Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Toddler Tantrums

Here is my 5 minute brain dump as part of this great series. Here goes …

BiP is just over 18 months old – she was born screaming, fiesty, and determined.

Not much has changed over the last year and a half except she’s getting louder and more demonstrative in order to get her wants and desires fulfilled.

Don’t get me wrong, I love her more than I could ever describe. I love that she has such a strong character that random passersby actually comment on it. I take it as a compliment, although I am aware that the French tend to mean that she’s wild/hardwork/loud – all the things that kids shouldn’t be.

Recently I’ve begun to experience full on tantrums – BiP dramatically throws herself face down on the the floor, screaming, limbs flailing. The sympathetic looks of onlookers are often coupled with smirks and comments like “oooh la la, the character!”

I know I must not be alone in experiencing this but I’ve yet to see any other kids put on such a class act.

I’m at a loss. This time will pass I know.

Any tips of how to cope with these Toddler Tantrums? I’m ALL ears …

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This is my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

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33 Responses to Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Toddler Tantrums

  1. If the kid is not in any mortal danger or obstructing others I would leave her there and tell her that such outburst are not tolerated. It’s all a battle of wits between mom and child to see who would give in first. I will not give in to their demands least they think by pulling this stunt = get what I want.
    I would tell her that I’ll count to 5 and after 5 she is to pick herself up and follow me out/stop screaming. Toddlers need to be taught alternative ways of expressing themselves as so far they only have learn how to throw tantrums.

    You need to remain calm and stand your ground. I did this with my two boys and they never dare pull such a stunt again as they knew it doesn’t work on me. Hope my info helps.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks for the tips!!

  2. Best advice that I’ve ever received is to ignore the behavior or to distract…Quin is my tantrum child, Cane NEVER threw tantrums. For Quin, he actually stomps his feet and then “attacks”, lol…which means he bites…the last time he started stomping his feet I said to him, I love your new dance moves, which distracted him and he actually started dancing, lol!!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      That’s such a cute story! 🙂

  3. I agree, you have to let them know that this behaviour will not be allowed. Be firm, and they will stop.

  4. Yup, Matthew is my little “drama queen”, we have full on throw ourselves on the floor, yelling, sobbing, the world has ended tantrums a lot right now. It’s partly an age thing, and partly a testing boundary thing. Sometimes he has to do what I want him to ie. Go in his car seat/not touch dangerous items, not torment the cat… I try and communicate as much as I can, so I’m telling him what’s happening. I find getting dressed/ready to go out particularly challenging and tantrum filled, so I’ve tried to make it so we get there, but I make it easier on him. I let him get his shoes, I sing silly songs to keep him distracted, I let him choose a small treat (raisins, fruit, breadsticks) to have to munch on if he has to go in the much loathed pushchair, and I am firm, but gentle. It’s a stage, a sign they’re normal, hitting a frustrating (for them and us) stage. It will pass. Em was like that for about 6 months, then as she really began to talk, it eased. I try not to stress on some stuff, and if he happens to have a bit of a tantrum while I’m out, I’m learning to smile, and ignore. If he bites or tries to hurt me or Em, I pick him up, put him in his play pen, and walk away. I don’t shut him in, but the act of moving him, and me walking, letting him yell, then going back a few minutes laterto hold and calm him down, works.
    Wait til you get to 4 going on 14, then the fun really begins! 😉

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Oh thanks for the reminder that it just gets better … 🙂

  5. My daughter went through that phase. But be encouraged, it does not last forever!!

    I found that calmly telling her that her tantrum was not appropriate, and then ignoring it was the only thing that calmed her down. When I fed into it and tried to talk her through it – it just got worse.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Phew! I’m so glad it will pass .. one day 🙂

  6. I don’t have very many tips, but my son is 22 months old and he is a holy terror. We just brought them for Christmas portraits and he was in rare form. I try all the traditional behavior stuff with him, and I guess, will continue to do so until something works, or he grows out of it. Good luck!!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks! You too!

  7. Depending on the kid, I have a couple of strategies (and have used them on E with varying amounts of success given her age/the day/whether the moon is in aquarius).

    1-Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. While the book is useful, the video is better as it visually gives you the strategy, which boils down to toddlers are like uncivilized cavemen and you need to communicate to them on their level. So for example if E pitched a fit because she didn’t want to go somewhere, I get down to her level and use toddler language “Ellie is MAD!! MAD MAD MAD. She wants to STAY and play with toys. Ellie doesn’t want to GO. Ellie is MAD!” which gets her attention and acknowledges what she’s trying to communicate. Then I go into “But Noooo…We need to go buy food to make dinner. Then we’ll come back home and play.” etc. speak in short syntax, validate their feelings, get down and speak to them on their level, etc.

    2–The time out approach. At 18 months, 1 minute in the naughty seat (we use the high chair at home and stroller when out for their restraining power) for one minute and then tell her why she was naughty. This works much better after they’re more verbal…I make E tell me (repeat when she was like 2) why she was in trouble (not listening to mommy’s words, no pulling hair, hands are not for hitting, etc).

    3–At home (assuming a safe space), just walk away. A lot of temper tantrums are prolonged because they get the child attention. So deny them the attention and the tantrum peters out faster.

    But every kid is different and like I said, different approaches could work with E at different times. It’s a frustrating stage, but she’ll get through it and the tantrums will lessen.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks so much Crystal! Where do you find the time to give such amazing advice? Hope you are doing well and your princesses are getting on well!

  8. I’ll be the odd one out and say that I deal with tantrums by being firm, but continuing to give calm and loving attention. I hold him or make sure he’s someplace safe, I try to figure out exactly what it is that’s leading to the tantrum, I remind him to use his words, then I say in very simple language exactly what I think he wants or is trying to tell me. Then I explain very simply why he can’t have or do what he wants and I offer something that I think would be just as good but more acceptable. Usually once he knows I understand what he wants, he calms down some. I also try to put his feelings into words, like “I know you are angry”. It’s not always an immediate fix, but it helps us get through them.

    I really believe that at this age, they’re not trying to manipulate, they genuinely feel huge anger/upset/disappointment/frustration and need help learning how to deal with it.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks Allison – I do sense that she is frustrated a lot of the time. She tends to have total meltdown when I try to break her intense concentration on something – she can’t express herself yet but understands everything I say – I can’t imagine how hard it is for her.
      Thanks for sharing – it’s always great to get all different types of advice which are tried and tested methods!

  9. Somehow we passed this age without a fuss so really hoping that the teenage years don’t bite me in the butt. i do remember a girlfriend swearing by stepping over them when they are having a tantrum and continuing to walk away without engaging any further other than calming telling them what you want them to do. She swore once they no longer had an audience or her attention – they gave it up.
    my other solution – cocktail hour!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      I’ll take that cocktail 🙂

  10. I feel you! My 22m old second born son is way more stubborn and defiant than my first was… He will throw himself on the ground, scream, cry, and such. It drains me and I find myself a few times giving in to him to just keep him quiet (my husband works nights and sleeps during the day). But then I remember that I don’t want to spoil him, so we have introduced time outs and taking away toys for bad behavior. Hopefully what I keep telling myself will be true – it is just a phase! Keep your chin up mama!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks for sharing! Makes me feel so much better! 🙂

  11. I am not at the toddler tantrum stage yet, but i am sure it is not far away. I do not have any advise really. I hope things go more smoothly for you with BiP! Hugs

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks – it’s gotten easier since I posted – I think it’s really a steep learning curve for us mums too. Thanks for those hugs!

  12. I wish I could help but I’ve blocked those years out. 😉 They will pass…and they will be a faint memory (for the most part – I’ll never forget the one where we were in Target and she wouldn’t let go of my hair…fun times.) Sending you lots of Internet hugs! 🙂

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Thanks for the hugs!

  13. Ignore it if you can. At that age they cannot just stop just because you tell them to, they need to thrash it out of their systems 🙂 I usually wait for my little one to finish and then I ask him “are you feeling better now” and he always says “yes” 🙂

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Generally I do walk away ignoring it but she waves bye bye and screams “bub-bye” with tears streaming down her face so everyone looks at me like the worst mother ever. I have fun ahead eh?

  14. If Sebastian is walking with me, holding my hand, and decides that he doesn’t like where I am leading him, he will go all limp and scream on the ground. Sigh. The dreaded toddler limp noodle. It’s frustrating but at least he’s cute. Most people are familiar enough to realize that ‘tantrum’ =/= bad kid.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Oh wow … you have fun ahead Janine!

  15. I totally agree with the other ladies – to ignore her bad behavior is the best way to shorten the duration. Worked for us & luckily I can count on one hand how many times Munchkin ever attempted it in public, so I consider ourselves lucky compared to others – the phase doesn’t last forever…

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Since I posted we’ve had no incidents – I am getting better at distracting I think!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Good tip! Thanks!

  16. Don’t hate me but we never had full-on tantrums. We were lucky that way. I did read “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” which talks about a lot of the tantrums being about the inability to communicate.

    It might make sense since my son was a really early talker. Just need to find a way to let her know you understand her frustration.

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Ok, I have that book and I hate you. LOL.

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