DD just turned 1 and has started to get REALLY upset when she doesn't get her way. yesterday she cried for 10 blocks (20 min) because i wouldn't let her hold my cell phone. she's not allowed to hold my phone ever, she reached for it, i said "no, not safe" and the crying ensued. i alternated between holding her and pushing her in the stroller the whole way home. she cried on and off the whole time. i verbalized about how mad she must be "happiest toddler on the block" style, but it seemed like every time i used my voice she got more upset. any thoughts? this is just one example of her sadness about not getting her way that have happened in the past week or so.
how can i set the stage with consistent boundaries, but also not have her get so frustrated?
beth DW DD Nov. 2009 and due Feb. 2013
You can't! You cannot control her emotional reaction. You can only control your reaction to hers. The shift from infancy to toddlerhood is hard on parents and kids. Your job shifts from meeting her every need and preventing crying, to helping her deal with her frustrations.
At this age, she's going to be frustrated some of the time. Sometimes it will be your 'fault' because you're enforcing a boundary. Sometimes it'll just be the world refusing to do what she wants, or her own body not managing what she's trying. Or something else that you'll never figure out. All you can do is empathize, try to redirect/distract, and be there for her as she has a hard time.
I have found that what works best for me is to set the boundary, and then quickly distract to something else. "Wow, look at this!" or I will just pick up a book and start reading it out loud, or singing, hand her something different to play with, pick her up and nurse her...sometimes nothing works and the tantrum just has to play its course, but a lot of times a young child can be easily distracted and forget what they initially were upset about. With my 10 month old, sometimes it is as simple as popping a raisin in her mouth.
Prevention does a lot too, such as making sure baby/toddler isn't getting too hungry, tired or bored. A lot of tantrums occur because of some underlying issue. My kids tantrum way more if they are tired than when they are not.
As far as using your voice making her upset, I have found the same to be true with my oldest daughter (almost 3) and I think it can sometimes feel like the fact that they don't get what they want is being "rubbed in" if you are emphasizing how bad they must feel that they don't get X, yet you are not giving them X. If you can distract instead, change the subject and find something for her to enjoy, that will diffuse her tantrum most likely.