At Wits End! - Orem,UT

Updated on July 06, 2011
S.S. asks from Orem, UT
11 answers

I just need some advice on how to deal with my 2-year old's TERRIBLE tantrums. If something sets her off, she will literally scream at the top of her lungs and like deep in her throat forever! It seems like I can't do anything to calm her down. Sometimes if she wants something, she'll say "Mom" and I say "what?" and then she just repeats that "Mom!" and I say "what?" and it just progresses til she's screaming "MOM!!!!" even though I'm saying "what" she won't tell me what she needs, just screams and screams louder, we can rarely go out to a restaurant because I never know how it'll turn out, she won't sit in a highchair, she likes her own chair which is fine, but after a while, she won't stay in her seat and she'll go wandering around the restaurant and if I try to bring her back to her own seat, that'll set her off and she'll go into her screaming mode, I've tried everything - distracting her with something else, getting down to talk to her at her level, holding her, taking her out to the carseat but then she'll arch her back and won't let me put her in - if I succeed in putting her in and belting her in, she'll just scream and scream at the top of her lungs and will not calm down no matter how much time has passed.....grr! Sorry it's so long, I've just had to try and explain everything she's doing. I need some help with this!!! I'm hoping it is just the terrible 2 phase and will end sooner or later but my sanity is nearing it's end! It's embarrassing! It's heart-breaking to watch her like this! Please - Advice!! What do you do? What works? Thanks in advance. :)

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answers from New York on

-My son is 2 1/2 and he is the absolute king of tantrums. This may not work dfor everybody, but the only thing that works for my son is discipline. If wr're at the park and my son starts to throw a tantrum, we leave. Right then and there. Then when we get home, no popcicle. If hes good at the park, we stay as long as we wants and he gets a popsicle when we get home. If we're at the store, and he throws a fit, we go to the car and we sit there until he calms down. If he throws a fit when we're home. I take away a toy. If he continues, no park that day. Still? He goes to his room and screams his butt off until hes calmed down and ready to calm down. I do believe in spanking, but I dont do it that often. My son is a strong willed child and will scream to get something he wants. But it never works. NEVER. If its a battle of wills, he knows that mommy will always come out on top.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter went through this too. Luckily she mainly did it at home. I ignored her. No talking, no acknowledging her tantrums, nothing. After a few times and some really long tantrums she finally got the idea that she was just wasting her time. Finally she began to start communicating better. I think kids are super smart, they know that when you are in public they tend to get away with more because you are trying to keep them happy so they don't have a melt down. We learned giving in was a mistake. If she started acting like that then I have left a cart full of stuff and took her home. I have gotten the check when we just got our stuff had them box everything and took her home. So when I said, "Do you want to go home?" She knew I meant it. It does pass, just hang in there.

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answers from Washington DC on

OOOh mom - sorry!!! She knows how to work you...she's won control and exercising it...

She knows that her screams bother you and you will cave to what she wants as long as she screams and you cave...

Your 2 year old now rules the roost.
Can this change? Yes.
Will it be easy. No.
Can you do it? YES!!

You need to give her rules and boundaries. Discipline when she breaks the rules or crosses the boundaries. If you don't believe in corporal punishment (spanking), then you will have to use time out.. your voice will have to be FIRM and the SAME punishment EVERY TIME...

There is NO gray area here.
If you are out in public and she starts throwing a fit - tell her that her behavior is unacceptable and if she does not quit, you will do X (whether you take her home from the grocery store (i had to do this ONCE with my daughter) or take her to the car and have her sit there until she is done screaming...) the point is that YOU need to be the mother. YOU need to take back control...don't worry about what other people think or say - this is YOUR daughter and YOU need to give her rules, boundaries, might be surprised at what one quick swat can accomplish...and it may only take once - to get her attention and tell her ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...she can scream in the car all she wants...stand outside so that she is not alone but let her scream until she loses her voice...once she realizes you are serious and will not back down...then you will be in control again.

you don't need to scream. You don't need to yell. You just need to stand firm and take back control. YOU CAN DO THIS...Your husband MUST be on board with this - if you two are NOT a united front - then she will play you both and you two will end up fighting over her and she wins again!!!

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answers from St. Louis on

watch the "1-2-3 Magic" video. Buy it today! It will teach you how to discipline, how to be in control, & how to feel Peace while still living with & loving your child!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Sending hugs and patience...

For the 'Mom!' moments:
- instead of answering 'what?', try answering 'Yes?' or 'I'm in ___"
- as for the repeating, have you had her hearing checked? If you are in another room when you answer, she may not hear you responding, and then that will trigger a panic feeling.
- when she gets all riled up, go into the room, sit down, hand her some juice, and hold her on your lap. when she stops screaming, look her in the eyes and tell her that she needs to try and not scream. She doesn't like to be screamed at and neither do you. It hurts your ears and your feelings.
- you could try getting a 2 way walkie talkie/monitor that you both carry so that if she is in the living room and you are in the kitchen (or upstairs?), you can hear each other.

For Restaurants: (i have done both of these!)
- order stuff to go and take it home.
- if you go into a restaurant, ask the server to bring you the check and some to-go boxes when the food is delivered. then when she acts up, one adult can take her to the car, the other quickly pack up your meal, pay the bill and leave.


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answers from Kansas City on

This is hard. Sometimes you just never know what their issue if they need something they can't communicate or they are just pushing buttons! What do you do when she starts screaming? Personally, I would try ignoring it and see what happens. I don't know how much she's talking now, which if not a lot could be part of the issue, maybe she's frustrated. But anyway, I'd just tell her that you'll listen to her when she stops screaming and then go about your business. If you're out somewhere and she does it I do think you're doing the right thing by going to your car and putting her in. If she still keeps screaming I would tell her if she stops you can go back in, if she doesn't you're going home. Then I'd drive home and if she still doesn't stop tell her that you'll get her out of the car when she's done screaming. Leave the door open, whatever and go inside. I think it's really about outlasting her. It will be really, really hard, but you can do it! Try and keep calm and remember that yelling will not do anyone any good even if you feel like doing it! ;)

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answers from San Francisco on

Children at this age need the security of firm, loving boundaries. She needs to experience your absolute, loving authority.
You may have to dedicate a chunk of time to taking care of this. I suggest the next time she starts to escalate, take her on your lap. Tell her you both will be sitting there until she's quiet. Hold her gently but firmly. Do NOT put her down! Tell her, "Mommy is going to hold you until you be quiet." Then, wait it out. No need to apply any other type of discipline. You just have to resolve that you're going to hang with her until she gets it. You're not going to lose your temper. You're not going to the park. You have only one thing to do.
I did this with my daughter. When she finally realized we weren't going anywhere until she calmed down, she relaxed. It was really neat, because we had a wonderful bonding time when she was done!

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answers from Phoenix on

Calmly,but sternly give her a warning and tell her if she doesn't use her regular voice to talk to you, or to ask you a question, then she is going in time out. The next time she does a place for a time out and place her in it for 2 min. (2 min since she's 2 years old). If she gets up, reset the clock and place her back in time out. You may have to be consistant with this for about 2 hours before she sits in time out. But follow through is very important because it will show her and tell her that her behavior is not accepted. When the timer ends, talk to her about why she was put into time out and ask her to say she's sorry to you.

I got this from watching SuperNanny with Joe Frost. She's great! I would even suggest asking Joe to come and help you. :-) I see some very unruly children on her program and I always think Joe can't even get these children to behave....but she does. Amazingly she does. She also has some tips on her website:

This link will allow you to apply for the show. :-)

Consistancy and follow through are very important, but sometimes we need help.

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answers from Los Angeles on

When your daughter says, "mom?" I'd reply, "Linda, what do you want?" Calling her name shifts her focus. "What do you want" further changes her focus. That helped with ours.

I had one two to three year old that was very, very strong willed. The time that changed things and taught me a lot was he was laying face down on the floor and yelling and screaming (I don't remember what started it.) I let him yell and scream. I picked him up and tried to hold him, but he started kicking and hitting me, so I put him down. After about 10 minutes, I spanked him. No change. After another 5 minutes I spanked him again. I tried several things, nothing worked. I spanked him, put him under my arm and walked to the frig (from the living room). I opened the frig and took out a half-gallon pitcher of cold water. I took him and the pitcher to the sink. I was just about to pour cold water on him and he yelled, "No daddy. No Daddy. I'll be good." He quieted right away, with no more yelling or kicking or screaming. Then I knew the act of tantrums was very much controlled by him.

I don't know what will work with yours, but spanking and that kind of thing was the ONLY thing that worked with this child.

Good luck to you and yours.



answers from Pittsfield on

Hmm, how's her speech? Is she able to communicate what she wants?
I think the 2 of my 4 children that had difficulty with speech were far more likely to tantrum than the other 2. If you think she is having a hard time with speech- have her evaluated by Early Intervention. We've had nothing but positive experiences with them.

If you think she has a lot more tantrums than what is "typical" for her age, it may be sensory issues. My 1st son had sensory processing difficulties, which we didn't know about until he was 11.

When I went through the sensory processing symptom checklist, and found his issues, I understood why he had tantrums over seemingly nothing when he was little. Wish I had understood back then because I think I would have had more patience with him- never understood why he threw a huge tantrum every time he woke up from a nap, for example.

Here's a link to the website I found most helpful. It's the symptom checklist page.

Here's how Dr. Sears advises handling tantrums:

Hope it helps.
Hang in there S.!!! =o)



answers from Provo on

i'm all for dialogue! i'm having some luck with my 2 yr old by telling her, "you don't have to scream. you can just talk and i will listen. i am listening right now." for my oldest it worked better to have a talk with him at a quiet time of day. ask him about life. how he felt about various parts of his life. then talk about how to handle his feelings. this helped his anger to not build so much. i didn't always understand his every word, but it was still beneficial. another thing i do when my kids are freaking out, repeating their demands, and not seeing the wisdom behind what i'm doing or saying is to say, "i heard you. Did you hear me answer you?" more often than not they stop and think when i ask that question. anything that can get them to stop and think is great!

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