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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I don't know what else to call them and we need some desperate help! For over two weeks now our dd has been exploding into raging tantrums where her sole purpose is to scream as loud as possible, throw objects at us (which I then remove if I didn't have the foresight to do so before they could be thrown), kick us, hit us, pull hair, scratch, bite and basically is SO MAD!! Of course the anger is infectious and both dh and I feel we are barely holding it together lately. It usually happens in the morning when we try to leave the house (and I provide lots of transistion time), in the evening when we get back, before bed, in the middle of the night (she will wake up mad, no warning), sometimes twice a night. I suppose I could handle it but each time it lasts almost 1.5 hours. I have tried holding her against her will and talking calm which usually gets me injured. Sitting nearby being calm, playing music. Aknowledging whatever I feel is upsetting her, even sadly very stern/almost yelling has occurred as time has progressed. Understandably I have had to place her in her room and walk away several times (door open, open invitation to follow when she is feeling better). Actually she has had unexplainable regular bouts with crying/being upset since she was a baby but lately she just seems so intensely mad all the time I am lost what to do, or how to help her. With other people like her home daycare she is great and calms down right away after we drop her off, if she is still mad when we get there (of course this is a lady who can put her in bed and she just goes to sleep, I have been trying to get dd to sleep longer since she was born with no luck except for a couple of days when the time changed!). I have taken video to prove to some this great child actually does this. I so want to spend time with her, and enjoy it! Help my nerves are shot I spend more time working with tantrums then getting to play!!
 

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I wish I had some good advice for you. Here is what I do have:

1. I'm sure you know that kids will save up their negative emotions until they feel like they have a safe place to vent them. You are her safe place, lucky you.


2. How is her diet? Any food allergies? Excess sugar, artificial ingredients?

3. Any major changes lately?

4. I have found that when DS is acting up a lot, if I spend some time really playing with him and focusing my attention on him, it helps the situation. Sometimes I can get a window into his mind while playing with him that helps me understand what is going on. At least it is helpful in making him feel accepted by me and close to me, which in itself tends to make things go more smoothly.
 

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This is kind of off the wall, but have you tried any alternative practioners (cranial sacral, energetic healing, psychics.) Ususally I don't put this kind of thing out there, but your post made me think of it.

Also, with her tantruming around you and not other people, I think that is because she feels safe with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks I need that.

1. Yep I must be really safe


2. How is her diet? Any food allergies? Excess sugar, artificial ingredients?
We don't eat much sugar, artificial ingredients I try to avoid although dh likes to make organic macaroni and cheese and I suspect they sometimes have canned pasta products at her home daycare (although I know she uses whole wheat and natural products some of the time its definetly not all the time) and no food allergies that I know of

3. Any major changes lately?
None, only thing I can think of is that she decided to use the potty more often and more reliably.

4. I have found that when DS is acting up a lot, if I spend some time really playing with him and focusing my attention on him, it helps the situation.
I've been trying to dedicate the whole evening to her as I only get a couple hours in between dealing with maddness and I want to enjoy them! When I ask her why she was mad she just says 'cause... She can be happy one sec and mad the next and vice versa. I spend most of my time dealing with the tantrums but dd usually ends up calling for dad, unfortunately he doesn't have alot of patience...I hate seeing her so mad and upset (and darn if anger isn't contagious
)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by rebeccamaryll View Post
This is kind of off the wall, but have you tried any alternative practioners (cranial sacral, energetic healing, psychics.) Ususally I don't put this kind of thing out there, but your post made me think of it.
Nope and wouldn't know where to start looking, but I'm starting to consider trying almost anything.
 

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I have gone through some rough patches with DS and IME your best bet is to just be patient, try to support her as best you can - by that I mean modeling self-control, giving her tools to manage her anger, etc. - and wait it out. It seems to be cyclical with us - a good period followed by a difficult one, and so on.
 

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that sounds rough. my approach would be talking about it at other times and trying to figure out a healthy outlet for her rage. talking about it during the tantrum never seems to help.

and i would take them to the chiropractor for an adjustment and stuff.
 

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Gosh, that sounds so hard! It really sounds like a food allergy to me. Can you keep a log for a few days, of what she eats, when, the time of her tantrums and the duration? See if there is any pattern....

wheat, dairy? something along those lines....
 

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Since nothing has worked and you feel that a 2 year old's anger is "contagious", I think you need to stop focusing on her and work on youselves here. Really work on getting to a very zen place when she is mad.

And work on finding it BORING instead of upsetting. Kids pick up on our anger, upset and frustration with a tantrum and that can feed it.

I would say to her something like, "I am sorry you are so upset, if you need a hug or anything, I will be in my room folding laundry" and then get out of there.

If she follows concentrate really hard on the zen of folding clothes while occassionally offering hugs. But don't worry when she scream "no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Just go back to the folding.

If she is throwing things, I'd scoop anything that is a danger out of the way. Again, your affect should not be angry about having to do this but bored.

If she tries to hurt you, I would stop with a "You can not hit me" but then go right back to the laundry.

Over the course of a month or so, this method did work for my SIL.
 

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I agree with what maya said. I have a child who was just like this at that age. In fact, she can still be just like this at age 7 (do not assume yours will have this same problem at age 7, mine has difficulties such that we are beginning professional evaluations for her). However, our goal when she is raging is to do what Maya described (so long as everyone is safe). This is also how I have handled tantrums with my younger two, being there but being calm and boring (after, of course, the empathy and hugs and attempt to solve the problem together). They know I'm there for them, but my reactions are not feeding the tantrum (and I'm not getting swept up in the emotional intensity myself-it's harder for me to not get swept up in the intensity of my older child's rages when they happen, but I work very hard on that because it is so important).

The very best things I can do to help my child with her rages is to work on my reactions to them, and do my best to arrange the environment so as to minimize (prevent) the occurrence of rages. Believe it or not, though it seems like these come out of the blue, usually they don't. If you try writing down what was happening before the rage began, each time it happens, you'll likely begin to see some kind of pattern. I think in terms of the demands a situation places on my child--what demands are outpacing her level of skill, so that she responds in this way instead of a more adaptive way. KWIM? So it might not be the exact same circumstances each time, but the demands placed on her are similar-to wait, to communicate, to be flexible, to shift gears, etc. Once you identify what triggers her, you can work on some of those things by either rearranging your environment or schedule, or by helping her learn the skills to cope better, or by being flexible yourself, etc. It also has helped us enormously to have a solid daily routine in place, with plenty of rituals/cues for transitions. The more predictable life is, the better. The more engaged the kids are in household routines the better. Unstructured downtime is good, but only in smallish quantities throughout the day (so they get a lot, but not a lot all at once). Prevention is the key, because once a tantrum begins there's really little you can do to stop it. (For more information on preventing tantrums, and skills kids need to cope adaptively instead of exploding, you might check out the book The Explosive Child. Whether or not your kid is explosive as the book describes it, the information is good.)

As far as working on my own reactions to these rages goes, this is so key. Our kids need us to be a calm, steady presence. Not that you can't be feeling upset at all by this, of course you'll be frustrated or your ears will be ringing. But that's different from letting her rages just kind of overwhelm you and deeply affect you. For me this wasn't a simple matter of just perfecting the art of ignoring, but of attending to my inner reactions-the fear that she'll be out of control like this forever, the fear that I'm not a good mother because I haven't figured out how to teach her not to do this, the fear and anger at not having any control over it, the frustration at not being able to stop it, the feelings that arise from my assumptions about what my job as a parent is, etc. I feel uncomfortable with these raging tantrums, and desperately want them to stop but that's my problem, and I can cope with that and be gentle with myself in this discomfort without allowing my discomfort to rule me and escalate to the point where I am just as reactive as my child. I also have to do a lot of practicing breathing, just being in the moment, not thinking about how I wish it would stop or what it all means, but just learning to breathe and be there and ride it out. It took me a long time to learn that I don't have to, and cannot, stop a tantrum once it begins. What I can do is model the calm I wish my child to learn, I can show her with my calm presence that she will survive this emotional storm, I can be there while she rages and afterwards I can be there to teach her (because talking about anything while she rages is fruitless, she has to be calm to learn). My child is the type who gets more upset with interaction during a rage, and even more upset with physical contact during a rage. When she was 2 and 3, I didn't know all this, and I fed a lot of rages with my own reactions. These days, if it happens, I do my best boring but supportive and loving mother act and get her to a place that is safe. I try to think of my tone/attitude/presence as being sort of "firm but neutral." Zen in a can, that's what I am. You know, anything little saying that helps and that I can repeat to myself.

One more thing: are you certain that when she is raging in the middle of the night that she is actually awake? My dd would start yelling and thrashing in the night, eyes open, but not awake. We found that if we spoke to her, she'd yell more/longer and if we touched her she'd enter a whole new level of rage-state that would last a very long time, until she'd apparently wake up and suddenly snap out of it. We learned to just stay away from her when she does this, as hard as it can be. This is more likely to happen after a busy or difficult day, if her sleep routine is disrupted, or if she's been eating certain foods. (And that leads to this thought: the more disrupted my child's sleep is, the worse her behavior is. It has been helpful to us to overhaul her sleep routine and schedule so that she is getting more and better sleep. You might like to check out Sleepless In America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka for tips on helping kids get more and better sleep. Lots of good stuff in there, including information on the physiology of sleep and how it differs in children.)
 

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I thought Sledg did a great job of explaining why it is so important for you to stop thinking "well anger is contagious, nothing I can do about that" and understanding just how important it is for you to work on your reaction.

Once you truly accpet that you do NOT need to stop the tantrum and that you need to work on your reaction to it, and do this consistently for quite a while, I think things will improve.

And, sledg is also right about the night tantrums. You need to remember that if this is a true "night terror" which it sounds like, other than making your child safe, you should not interact with her at all. The child is NOT awake and is NOt wanting or needing you.
 

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We deal with this a lot from my ds, one of the hallmarks of autism is how long and fierce these kids can tantrum, so I totally know where you're coming from. It's exhausting, infuriating, and it really really hurts, both emotionally AND physically. I have had my lip bloodied a few times, have sworn my nose was broken, have taken a heel to the eye socket (yeah that hurts like hell), and just cried wondering what was wrong with my child, what I had done wrong to make him so violent and explosive.

The PP's give excellent advice, the best way I know to explain it is with the analogy of a wounded animal. When an animal like a wild dog or a bear or something is hurt, you don't approach the animal, you leave it alone until it calms down, however long that takes. For both your safety and theirs. Sort of like that. Keep your voice low, no sudden movements, stay back, keep the child in a safe place, and wait.

It's so hard.
 

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Great article, Georgia!

I also wanted to add, OP, that the fact that your dd does not have tantrums at daycare or with others doesn't mean you're doing something wrong at home. It means she's working really hard to hold it together when she's with others, and can let it all out in the safety of home with you (and probably has to let it out after holding it in all day).

I think that if you look at the tantrums as the outward sign of your daughter's feelings, what she's trying to communicate, rather than as a behavior that has to be stopped, it might help. I know it has been so helpful to me to think in terms of what's bothering my child, what's getting in her way, what's she feeling--and how can I help her express that and how can I help her begin to learn to solve these problems, how can I let her know I support her and hear her--rather than focusing on what behavior needs to stop.

It is so, so hard to sit through and listen to a raging tantrum. It is so hard to do it day after day.
 

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Quote:
d work on finding it BORING instead of upsetting. Kids pick up on our anger, upset and frustration with a tantrum and that can feed it.
Well said. I agree with this and the pp on the importance of not "matching" your child's emotions. You gotta maintain yourself in the midst of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"I hopethis article brings some comfort/support, in addition to what the amazing PPs have already written "
- I found that article a while ago and still think it's good!

"If she follows concentrate really hard on the zen of folding clothes while occassionally offering hugs. But don't worry when she scream "no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Just go back to the folding."
- I wish I had enough laundry
Really the folding clothes has for quite awhile been my thing to take me out of the situation and keep things boring. Tonight dh stayed in the basement while I wandered around boringly cleaning the kitchen, putting clothes away, getting tomorrows items ready, while stopping to let her know I understood and was there when she needed me. It went pretty well I think.

As for night terrors, I really did think that I had found an explanation earlier when she started them a long while ago, but it doesn't fit as she does seem responsive. I know I have had whole conversations and acted out in my sleep on rare occasions, so I feel I can understand the mystery and frustration of not being yourself in the night!

I will see if I can get ahold of the books mentioned, especially the one on getting a child to sleep more. Dd just goes and goes and doesn't like to slow down to sleep, I have tried everything and read everything I could find but so far no luck (rides in the car often work but are often not very practical).

Thanks everyone for your responses, it feels good to have support.
 

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I found The Explosive Child to help me understand my emotional reactions as much as our son's. We are both intense people. I wanted to mention The Feingold Diet (see www.feingold.org ) related to artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and high salicylate loading. And dairy, soy, wheat, and high fructose corn syrup all are associated with hyper aggressive behaviors in our son. I wonder if there might be MSG in the canned pasta from daycare.

Naomi Aldort's new book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and Sheedy Kurchina's Raising Your Spirited Child both helped me learn communication tools of validation.
http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Childr...e=UTF8&s=books
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...23288?v=glance

You might also see if the traits of "The Highly Sensitive Child" match your daughter's temperment. Our son is auditorially sensitive and very sensitive and triggered by other's emotional lability. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/child.htm

Here is a link with many other resources and references that you might consider. Many of them may already be familiar. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...#post58 23432

Also check out the "My Challenge, My Love" thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=328627 and the "Parenting and Rage" thread. They both help a lot with challenging children. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...light=feingold

I hope things are more peaceful for your family soon.

Pat
 

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We're finding that when DS is growth-spurting, his behavior is especially difficult. He's had a couple of major growth spurts since the summer, and during the first one (we were away on vacation at the time, so I'm sure that made it even worse) we didn't recognize it was a growth spurt until after we got home and his clothes were all too short. The second one was recently, and we were able to recognize some of the signs during the week or so he was going through it.
 
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