35 answers

My 20-Month Old Daughter Is Throwing Temper Tantrums All the Time...

My 20-mo old daughter seems like she changed overnight! She was always pretty strong-willed but somewhat easy going. Now, if she doesn't get her way she is throwing tantrums. Almost daily. The other night she wanted Dora yogurt at like 10pm. She stood in front of the refrig and had a complete meltdownn for like almost 30 minutes. Finally, I gave in because it wasn't worth fighting over. She had her yogurt and she was fine then. Then yesterday we went to Tumblbears and she was carrying this blue bean bag around. She didn't do much of the activities. She seemed to be afraid of the big trampoline with the blower attached so she basically just walked around. When it was time to leave the one girl took the bean bag back and she had a fit. Then she didn't want to leave. I could barely get her coat on. I remained calm and tried to talk in a soothing voice. Then she stopped on the way out and screamed "BYE" to the girls. LOL. Then went for a haircut because she really needed one. Again, when it was time to leave she didn't want to. Is this common for this age. My two boys were not this bad and I want to know how to nip this in the bud before it gets out of control!! Thanks.

2 moms found this helpful

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My daughter has always been the strong willed little girl too. She went through the same thing around the same age. She is now almost 3.Around that age they start testing the water to see what they can get away with...more so then boys.( At least that was the case with my boys.) The only thing that has seemed to work for me is the Naughty Spot ( after watching Super Nanny it seemed like it would work ) When she acts out you warn her...tell her behavior is not acceptable and if she dosent stop doing whatever she is doing she will go to the naughty spot. It took my daughter a few times to understand but she knows that when I mention the naughty spot I mean business...I will use this when we are out at the store too. There has been plenty of times in the middle of the cereal isle at Jewel she has had a a time out. People look at me funny but I dont care. I rather be correcting my child in public rather then allow them to think that, that kind of behavior is ok.
If you need to see the Naught Spot in action tune in to Super Nanny on channel 7. The woman is brilliant. I hope this helps...at least an idea for you. Good Luck!

I was also thinking 10 pm is way too late for a child that age. My son is 26 months and goes to bed at 7:30. He has been throwing a fit when we leave places, but i tell him if he cant behave we can never come back. It works most of the time. I think its just the age that kids start flexing their independence muscle. But dont give in. That will just make it worse the older they get.

I think this might be some what of the norm for girls. My daughter is 22 months and she's the same way. She'll pitch the biggest fits if she doesn't get her way. Most of the time, I try to ignore her so she will realize that fits wont' get her what she wants but, like you said, sometimes its easier just to give in so she'll just be quiet. THe other day she wanted picked up but I was feeding my younger daughter (who is 7 months) and she started the biggest tantrum (complete with throwing herself on the ground and stomping her feet). I wish I knew why they did it or how to control them so I could give you (and me!) the magic answer but sadly, I don't think there is one. We just have to let them outgrow it. *sigh*

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Hi A.~
My now almost 5 yr old son did the SAME thing!! However, his fits were based on wanting chocolate milk! He would stand at the top of the stairs screaming chocolate milke. He could last all night if I had let him. I know this probably isn't how most people would handle it, but I just gave him the choc milk. Like you said it was just easier to end the fight that way than go on for hours. He did get over this stage, but it did take a couple of months. Trust me, it was quite the relief when my fridge no longer had to be stock full of chocolate milk!
Just remain as calm as you can, and remember that with time this stage will be over!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, A.. I agree with soooo many of these moms' responses! The "Lemme know when you're done" thing? LOOOOVE IT! Always worked miracles for me! Literally turned my back, rolled my eyes, went about my business and shot 'em down. Even now, the MOMENT I hear one of the pre-teens go, "Moooom, so and so just...." I cut 'em off with, "And you aaaare?...." and they INSTANTLY (deflated, ohhh so deflated) respond, "tattling."

And they walk awaayyyy!

IMO (and my experience; 3 kids - 12,10 and 6 now) ANY reaction - especially an emotional one!!!! - is 'ATTENTION'. Even NEGATIVE attention is ATTENTION. Some kids even pursue this MORE because it's a more passionate FORM of attention!

IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE!!! (without actually ignoring her, you know what I mean).

She's tiny and young, sure. But obviously smart enough to know (so she thinks) how to get her way - with force. These little ones have soooo much more energy than we do.

Nowadays "sending to their room" is pointless. But, asking them to leave the room you're in the moment they "start"? Well, this works.

You're the leader. Not only are you conveying a silent (and strong) message on "what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior", you are ALSO TEACHING HER WHAT YOUR STANDARD OF ACCEPTANCE FROM ANYONE IS! Not only will she see you "deal with her", she will be privy to your powerful phone conversations with Nicor, Com Ed, in-laws (hehe).... any conflict-involved or serious conversation. She will learn your tone, know when you mean business and understand very quickly that "I don't care WHO you are, I (you) will be approached a CERTAIN WAY and that way is WITH RESPECT!"

More importantly - she will see and hear you keep a calm tone but still manage to be firm and express yourself well. She'll see how you "get what you want" without raising your voice, demanding, becoming unruly.... She'll learn what works and what doesn't work. :)

I've learned one thing solidly, religiously and permanently: I could "tell" my kids what they ought to know 'til I'm blue in the face. But it's what I DON'T realize I'm teaching them (how they watch me) that becomes ingrained in them.

Look on the bright side - you've got a future lawyer or political activist on your hands there! No one says you have to "cure" this aggressive side of hers, she just has to learn that there's a time and place. I personally love outspoken kids!!! And, again, yes - 20 months is young - but her mind? SHARP AS A TACK! It's okay for her to learn diplomacy at such a young age. After all, she's the one dipping her foot in that very pool! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

why is your child going to bed at 10? This is way to late for her and i suspect her behavior is a direct result of not enought sleep and being way overtired. You should try putting her to bed at an earlier hour

I have the world's mellowest kid (albeit energetic) who is 18 months and has started throwing the occasional fit. He knows that when I say "No fits", I mean it. When he continues to throw one, I let him have his fit, tell him that throwing it won't get him what he wants and ignore him until he's done. Now, when he throws one, it lasts five seconds because he knows that he'll get nowhere with it. Stand your ground and she'll soon realize who is in charge.

I am a grandmother of 5 and have had many enjoyable times reading and answering you moms from someone who has had tons of experience. Shannon by far has the right answer. Making a healthy choice is not the issue, its the tantrum of wanting it that is. Shannon has the right idea about giving them a "time out" in their bedroom and then talking about the problem. No matter how young, you can talk and teach a child who is in charge. If you give in to their tantrums, they win. And if I may mention that fact that they are up at 10 at night? Children need structure and a normal bedtime which is not 10 at night. And to let someone have a tantrum for 30 minutes is very unacceptable behavoir. Children need boundaries and schedules. Talking to them and then giving them lots of love will eventually pay off to be an amazing sweet child. Good luck.
Debbie M

Hi A.-

I'm sure hoping this is normal because you've just described my 22 month old. She does the same exact stuff. When she doesn't get what she wants she goes from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. I'm wondering if girls are just a bit more tempermental than boys? Just know, you're not the only one dealing with this!

Good luck!

I also do the whole "When you're done, I'll be over here waiting to play" thing. It really works for us. When my son was that age (and even now at 4) he threw a tantrum mostly to see what my reaction would be. Sounds totally normal behavior for that age to me. They like to test our boundaries, and it's so frustrating and tiring. Good luck. With my son, it has gotten better with age. We do fewer and fewer time outs these days it seems.

Hi I think I can help. I am a mom of two girls 8 and 7 and also a preschool teacher. It seems to me that your daughter is testing you. I am sure this is no surprise but the best way to stop this is to show her you are the boss but in a loving way. Also explain to her why. For example, she wanted a yogurt at the 10pm and you said no but make sure you tell why. Tell her simple having yogurt before bed may hurt your teeth. Make sure you decide what you want to do before saying it and stick to it. The old saying choose your battles is right. My daughters also train me to let them know what is happening next and they were much better in transition. I hope this helps.

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