or when they walk away from him. 


I don't want to encourage this behavior -- but he's 4 months old!  What do I do?


He's also the type of kid who has been tantruming over a lot of different hings -- how fast he's fed, for example.  Just this morning I stopped shoveling fruit into his mouth in response to his cries for more.  He does settle down eventually - just wants his voice to be heard, I guess?


I don't want to keep giving him what he wants in this regard.  He should not be afraid of them -- and there is no reason to be afraid of them.  So, I dont' want to keep him from them because that's what he wants.  I'm usually all about "this too shall pass", but not this time.  Is this separation anxiety?  or something more?  Or not?


I put him in his crib and shut the door to this most recent outburst. 


again, HELP!!!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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It's not a tantrum, or really even a behavior.  He's just reacting to how they make him feel.  There could be any number of reasons he doesn't like them....but, he's obviously very attached to you.  They just make him uncomfortable for some reason.


Time will fix it.  Just keep spending time with them.  Soon, he will love them as much as they love him.  Nobody loves my daughter more than her grandma....so, I'm glad they had a good relationship.  But, at first, my daughter was very much a mama's baby, and didn't really like anybody besides me and daddy for a while.  

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#3 of 7 Old 05-17-2012, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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It's a little hard for everyone here to take without having it feel "personal" ... he is just a baby, but we believe in all sorts of different things ... including that their energy just isn't too good.  They have a lot going on right now in their lives and perhaps they are feeling that.


I get him being attached to me ... that seems to be everyone's first suggestion.  But he took fine to other people yesterday -- total strangers!  :(


I know it will pass, but it seems to be sticking around longer than I expected already!

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#4 of 7 Old 05-22-2012, 06:40 AM
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Yea, not a tantrum and, IMO, not deliberate in the way I think you mean. 4 months is CRAZY young. I'm forgetting all the child development stuff but I'm not even sure if he knows the two of you are separate beings right now. I would put it out of your mind that you can do anything to encourage/discourage this at this age. Like the PP said -- I wouldn't even call this a "behavior". 


Ok, all that said...honoring the fact that you and your family are making an awesome effort to bond in these early months and you want them to interact with the baby...


I would see if you can figure out other ways to do this. Maybe you will find that the baby will sit with them when he's sleepy or sound asleep. Or, not...maybe when he's awake and mellow. Maybe they need to take him outside. Maybe you can hold him while they talk to him. Maybe they should talk to him while he's in a bouncy chair. 


Anyway - this will pass and change. It's a tiny blurp on the radar - though I know it doesn't feel that way after you've driven 2.5 hours to see family. Let us know what works, mama!  

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#5 of 7 Old 05-22-2012, 11:19 PM
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You mentioned that their energy isn't good right now - you hit the nail on the head, babies read our emotions far better than most adults. I read an article about a research study on infants reading our emotions on our faces. I'm forgetting the details but the gist is that your baby is probably picking up on your parents stress and could be extra sensitive to it. Also his crying makes you stressed which doesn't help to calm him down. My advise is that when be starts screaming, take a deep breath and take him outside for 5 or 10 minutes so he can calm down. Then bring him back inside and hold him. Let him get used them being around before they try to interact with him. Everyone focus on unloading stress with a cup of tea or a couple of deep breaths. Nothing calms a baby better than a calm parent.

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#6 of 7 Old 05-26-2012, 08:40 AM
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I haven't yet read the other replies, but DD reacted to Nana similarly and for us it was because she had learned to associate Nana with Mama not being around. It's possible your little one is maybe worried that your parents, as frequent visitors, may be competitors in being able to be with mama. I'm not sure if that's clear: I have a fever. Anyway, we fixed it by spending time with Nana while I was holding DD and reassuring her that Nana doesn't always mean not being with Mama. Now she lights up when Nana comes by, and she takes care of DD twice a week. Good luck!
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#7 of 7 Old 05-26-2012, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Kaydove View Post

Nothing calms a baby better than a calm parent.

wow lady, you have quickly become a wonderfully wise mother!!  can i get this embroidered on all of my things!


i really notice that any time i start to talk in a stressed out tone or even when listening on the phone to someone that really gets to me, my toddlers that could be happily playing by themselves in the next room even will start to fuss a lot.  they have become the canary on my emotional coal mine, and for them i am getting better at walking away and taking deep breaths than i ever was just for my own health.

Originally Posted by Tear78 View Post
Anyway, we fixed it by spending time with Nana while I was holding DD and reassuring her that Nana doesn't always mean not being with Mama. 

hi Tear! wow every time i see you post it just fills me with joy that we both have kids now, those days on the 30's board seem like yesterday and yet a lifetime ago.


as for what you said here, i really notice that mine notice things that are related to being left alone and start to want to avoid those things. i take care to build those good associations to certain areas of the house and folks that dont have to do with me leaving, so that when they do go there or a do need to leave them at least its only about the leaving and not already built up association on top of it.

partners.gif 2twins.gif  So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!

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