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How Do You Deal With TEMPER TANTRUMS???

828 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Hemiola
My little 10 mo angel turned into the devil
at lunch today...she was mad...throwing food and swatting at me and just being meansy. She used to just throw temper tantrums on the changing table (no diaper rash or anything) but I could distract her there. She crys a fake cry and kicks her feet. But this is the first at lunch... If I had to guess, I would say she wanted dessert, not vegetables (even though they are ones she normally likes).

Anyway, I was told by my dr to ignore TTs or they will escalate...I certainly don't want to feed the fire because these are bad enough as it is. But I am not sure exactly how to "ignore" a 10mo throwing food and pouting. Any suggestions?
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Hmmm... maybe she just didn't want to eat? If my DS started doing that (he's 9 mo.) I would just quit feeding him. He hates having his diaper changed too but that's just because he doesn't like to be on his back, confined. I'd say if your DD seems angry about something, quit doing it or change something about the situation. If she's mad on the changing table, try putting on her diaper while standing up, or dress her while she's crawling (difficult, but not impossible...)
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My son does that in his high chair when he's not hungry. He's 18 months now but has been doing it a long time. I just set him free and make sure to get a good snack into him later. Just like adults, kids apetites can vary from day to day so it might have just been a bad time to try feeding.

The diaper changes are probably because babies don't like being confined and having to stay still. Those I just do what I can to distract and be quick about it. We go through phases where he is more or less cooperative about them.

If she's hitting you can redirect that to something else. Guide her hands to show how to do gentle touches, explain that hitting hurts people(eventually this will sink in). Or teach her to give high 5's or something so if she starts swatting you can make a fast change to playing that game.

I think generally, kids have a reason for acting like that. At this age it's mostly frustration and not being able to talk about it, so having no other release really for those big emotions. You can help her through those feelings without 'giving in', though at such a young age I wouldn't even be thinking along those lines. It's just our job to help them learn to deal with frustrations and grown-up emotions and stuff.

I would maybe apply your docs advice(sort of) to older if oyu have a 4 yea rold who wants a 3rd helping of ice cream but there isn't any left....and they start kicking and screaming...well that wouldn't make me want to go get them more ice cream. But it would be a good opportunity to talk to the child about how hard it can be to not get what you want. But we're talking about babies here, at that age it's not like she's trying to trick you into giving her cake or something, y/k?
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I'm not a gentle discipline expert but I would get a new doctor!! She is only 10 months old. I would try and meet her needs.

Edited to add: I don't really think any kind of "discipline" is appropriate at that age nor do I think ignoring is a good option.
Good advice so far. I think it's a little deceptive to call a 10 month old's frustration a "temper tantrum" I know exactly what you mean though. My 10 month old has her own mind and you'd best comply
BUT at 10 months they aren't being manipulative they're just trying to communicate their needs. Like other posters have said- my dd also (sometimes) hates diaper changes. So I do the laying down part as fast as possible and try to do whatever else I can to make it better for her. I think instead of seeing it as a temper tantrum see it as an unhappy little person trying desperately to communicate to mommy what they need.

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Ignoring a situation doesn't make it go away, it only makes it worse. Children's feelings need to be validated. Children do not have the capability to work through there emotions like adults do and they need guidance. Screw that docs advice!
Well, I think you have already received some great advice, but I wanted to add what we do:

When the upset is over a non-negotiable, such as having to be buckled into the car seat, I just carry on talking normally to dd, and telling her that I'm sorry that she is upset, but that when we ride in the car this is what we have to do. Honestly, I'm not sure how much of this she is actually processing, but I don't want to out and out dismiss her feelings - I figure that if I explain what's going on it will help me to stay calm, and also that as she grows older it will become 'second' nature - kwim?

If she is upset over something else, such as being in her high chair, not being able to take the cd's off the shelves etc I find the best thing to do is just to remove her from the situation and find something better for her to do. Often it is a sign that she needs some 'mummy-time', nursing, a snooze or has just been way too overstimulated...Just the simple act of cuddling her or singing to her is often enough to reset her mood.

It has also helped me to remember that when our dk's have a meltdown they are trying to communicate something to us...with a really limited vocabulary.

Just my 0.02
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Originally Posted by Aziah
Any suggestions?

Yup. Get a new doctor, stat.

Once again, you shouldn't *ever* ignore a 10-month-old. She is not being manipulative, or controlling; she is trying to communicate needs -- as a PP said, with a very limited vocabulary. Have you tried any baby signs with her? She's at the perfect age to start communicating with signs. Some simple ones to try are "milk," "more," "all done," "sleep," "bath," "thank you/good" (in ASL it's the same sign) and "no." Also, other fun signs like the signs for animals, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, airplane, car, etc. Check out Sign with Me for a video dictionary of baby signs you can use.

Also, I'm curious what a "fake cry" is? How do you know it's not genuine? Regardless of whether it indicates true upset, say from pain or hunger, your DC is trying to communicate something. Even if it's just "I don't like this diaper changing business!"
She knows that crying gets results, so she's crying in order to get a result. I think all cries are genuine in that they're an attempt to communicate.

For diaper changes, you might try singing, especially songs that have gestures like Itsy Bitsy Spider or Little Bunny Foo-Foo. Or making silly/funny noises, tummy raspberries, etc. As to the lunchtime (or anyplace else) meltdowns, what I do is to stop, get close to my son (down on the floor, or at eye level, wherever that is) and just look in his eyes and be there. I don't say "It's OK," or "You're OK" or anything, because he's not; I might just say "Hi, sweetie," or something, to let him know I'm there. I keep trying to look in his eyes, even if he's thrashing around and avoiding my gaze. And when I do, and can, he knows that I'm there with him, and that I care. And that I'm listening, if he wants to tell me (however that may be) what's wrong. And then, after a while, I can hug him or nurse him, and maybe even sit him on my lap and explain to him what's happening ("You're angry, aren't you? I know, and you can scream and cry, and that's OK, but it's not all right to hit Mommy or throw things, because you could hurt Mommy. Or break your toys" or whatever). The important thing, I think, is to connect with the child. NOT to disconnect by ignoring, or giving a time-out. Think about it -- when you are upset, do you want your partner or loved one to say, "I don't want to be with you when you're crying, so when you're feeling better, you can come out of the bedroom and be with me, and I'll pay attention to you then?" or do you want them to hold and comfort you? Same for a little one. Maybe even more so, because they don't have the capacity to understand the "logic" behind your actions (why you are ignoring them, or what to do to make it stop).

Does this make sense? Help any? Good luck, mama!

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This is why I love this gals give excellent advice that makes complete sense (whereas my drs advice was confusing and, obviously, wrong...and it isn't the first time). I am in the process of switching drs...not because he isn't AP sensitive (although that is a good reason)...but because one of his coworkers almost killed DD, literally, and when I wrote a letter to that dr about it she got upset and showed the other drs and the drs stuck together and actually told me to leave! (imagine that!).

As for signing...I have been signing with DD since 6 mo...but she still hasn't picked up on it yet. I don't know what I am doing wrong.

There are too few women with your beliefs in the world...I wish I had mothers like you around me all the time. Seriously girls...thank you.
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Originally Posted by Aziah
As for signing...I have been signing with DD since 6 mo...but she still hasn't picked up on it yet. I don't know what I am doing wrong.
Oh sweets, I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It can take a while for the child to actually do a sign, even though they may understand them. If you sign, does she seem to "get" it? I don't think my DS did his own sign until, geez, 12 or 13 months? And then it was only the one ("milk," go figure
) for a while. So keep doing them, and pretty soon she'll be signing like mad. It's so cute to see them sign!

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Have you read The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp? I'm sure some people have mixed feelings about his method (all verbal, not physical of course) but it seems to work with DS. As for diaper changes, read a little about EC. Kids are usually trying to communicate that they don't want that nasty thing on their bum...I sure wouldn't! Here are some links that I hope will be helpful! Highly suggest the Happiest Baby series for your next newborn!

Good luck!!
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