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#1 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter will turn two in a couple of days and out of nowhere, she is now saying no and having little tantrums! I do baby massage, use chamomile soap, lavender oils and calming talk to see if I can relax her mood. But some days she just wants to tantrum. What should I do to help her with her emotions, without any yelling or spanking. (I deplore both) 


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#2 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 01:55 PM
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My DD went through a "no!" phase. The answer to anything was no. My DH and I joked about being able to understand which nos were really yeses. A no that meant yes sounded more like a question. We didn't really react to the nos. If we thought a no meant yes we'd go anyway or offer her things physically instead of asking.

 

Tantrums are how little ones learn to deal with overwhelming emotions. They are developmentally useful, so you shouldn't discourage them but help your DD through them. Two year olds are realizing they can have some control over themselves and there is so much cognitive development going on, but they still have no impulse control or understanding of delayed gratification. It's just a very frustrating and overwhelming age sometimes. I would verbally sympathize, labeling the emotion, and just be there for my DD until the tantrum was over. So I'd say, "I'm sorry you're angry/frustrated/sad about xyz but it's dangerous/too late/raining/etc." and rub her back or offer to hold her. It seemed to help if I explained why anytime I said no about something, especially if the reason was "it's dangerous". Sometimes asking if she wanted to nurse before it got to a point of a tantrum helped. 2.5 was the worst age for tantrums and about a month or so after turning 3 she started labeling her own feelings (I'm angry!) and most of the tantrums stopped. Also telling your LO what she can do instead of what she can't, can help. For example, saying 'walking feet, please, instead of "stop running" or 'that's dangerous, you can jump on the bed/wherever' instead of 'stop jumping on the couch'. The book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka is good, even if your kid is not quite spirited. It helps you identify your child's temperament traits and by understanding your child's temperament it's easier to understand what things trigger tantrums or misbehavior in your child.

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#3 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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Tantrums and nos are normal for the 1.5-5yo set.  It's part of how they learn!  It's an earsplitting good sign that they are developing normally.

 

I know it's not fun but having patience and a calm attitude can really help you through it.

 

The happiest Toddler on the Block helped me reframe tantrums and gain an empathetic perspective.  Other issues to consider with mood swings in toddlers are food issues (protien packed breakfasts, limited or eliminating gluten, eliminating dyes and sweeteners etc) sleep issues, ensuring a child gets enough sleep is huge, especially as the world gets too exciting to sleep through.  Limiting screen time and increasing active play where possible.  Bot most importantly for me was keeping calm and NOT taking it personally as a sign that I was failing to meet their needs.  Tantrums happen and they are nothing to be embarassed about or anything to try and stop from happening. 

 

I have read here that having a tantrum place in the house has been a good solution...having a hard time keeping it together, let's go to the tantrum place and calm down, where there are pillows and stuffies and they can nurse or have a sippy of warm milk, and just breathe in dimly lit place with mama nearby if desired or just around the corner if preferred and just ahhhhhhhh. 

 

I find that when either kid is tantruming or just flipping out in public I first get down on their eye level and empathize if that doesn't stop it, if they really go NUTS I can usually take them outside for a minute or two and they will calm down just with a change of scenary.  That being said, if I really have to get the shopping done, I let them have their feelings in the cart because I have learned to not be embarassed by their screaming anymore.   If I can, I take them home, and go to their rooms where we can chill down and out and get a fresh perspective on the issue.

 

I try to remember when I was a teenager and things that seemed the end of the world to me were minimized as no big deal by my mom and how NUTS that made me, and try to think about how a two year old might feel...they are much less rational than a teenager, so I figure it ought to be even more important to them and try to find a way to help them meet the need they feel they have without belittling or invalidating their feelings.  Instead of saying "it's okay. Mommy's here, It's okay.  You're okay." which it obviously is NOT and they obviously ARE not, I say "it's going to be okay.  You're really upset/hurt/scared right now, but it's going to be better, Mommy will help you fix it,  It'll be okay."  Somehow, this small semantic tweak has made a difference between 2 minutes of rocking and crying and 15 minutes of flailing and wailing, and I think, especially at two, depsite not speaking much, they seem to know the difference between being told they are not really hurt or that there really isn't anything to be upset about versus being validated and having the offer of help.

 

Not to worry though.  You're not doing anything to cause them and there is nothing you can or could have done to avoid it...it's just part of going from a baby to a kid.  Stock up on soothing teas...for YOU!


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#4 of 9 Old 05-25-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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Yep, tantrums are part of the package--kids have full-sized emotions, even if they have hardly any power or ability to do what they want. I'd be frustrated, too! Empathy is a big part of handling them and helping the kids through them. But don't make the mistake of giving in to a tantrum once you've said no--you can sympathize, but don't let the tantrum become a tool that your child uses to get what they want. Our rule here has been that once you've had a tantrum over something, I can't give it to you, even if I would otherwise. That helps my older kids get a grip on themselves.

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#5 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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What BirdGirl said!

 

Being consistent is a big part of tantrum management. If a child learns that she can get her way by throwing a fit, of course she's going to throw another one! But if a child learns that No means No, eventually she learns that the tantrum isn't worth the time and energy (but be forewarned - this can take a long time!) Meanwhile, as other said, learning to deal with overwhelming emotions is an important life skill. The way you respond to the tantrum can have a big impact - if you go out of control, the child has no example of what they should do. But if you empathize and identify the emotion, she learns that it's OK to feel mad or frustrated or disgusted or whatever.

 

In our house, it was OK to have those emotions, but it wasn't OK to have them in public areas (like the dinner table). A screaming child was brought into the nearest bedroom, to calm down or scream, whichever met the immediate need - but not at the mercy of a pleasant dinner for everyone else. While carrying the mad child to the bedroom, I'd quietly ask "Do you want to sit on the bed or the chair? Lights on or off? Door open or closed? Do you want me to stay with you?" I think having control over these little things helped make him feel like he wan't completely OUT of control, even if his emotions were. If he wanted to be alone, I'd go back often, to see if he wanted a hug, or Mommy time, or a drink of water - whatever. The message was that I wasn't abandoning him because he was mad. We also never had a set time limit to be apart from the action. I said "You can come out as soon as you're able to stop yelling". Sometimes my son would hitch in a big breath and follow me right out of the bedroom, and that was fine. Other times he'd be in there for an hour or more, because the emotions were too big to get a handle on right away. I know I've sometimes just needed a great big cry, so I could relate to that. It sure wouldn't help me if someone said "OK, you've had enough - stop crying now!"

 

I've always considered 2 to be the Age of Frustration. They want to run and jump, but don't have great gross motor strength. They want to pick up tiny objects, but don't have the fine motor skills. They have a million things to say, but don't have the language ability. Who wouldn't be frustrated? The more consistency and routine we can offer, the easier it is to get through those periods.


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#6 of 9 Old 05-26-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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While I agree that one shouldn't give IN to a tantrum thrown over the answer no, one might find that the tantrum is about not being able to communicate the need in the first place and in that instance I think it is okay, once you get to bottom of what is being requested to meet the need if it is a reasonable request. 

 

I don't necessarily agree that having a tantrum means you don't ever ever get what you are asking for, especially since many times for ME and my kids, If I am honest the tantrum is because either *I* was not really listening, I haven't kept them fed and well rested, or I have disrupted their lives with my own chaos. I also find sometimes I say no as a gut reaction and upon listening to my kids and the moment, I realize that despite their lack of communication skills my no was not fair or reasonable.  If I choose not to bend I feel it sets up a dynamic of me being sort of loony and unpredictable and unreasonable.  I like knowing my kids can count on me to make decisions that are fair. 

 

When I can honestly answer that the tantrum is not because of those things, than yes, I'm a total hardass, but if I sense that there is more at play than the fact that DS really really wants a 4th yogurt, and that maybe the need is a hug and a story and cuddle...I'll give him the hug and story and cuddle once we get to there.

 

Trying to keep a balanced point of view and genuine empathy has worked well for us.


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#7 of 9 Old 05-27-2011, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

 

 

I don't necessarily agree that having a tantrum means you don't ever ever get what you are asking for, especially since many times for ME and my kids, If I am honest the tantrum is because either *I* was not really listening, I haven't kept them fed and well rested, or I have disrupted their lives with my own chaos. I also find sometimes I say no as a gut reaction and upon listening to my kids and the moment, I realize that despite their lack of communication skills my no was not fair or reasonable.  If I choose not to bend I feel it sets up a dynamic of me being sort of loony and unpredictable and unreasonable.  I like knowing my kids can count on me to make decisions that are fair. 

 


I really agree with this. Having a tantrum doesn't automatically mean the answer is no. Sometimes a LO gets upset so easily or communicates so poorly the tantrum is already happening before you can figure out what they want. When what they want is unreasonable or dangerous then your no's need to be inflexible. It's good to try to wait until you really know what they want before saying no. I have changed my mind after saying no a few times, but it wasn't because of the tantrum, but because I didn't understand clearly or answered before thinking. I usually said something like "oh, I'm sorry I didn't understand, yes you can xyz....".

 

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#8 of 9 Old 05-27-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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Yep, I agree too! I suspect most tantrums are about frustrations not associated with not "getting one's way".

 

But I also believe that we can reinforce tantrums, if we do (or give) whatever we can to make the crying stop.


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#9 of 9 Old 05-30-2011, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is a very gentle child, who started speaking pretty early. When she has her tantrums, I feel like it is because she just can't get her thoughts out the way she wants. I just don't want her to understand that a tantrum will give her what she wants. Entering the toddler years is challenging, mostly because communication is still developing. I appreciate everyone's opinions and will definitely take it to heart. 


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