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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>My daughter just exhausted herself enough to pass out & is now sleeping with a frown & furrowed brow.  She spent the previous 45 minutes throwing a raging, screaming, thrashing tantrum.  This is happening more and more frequently & I'm seriously out of ideas on what to do because nothing seems to help - it's as if she just has to use up all her anger/frustration/whatever before she can stop.  We've always been very AP, she still bf's, still co-sleeps, we try to give her as much say in her life as we possibly can, but I feel like where this helped us ace infancy with zero hardships we're failing toddlerhood. </p>
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<p>Here's the story of today:</p>
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<p>We needed to get out of the house.  With freezing/below freezing temperatures lately it's turned into a battle to convince her to go, but our days are so much better when we do.  Today she was seemingly on board with a walk.  It was within an hour/2 hrs of when she usually takes her nap, so I figured if we timed it right she'd fall asleep, but she wasn't displaying any tiredness signs yet.  She's been super clingy so I offered to wear her in the ERGO & she said she wanted to.  The confrontation started when it was time to put on her leg warmers, sweater, coat, hat, etc.  It really is cold here & she is terrible at the natural consequence thing of letting her go out w/out warm clothes and let her ask for them thing... she will only ask once she is way too cold (ie. starting to shiver violently & turning blue).  So we do a combination of explaining/showing her how cold it actually is, reminding her why she needs them, and just putting them on her... today it worked with minimal fuss, but she wasn't happy.</p>
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<p>The fit started when it was time to go in the ERGO.  I got her in & we started walking, but nothing was right.  She wanted her elbows in, then out, then in, then her butt was stuck, then her back was stuck, then she ripped her hat off & my Mom put it back on (Gramma was coming on our walk too) and that's when she really started flipping out with the screaming & thrashing.  We'd gone only maybe 1/2 of a mile at that point, but I got her out of the ERGO b/c she was throwing herself up & backwards in an attempt to get out.  She spent the next 10 minutes thrashing on the ground, throwing herself at me, then out of my arms, all the while screaming incoherently, but seemingly objecting to whatever it was I tried to do and then objecting if I did nothing too. </p>
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<p>I finally got her to calm down in my arms by singing to her, but it was really cold & we either needed to keep walking or go home, so I gave her the choice.  She wanted neither, she expressed the wish to just stand there and have me sing.  I think at this point she wanted to fall asleep there with me holding her, but I can't just stand in the snow singing in definitely, she's heavy & it's cold.  She absolutely did NOT want to be put down. </p>
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<p>I tried again with the ERGO two more times, but it resulted in resuming the screaming.  I tried to give her the choice of going home or getting in the ERGO & everytime she would just scream about not wanting to go home or not wanting to be in the ERGO.  I finally just said since she couldn't make the choice I was making it for her and started to walk home, carrying her in my arms.  She screamed & thrashed the entire way home.  Once we were home she continued to scream/cry, throwing herself at the door, throwing herself around on the floor, trying to climb into my arms & then once there trying to hurt me and/or throwing herself towards the floor to get away from me. </p>
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<p>I was trying my best to stay calm through it all, but it's hard.  I lost my temper a few times and yelled back, but at least was able to regain my cool again pretty quickly.  I tried to keep her from hurting herself, tried to figure out her screamed demands about singing/holding and acommodate them, told her over and over that I loved her & was there to help her when she was ready to calm down.  She finally was able to articulate that she wanted to nurse & for me to sing to help her calm down, but she kept biting my breast, so I had to take it away and tried to just offer cuddles & kept singing.  After another 15 minutes she just seemed to go limp and she was asleep.</p>
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<p>I feel like I have zero tools to deal with this kind of thing, it really feels like rage.  She's shaking with emotion, crying/screaming hysterically, trying to hurt me at the same time almost desperate for me to help her calm down.  My Mom has no advice, since she says her three kids never did anything like it our lives.  Our friends parent differently, I'm pretty sure their advice would be something involving spanking and/or putting her in a room and leaving.</p>
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<p>Please help!          </p>
 

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<p>She's two and that can be a really difficult age for kids. She's just really realized that she is a separate person from you and she is trying to see how much influence she has over herself. She has no impulse control yet and is feeling very overwhelmed when she has big emotions. The tantrums are how toddlers learn how to deal with big emotions. Just calmly be there for her during them and you'll both survive the stage. It's really useful to label the feeling saying 'you're angry' or 'I know you're sad'. 2.5 was my DDs most tantrum prone age. By the time she could say "I'm angry!!', a couple of months after turning 3, most of her tantrums were over.  I know really intense kids are more work to deal with. Mary Kurcinka's book Raising Your Spirited Child can help you learn understand your DDs temperament traits and avoid some some of the tantrums. Since the tantrums are how toddlers learn to deal with big emotions they really are a useful part of your DDs development. Maybe thinking about them that way will help you wait out the chaos and rage next time it comes. Punishing a child so she suppresses the tantrum out of fear can hinder the process of learning to deal with overwhelming emotions and becoming emotionally mature.</p>
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<p>As for what you could have done differently, the only thing I can think of is maybe not going out when she couldn't get comfortable in the ergo. Talking very quietly seems to help when LOs are being very loud. Also when LOs are already in tantrum choices usually don't work, so I would have skipped giving her a choice and just carried her home. I know carrying a trashing screaming child is no fun, but it seemed safer for us to carry DD facing outward when we had those episodes.</p>
 

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<p>My only thought is that it probably wasn't a good time for a walk.  If I had a toddler not want to get ready for a walk, I'd just say, "OK maybe there'll be time later" and I'd just not go.  But as far as tantrums go in general, toddlers do tantrum, and they can get ugly and last 45 minutes (or longer!), and while unpleasant, it's normal and tantrums are nothing to get concerned about.  They're part of toddler life and they outgrow them.</p>
 

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<p>I feel for you, Mama.  DS1 went through a similar stage.  An article here on Mothering's site really helped me gain some perspective .. I'd try to find it but I've got DS2 grunting and climbing on me ..</p>
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<p>I found what got me through it ..</p>
<p>-- I don't need to "fix" it anything - it's an emotional upset for DS and its something he needs to work through.  I can be there to hold him and rub his back or offer comfort if thats what he wants.  if he doesn't want touching i can at least give him my presence.</p>
<p>-- It's not "bad behavior" - it's normal emotional development and he needs to do this.  my responsibility is to provide a safe environment for him to do it in and to remove him from places where its not acceptable or is unsafe (the library, the sidewalk in the middle of snow ...)</p>
<p>-- It's not fair to DS to expect or to try to make him happy all the time - this was a recent realization for me when i was reading "how to talk so kids will listen ..." ... it seems like a logical conclusion from 1 and 2 but it took me a while to put it together</p>
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<p>oh and the mothering article was titled something like crying in arms</p>
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<p>Good luck</p>
 

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<p>I hate winter... I know this OT, but I do really feel like winter hits toddlers pretty hard, my boys are definitely more tantrum-y now that it has been below freezing for over a month.  ANd both my boys fight the hat, coat, gloves routine, it takes us about 30 minutes at least to get out the door.</p>
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<p>As for how to handle the tantrums - It seems like you did your best. DH seems to be much better at handling the tantrums than me.  he just takes him to the rocking chair and holds him and rocks until he calms down.  I think his size helps him, he is able to handle the thrashing much better than I am.</p>
 

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<p>DD is the same age.  But she's too big to be in the ergo wrapped up in winter clothes.  She'd be uncomfortable.  Maybe that was it?</p>
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<p>Beyond that I think you give her too many options.  My kids at that age to best with A/B or I choose kind of things.  So try the ergo, try a walk, neither works then go home and if she has a fit then she has a fit.  I think maybe you're overthinking it, which I did a lot with my son, too.  I had to learn to really just take control of things and be the leader and it seems to work better.</p>
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<p>The transition from infant to toddler is a lot for everyone to adjust to!  It gets better.  For a nice walk on a cold day here we use the stroller.</p>
 

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<p>Lots of good advice here!  :hug:  I have been in this exact same scenario w/ both of my kids. Cold weather walks are okay, but only if everyone cooperates!  We had to do loops specifically so we could head home when/if needed.  Lots of times they just got too cold, even if *I* thought they'd been perfectly wrapped up or whatever.  I had to suck it up and take screamy meamy home (because a big part of MY mental health is getting tons and tons of exercise!).  Tantrums and self expression are super common about now (and in my case started w/ both my daughters around 18 months!  Oh. joy.).  You're doing AWESOME.  We have all been there.  I agree w/ a previous poster, too, that my DH has such a size advantage that it's easier for him to rock and soothe our girls as well.  Pity the parent who has to spend more time alone w/ the kids!  ;)</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Thank you all SO VERY MUCH!  Wow, I feel so much better.  I think I was taking on a lot of angst/guilt that it was something I had done wrong to produce such a long & dramatic tantrum, or like one of you said that it was my responsibility to keep something like that from happening.  Thinking of it in terms of normal emotional development puts a whole new spin on it.  I had caught on to the feeling that I couldn't stop it, she just had to get it all out before it would end - but I hadn't put it in those helpful words.  I think this will be extremely helpful next time if I can remember that really my only responsibility there is to *be*, to keep her safe, and this is work she needs to do for herself. </p>
 
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