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<p>Before I had kids I always pictured a "tantruming" kid as one who has thrown themselves on the floor, arms and legs flailing, screaming, crying, carrying on because they haven't gotten their way.  My DS's tantrums are a little bit more subtle, but they are increasing and I don't know how to respond.  It's like I've been "training" for tantrum-type A, and my kid is throwing tantrum-type B at me.</p>
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<p>Tonight DS was watching Thomas the Train while I cooked dinner <img alt="bag.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/bag.gif">, and when I was done and the show was over I turned off the TV.  As usual, he was incredibly upset.  I sat on the floor and tried to engage him with some toys, and he would throw what I offered (his toy trains, matchbox cars, etc.) a little bit across the room.  Not a full pitch-it-as-far-as-you-can thing, but an angry toss.  He'll also grab a whole pile of things and just shake them back and forth.  The total picture of frustration.  And the whole time he's crying and saying "NO NO NO NO NO NO" and "More Trains."</p>
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<p>But in a way he's over-dramatizing, because he's also watching me out of the corner of his eye to gauge my reaction.  And seriously, I've just been stunned silent.</p>
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<ul><li>If I continue to try and engage him ("Ok, you don't want to play with your trains, then how about the blocks?  Or let's get a book.") then he seems to escalate.  </li>
<li>A part of me wants to leave him be and not reward the tantrum with attention, but I don't want to check out from him because I don't want him to feel like I only like him when he's pleasant.  I like the general idea of "Time IN" instead of "Time OUT" but I don't know what a "time in" looks like when he's kind-of out of control.</li>
<li>If I pack up the toys that he's directly throwing around, then that also escalates the screaming and crying.</li>
<li>I always do some "Happiest Toddler on the Block" talking to him ("You are so mad mommy turned off the tv!  Mad, mad, mad!") and it helps a little, but not in the heat of the tantrum.</li>
<li>Tonight I just started playing by myself near him, and he came over and started gently tearing up (if that makes sense) what I was playing with (continually pushing the matchbox car garage over).</li>
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<p>He was just one unhappy camper.</p>
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<p>Another example:  Last week we were at the library playing on the train table for a really long time.  When it was time to go I gave him a 2 minute warning, 1 minute warning, then I counted down from 10 in an effort to help with the transition.  But when I said it was time to leave, he started yelling and grabbed up all of the trains within his reach and pushing them back and forth, then he threw them on the table.  Just a classic picture of a frustrated toddler.</p>
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<p>I went over for a cuddle, then guided him away from the table.  But I was so shocked at how over-the-top he was.</p>
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<p>I don't want to screw this up.  I know that tantrums are normal, but I just don't know the best way to respond in the moment.</p>
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<p>ETA:  Something I just thought of that's probably relevant..... DS was diagnosed with some hearing loss this fall and had surgery in early November to correct the problem.  Since then he recieves weekly speech therapy through EI, but he's about a year behind in his ability to talk.  Just recently I've started to see some frustration... he works so hard to communicate through hand motions, sound effects, and his poorly articulated words, but we often simply can't understand what he's trying to tell us.  I'm sure that's not helping the tantrums, and its also a real barrier to communicating with him DURING a tantrum.</p>
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<p>Thanks so much for any words of wisdom, mamas.</p>
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Ds has started having *mini tantrums* and like you Im not sure how to respond. Mostly what I've been doing is validating his emotion- "I understand you are mad"-and then just sitting there quietly and calmly until it subsides.<br><br>
It seems to be working but I worry that my lack of response might cause something worse long term.<br><br>
Sorry this is no real help but I wanted to let you know I'm in the same situation.
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>AuNaturaleMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289347/talk-me-through-responding-to-a-tantrum#post_16160784"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
Sorry this is no real help but I wanted to let you know I'm in the same situation.</div>
</div>
<br><br><p>Thank you!!</p>
 

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<p>I'm probably not the best source of information here, since I was just coming to post my own plea for help with tantrums...but  <span><img alt="redface.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="width:16px;height:16px;"></span></p>
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<p>I do recommend the book "Raising Your Spirited Child," and I think it has some really good advice whether your child is spirited (as defined by the book) or not.  Specifically, the chapter on Tantrums is really great, IMO.  In our case, I'm just having a little trouble applying it in real-life situations!</p>
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<p>I do the 2-minute warning with DS (2 yrs., 9 months) as well, since he has trouble with transitions.  I've also found it helps to prepare DS in advance for the day's plan.  Such as, "We're going to the library this morning...won't it be fun to play with all the trains?  You can play with the trains for X amount of time, and then we'll pick one book to check out."  Repeat some version of this on the way to the library and at the library (or wherever), do the time warning/countdown, etc.   Have you tried touching his arm to get his attention before you do the time countdown?  I have to do that with DS because otherwise I'm usually completely ignored.  If I touch him first, it's like, "OH, you're talking to *me*?"  ;-)</p>
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<p>I'm trying to come up with a good way to talk to DS when he's calm about appropriate behavior <em>during</em> tantrums.  The book I mentioned suggests saying something like, "If you get angry (or upset or whatever the appropriate word is), you may cry and stomp your feet but you may not kick, hit, or throw your toys."  Tell the child what will happen if they do kick, hit, or throw their toys (whatever you do for discipline in your household).  Then, both of you are aware of "The Rules" before a tantrum ever hits.</p>
 

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<p>I'm also not much help, as I'm dealing with the same issues with my almost 3 yr. old, but I wanted to share a bit if advise I recieved from my mom regarding the situation.  My problem is that I'm so worried about doing the wrong thing with my kids that I almost can't think straight, and I feel like I've gotten out of touch with my intuition of what's best to do in that particular moment.  I've read a billion parenting books, and I feel like I'm afraid of "screwing her up" if I don't do everything perfect.  I also feel so guilty when I do things that I said I never would (like watch tv).</p>
<p>Anyway, my mom told me to just love her and be there for her in my heart, and act according to what FEELS best in that instance.  Each tantrum is going to have it's different circumstances and to just go with what feels right at the time.  She said that if I approach her with love that nothing I do will be wrong.  That just made so much sense to me and reminded me of why I chose to parent in an AP style in the first place. </p>
<p>It's so much easier to respond when they're babies and I find myself questioning everything I do with my toddler.  I feel like I'm parenting from my head and not my heart and I'm going to really try to change that.</p>
<p>Sorry for rambling on, but I just wanted to share with you and let you know you're not alone. </p>
<p>good luck!</p>
 
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<p>I think touch is really important, especially with slightly hearing impaired kids. It's very common for them not to have heard the warning.  </p>
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<p>Do you have an egg timer? Or one of those old-fashioned timers with a big dial?  I use one with my normal-hearing daughter, and it's like a miracle.  She knows that when it goes off, that it's time, and not just me saying something.  Also, it's something she can literally see the movement on.  They're loud enough that your son should be able to hear it.</p>
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<p>Also, they're getting old enough to realize that you do put them off sometimes, and it's not fair that they always have to be interrupted while you get to put them off while you deal with something.  I've found that if I tell my daughter, "OK, you can play while I work, but when my work is done, I need to start making dinner, so we'll have to ________"....letting her into my logic structure, so to speak, that it helps immensely. I'm not just dictating from on high, so to speak, but telling her my rationale for switching activities.</p>
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<p>I would second the validating, "I know you're mad at Mommy, I know, and it's OK.  But Thomas was over for the evening.  Now we need to _____"  My 38 month old daughter will go in for a hug while telling me that she's mad at me. ;)</p>
 

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<p>I think you are doing absolutely fine.  Sometimes they don't want/need help "fixing" the tantrum.  If you validate their feelings, make sure that you, they, and objects are safe from their wrath <span><img alt="winky.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="width:15px;height:15px;">, and gently but firmly direct them to where they need to go or what they can/need to do, they'll be fine.  I like the idea of staying in the room and doing something else, then when he came over and started gently tearing it up, you could then try to redirect him to another activity with him, so he could channel that frustration, do something to get the energy out but not destructive.  Some kids do NOT like to be comforted/connected through tantrums, like my kids.   Which unfortunately for all of us I learned the hard way.  My instinct was to help/comfort/collect them, and this made it a hundred times worse for my kids.  They needed (and still do, at almost 7 and 4-1/2) to get the uglies out and then move on.  If I intervene, it makes it twice as loud and twice as long because then they're mad/embarrassed about me being involved.  So, I hang back, but am present, and empathetic, and let them get it out - when we were at home.  If we were in public and they were being disruptive, or it was a transition where we were leaving someplace and they tantrumed, I empathized, then gently but firmly picked them up and left.  DS was a rare tantrumer.  DD still struggles sometimes.  She is VERY feisty and still has very dramatic reactions to things.  It's just who she is, which for me as a relatively undramatic person (in the rage category at least) took a while to get used to.  DS tends to the dramatic when he's sad, DD tends to the dramatic when she's mad.  I tend to be dramatic with words, but not with outward emotions.</span></p>
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<p><span>Also, sometimes too much warning made htem more anxious.  For that age, 2 warnings and a countdown might be too much info.  Maybe one head's up for "a few" min or "soon" (since htey can't tell time anyway at that point), and then "OK, let's do one more lap around the train track and then we have to go! Wheeeee, bye bye trains, see you next time!"  I found a more concrete "one more time X-ing" worked better than counting down for them, you know? </span></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mom2lucy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1289347/talk-me-through-responding-to-a-tantrum#post_16169186"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm also not much help, as I'm dealing with the same issues with my almost 3 yr. old, but I wanted to share a bit if advise I recieved from my mom regarding the situation.  My problem is that I'm so worried about doing the wrong thing with my kids that I almost can't think straight, and I feel like I've gotten out of touch with my intuition of what's best to do in that particular moment.  I've read a billion parenting books, and I feel like I'm afraid of "screwing her up" if I don't do everything perfect.  I also feel so guilty when I do things that I said I never would (like watch tv).</p>
<p>Anyway, my mom told me to just love her and be there for her in my heart, and act according to what FEELS best in that instance.  Each tantrum is going to have it's different circumstances and to just go with what feels right at the time.  She said that if I approach her with love that nothing I do will be wrong.  That just made so much sense to me and reminded me of why I chose to parent in an AP style in the first place. </p>
<p>It's so much easier to respond when they're babies and I find myself questioning everything I do with my toddler.  I feel like I'm parenting from my head and not my heart and I'm going to really try to change that.</p>
<p>Sorry for rambling on, but I just wanted to share with you and let you know you're not alone. </p>
<p>good luck!</p>
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</div>
<p><br>
This is such good advice! I totally agree that we need to focus on parenting with our hearts and not just out brains :)</p>
 

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<p>OP, I don't think that checking out and giving him space while he's having a tantrum is necessarily a bad thing!  It doesn't necessarily have to communicate "I don't like you if you aren't pleasant."  With the right words and actions, you can communicate something like "I love you, but I will not allow you to throw things/yell at Mama/etc.  When you're done being mad, come and find Mama and we will play with something else."  It's not really an enforced 'time out' (though there is a place for these, too, with some children), but it does enforce the idea that certain behaviors (throwing things, for example) are not ok.  You can direct him to "safe" toys (a stack of pillows) for venting his frustration, maybe? </p>
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<p>It sounds, from your description, like your DS' tantrums are frequently made worse by your interaction.  I think it's okay to say to him firmly, "Yes, I know you're mad about turning off the TV.  If you need to be mad by yourself for a while, I will go in the kitchen until you're done being mad."  Since your DS has made it clear that he doesn't want you to intervene when he's mad, the best thing you can do, IMO, is remove yourself from the tantrum.  It sounds like a lot of the tantrum is really about him trying to push your buttons, and by removing yourself from the situation you remove that particular trigger point. </p>
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<p>You could also invite him to a different activity in a different location.  "Mama is going upstairs to play with blocks.  When you're done being mad, you can come and play too."  That way he gets to decide how long the tantrum will last -- the physical relocation can help him "reset" from the tantrum. </p>
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<p>Not sure if it will work, but it sounds like it might be a strategy you haven't tried yet! </p>
 

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<p>have you tried sign language?</p>
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<p>it's tremendously helped us with tantrums.  DD is able to understand and communicate clearer in sign language.  so now i'm able to figure out what's wrong and catch what's going on before there's a meltdown.  it helps us figure out if she's tired, lonely, hungry, thirsty, anything..</p>
 
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