42 answers

10 Month Old Throwing Fits

My daughter is almost 10 months old. She has been a pretty mellow baby besides the fact that she loves movement...she can't sit still. I am looking for some advice because she recently started throwing fits at anything and everything. She arches her back, kicks her legs and yells or screams. She throws a fit for anything from a toy dropping, me putting her shirt on over her head and arms, to me cleaning her up after she eats. I don't know what to do about her fits. I have been trying to just ignore them so that she is not getting any positive or negative attention from me. Do I continue to ignore the fits, do I tell her 'no'...what should I do? They are making me want to pull my hair out. Does this seem young for a child to be throwing fits already? Please help.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your great advice. This is such a wonderful and informative website to be a part of. I am definately going to implement some of the advice that has been given to me. Thank you for all of your responses. - J. -

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hi J., i totally sympathize, my 1.5 year old has momentary fits as well, something his brother (who is 4)never did. if you aren't already, i recommend telling her what you are about to do before you do it. get down on her level, look her in the eye and tell her. in this way you are respecting her as a human being (who may have been busy enjoying something else) and she will appreciate it.

good luck,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't just ignore the fits, but prepare for the next. She is throwing fits because she is having a hard time communicating . . . poor baby.

At her age, she is not trying to be naughty, she just has no other outlet or way of telling you her needs. Try napping her longer or feeding her more. She's cranky for a reason, help her feel better so she'll act better. Help her use her words more. Find out whatshe wants/needsn or is trying to get across, then talk to her, tell her you understand her frustration, but help her get her point across in a better way for everyone.

My son was a tantrum thrower too. My pediatrician suggested that he was manipulating me. He said to simply walk out of the room when it happens. Only go back when the child is quiet. If it doesn't happen or the child follows you into the next room and continues, keep leaving and ignoring the behavior. You can even close the door quietly(don't slam it like you want to!) Tell her that when she is quiet you will come back. When she doesn't get the attention she wants she will quit. Then is the time to praise her about being quiet or on th behavior you want to target.
This worked for us, but it took a few times before he realized that we were going to be consistent.
Good luck! It is nerve wracking to go through this!
J.

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hi J., i totally sympathize, my 1.5 year old has momentary fits as well, something his brother (who is 4)never did. if you aren't already, i recommend telling her what you are about to do before you do it. get down on her level, look her in the eye and tell her. in this way you are respecting her as a human being (who may have been busy enjoying something else) and she will appreciate it.

good luck,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Your response in this situation is everything don't get emotional with her because then she will think this is the way to get your attention. You need to make sure she is not in any danger and then just let her have her fit. She will get bored if it doesn't get her any response. Just say something in a sweet voice like " I am sorry you are so sad let me know when your done" I know it sounds like a lot for baby to understand but by the time she does the fits will stop. PS Love and Logic The magic of early childhood" is an amazing source of info on how to not have to do battle and how to raise great kid.

C. (mother of 4) CA

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,

Have you tried teaching your daughter sign language? Sometimes the causes of the tantrums can be frustration due to an inability to communicate. I took a baby signs class with my daughter through Gymboree (although there are other methods out there) and found the sign language to be very helpful. It cut down on the tantrums and she seemed to develop verbal language much sooner than many of peers. 10 months is a great age to start because you will see results quickly. Good luck.

K.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.-
This type of behavior can be frustrating, but I wouldn't rule out some sensory integration/sensitivities. My son had similar responses to such things as putting on shirts, loud noises and the tags on the backs of shirts. I got a referral from our pediatrician (it took a LONG time, but was worth it) and had him evaluated by the Regional Center, and it turns out that Occupational Therapy has done him a world of good, just when I thought I would be committed to an institution!
If it turns out your child happens to be highly spirited, there are lots of good books out there (Raising Your Spirited Child is a great one). And also it helps to remember that she is not trying to annoy you, this is just her way of communicating, it is all she has. Talking her through it at this stage really helps. Keeping your patience and wits about you is hard, but teaches your child how to manage stress. Even at this age, she is watching you to learn how to react in all situations. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It's hard to tell without seeing the whole senerio of what is going on but this idea may help. Because a childs understanding of language develops a lot faster than their ability to speak some tantrums start because they are frustrated with communication. Try telling her everything you need her to do and what you are going to do."We need to get you dressed, heres your pink top, lift your arms, now peek a boo over your head""you look like you're finished eating, one more bite then we'll take your bowl away and get ready to clean up". If you're already doing this and she still starts to tantrum try distracting her with a song or nursery rhyme. A lot of books and tapes teach Baby sign language that would give her a way to communicate with you.
I know it's so hard when you don't know why they tantrum I hope it gets better, hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear J.,
It would be helpful to your daughter if you would talk to her about what she is experiencing. It will help her to understand what to expect. When you put her shirt on tell her before you do it. You could say, "I am going to put your shirt over your head, here we go, one, two, three! Make it fun and give her a chance to help out. "Can you put your arm in the sleeve?" When a toy drops, you can say, "I saw that, you dropped your toy." Try to slow down, be patient with her and acknowledge her feelings.

1 mom found this helpful

I would keep ignoring the fits. My neice was doing the same thing at the same age, maybe a bit younger. They just ignored it and she eventually stopped.

My 15 month went through brief stages like that when she was 8-11 months old ... she hated diaper changes, hated putting on clothes, tugged at arm sleeves, bit her clothes, threw toys... I had well-meaning friends tell me she was manipulating me. But in hind site I realized that she was feeling painful effects of teething that I was not recognizing. Some babies have extreme sensitivities to teething and others don't. If there is any manipulation going on it could be for you to get her out of pain. Fussing is her form of communication that she is ill at ease and needs you to teach her how to comfort herself... which may take some time. My daughter was a completely different baby once her teeth came in. We went through it again when her molars started coming in and now we're back to mellow baby again. Sensitivity levels vary per person... we must respect those with low tolerances and assist them through it. I think I might throw a fit if I was in constant pain too.

My son was a tantrum thrower too. My pediatrician suggested that he was manipulating me. He said to simply walk out of the room when it happens. Only go back when the child is quiet. If it doesn't happen or the child follows you into the next room and continues, keep leaving and ignoring the behavior. You can even close the door quietly(don't slam it like you want to!) Tell her that when she is quiet you will come back. When she doesn't get the attention she wants she will quit. Then is the time to praise her about being quiet or on th behavior you want to target.
This worked for us, but it took a few times before he realized that we were going to be consistent.
Good luck! It is nerve wracking to go through this!
J.

She may just be frusated. Try teaching her some sign laugage. My youngest daughter tried it with little one about the same age and it has really helped. Also as long as she is not hurting herself, let her cry. I am not one to let babies cry, however, sometimes they need to learn that this is not going to get her anywhere.

Don't just ignore the fits, but prepare for the next. She is throwing fits because she is having a hard time communicating . . . poor baby.

At her age, she is not trying to be naughty, she just has no other outlet or way of telling you her needs. Try napping her longer or feeding her more. She's cranky for a reason, help her feel better so she'll act better. Help her use her words more. Find out whatshe wants/needsn or is trying to get across, then talk to her, tell her you understand her frustration, but help her get her point across in a better way for everyone.

I found the best way to avoid fits at that age was to give my son choices. I would hold up two t-shirts and say "which one?" before trying to change him, I'd hold up a paper towel and a wash cloth and say "Which one?" before wiping his face.

I also found he had just reached the age where he was so aware he needed a little more time to transition between activities. I'd give him warning before picking him up from his play to change him etc.

I know that won't solve your problem but it might help avoid a few tantrums.

good luck

Hi J.. As a mom and holistic practitioner, I always ask this question first: has she recently had any vaccinations or medications? Often these include overloads of toxins that the body is having a hard time processing and she really may not feel well. Second question, does she poop every day a couple times at least? if not, again, she's got all of her waste recycling in her body - and it makes you not feel well. Third question: did she recently have a fall or hit her head, tailbone or spine? again, these 'traumas' although they appear fine on the outside, and often even on x rays, MRI's etc, their energy system (that of their meridians) can be off...literally causing pain or some other issue, leading to the fits.

If it is one of the above, we help adults and kids alike 'treat' these nutritionally and holistically, through non-invasive food, nutrients, or other holistic means. And believe me, what we do works and fast. We have so many kids that actually tell me and their parents that the vitamins or foods I tell them to eat or not to eat make them feel better (sometimes, of course, not in those exact words :) ) .

so think about those and know that there are options if one of the above did recently happen. And the trauma itself did not have to be recent, but anytime since birth for that, as it takes a little while for it to really make an impact on the body.

If you have questions or want to read more about what I/we do at our center, you are welcome to check out our website or call, contact info below.

if it is not related to one of the above, then I wish you luck, but i would not be of help for you. There are of course, various age related actions that are just normal with kids, but for my own child and those with whom I have worked with, the majority of their acting out, etc, was alleviated when we balance them out.

Namaste,
J. Eltman, MPH, RD
Preventive & Therapeutic Holistic Health
www.CreativeNutrition.com
1.877.5.EATWELL
Author: The NO DIET Diet: Healthy Meals in 5 Minutes

Hi J.,
My daughter is 18 months and began throwing tantrums at around 10 months. She'll go through mellow periods and then start up again. I think it's just their way of asserting independence. She wants to so things her way, by herself, etc. I've found myself patiently ignoring the behavior. You can't rationalize with them yet and they are not trying to be "bad" or rebelious... They're just trying to express complicated emotions in the only way they can. I believe you can teach a young child what "no" means but reserve it for safety issues (at this young age)...otherwise you'll be saying it constantly and she'll become immune to it.
best of luck!!!

I would talk to her doctor first and make sure all is well with her and then tell her no this is naughty. You may have to do this serveral times before she understands. Babies DO understand positive correction and love. Talk normal and not baby talk.

Dearest J.,
I'm a stay at home mother of two beautiful girls, 7 and 3 yrs old. When my first daughter was younger she to had tantrums and kicked and screamed to get what she wanted. Well at first I thought this was kind of cute, but as the months went by it just grew annoying. Kids having tantrums is normal. It's their way of releasing tension from something they need. What I ended up doing and that worked very well was I would take my little one by the hand and send her to her room. I told her that her room was the best place for her to have a tantrum and that when she was ready she was allowed to come back out to the rest of the house. But not until she had calmed down. To this day, even at 7 when she's feeling a little frustrated from her day, she goes into her room, takes a pillow and screams into it. Just to relieve the tension. Then she comes right back out and we talk about how her day went and what she could've done to make it better. I know it may be hard for a 10 month old child to explain things that frustrate them, but even if you make them try to explain things and you pretend to understand what they are saying, it opens the door of communication with your child and trust me when they start getting older, it's exactly what you want. You want for them to be able to come to you when they are having a bad day and need someone to talk to.
Good Luck!!!
E.M.

Hi J.,

I have twin G/G twins who are 10 1/2 months old. Throwing fits is normal for this age. At 10 months, your baby is becoming more independent and may experience frustration that she cannot express in any other way b/c she does not know how yet. Be patient. This is also a time of separation anxiety esp. since you stay at home w/ her (like me and my kids) and although she wants her independence, she is very needy now as well and feels conflicted. She needs reassurance from you as well. If she cries, give her more attention and hug her and kiss her. But during nap time and bedtime, she needs to know that those are sleep times and crying and screaming are ways she will test you and try to manipulate you. Try giving her something that smells like you like your night t-shirt or put a small cloth in your bra and then give it to her at naptime and bedtime which will smell like you and calm her. Try to spend more quality time w/ her such as an extra 1 or 1/2 hr more before bedtime reading, cuddling, singing to her, etc. If she throws food, tell her to stop in a calm voice and take it away. You have to tell them no at that instant, b/c if you wait 5-10 mins later after it happened, they cannot understand cause and effect. Try to redirect your baby if she is having a fit, like showing her a new game or toy. The bottom line is that your baby really loves you so try to enjoy this time b/c as they get older, they don't want to cuddle as much as told to me by moms w/ older kids.
Hang in there!
E.

My daughter started throwing fits around the same age. She is now 16 months and I hate to say this but I have tried everything to get her to stop and hers have just gotten bigger since we are in the terrible two stage. I know how you feel because my daughter is very intense and everything is a crisis. As I type this she is running around crying for no reason. It is totally normal and just try to geth through it because it is totally just a stage.

10 months is still very young. She is trying to communicate with you - not manipulate you. I have found that times when my children are acting out often are a result of me forgetting to be respectful of them as a person. I make sure to slow down when transitioning to something new and I make it a point to sort of "warn" them ahead of time before we're going to be doing something. "I'm going to get a diaper because it is time to change you." I'm not telling this to my baby because I think that she'll understand necessarily. I'm telling her because I respect her as a person. When I go to the doctor, I appreciate when I am told beforehand what to expect - I try to show a similar amount of courtesy to my children. Don't get too frustrated. She WILL grow out of it - no matter what you do. The point is to try and keep a positive relationship through it.

Hi J.-
I also have a 10 month old who is doing the same thing. She does not like it when I lay her down for a diaper change either. She just wants to be on the floor crawling around. Protests when I put her in the high chair and car seat. She does not cry, just whines. I just tell her, "Mommy has to feed you, change you, you have to be safe in the car seat, etc..etc.""

It is funny how we held them for so long and at times, wanted to put them down to do our housework, when they were 1-9 months. Now they want their freedom and roam. I just deal with her tantrums and just calmly tell her, "Everything is going to be alright. Mommy just wants to take care of you ...,etc"

Good luck...I know it is tough but next thing you know...they will be 2 and those great terrible 2's will appear, or not!

The word "NO" will be your most powerful word used as a parent. Start using that word. If your child is the only one you have, she will want all of your attention. Some may say ignoring her will be bad, so just tell her "Just one moment" and a few moments later talk to her. She will try you, but you will have to stand your ground. And if she throws a fit, tell her "no". Do not be afraid to say it in a different tone. Not yelling, just in a different tone.

Dear J.;

I would check out any physical thing going on first and foremost. Could be a sign of food allergies, a vertebrae out of place, etc. If you go the medical route your baby might get diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder just based on the symptoms, so that is why I suggest that you try natural doctors first. Babies are usually communicating something that is going on internally, but lack the language to tell you in words. The "acting out" is the communication.

Dr. A. Dunev, Naturopath and Nutritionist

Ten months is too young to ignore. It sounds like she's very sensitive to certain stimuli. Try to avoid what upsets her, and give her lots of cuddles (and nurse her if you're nursing) if she does get upset.

My daughter turns ten months this week and I just recently noticed this behavior! I think it is totally normal. Thanks for asking this question, because I really enjoyed reading everyones replies.

Isn't it amazing how young babies figure out how to get their way! :) Sounds pretty normal, once they find their voice, they really try to test you. I found (with advice) that using "stop" for most things, and only "NO" for really important things like danger and really bad behavior. So.... since she's only 10 mths, I think you will probably use "stop" more. Keep reinforcing good behavior. Sometimes too, when they can't use words, sign language is good because it helps them to communicate instead of crying for what they want. I first used "please", "more", "all done", and "thank you". These covered most of my bases until she got a little older and she could start saying things. Please don't ignore the bad behavior, because I have seen it snowball as they get older. Just make sure that the negative attention is minimal compared to the positive attention, which babies would rather have anyways. I think if you teach her the few words, I think you can find them on the internet, or a book, she will be more likely not to be so frustrated with telling you what she wants. Continue to remind her like, "Tell mommy what you would like, use your words", etc. And as she gets older (as this will continue to peek up) keep the same formula, so you're not starting over every time, you're just correcting as you go. We will have not only a happy baby, but a happy Mommy!

My daughter started her fits a little younger than most. 10 months is within the normal range. My daughter has responded well to ignoring her fits. I have a few things I say to try to teach her that fit throwing behavior is unpleasant for others. If I can't or don't feel like sending her to her room I tell her that I don't like how she is acting and that I don't choose to be around it. I then leave. Most of the time I tell her that we don't want to be around her behavior and that she can get calm now or go to her room until she is ready to be calm. It is a little harder to deal with when we are away from home. The same tactics can be used but have to be adapted. It has taken a while but at three she can choose to be calm. (Unless she is tired, hungry or sick.)

Be patient. Stay as calm as you can. Distract yourself as much as you can while the the fit continues. Anything that you enjoy works. In time she will learn self contol and/or alternative ways to express herself.

Hi J.,
I read in the most recent Parenting Magazine that our kids are not out out to get us. Often when kids throw tantrums it's because their feelings are in conflict with their needs, but they haven't learned how to express that yet. Our job as parents is to figure out what those feelings and needs really are and to help them voice it. And remember to always stay calm. Good luck. Do you think working from home has something to do with her behavior? I work from home too and it can be very difficult to work and pay attention to my daughter at the same time. She always seems to throw fits when I try to work.

yeah my son recently started to have fits as well...he will be ten months on tuesday. All the online sites and pediatricians I have talked to have said it is pretty normal for their development stage....they are learning to be their own person and develop their sense of self. There really isn't much you can do except ride it out. My son is totally mellow, but if he is playing with a certain toy, or playing in the bath he doesn't want to get out, and throws a fit when I do...they can understand no a little but can't really be "disciplined" so just know your daughter is growing a voice of her own and that is a GOOD thing.

I am looking forward to reading the advice from your request as I too have a 10 month old son who has started his temper tantrum phase. I think it's just their way of asserting what they want and don't want, although we wish they could just say " hey mom, i don't want to change my diaper, i want to play!" but that would be too easy! good luck!

I think telling her no is a good idea (they say babies start understanding the word "no" at about 6 months), but she won't really respond most likely. The best remedy for babies that young (and it is pretty normal, I think) is to try and distract her with something. Give her a toy while you change her clothes, or make a game of peek-a-boo out of it. When I clean my kids' faces, I move their mouths while they cry, and it makes a funny sound. That usually distracts them and makes them laugh. Babies that age tend to go from crying to laughing pretty quickly if they think something is funny. Good luck!

Hi, J.,
Your daughter is doing exactly what babies do around 1 year of age when they are developing normally. They start realizing that they are separate from you and are developing their own minds.

Try being as calm as possible but stay near her to protect her from hurting herself or feeling abandoned. You can remove her from the object, such as the toy or high chair and offer her something else to do. Distraction still works sometimes. Try using "No" just for the big things, otherwise it will lose its impact. And remember that it is a normal phase and she loves moving and making things move. And she wants to do things for herself.
(Maybe she can help put the shirt on!)

Judy

Normal normal normal. Just ride it out and be patient. Do not say no! You will really regret introducing the word no. After a short while she will understand what no really means and throw fits at that. Just ignore the behavior and talk calmly to her while she is throwing her fit or even sign a song. I run a daycare and almost every child goes through it. It will pass and soon you will be dealing with whatever stage comes next ;) Good luck

M.

Hi J.,
Does your daughter have tummy aches? It's hard to know at this age. Is her tummy bloated? Does she poop atleast once a day, and are they pellot like, or normal?
Has she had any vaccines lately, or been on any antibiotics?

This is behavior seen in a lot of kids when they have GI problems. You may want to have it checked out. I wouldn't do any more vaccines until you get this problem under control.
Please email me if you have more questions. I've had experience w/ this problem.

____@____.com

Good luck,
L.

Oh yeah. I think that's TOTALLY normal. I remember my son doing that around a year too. It's a stage and it passes. But you can be honest with her and tell her that it's not good behavior. You don't like it. Don't expect her to stop completely. But it's good to let her know, "hey, not acceptable." That's what I would say. And then...it passed. And comes and passes, and comes and passes. lol They want control of this big world and testing things. Hang in there! Remember....we did it to our Mom's and Dad's in some way too. ;) Hope that helped a little. R.

Hi, are the tantrums still going on? I feel your frustration. Does she react the same way with a soft touch, cuddling or warm baths. Are her sleeping patterns changing? Sometimes kids are very cranky if they are tired or do you think it's something more than that. Have you discussed this with your pediatrician. Let me know how your're doing. Maybe I'll have more advice next time, just trying to get more info. My kids are grown but my daughter had cholic and was very strong willed as a toddler. It was very trying at times. But time flies so quickly and this stage will pass and you will learn and grow thru each milestone. M. S

Ignore her. Everytime she throws a tantrum gets your attention, and that pleases her (babies just want attention). Always keep yourself close just to prevent her from hurting herself, but don't acknowledge her presence, nor her behavior. It will work. It did w/ my little girl.
Good luck, it will break your heart, but it's easier to teach them that tantrums are a no-no, now rather than later.
:)

My daughter tired to do this to me also. They are just looking for attention, whether it be positive or negative. I suggest you continute to ignore her fits. Hard as it may be, I do believe this will be the fastest way to break her of it. It took my baby about three weeks to stop. Good luck!

This happened to me when my daughter was frustrated but didnt have the words to express it. I tired talking her through it with emphasis on the important words, frustrated, angry, sad... once she had them the fits grew less and less frequent. Good Luck!

I suggest you speak with your pediatrician about her behavior.
I have a 19 month old and 2 older boys and tantrums were never allowed at our house. My 19 month has her moments too now adays. You train them when they are young but at the same time to give them lots of hugs and kisses.
Ignoring her is a good idea, just watch to make sure she does not hurt herself. If she sees she is not getting any reaction from you, she will eventually stop and maybe try something else. She is waiting for your reaction and feed off of that. She may be testing you...remember you are still the mother. She needs to know you are in charge. It's called tough love. Kids need their parents to guide them especially in this confusing world they are in. Hang in there. Don't give up, it'll get better. Be careful not to give in whenever she cries. Look at the situation and see what's upsetting her, is she tired? Hungry? in pain? hot?
But let your pediatrician know about her behavior on your next visit, just to get her opinion.
Both parents should work together on this.
Good luck....C.

I am no child development expert (for that I'd recommend reading the Dr Sears' books--The Baby Book is a good one for this stage), but it seems to be she is trying to communicate. 10 months is a good time to introduce sign language. Have you thought about that? It's a great stress reliever for you both. She will have the ability, besides through crying and arching her back (I remember that well) to let you know what she is thinking.

I bought Joseph Garcia's kit-video and a laminated chart of the signs. He uses American sign language. You can make up your own if you like though. I still use them with the 5 yr old. They say it also helps develop language abilities in general.

I would also empathize with her ("oh you dropped that? you really wanted that in your hands didn't you?" "You don't want me to put your shirt on, do you?"). I realized the more my daughter had more and more words and developed language abilities, that she knew way more than I gave her credit for before she could communicate.

Good luck.Hope this helps.

A.

My daughter started doing it to and most of the parenting books that I have read about it say that most of these fits are due to a feeling of having no control that your baby is experiencing. She has in her mind that she wants to do something and then you do something counter to that - like putting on her shirt - and she has no words to express her frustration so she has a fit. The best thing I have found is to talk calmly but sympathetically to her to let her know that I know she is upset, but that it will just take a second to put the shirt on and then she can go back to doing what she was doing. If that does not work, I try to make some sounds to mimic her to let her know that I understand her frustration. Ignoring her alltogether will probably just make her try harder to make herself understood. Hope that helps and good luck :-)

Hi J.,

Since your girl seems to respond to movement, have her checked by her pediatrician asap. Maybe it is a skin or nerve problem since this occurs when she is touched or moved around. She could have something not known that is causing her pain. MY son had this problem and found out that he had kidney infection. Once he was cured, the problem stopped.

It will make sure she is okay. Your doctor may have more information on this. Because she was normally mellow, I am concerned she has a physical problem. Mom can help her out on that.
God Bless both of you,
Grandma

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