Can you help me with my 14 month old? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 11-16-2007, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok...I'm cautiously testing the waters of the GD forum.

My dd is 14 months old. She is very...determined about things. She wants what she wants, which I understand is a toddler thing.

In the last week, I have seen a very upsetting shift from her wanting something, my redirecting her and it working (most of the time) to her wanting something, my redirecting and her falling bonelessly to the floor (much like a plate of spaghetti) and kicking and screaming. And I do mean screaming. We fled the grocery store yesterday due to it.

Obviously she is too little to discipline. Or to really understand my trying to reason/sympathize with her.

I am just unsure how to handle it. It's all very dramatic - not surprising, my lo is very theatrical. She literally is limp and freaking out and I am trying to pick her up and it's like carrying a rag doll. Only the loudest rag doll I have ever encountered.

I don't know if I need to read a certain book...Raising your spirited child, Happiest toddler on the block, etc.

I just feel like I need help. Right now, I am that mama in the store that people stare at, and she is ONLY 14 MONTHS OLD! I kind of thought this sort of situation would come up in another year or two. And that it would be obvious on what to do.

And please don't say just don't take her to the store. It was once at the store, twice at home, and once at a coffee party yesterday.

Do I just pick her up, and leave the situation? Is this normal behavior for a child her age? The mamas who witnessed it at the coffee party yesterday seemed to think it wasn't normal at all. : Which irritated, embarrased and made me very sad all at once.

Any advice?
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#2 of 7 Old 11-16-2007, 08:40 PM
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My ds is almost 14 months and boy are we hitting that stage fast!

You tell him that he can't have or do something and it is the end of the world Throws his head back, arches his back and collapses into a limp puddle of screams.

Honestly, I find it cute and a bit funny though I do feel bad for him because I know that he just can't articulate what he is trying to let me know.

I deal with it in public the same way that I deal with it at home, I give him a second to air out his frustrations because I know that it helps wind him down and then I turn it into a game. I pretend to eat him by bitting at his feet and legs because I know that it makes him laugh. Or I make funny faces and noises and I talk in a louder excited voice. I never rush him through his emotions though, if he needs to be upset for a moment that is fine.

I don't let myself get upset because then he picks up on that and it just gets worse.

It can be embarrassing in public sometimes but I just do what I have to do. Grocery shopping can take a long time if we have more then one meltdown but it works out in the end.

mama and don't worry, I find it to be perfectly normal behavior for this age.

Oh, I just wanted to add that I find Playful Parenting to be very helpful with this.
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#3 of 7 Old 11-16-2007, 09:05 PM
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I normally just smile at dd and know when she's 14 years old this memory will be cute.... I normally just try to accomadate her ie. right now she normally won't(won't as in knees buckle and refusing to move untill you let go of her hand) hold your hand unless you hold both of hers so i just use my ring sling as a leash.... or if she grabs a candy at the checkout she can't have like peanut butter cups I'll replace it with a small peice of choclate... i think 1-2 is a very hard stage where they want so much to be independent and do everything but the world is still a little bit big for them...
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#4 of 7 Old 11-16-2007, 10:06 PM
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Yes, falling to the floor like a limp noodle is entirely normal at her age (and later too)! You sound like a compassionate mama and I'm sorry some people have indicated that they don't understand that such behavior is age appropriate.

Your little one is overwhelmed by the intensity of her feelings. What I always found helpful is to empathize and show my kids, to the best of my ability, that I understood their feelings. You might put her feelings into words -- e.g., "Halsea wants a cookie! Halsea is sad because she cannot have a cookie."

Of course this doesn't mean that you have to give her the cookie but it does show that you are there for her and will help her cope with these big emotions. I don't think that there is necessarily a way to "stop" a tantrum, nor do I think it is always appropriate to do so. Sometimes kids just need to feel. You can always remove her to a safe or appropriate place but I wouldn't focus too much on getting her to stop emoting.

Finally, prevention can be key. Figure out what triggers the episodes and try to devise strategies to avoid them while out and about. If she wants a cookie while shopping and you'd rather she not have one, how about packing a snack that she can have? Make sure she's well-rested, not hungry before taking her out, etc.

Good luck! It is so hard sometimes.
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#5 of 7 Old 11-17-2007, 04:14 AM
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Oh thank you thank you for posting this. I too am rushing headlong into the very emotional phase, and am surprised that it is happening so young (12 months yesterday!). It's so nice to hear that it is happening to others too (I have seen other kids who aren't as emotional as my dd, but I KNOW there are others out there like her!) For now, I am finding refuge in the fact that (at least at home) these meltdowns are SO cute (in a loud, melodramatic kind of a way)--she will sometimes drop her whole body onto the floor, roll her head to the side, and sprawl her arms out to either side while wailing--picture the little butt up in the air for maximum cuteness factor. Chuckling to myself (on the inside of course) is what saves me! That and timing my outings right after naps when she is chipper and happy! If she's well rested and fed, she's really quite a lovely little kiddo And empathizing seems to help too (although she's not really talking yet...)

And "Raising Your Spirited Child" was a great affirming book for us (even though dd isn't as "spirited" as many described in the book, the concepts and ideas were fascinating, helpful, and affirming--we are not alone! And drama and persistence can be wonderful characteristics when they're applied differently...)

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#6 of 7 Old 11-17-2007, 04:43 AM
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Just wanted to add to the previous posts that sometimes we find that kind of behavior is triggered by low blood sugar or dehydration. After a huge screaming tantrum in WalMart we finally got into the car and I gave dd a little juice and after about 2 sips she said, "I feel better now!"

So after that I started making more effort to feed her before we go out, carry snacks, etc. And knowing that a solution might be that simple, even if it's not that, helps us both to work together to find one.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-17-2007, 05:07 AM
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I'm at 21 months now and the tantrums are still going strong! We had one at the grocery store today actually, because I needed my credit card back from my son. Anyway, I also handle them in public the same way I do at home. It took a couple of public tantrums for me to get comfortable with that. At first, I just kept apologizing and saying "what's wrong with you?" to my ds. I felt really bad about that later, because I was more concerned what others thought than with my own son's feelings. So now, I remain calm and kiss him (if he lets me) and tell him that I know he's upset, but we can't do (blank) right now. I give it a few minutes and then will try to cheer him up. Timing is everything on that, because tickles can sometimes make him more angry.
Oh...and I've found it's really helpful to not say no, but say something like "oh...we'll do that after lunch" (and I make sure to not lie to him...we really WILL do it after lunch). The "no" really gets to him.


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