16 answers

9 1/2 Month Old Throws Fits!!

Ok so I always thought that "throwing fits" was a learned behavior from other kids or something but my 9 1/2 month old boy literally throws fits! He is a very strong willed little one, when he does something and we tell him no, he looks at us, laughs and does it again....he has even learned to shake his head no. Before he gets into something like the dog bowl, he shakes his head no, looks up at us laughs and gets into it. Which is all cute, but when we do tell him no and he doesn't get his way then he can throw a fit. He will kick his feet and scream, arch his back, etc. So I was wondering what if there is anything else besides telling him no and sticking to it. I want to work on this behavior but I know he is still so young! HELP!!

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Ummmm...thanks for the advice so far. A few seem a little harsh and I would never do! I just wanted some tips, not to get lashed out at!! I would never physically restrain my baby like that and I'm very worried that someone would suggest it. I just wanted to know if there were any techniques, not physically related, that might help.

Featured Answers

Sorry, but babies at this age cannot comprehend the idea of "off limits". Best to simply remove the tempatation or block it from view.

1 mom found this helpful

thats all been great advice for toddlers. My son is the same age, and is starting the same thing. The blanket thing is "rage reduction", my parents did it to me. But so far when my starts a fit i put him in his saucer or play pin, leave the room. When he cant see and hear me no more he stops and starts playing

1 mom found this helpful

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Not to worry-fits aren't learned they are human nature until your child learns other ways to express his displeasure. Firmly and calmly tell him he's not allowed to do whatever forbidden activity he's doing and Lovingly remove him from the situation. Around 18 months you can start time outs for one minute per year of age ie 90 seconds for an 18 month old or 2 minutes for a 2 yr old. Until then you have an INFANT who naturally will show you what he wants in the only way he knows how. Perfectly normal for him to do that! I have 2 children who both did that and are well adjusted and happy children.

3 moms found this helpful

Um.. I highly recommend you purchase and read "Happiest Baby on the Block", and "Happiest Toddler on the Block".

I would not advise tying an infant down in a blanket to force compliance. Seems a little (a lot) outlandish to me (as another mother suggested...).

Your pediatrician should have given you handouts that talk about your childs development and within those packets, there should be one, inparticular, that talks about NOT trying to discipline an infant.
Please keep in mind- your child is an infant. Not a toddler. Going all hardcore on the poor little baby might backfire on you immensely leaving you with a toddler with some serious behavioral issues.

Babies are, by their very nature, curious. He is exploring his world and enjoying what he finds. If you don't want him in something, perhaps you should move it out of his reach instead of expecting him to understand your commands and comply. =D

I would also HIGHLY recommend you buy toilet locks, and properly baby-proof your home as well. I can guarantee you the trouble he will get into when you look away is not worth it and NO means nearly nothing at all to an infant. -as I learned with my first child

PLEASE buy those books- I can't recommend them enough as they helped me get a clearer picture of what my baby is thinking and what I can do to work with her behaviors.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K.-

Throwing a fit is a result of the child's inablity to communicate with you. Imagine you're in another country trying to ask for help, but cannot communicate with the people, that's what you're son is feeling.

To help,

1) Anticipate his needs to reduce frusteration
2) Explain to him why he cannot have it, yes even at 9 m. "that's the doggie's food, it's yuck for you, do you want a cracker instead?"
3) Childproof so you eliminate saying no as much as possible.
4) Give your child the words. This is a big one. If you know your son wants a ball, say, "do you want the ball? Let me get it for you." This will help him be an early talker, and early talkers can say their needs.
5) Eliminate 'No" as much as possible. No is a word that shuts doors and eliminates options. Even the youngest kid hates the word no. No causes more tantrums than it solves. Try, "we play with balls outside, let's go outside to play." instead of "no throwing the ball".

Good Luck

R. Magby

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, the better your home is childproofed the better your life will be. 9 months is still young for him to really totally understand.. To him this is all a game..

Put up a baby gates so that your dog and his bowl will be safe and areas of your home can be kept off limits. Closing doors are still ok since he cannot reach the knobs. Soon you will need knob covers..

These things will be able to come down as soon as your son can understand that he is not to touch them.. Also they are quick little guys.. he can get into things very quickly so get down on your hands and knees in every room and see what he sees.

Distraction for this age is also great.. Before he can get to something, use a high pitched excited voice and entice him to join in what you are doing..

I agree very short.. "No throw ball inside." "Dog Bowl, no touch."

Find some parenting books and learn some to the different techniques. They really do work if he is raised with them from this age. No spankings and yelling will be needed..

2 moms found this helpful

Saying "no" to the bad behavior and explaining why. (obviously he doesn't understand the reason why right now but it will get you in a good habit for when he's older and does) Then you can put him in the play pen for a couple of minutes with no toys. Be consistent and you'll get your point across. Oh ya and by all means don't laugh or smile at him even though I'm sure he's super cute when he does the behavior that is unwanted. Good Luck.

2 moms found this helpful

thats all been great advice for toddlers. My son is the same age, and is starting the same thing. The blanket thing is "rage reduction", my parents did it to me. But so far when my starts a fit i put him in his saucer or play pin, leave the room. When he cant see and hear me no more he stops and starts playing

1 mom found this helpful

unfortunately ur son is too young to discipline. you'll just have to put away as much of the 'forbidden' stuff as possible so that you're not saying no to him all the time. at some point if he hears it alot i heard it doesnt have an effect anymore. also, if he does throw a fit, try just ignoring him for a few minutes. then as soon as takes a breath and is silent, give him a lot of love and attention. that way, he'll know fits don't get him anywhere. obviously if he's in real danger or if he's hysterical, you can try to calm him down but he might just need to air out his feelings. haha. one last thing -- this book may prove to be of help to you:


but again, he's too young for this. just something for the future :)

1 mom found this helpful

This is perfectly normal behavior, and it will get better in time ... like, age 2. ;-) For the moment, in addition to not giving in to his fits, I would also suggest removing temptation as much as possible, giving him something positive to do do instead of the 'naughty' behavior, and distraction. For example, the dog bowl is also a favorite of my 13 mos. old. So, the moment I see him toddling towards it, I pick it up and put it on the counter ... then give it back to the dogs when my son is no longer interested. Also try telling your son something 'positive' to do instead of the behavior ... he may or may not respond yet, but he will soon. For example, if my son is eyeing the DVD rack, I might squat down on the floor, open up my arms, and say, "Come here baby" ... and then praise him excessively when he does. Giving them an alternative to do makes it easier for them to stop whatever they shouldn't be doing. And, finally, at this age, I think its still ok to distract them out of the fits. No, he can't have the forbidden object, but show him something else fun he can do. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Let me admit first that I haven't read all the other answers because I'm in a time crunch. But, in some cases, throwing fits are actually seizures. I have an autistic son so I view the world through those eyes. My son had tantrums all the time before figured out he is autistic. Please don't think I am saying this about your child, I'm not, I'm just thinking back. It doesn't neccessarily sound like seizures in this case because there is an antecedent. But be aware of this and also of any changes in behavior after vaccinations, infections or viruses.

1 mom found this helpful

Sorry, but babies at this age cannot comprehend the idea of "off limits". Best to simply remove the tempatation or block it from view.

1 mom found this helpful

K., actually "throwing fits" can be an indicator of an autism spectrum disorder, too. I would have called my son "strong willed" around that age as well, but then around 18-24 months or so we couldn't help notice that his verbal skills were regressing and that he preferred to play alone at preschool. We had him evaluated and sure enough, he's on the spectrum. There are so many types of therapies out there and they make a huge difference. I think I would talk to his pediatrician about the fits at his next checkup, and if s/he thinks that there may be enough to warrant a visit to a specialist, the doc will refer you. But stay firm with your rules and expectations, make sure he's safe when he thows his fits, and start keeping a mental note of how long it takes to calm him down from a fit, it's a question they'll ask if you get referred. Good luck! (Oh, and autism or not, I think that with a good support system he'll grow out of this! Continue to redirect him, be consistant, and you'll both get through this stage!)

1 mom found this helpful

Baby proofing is a great way to start controlling the issue. With my son, I made every room that he could get to completely baby proofed so that everything he touched he was allowed to touch. We closed off all doors in the house and made the living room (where he would mostly play at this age) completely safe for him. Start eliminating anything that you would have to say no about. This should make life easier on him and you. I know it gets so frustrating and tiring constantly having to tell your child no. Hopefully that will cut out alot of the fits. My son didn't start throwin fits til recently, he's two now, so Im not sure what the best way to handle those are; however, my little sister threw fits from the day she was born. My mom would put her in a safe area, a crib or play pen, and walk away until my sister calmed down. Of course, this would only be an option if you absolutely knew your son wasn't crying for a specific reason and was just throwing a fit. Sometimes kids learn that they will get a response from fit throwing so they continue to do it, so if he sees that you walk away everytime he throws a fit he may realize that isn't the response he wants. If you do decide to try this make sure he is put in a spot that he won't get hurt in like his crib possibly and stay in hearing distance from him so that when he does calm down he will see that you come right back for him which in turn will show that when he is good he gets a positive response. I would also talk to your ped about it, they may have better solutions for the problem as well. I also agree with being consistant, if you do decide on how you will handle the fits make sure you keep with it. Children really do learn by repeation. The best advice I can give you is find something that you are comfortable with. You know your son better than anyone and you will know what will work for him. Hope this helps and good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

It's all normal. And it will come and go in phases too as he gets older, pushing his limits and testing the waters.

I know a lot of the mom's on here said to childproof, take the temptation away, etc. But I don't believe in all that. I've got cats that have free range to their food and water so I can't just suddenly put them on a schedule nor do I have any place to put their stuff where they can still get to it. Which is probably where you are with your dog's food. All you can do is tell him no, not for ------ ( use his name). Not food, not a toy and take him away from it. If he throws a fit, leave him be. As long as you know he is in a safe area then let him throw his fit. Once he realizes he isn't getting any attention from it, he'll stop and they should become less and less.

I babysit for a friend of mine and when her son was around the age of 9 months he used to go for my DVDs on the bottom shelf of my stand. I'd say no touch to him in a firm voice and he would look at me, stick out his bottom lip and then proceed to cry! lol It was the cutest thing ever but at home he would keep on going for something like that even if his mom or dad told him no touch. 5 mins later he would go for my Dvds again and it was round two of crying!

Just stay consistent, using words with him so he'll hopefully learn to use them early on too and let the tantrums play out in a safe area without everyone watching.

Good luck!

At some point your child is going to go through throwing fits. They might be small, self-directed, or loud and disturbing. It's a natural learning process. Your baby is young enough to learn no means no. That doesn't mean they won't test the bounds, but they can learn. Don't take it personal when they throw a fit, see it as a path of growth. Just make sure he can't hurt himself. Acknowledge his feelings of anger. Try giving an alternative, like you can't play in the dog bowl,but do you want to take a bowl of water outside into the grass and we'll play out there with the water?

my daughter used to try that. Althought it may be cute at first, CONSISTANCY, CONSISTANCY!!! If you think it's cute one minute but the next it's wrong it will only confuse him. My daughter used to pull her hair, kick, hit, and actually bang her head against the wall when she threw her fits. when at home i would wrap her up in a blanket (tying her down) and hold her until she quit THEN i would talk to her, tell her she was going to face the consequences and we'd repeat and repeat until she faced the consequences (was usually a time out chair) then a nap would follow from all the fit she threw. in the store if she did that, i'd do it right back at her EMBARASSMENT!!! worked like a charm. if she fell on the ground kicking and screaming i did the same thing, only happened twice, then if she kicked and screamed cause she couldn't get that toy then everything i was getting for her would go back on the shelf...1 item per minute.

worked like a charm but the key is consistancy so you dont' confuse him.

very good advice K.!

when my kids tried this, I'd laugh and walk away, telling them "that isn't going to work, let me know when you are done with your fit and we will talk" even a 9mth old can tell he isn't getting the attention he is looking for, if you are in a store, as best as possible, drop everything and walk out with the screaming child, I had to carry my 10 month old out of McD's one time by the overall straps (like a suitcase) I put him in the car started the ac then stood out side the car till he quit screaming! he never tried that one again.

basically a fit is to get attention, if you give them attention for it then they learn how to get negative attention, when ever possible walk away, let them know that if they are calm they will get attention. as your child gets older, you can help him will learn other options for expressing his frustration. keeping distractions to a minimum will help too!

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