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April 27, 2004

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Stressed

Even though it relives me to read that I am not the only mom facing this issue when in those moments we feel we are, it still sort of saddens me to see that none of us really have a good answer of how to deal with it or how to correct it. Yes like everyone else I did smile and chuckle a little when you mentioned smoking crack because when my 3 yr old son throws his fits it seems it's all I can do to resist. :) Funny thing is that I find myself trying to pull the old sayings out of the bag..."you want to cry? I'll give you a reason to cry" "fine have it your way you're the boss right?" but the problem is he is 3 and even as bright as he truely is he doesnt understand the meaning of those sayings. I look at his fits 2 ways, do I blame myself for trying to be a firm parent from the start so he knew where we stood for the future, or do I blame myself for being too frustrated and giving in on many occasions?

For some history between my boyfriend (his father), my son and myself...My boyfriend is 26, I am 24, and obviously our son is 3. I am a 'spanker' (not an abuser!) and my boyfriend isn't, my boyfriend is passive and I am an aggressor, sometimes these 2 personalities work wonders in balancing parenting, but sometimes these personalities clash in parenting, I guess this could create some means to an unstable attitude with our son in parenting and wondering who to obeyed.

But like most stories above, with our son you never know when they will come out, we live on a beautiful street in a great community with tons of well behaved children whom my little socialite is very good friends with, he has good family, always fed, a house full of toys and warm bed to sleep in, what could you possibly complain about. We go from one extreme to another, like Melissa said he cries like I cut off his right arm when I give him the blue icy and he wanted the red, I opened the door but "he wanted to do it" he wanted to take a shower not a tubbie, he wanted to turn on the TV, "I said I wanted to watch Wallie not Nemo"....and do you think for one moment he could have asked me nicely before reverting to a ragging lunatic? And the problem to the naked eye (who thinks he is the sweetest most well behaved child ever...oh please) is that I have a little more pride for myself to be acting like a lunatic in public to calm a fit. So he gets away with a little more when out side then he would inside the house. I feel that my parenting skills lessen every day because I am at the end of what feels like this a never ending sagga. This morning, my boyfriend (the passive one) was getting him ready for daycare while I was showering and our son played the stiff body trick while trying to get him dressed all the while screaming to the top of his lungs @ 7:30 am!!! He had no rhyme, no reason was just tossing a fit from the minute he opened his eyes, and I thought Daddy was going to lose it. All the while I am in the shower wanting to sneak down the drain and hide because I just have hit the end, and even though I the aggressor would have acted the same way in the situation, I felt the need to rush through the rest of the shower so that I could get out and some how smooth out the situation. Things have become absolutely ridiculous in our house and I am praying for the end because I am tired and I am stress and if perscribed there wouldnt be enough "happy pills" in the world.

We have tried everything, and the only thing that I found works for our son (which is extremely temporary) is if I remove him from the situation at hand sit him on his bed and shut the door, he screams his head off for about 5-10 mins and then comes down and so sweetly says "Mommy Im done now, Im sorry and I love you very much!" and I reinforce with him that I was not joking, he needs to be good "i know" he says sobbing catching his breath from crying hysterically and I say ok and I then hesitantly allow him to go back to what he was doing and then no sooner does he start up again. There is no good way to ease this child. I'd have to say that I am with Sallie that I feel that it's either family councling (or a bridge...Im kidding)We love our son to death because when he isnt in fit mode he is honestly the best ever. He is a very smart, out going, fun loving child, he will run to you when your hurt to help out and he says the funniest darn things, and it's so hard to grasp the fact that this attitude is coming from this sweet little boy. I know I'm not the only one and if anyone has tried any techniques that truely work or know where this behavior is stemming from please let me know. We want our sweet blonde hair blue eyed little boy back.

kate

omg..... i thought i was the only parent going through this.i am going out of my mind!!!!!!!!!!but i am so glad others are going through it too, my little girl is nealy 4 and her tantrums seem to b worse than ever,the worst thing is how quickly she switches,one minute a full blown tantrum the next she will be the sweetest little girl in the world!
i was beginning to think that there seriously was something not right,some days she gets me so down and i feel i cant cope with it anymore but other days i have the strength to ignore it and let it go over my head...
the one thing i wont do though is give in,i just cannot wait until this phaze is over with.....then when it is i assume my other daughter whom is 2 will be starting it......great!!!!!
nice to be able to read all the other parents stories,i dont feel so "alone" anymore. x

Amy

My 3 year old once had a tantrum at the pediatrician's office. I left her in the exam room screaming face down on the floor after saying, "I will be right outside the door. When you are done, let me know and I'll come back in." She was furious that I left. I waited outside the door, though. The doctor approached and asked what was going on. I explained the situation. He said, "That's great! This is her thing... and you took away her audience. Perfect!" It was so nice to get that positive feedback from the doctor!

LaToya

I have a three year old that has tantrums every day. I laughed so hard when I read about the parent that wanted to smoke crack! Haha. With me, everyone in the street wants to give me advice. My family feels that I give in to my daughter, which I don't. I am a single parent and I think this may be part of the problem. My daughter screams so much that one of my neighbors called the police on me because they thought I was abusing her. Help!! Now my mom says she my daughter may need therapy.

Nicole

Gah...I don't want to know what sort of karma is coming my brother's way. My mom STILLS tells horror stories of some of his tantrums (Bobby is now 23). One of the worst was the time my mom, my Nana, Bobby, and I were out shopping and Bobby couldn't decide on a toy at the store we were at. Even though my mom said he could get a toy at the next store, he still freaked out. Screaming, flailing, the whole bit. What made this tantrum especially bad was that he resisted getting into the car by bracing his arms and legs against the door frame. Not only did my mom have to deal with this, this was my Nana's first experience with a Bobby tantrum. What makes it worse is that, to this day, Bobby will still pitch the occasional temper tantrum, especially if the family is out playing mini-golf or any other game type activity. Only now, instead of embarrassing, they're quite entertaining.

ME1

I know this is completely the wrong thing to do, but....

I tease her. She's only 22 months old.

I remain calm and say things like, "Oh poor baby. [child is howling] It is sooo hard. [child howls louder] What drama. Poor baby. [child screams] Oh my goodness all this drama. I know you didn't want to do xyz, but we have to do it. Poor girl. [child has stopped screaming]"

During the times that she has hit or head-butted me, I have either put her down and walked away or I take her to her room while telling her what she did was wrong and why.

But under no circumstances does she actually get her way once she starts throwing her fit.

I'm a bad parent.

Susan

I definitely found the age of 3 the absolute worse year for tantrums. I had wonderful children at age 2 that morphed into tyrants and then somehow found a middle ground at age 4. I do agree with daddydaycare that boys are different than girls and they each require different discipline. My daughter responds to time outs whereas my son just takes the time out and then does it again 5 minutes later. My son responds to loss of privileges (toys, games, basically anything he likes to play with or do).

For tantrums we usually try to stay firm and not coddle them. They mostly do it for one of 2 reasons: 1) to get their way or 2) for attention. If you give in to either, then you are just asking for it to happen again. Of course, it still happens again anyway. :)

Jo

Ok, you are too funny. (The crack comment had me, LOL - just kidding). I don't yet have to deal with tantrums, though the scraming-crying for no apparent reason is training to me "tune out" as well. I think you have a good tactic. It's better to not react, or to react cooly, than to actually SAY what might be on your mind in those moments!

Robin

The only time Lillianna has a fit is if she doesn't want to leave a fun place. This rarely happens but when it does I calmly say to her, "I know you had fun at Mollie's house and I know you want to stay but it's time to leave. You can either pitch a fit in anger and kick and scream all the way home and then get a big time out at home and then not go back there for one month OR say thank you and good bye, take my hand and leave nicely. If you do that then you can have another play date next week. You choose!"

Mostly she dries her eyes, says a polite thank you and good bye and we leave at that point.
A few times she has decided to throw as you call it a Grand Mal Tantrum.
In that case I take her firmly by the hand and put her in the car. I explain why that is not proper behavior and all the other mommy things we say. One time she was still screaming and I was almost shaking from anger I told her I was going to turn up the radio to drown her out because it wasn't fair that I had to listen to her hysterics over nothing!!! It's only a 7 minute ride home but she kept yelling, "JUST GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE!!!!!!!!" I said, "You had your chance and you chose pitching a fit. Now you will deal with the consequences." I gave her a 30 minute time-out in the chair. (don't anyone say it's one minute for each year so she should only get 6 minutes because this actually works for her. I promise I am not scarring her for life!)
She will sit in her time out and really think about what happened. When it is over she is much calmer. She usually needs a series of hugs about 10 minutes into it when she completely realizes what she did. Then she sits until the timer rings.She does not move until I sit in the rocking chair. Then I wave her to come over. She climbs in my lap and we rock and talk about what happened and how we could avoid it in the future.
She usually comes up with good solutions.

I have to say one time when she was 3 she colored with purple marker all over the hard wood floors in the house we were RENTING. She also had it all over her legs and arms. I was thinking that if I touched her I don't know what I would have done so I backed up slowly, slowly, slowly....then she came towards me, "Mommy, where are you going??" I said, "I need a time out to calm down. Stay where you are. I have to sit in the bathroom alone for a few minutes." After a while it was ok.
It's rough in mommy land.
You use whatever works.
Good luck!!!!!

Marcia Lynx Qualey

Oof. I used to teach pre-k, and I had a terrible tantrum-thrower my first year. The only thing I could do was get him to a safe place, have an aide watch him, and then welcome him back into the class as soon as he was back on Planet Earth. (Unfortunately, as a parent, I suppose we don't get aides and hall monitors.)

Eventually, he grew out of it.

Lei

My 20-mo.-old son usually pitches his fits when sick, hungry, or tired. If I try to verbalize his feelings for him, he just gets more angry. I usually carry him around and pat him on the back while he cries his heartache out. I think he feels comforted by that b/c he's taken to patting me on my back whenever I pick him up.

daddydaycare

A mother said to me the other day, "I want a child like him (pointing to her 1 month old) and not like him (pointing to her 19-month old)." She also had a 4 year old daughter. I felt really bad for the 19-month old, but I understood what she meant vs. what she said, which I deemed hurtful. I thought I understood how she could fix it too, but there wasn't a way in hell that as a male, I was going to tell her how to parent. I relay this because women seem to have problems with young boys -- here are a few tips. 1) Boys are different. They understand brute force. They will roll all over you if you try to appease them. Be relentlessly consistent and unrelenting when projecting discipline via timeouts or little talks. Say the same thing over and over again. They may pretend like they are ignoring you, which drives women nuts, but if you know the battle is won or lost before it is ever fought, then you will have the confidence to just wait for your victory. It is inevitable. 2) Is the boy a second child? It's about attention. Middle child problems are about attention, attention, attention. Either give the middle child all the attention you gave the older child or just favor the middle child. You'll be surprised that the older child won't care and will understand someday later in life that they had it easy. 3) Give in half the time. One time you win, one time he wins. Not on discipline, on choices. Clothes, foods, etc. Suddenly yes and no are interchangable...We don't have tantrums unless our children are very tired. My second (12 minutes younger) acts like a middle child and is a boy. I have had alarming success with these few tips -- and it took me a year of using them to get my middle child back from a bad nanny experience during his first year. And don't get me started; You think it's bad for a woman to deal with tantrums, try being a Dad at the mall...women all over the place to explain how to deal with tantrums as their child kicks you in the shins. Just my opinion.

Rob

I feel incredibly lucky in that our two-year old's tantrums are ususally short though intense. And to be perfectly honest, if I know he's in a safe spot, I ignore him until he's done. This usually only takes a few minutes at most. Then I give him a hug and we try to talk out the problem.

Sallie

I rock and roll inside! I hate going to stores. I remain calm but I am a paddling duck swimming for it's life underneath. I try to ignore the scene at the time... It only makes things worse if I intercede. We definitely discuss what happened(at the time) and how to modify the situation for the future. I am running out of parent tapes! Because the situation has escalated lately. I am opting for "Family Counseling". {My boys are 10 and 8}

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