March 04, 2008,
J.P. asks from Riverside, CA on March 03, 2008
17 Month Old Attitude Change
My 17 month old daughter had the sweetest attitude about her. She was never a baby that cried very much. She was always so happy. Recently, her attitude and done a 360. It hasn't changed all the time, but she has her moments where she is just pissed off and will scream and cry and bat things away when you give them to her. she will even look around during a fit to see who is looking at her and what reaction she is getting. Is this normal? Am I entering the terrible twos? If so, what have you done to correct this? we ignore her when she is doing it or put her in her crib to cry it out. I don't want to keep puting her in her crib because I dont want her to start not liking to go to sleep because we seem to have that part down GREAT! Please help. Its like I all of a sudden have a new daughter. Its really embarrasing when she is doing a fit in a restaurant.
J.L. answers from Los Angeles on March 03, 2008
I see from the info about you that you have a new baby in the house. My son seemingly adapted well to his new twin siblings when he was 19 months old, but when they were a few weeks old, he started having more tantrums, crying and was actually, angry. His pediatrician explained that it was probably the terrible twos exacerbated by the new siblings. Your daughter doesn't have the words to express what she wants, so tantrums and frustration ensue. My son improved mostly with time, but things were a bit better when I was able to carve out "special" time with just him. Yes the tantrums in public are embarassing, but just remember that every parent has been there at some point and is probably either feeling bad for you or thinking that thank goodness it's not them. Now that I have 3 toddlers, I've become rather immune to public tantrums - otherwise, we'd never go anywhere! When it happens, we find a way to leave where we're at immediately until the storm passes. Maybe instead of ignoring her, you could try letting her know you understand she's upset and then, as soon as she settles a bit, try to engage her in a special activity with you. I know that's hard when you're busy with an infant. Hang in there, this too shall pass.
M.B. answers from Reno on March 03, 2008
You know, I don't know why they call them the terrible twos because they always seem to start before that! My son was 18 months on the nose when his attitude suddenly changed from my well behaved, very happy little baby. The good news is it tapers off around 3. My daughter just turned 17 months old and she has started throwing tantrums too.
The trick is finding out why she's having the tantrum. Not all tantrums should be ignored. Remember they understand a lot by now but not everything. If she's having difficulty doing something (like tying her shoe or picking something up) and she's getting frustrated, it's good to see if you can show her how to do it (don't do it for her though) or to redirect her attention to something else. There are also attention tantrums (some people disagree with this but not Dr. Sears) during which time they are trying to get your attention. These are the times that you need to just walk away and not give it the attention. If they're in danger of hurting themselves (my son used to throw himself back head first) then you can hold them to keep them from hurting themselves or each other. With a new baby, that could be why she is craving your attention.
When she's not having a tantrum, give her praise for her good behavior and spend a little extra time with her doing Mommy and me things. (seems like you've already identified the attention tantrums)
Some times of the day, certain things may be triggers too.
Start keeping track of when she has her tantrums (is it just before or after naptime or bedtime, is she hungry, long shopping trips=boredom?) Some tantrums also just require a little comfort.
You can read more about the different types of tantrums and what Dr. Sears says about them here
H.G. answers from Los Angeles on March 03, 2008
Honey they call it terriable two's for a reason. She is observing your every reaction and if you allow her, this is the time she will use to wrap her precious parents around those tiny little fingers of hers.....Remain stern and ignore her tantrums. I agree with you about the crib thing. It's never to early to learn time-out.....she also may be noticing she is not the baby anymore and this is an insecurity to a child that age. That great little helper all of the sudden (in her little world) became a big sister and you may want to use this to your advantage right now. Explain to Jenna, the great little helper, that she is an older sister now and you need her to help teach Karlee all the things that Jenna is doing now. She may be only 17 months, but if she notices that you jump when the baby cries and attend to the babies needs, she may have picked up on that. You might want to restrict your nights out at a restaurant to CHUCK E CHEESE or something where she can have a fit and its acceptable behavior and the patrons won't wonder if you are beating your kids! I'm sure it will pass.....Have fun with your angels!
C.S. answers from San Diego on March 04, 2008
You have really good responses from other moms, I just wanted to add that you should find a different time out area, because I think your concern is valid about not wanting her to start not liking her crib...good luck!