View Full Version : Toddler Tantrums
I don't know what to do with my 3 year old anymore. We have just come back from Garden City, where Luke was going to have a photo with Santa. We waited happily in line, until it was his turn and he changed his mind, did not want to talk to Santa. Less than a minute later he changed his mind again, so back to the line again. In line for about 10 seconds and he changes his mind again!!! I think fine, I won't make him talk to Santa. I thought he had forgotten about it, until we went back to the car and he started again. "I wanna see Santa" over and over again. Any amount of yelling or screaming from both of us achieved nothing except me ending up in tears, which is not a good way to drive home!
This isn't the first time either. Our last two visits to shopping centres have caused the same behaviour. Those ride-ons are a particular cause of tension. You know the ones that cost $2? I have tried both letting him play without any money and also putting in the money. When the ride finishes, the tantrum starts.
I just don't know what to do about his behaviour. I have tried ignoring it, removing him from the situation (time out), smacking (not enjoyable), putting him to bed when at home, and discussing the issue with him (unsuccessful). Please can anyone offer some suggestions. My family doesn't believe me, because they don't see it, my husband thinks it's partly my own fault. Thank you.
I think your son's behaviour sounds pretty normal to me. Some kids are just drama queens like my own son. It sounds like your son is testing the limits to see how much he can get away with. You are in no way to blame it is just something kids do and they do seem to grow out of once they can vocalise their feelings more effectively. The most minor thing can trigger a temper tantrum, in my own experience it has been mostly when my son is tired. I usually tried to avoid shopping or other outings when he was tired. I agree those little rides at shopping centres are a menace :rolleyes:
I use different methods to discipline my children, time out (in the bathroom as it is really boring) laying in bed (no toys or playing), using the microwave timer (so time out for 5 mins, not allowed to come out till it beeps). As my son is older now he might miss out on things if he is naughty like no tv for a day or a toy is confiscated. I find no one thing works all the time so I use different things. Another method is to sit the child on a chair so they aren't excluded from the household going ons but not allowed to participate (hope that makes sense).
I also think that your son needs to learn when you say no it means no. So this is not a criticism but I probably would have taken him home after the first time he refused to meet santa not got in the line again and left if for another day. He might then get the idea he can't change his mind all the time and when you say no you mean no. I also think it is important to be calm, consistent and follow through. Don't give into the screaming once you have made a decision. And don't let him see that his tantrums bother you as hard as it may be. Tantrums are much harder to deal with when you are out so don't let the stares get to you. Christopher Green's book Toddler Taming is quite good and has lots of info about tantrums.
Hope this helps a bit
Hi again Christine
Sorry I forgot to mention positive reinforcement. Give your son lots of praise when he is good and doesn't throw tantrums and gets off the rides nicely, does what you asks without a wobbly, helpful when shopping etc. Even give him an occasional treat to reinforce the good behaviour. This works for me.
Thanks a heap for your suggestions. My husband & I are trying to do our best and we like your suggestions. We will try a couple of your ideas. I particularly like the microwave bell :-) It is hard to be patient and consistent, so we will keep trying. I had also forgotten the positive reinforcement lately, it seems like I am always complaining about bad behaviour. So I have also tried to remember the positive stuff too!
P.S. Anyone in Brisbane sick of the rain yet? :rolleyes:
So glad I could help a bit. I think praising good behaviour is so important. We are always yelling at our kids when they are naughty and often ignore them or don't acknowledge it when they are being good. It is so important for their self esteem to let them know when they are doing the right thing and are capable of being good. It is good to build up their self esteem as early as possible and positive reinforcement certainly helps this.
I always attack the behaviour not the person. I will never call my son for instance a naughty boy, I will say what you are doing is naughty like pulling your sister's hair :rolleyes:
I am so over the rain now. My son is having his birthday party at a park on sunday so I am really hoping for fine weather otherwise I am going to have 17 kids on the loose in my house :eek: Fingers and toes crossed.
Easerlily I hope your party went well.
Christine, I totally understand. I have (just) 3year old.
I actually do the oven timer thingy - works great when it is 5 minutes till bed time etc as well. My little one loves to press the button to turn it off, so if he has been put in time out with the oven timer, he knows that he is allowed to press the button and all is forgiven!!!
My boy was an absolute shocker tantrumer. Like to the extreme. I actually chose not to leave the house to months, except to go to my Mum's or to 2 close friends. No one understood what it was like to have a kid like that. Luckily that stage has passed and we only get the occasional now!! Some kids just do it and others don't. My 15month old has started now and I will approach his tantrums very differently (words spoken from one with experience!!! Talk to me again in 12months ;) )
With him at the moment I have started using feeling words. Mummy is angry, Bubby is frustrated, or sad, or happy and that is working really well now.
In the shops yesterday he started to play up and I said 'Lachlan (in my best Mummy voice)' and he said 'No mummy angry - I a good boy' and that was it. When he is proud of himself he says 'Oh Mummy, I'm so happy'!!! It is very cute, but it also is working.
But on the Santa issue - we went yesterday to see Santa and he wasn't there!!! I told him that Santa had to go home for a sleep so he could come back tomorrow. So he went around the chair yelling '1,2,3 wake up santa' a la Wiggles!!!
Anyway, I hope that it is sorted. Having a 3yr old sometimes I think is the most challenging thing in the world. The he looks as me and says 'I'd luff you Mummy' and it is all good again.
I can sympathise - I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old. The tantrums usually start when I am in the middle of things with bub (nappy change, feeding, getting to sleep) just when I can't actually do anything about it. He is also giving up his day sleeps which makes him extra cranky just when Dad gets home from work. :eek:
Easterlily has some great suggestions. We also use the "naughty cupboard" where one of his favourite toys goes if he is naughty. He can get it back when he either calms down or does something to redeem himself. Works very well for us for home tantrums. When we are out, I just pack hm up as quickly as I can and get out of there!!
Toddler Taming by Dr Christopher Green is a great resource. It makes you feel like you are normal.
Jelly the party went brilliantly. We had breakfast at the beach so the theme was a beach party. I made a jellyfish party cake which worked out well at least everyone knew what it was supposed to be :p
I just love Toddler Taming. Chris Greene has such a dry wit, I wish all doctors were like him.
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