Life Is Just So Daily

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Camp Pitch a Fit !!!!

Soliciting Advice...

Our son is 18 months old, and is now starting this AMAZING fit throwing. A single fit may involve one or all of the following: kicking, screaming, crying, pinching of Mommy, pulling on Mommy's clothes, rearing his head back to the point of almost falling out of Mommy's arms & sometimes throwing himself to the ground.
It's TONS OF FUN for me.
I understand that he's frustrated due to his limited vocabulary & speech skills...but I also know that the fits often occur not when he can't communicate his wants, but rather when he does not get what he wants.
So...the question is---WHAT DO I DO ABOUT IT??? My pediatrician says to ignore it. Guess how well that works!!?? Not well at all. And really, how easy is it to ignore anyway when he's dangling from my pants & screaming at the top of his lungs? My husband says to spank him.
That seems to break my heart, and I'm afraid that it is teaching my child to hit (a nasty little habit that he picked up shortly after the introduction of the "spanking").

Any Advice???
Is there a boarding school anywhere for toddlers????


At 8:54 AM , Blogger Cagey said...

The Science of Parenting book by Margot Sunderland defines tantrums in two ways:
1) a genuine distress tantrum - one where the toddler is overwhelmed with disappointment and sadness that he didn't get his way.
2) Little Nero tantrums - one where the toddler is throwing a fit to try and get his way - ie. in a controlling, dictorial way.

The book says to ignore the 2nd type - if you don't give the tantrum attention, then there isn't fuel for the fire, so to speak. The book says to offer compassion towards the 1st one. The toddler is genuinely upset and simply doesn't know how to handle the emotion. They recommend attempting to soothe the toddler (but not giving in). It seems the Little Nero tantrums are more common when they are older and the Distress Tantrums are common when they are younger.

We haven't had a full-blown tantrum yet, but I can see where they are building up. My son is getting more and more upset about not going outside EXACTLY when he wants. When he starts to get upset and frustrated about this, I try to pick him up, hug him and tell him it will be okay. Then, I desperately try to DISTRACT him with something fun to do inside. However, I am realistic in that this won't work forever. Which is why I read YOUR blog because you are ahead of me in the game. :-)

Hope that helps - the book is AWESOME, by the way. It is based on some extensive brain research and is a very gentle, reassuring book written in a non-judgmental way

At 10:20 AM , Blogger Jamie said...

My daughter is 15 months and has been having tantrums for the past week or so. But it feels like forever!
The best thing I have found at this age is distraction, because you just can't reason with them. There was one time that it just wouldn't work and she was freaking out so I put her in her crib for a few so we could both settle down a little. It worked great for us.
Personally, I don't think spanking teaches a child anything about whats going on. Or anything about anything other than fear of mom and dad. But I know that some people do.
Good luck to you.

At 5:08 PM , Blogger Maria said...

I've never spanked Liv and honestly, she isn't a brat.

And tantrums? Ah, that is a hard one. I found that as hard as it is, you must NEVER give in. If you do, the next tantrum just goes on and on forever.

I used to smile at her as kindly as I could (and believe me that is HARD when she was screaming in a department store) and if we were in public, I would just get us out of there. If we were home, I would totally ignore her after that first smile and maybe a heartfelt pat on the back.

It seems like forever, but once he knows that he cannot outlast you, the war is over.

At 12:06 AM , Blogger hellomelissa said...

i'd grab my kid and start a warm bath, then get in with him. crazy, but it worked like a charm to distract and soothe us both. worked for my daughter, too, but she needed it FAR less frequently.

At 6:52 AM , Blogger Zephra said...

I don't think spanking is such a bad thing but I will not make much of a difference. It is a tool to get their attention for a short period of time. I use it for things like, going in the street or other dangerous things that could get them hurt.

4 kids and countless daycare kids have gone through my house and the best things I have found is to simply pick them up. deposit them in their room and walk away. This will most likely make him even more mad at first but eventually he will get the hint. But be prepared. This will go on to some degree for several years.

I use the other room because it is hard to ignore a screaming toddler who is attached to you. They want the attention but the other room takes away the audience and usually cuts the fit short plus, sometimes they need that time away to get it together.

I hope this made sense...I have not had my coffee yet.

At 7:24 AM , Blogger gmcountrymama said...

Temper tantrums are hard and take much patience to deal with. I don't spank, but ignoring doesn't work either all the time. Just remember this type of behavior will pass and I find that remaining calm during the fit helps. If I get upset or frustrated the fit seems to escalate and continue. Goos luck, us moms know all about what you are dealing with.

At 7:09 PM , Blogger amyerj said...

No words of wisdom from me. Either my angel never threw them or I've forgotten them all in the bliss of the teen years.


At 6:44 AM , Blogger auntie tipper said...

I tell Trystan "I understand that you are _______ (angry, frustrated, upset, mad, disappointed). We cannot go/do ____________ (whatever the situation is) because ____________(what ever the reason)". I 'try' to remain calm, and offer soothing pats, holding, hugs. If the fit pitchin' continues, I explain that it is okay to be angry, but if he wants to pitch a fit, then he needs to go be angry in his room until he can act nice.
Telling him I understood his feeling, increased his vocab. and allowed him to start defining his feelings. I tell him 'until you can act nice' which focuses on the behavior.
I did the same thing when he was Gage's age. Even though he didn't understand what I was talking about, he was learning. When the fit continued, I put him in his crib and walked away. That gave him his time to calm down, and protected both our safety and sanity.
Now, when Trystan gets mad he tells me he is frustrated cuz ___ whatever. When he starts to get out of control, I send him to his room. A few minutes later, he comes out (all smiles) to tell me that he pitched a fit in his room.
As you know, I am not always consistent, nor is Trystan the most obedient child. But, at 5 he knows when he is disappointed/frustrated/angry/sad.
That is what we did, and what it's like now. We still have our moments, as Trystan is apparantly Mom's psychic wish and God's joke on me (I hope you have one just like you!)

I love you!


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