20 answers

13 Month Old Temper Tantrums/screaming

I am writing because my husband and I don't know what to do. We have a very sweet 1 year old boy whom we love VERY much, but lately he has been very difficult. He screams at the top of his lungs ALL the time. He's not in pain, he just screams to get what he wants. He also throws himself on the floor (like a temper tantrum) or throws himself around when you try to pick him up. I try to tell him not to scream and say "shhh, that hurts mommy's ears", but I don't know how much he understands at this age. I tell him "No" if he's getting into something that could hurt him. I don't know what else to do...I'm just wondering if this is normal behavior for a 1 year old and if so, is there anything we can do about it?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

The only way to break this is to ignore it. I went through this with my son and tried everything to get it to stop before it started but nothing worked. I would just say to my son at the start of a tantrum that I do not respond to screaming and whining and would just ignore it. Some of the tantrums would last 45 minutes and I would want to scream but I would just totally ignore it.
Good luck, it will get better. He is just testing you to see how far he can get.

I think that is totally normal, my son was very similar. I was getting sick of the temper, but can understand it since they don't really know how to communicate and they do what works. When my son was about 12/13 mths old I started to teach him how to say more please, when he was in a good mood and wanted more of strawberry's. It worked he now says it for anything and everthing though it really is just the beginning of please...ppppppp...all the time. So I don't know if that is better or not...I guess better than screaming. Good luck!!

More Answers

Join the club! Sometimes the "terrible two's" start at 12 months or so from what I hear and what I have been through myself. A wonderful book that I think would benefit you greatly is Love and Logic Magic By Jim and Charles Fay.
You can just look up in the back of the book certain things you need to "learn" instead of reading cover to cover. I tried reading cover to cover but being so busy and tired I had no motivation so I just looked in the back to find what I needed like what to do if your child is hitting for example.
This book has helped me tons & my son is much better behaved and we don't have to scream and yell to get him to listen. But remember screaming and yelling usually doesn't work because who wants to be yelled at all the time? They tune you out. Good luck! Let me know if you get the book & how it has helped you. Oh, you can also email them a question and they will get back to you!

This is normal and he is doing it to get your attention. I told my son at this age to say mommy help because he would just point and scream at something he wanted. When he starts to scream tell him say please or mommy help (you decide) don't do both because it may confuse him. Then ignore the scream until he says please or mommy help. When my son starts to point and scream I say ... what do you say (in a calm voice) and he usually remembers to say please or mommy. He can't yet say mommy help. But by no means and I mean, by no means ever give in to a temper tantrum or screaming. Only give in when he calms down and changes his attitude. This is pretty normal for this age because they have not learned the correct way to get your attention. Ignore the screaming but you can address it once. Don't keep addressing it or it will make him think that he can scream and get the attention that he wants. Even telling him no don't scream and etc. is attention for him. Just do it once and ignore. I know, it is easier said then done. ;) good luck. My son is 18 months old now and rarely has tantrums because he just knows that it isn't going to work.

Hello A., Hmmm. Screams at the top of his lungs ALL the time? Ouch. Have you checked inside his mouth for new teeth? That may be a secondary cause for his behavior. Otherwise, he could simply be testing the waters, learning what it means to 'BE' he. :) His teacher is YOU by how you react to him. So, my vote is ignore behaviors you do NOT want and praise those you do. For tantrum behavior, try turning your back and using a deeper tone say 'Ugh Ugh. Quiet voice please' and wait. 'Jump in' with moderate smiles and enthusiasm the moment he starts to rev down, take a breath i.e. and pair that with loving words like 'need help?' while stroking his back and cheeks. Give him a small token as distraction...something you keep special on the refrigerator out of sight for just these times, perhaps? When he turns the volume back up, you MUST turn your back away stating FIRMLY (not a shout though...find your mommy voice/its all in the tone) 'OH OH..No scream please' and continue what you're doing until he figures it out. Be sure to go directly to him when he takes a break to sob or to look at you when he becomes more quiet. Use your moderate attentive voice again and repeat the pattern of gentle praise, loving comfort paired with a distraction, but GO BACK to YOUR activity! This really teaches him he is safe AND loved. Its a process...and the only thing constant in raising children is ...change, literally and figuratively! :) Blessings, N.

Dont you just love temper tantrums?! My son is 17 months old and has a few now and then but what seems to help him the most is that we taught him sign language-which was incredibly easy to do! I think most of his tantrums were from not being able to express what he needs and now that he signs its a lot easier-he is also starting to say some words which obviously helps! I would look into it-we just taught him the basics and it seems to be really effective but like I said he still has a few tantrums sometimes and I think thats just part of toddlerhood! :) Good Luck!

Hi-
We had the same problem when our now 2 yr old was 14 months. The best advice we got was ignore as much as possible- if that means picking him up and moving him to a carpeted room and letting him scream it out that is fine- they see how they get a reaction every time they do it so if you are just calm and don't try to reason with him or say anything just don't give him any reaction it will stop- you become deaf before it does, but it will:) good luck!

I would ignore the bad behavior. Just walk away and pretend that it isn't happening. Easier said than done I'm sure but to give him attention is what he wants. Also make sure to acknowledge all good behavior and tell him that that is the behavior you are most proud of and it makes you happy when he is behaving in a good way.

Dear A.,
First all children develop into different stages/phases at different times. There is NO set time schedule for them accomplishing anything.
This being said, temper tantrums are certainly a challenge.
It is hard to be a parent, even more difficult to be a good one. Its a LOT of work.
I walked away from temper tantrums...into the next room. When they would come out sniffling, I would tell them that I do not know what they want when they scream and act like that. If they want something they needed to tell me in words.
And when he screams do you ask him what he wants? Asking him do you want water? snack? movie? toy?
Please do not do this. From this he learns that if he screams loudly enough he can get you to get whatever he likes. He, at this point, is teaching YOU how to behave.
When he screams, again, walk out of the room. Out of his sight. He may even follow you into the other room and start again...walk away as many times as it takes.
You could say firmly , "stop that screaming, That is NOT an inside voice."
The less attention you pay to this screaming the sooner it will end. But , it wont if you credit it.
Now, at 1 he cannot talk. He may not know how to tell you what he wants. He is capable of learning simple sign language to ask for what he wants. Baby Einstein First Signs video is what I used on my grandson and at six months he could ask for drink, water, milk, eats, ect. Bet your little dude is clever enough to learn those signs.
His frustration at not being able to effectively communicate could well be adding to your screaming/temper tantrum problem
REmember, do NOT give him what he wants if he is screaming or throwing tantrum.
The more attention you give him during these spells will prolong them.
Try to catch him in appropriate behaviors and praise him for them.
Best wishes and God bless
Grandmother Lowell

My pediatrician told me to completely ignore screaming, and it would go away-- MUCH easier to say than do! But what I did, when my one-year-old screamed, was to turn it in to opera singing. I would find a pitch approximately like the one she was screaming and make it into a melody (of course one that goes DOWN in pitch!). And I never let it get her what she wanted, unless she asked appropriately.

Good luck!

First, just know that you are not doing anything wrong-- this is a phase he will go through to act out frustrations. We use timeouts with our daughter, but when it comes to her tantrums they have begun to subside because we have never reacted to them. For example, when she lays on the floor to scream/cry, I let her lay there and then walk away and say "Let me know when you're done." I act as if it doesn't bother me. My nonchalant attitude really cuts the tantrum in half, i think. She normally lays there for a bit, catches her breath and then tries to get up. I don't ever try to pick her up or tell her to stop because it just makes it louder and longer. I think this is a natural way for them to communicate their anger/saddness/tiredness, etc. without having many words. So, let it happen, but don't react to it. If my husband is carrying her and she starts to have a tantrum he puts her down and does the same thing. We also say, "okay have a tantrum and let me know when it's over." Now that she's almost two, it rarely happens with too much noise or for more than a few minutes before she recomposes herself and wants to get up or be held. I NEVER give in to what she wants! It has really helped tremendously...so we'll see how long it works! I hope this helps you, too!

I have a 20 month old boy and overall he is a sweet child, but at about 16 months or so I found the same thing happening that you mentioned, screaming throwing himself on the floor. I had read in the book "Your One Year Old, Funloving and Fussy" by Loisa Bates that age 15 -21 months is a hard age and they will have more temper tantrums; this book helped me emensly over all, I think at about 1 year he started acting in ways I didn't like, and the book helped change my perspective to be more realistic as to how a 1 year old should act (I'm a 1st time Mom), I was expecting him to act like a 2 yr old.

I found that if I try and guard his sleep (I use "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Weissbluth to help me figure this out) that he doesn't have as many tantrums. He is also picking up sign language very quickly lately (I use the "Signing Time" videos, he is a hearing child, but sign language is one way to cut down on tantrums and we have found it works more and more each day as he understands the signs more). When he does have the tantrums, I run through my mind if he is hungry or needs to go down for a nap, etc . . .if none of these things are needed then I just ignore him for a few mins then try and distract him (I'm sure you already do this, but I was just trying to be specific). He also hits his head at times along with these tantrums, that is when I definitely know he needs to sleep.

So I hope you find what works for you, I know how frustrating it can be.

Oh boy, do I remember this. My youngest was a screamer for quite a while. I agree with the other response. The only way to stop it is to ignore it. Mine didn't get it that quickly- ignoring made her mad, so we had to go as far as leaving the room or putting her in her crib til she quieted. We'd tell her we'd be back when she stopped screaming then leave the lights on and the door shut. It was very different then night time routine so she never had problems associating the crib with punishment. Often the problem was she was tired and she'd fall asleep. If you are out, try to ignore it or tell him you will leave and then do it!!! I have left a full shopping cart at the courtesy desk and left a store. I try to diffuse it before it even starts by bringing a special snack or allowing the kids to pick a snack as soon as we get to the store. Maybe it's bribery, but i like to think of it a compromise!!! It will pass, but stand firm!!

I am in this stage with my son too and it's terrible! I do think ignoring helps and praising good behavior. I also try to remember what are his trigger points. I watch and see what causes the tantrums (is he tired, hungry, frustrated, having to share a toy etc.) So *sometimes* I can see the tantrum coming before it starts and ward it off. I have also begun warning ahead of time ("in 1 minute, it's time to clean up") and I find he is more agreeable with advanced notice (even if he doesnt understand time yet). Or if he is playing with something he shouldn't be, I make it a game and ask him to put the item in the basket for me. All little tricks like that help me avoid a tantrum. And I only run errands with him after he is well rested and well fed so my chances are high he will be tantrum-free in the store.

So my advice is return to the basics of your kid--what he likes, what bothers him and work from there. It is a hard age--that's for sure!

Welcome to the typical toddler behavior. I have one piece of advice IGNORE it. The more you pay attention to the behavior the longer it will continue. My youngest started this and after ignoring it for a while now when he is told no he generally just goes and curls up on the floor and won't look at you. If he's crying and throwing himself around don't go and try to pick him and don't say anything to him and he will soon stop the sreaming yelling and crying. He is doing it to get areaction out of you. One yr olds are much smarter and understand much more than what a lot of people give them credit for. They have wonderful books out there you just have to find one that you like. Good luck.

Totally normal...the best thing you can do is to not give in. Let him cry it out. Even if it takes a while. He'll do it a few times before he realizes it just doesn't work. I am a mom of 3 (6,4,17mos)so I've been there and still am. Good luck

Yup, normal. My daughter was 1 last year and we went through the exact thing. She would scream so loud, it would ring your ears!! We'd try everything, not much worked. Now that she is 2 she has grown out of a lot of the screaming. A lot of it too is that now she talks so well, she can communicate with words moreso than screams... Just try and be patient, perhaps some ear plugs :)
Best of Luck

he is probably frustrated that he can't get his needs across. the first signs dvd from baby einstein is a great way to introduce basic signs to communicate and lessen his frustration. it worked for us, good luck!

The only way to break this is to ignore it. I went through this with my son and tried everything to get it to stop before it started but nothing worked. I would just say to my son at the start of a tantrum that I do not respond to screaming and whining and would just ignore it. Some of the tantrums would last 45 minutes and I would want to scream but I would just totally ignore it.
Good luck, it will get better. He is just testing you to see how far he can get.

I think that is totally normal, my son was very similar. I was getting sick of the temper, but can understand it since they don't really know how to communicate and they do what works. When my son was about 12/13 mths old I started to teach him how to say more please, when he was in a good mood and wanted more of strawberry's. It worked he now says it for anything and everthing though it really is just the beginning of please...ppppppp...all the time. So I don't know if that is better or not...I guess better than screaming. Good luck!!

My son is also 13 months old and does the same thing. If I stop him from doing something that he wants to do he has a complete melt down. (He does the same thing when I dress him and change his diaper too. Not much fun) When he has a tantrum and screams, throws himself on the floor whatever...I say I am sorry but he would get hurt and I suggest we play with something different. Sometimes this works, sometimes he tells me no, he doesn't want to do my suggestion. If he says no, I say ok, and I pick up one of his books, or play with his blocks and ignore him. I always try to play with some of his things not walk away. It usually gets him playing good again and then I can either stay and play with him or try to get something done. If he hasn't already stopped, this seems to work. What ever you do, do not give in. This is what I tell myself!!! From everything I have read this is normal behavior, just not fun behavior and that it will pass in a few months?? I can't wait to see what other responses you get that might help me too :)
Good luck!

honestly,i have 3 kids and only one had tantrums for a short while,just walk away,thats what the pediatrician told me to do ignore the child it does work..be patient..goodluck

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