16 answers

16 Month Old Temper Tantrums

My child just turned 16 months old and out of the blue has begun having tantrums. He gets upset when he doesn't get what he wants at least 2-3 times a day. For example, he went into the bathroom today and started getting into the toilet paper and trash. When I picked him up and removed him from the bathroom, he began screaming, crying, and arching his back. I've tried consoling him, singing, redirecting his attention, and just putting him down and walking away.

Has anyone else had this problem with their children at this age? Is this normal? Any suggestions on dealing with this would be greatly appreciated.

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i have a 16 month old and believe me she can throw a fit. If she doesnt get her way she will scream throw something or hit something. I look at her and tell her no no for throwing things and then i ignore her and its over as fast as it started. I was a nanny for 13 yrs. And believe me its normal, and i also have 2 other girls 7 and 20 so i have been through it before. The more you try and console them the longer the fit. Just ignore him until he is done then hold him and try and explain why what he just did is unexceptable(as much as a 1 yr old can understand) good luck and remember we all have been there.

Hi,
I am no professional but my 15 month old daughter does the same thing when I take her out of the bathroom. I dont make it a bad encounter because after all she will be potty trained soon and we will have to constantly go in there. What I do now is redirect her. I will say something to make her leave the bathroom. I will sometimes say "ok we are finished lets go outside" or "lets go get the kitty". She is always eager to leave the bathroom and not give up too much of a fight. I try to take her to the bathroom every time that I go so she can learn when to go herself. I promise that this works for me. I hope redirection works for you too!
Good luck,
J.

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Check out Alphe Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting. It has some great ideas, we love that book. What I did with my toddler and still do is I explain to him why I don't want him doing whatever like, "Please don't take things out of the fridge. They will get hot and then we can't eat them." or "I don't want you to go near the road, I'm affraid you will get hurt." Some people think it's silly to explain to a baby/toddler but it works. They are very smart and can get upset when you simply snatch something away or remove them from a situation they aren't ready to leave. It's understandable when you look at it from their stand point. Good luck!

My son was about 18 months when he started having tantrums. "The terrible twos" is a bit of a misnomer. I think redirection is the way to go at that age. Their attention spans are much shorter, and consoling could be construed as getting your attention for his negative behavior. I know it might take more than one try to find something that will keep his mind off of the problem, but keep at it. It only gets harder when they get older and can remember why they were upset in the first place!

I just say ditto about ignoring tantrums. The child won't listen to reason while he's screaming. After he's done with his tantrum, I would usually, with my son, show him I was glad he made a good choice and stopped crying and show him why he was in trouble in the first place. i.e. don't mess up the toilet paper. He eventually learned that tantrums weren't going to get him anything.

-C.

When my son started throwing tantrums I basically ignored him. We found that if we paid attention to him during these fits that he just kept going until he got his way. However, if we ignore him and let him throw his tantrum he realizes that he isn't going to get his way by screaming and crying. He still throws one now and then, but they are very short because they don't get him the attention that he wants.

My 18-month-old has the same problem. She gets unconsolable at times. This has been going on for about 2-3 months. They say will get better with time. I've just recently put her in daycare two days ago week and this has really helped a lot. I believe it's normal. The best thing you can do is try not to pay as much attention to it. Good luck!

Hi,
I am no professional but my 15 month old daughter does the same thing when I take her out of the bathroom. I dont make it a bad encounter because after all she will be potty trained soon and we will have to constantly go in there. What I do now is redirect her. I will say something to make her leave the bathroom. I will sometimes say "ok we are finished lets go outside" or "lets go get the kitty". She is always eager to leave the bathroom and not give up too much of a fight. I try to take her to the bathroom every time that I go so she can learn when to go herself. I promise that this works for me. I hope redirection works for you too!
Good luck,
J.

A.-
I think everyone has this problem with their kids at this age! I've always heard it called the "terrible twos"- a misnomer because it can start way earlier, as you've noticed.

I suggest learning to meditate or find a "happy place"- you, not him. This is where you get to decide and practice your method of discipline and relating to your child. It's where and how he starts developing his own personality. There's no way around it and it will stop when it's over.....sorry.

I consoled myself with the understanding that a lot about how my daughter and I would relate and get along was being formed and I could have a big impact on it. Unless the screams were particularly blood-curtling, I would just tell her we'd finish what we were doing or deciding when she was done....then I waited and watched her wind out of it. When she didn't get the panicky, "make it stop" response she wanted, it didn't take long for her to develop different communication skills. If you don't want him to "talk" to you that way, don't answer him.

I know it sounds painful....and it is for a while....but I swear it gets better- no matter how you handle it. And don't worry about "what will everybody think". If they had children, they get it. If not, you couldn't begin to explain it all anyway, so don't sweat it!

Good luck!
C.

I agree with the just ignoring him. My 19 month old started throwing tantrums several months ago. After "alot" of tantrums being ignored he finally understands that it doesn't get him his way. Every now and then he has one and it is very short and not too loud. Once he sees that he isn't getting his way he stops immediately. It may take a few before he realizes so just hang tough through it.

I had the exact same problem with my son who is now 3 and I am begginning to experience it with my 18 month old daughter. Walk away! Any attention to the bad behavior (tantrums) is feedback. Positive or negative they are getting a response. He doesn't get to play in the trash but mommy will sing to him!

The next time you catch him doing something he shouldn't, remove him from the situation and say something like "No, No, baby we don't play in trash cans. Lets look at this toy." If he begins to fuss and buck, gently set him on the floor and say "Well, I guess you don't want to play with the toy either. When you calm down we will play." Remove the toy from his reach and leave the room. Once he figures out you are not going to cater to him he will stop. When he comes to you and wants to be held, hold him. Then explain that "We don't behave like that to get what we want."

Another situation you may come across is what i call "muleing out." My son would not want to leave, lets say, the mall. I was carrying my daughter and holding his hand when he just dropped. He's thinking I will let go so he can go back to the playground. Do not let go! Even if his feet are not touching the ground. I dragged my son through the mall and out into the parking lot. After a few weeks he figured out I wasn't going to let go and he might as well walk. Just thought i'd through that in because my daughter is starting to do that too.

Good Luck,

W.

I had the same problem with my little girl she was around that age or a litte closer to 2, I thought oh my gosh is this what the terrible two's are and hers is starting early! I don't have much advice, except that I did everything you tried and my little girl has pretty much grown out of it, she is 2 1/2, so you are not alone. Good Luck!

Oh my gosh. this is totally normal and will last a while. Should outgrow by three or so. Just ignore him and when he realizes that you arent giving him the attention he wants while hes throwing the fit he will stop. A good place to do this would be to place him in his room or his crib (pack and play) give him a few toys..and let him work it out. I leave mine where he is (did the same for my daughter). When they realize you arent going to pay attention to them throwing a tantrum they stop. Eventually they become more and more spaced out, but you will still have them and they ARE completely normal. hope this helps.

J.

i have a 16 month old and believe me she can throw a fit. If she doesnt get her way she will scream throw something or hit something. I look at her and tell her no no for throwing things and then i ignore her and its over as fast as it started. I was a nanny for 13 yrs. And believe me its normal, and i also have 2 other girls 7 and 20 so i have been through it before. The more you try and console them the longer the fit. Just ignore him until he is done then hold him and try and explain why what he just did is unexceptable(as much as a 1 yr old can understand) good luck and remember we all have been there.

At 16 months he should be able to understand what you say. What I did with my kids when they started throwing temper fits at about that age, was to calmly explain to them that they were going in their room until they stop. I would then put them in their room, and let them out when they stopped. You can also use a 'time-out' chair, or space. It takes a little bit for them to get the idea, but it takes you being consistant every time; doing the same thing.

My 15 month old daughter does the same thing. Her main thing with tantrums is getting in her carseat and coming inside from playing on the swing. Sorry i have no suggestions, i am trying to figure this out myself too. But I did want you to know that you are not alone.

I think we've all experienced this lol. Don't console him over it or you're reinforcing that throwing fits is a good way to get mommy's attention. I think you can explain to him about time out chairs and start using them. He's not too young. Explain to him what the time out chair is for and why he has to use it and sit him in it every time for his fits. At his age, no more then 2 minutes after he's over his fit. I always went by how old they were, a minute for each year.
When he's over the fit and is allowed up and is calm again, explain to him what behavior you expect of him and that fits won't be tolerated. Use words he'll understand of course.
One thing that I found much easier with my sons' was to work on one mis-behavior at a time. First it was throwing fits, after they fully understand that fits means time out chairs we worked on throwing things, yelling, writing on the walls.. etc. They have short attention spans at this age so making them concentrate on too many things at once will defeat the purpose. Good luck to you both.

As long as you know he is not hurt.I would ask him what is bothering him and explain why he can't do what it is he is wanting to do. I would then ignore the fit. Let him kick and scream, just walk away. I have 2year old twins and have had to walk away a few times. Once they realize this behavior is not getting your attention, they will get up and act like nothing ever happened. It is amazing!! You have nothing to lose just give it a try. I hope it helps make your day easier.

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