Need Advise on How to Discipline a 1 Year Old Who Has Tantrums

Updated on March 28, 2008
D.R. asks from Lake Peekskill, NY
38 answers

Looking for advise from mothers who have had similar situations. My son just turned One a little under a week ago. I noticed he has these tantrums when he is put in the highchair and does not want to stay in it, when he gets put in the swing, when he wants what you are eating, or at night if I don't get him a bottle fast enough. The tantrums are not limited to the situations stated, but they mainly happen throughout these times. When in the highchair, he will thrash around and start screaming and crying. In the swing he will hold his body straight out and kick and try to grab us with his hands, which makes it a two person project to get him strapped in. At night he will lift and bang his body on the mattress so hard and start whining. While I am eating, he will start nicely by asking me for some with a little grunt. If I give him a little, he wants more and will demand with a louder grunt. When I don't get the food to him fast enough, he will start screaming. I always feed him first in hopes of avoiding this situation, but to no avail. I try to ignore his tantrums (as per the advise that my pediatrician gave). I am stuck because my husband will run to him or we get into arguments about how best to deal with the situation.
A little about my son: He has been hospital twice this winter for pneumonia, asthma, bronchiolitis and reflux. In Feb he had the flu for an entire week and just got over the cough that preceded the flu. So needless to say he has been pretty sick and now makes himself cough and gag to get attention.
Any advise will help.

Thanks,
D.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great response. I have been trying new methods on how to keep him happy. I now put him on the floor to play for about 20 minutes after the ride home and then I offer him his food(already prepared)before I show him the high chair. There is no more fighting over the highchair. At night I let him wear himself out by 8:00pm give him a bottle of milk and he is usually asleep before 8:30pm(no more fighting over the swing). He is also almost perfecting the sleeping through the night. I try to get him to look at me when he is about to throw a tantrum and tell him that it is ok, that he will get to be on the floor, get his food, or his cup of juice. This seems to calm him a bit and I give him what I have promised him before he has a chance to react. Against my MD's wishes I am trying to negotiate with him, but I have noticed that it is me who has to deal with it and not her, so I am trying what seems to be working in my household.

D.

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J.G.

answers from New York on

I'll keep it simple. Be consistent and be the example of how you want the toddler to act. GOOD LUCK!!!! Have a good day!!
Jess

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K.K.

answers from New York on

Distract, distract, distract...HAve him pay attention to something else and then steer him towards doing what you want him to do.
Good luck.

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J.S.

answers from New York on

Def. ignore the tantrums. When he starts to grunt for something, like more food, give him the words, "You want MORE. MORE CRACKER" and eventually he will learn the words. We are in it with my 16 mo now...very frustrating!!

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J.J.

answers from New York on

hi D.;

this is all about exactly the same as what we went through here and continue to go through. i found that with my bright, strong willed son, "discipline" wasn't appropriate at such a young age; at 1, they are only expressing thier needs, they don't understand that cause and effect relationship between poor behavior and negative reinforcement; if you discipline him now you're only being mean, as far as he's concerned.

what you have to do is calm, kindly, firmly correct his behavior over and over, and if he's really upset, assume that he's frustrated and unhappy, and comfort and help him. it's punishment enough for such a young child to be so uncomfortable.

i still find that i get very frustrated w my son who is now almost 3 and he is very willful; but i really notice two things that i would urge you to consider;

one is, his behavior is only bad when he's exhausted or sick or in pain; if he's struggling with any kind of new skills or growing challenges, his behavior goes down hill. and exhaustion is the worst; i have seen my son turn on a dime from terriffic to terrible from being overtired. so watch for the signs of tiredness; or hunger or unhunger or teething or just general need for mom's comfort. try to be as compassionate to your baby's neeeds as possible and know that he doesn't even vaguely have the logic he would need to follow your expectations for his behavior at this point.

the other is, think about yourself; how many years did it take you to become a person who could meet her own needs or ask for help in a civilized way? probably, like everyone else, a long, long time. and how do you feel when your needs aren't being met, when you're hungry, tired, lonely, frustrated? pretty lousy, right? this is just your son enacting the same things that we all experience, just much more primitively.

he's just a baby.

i would lastly say this; i dislike my own self most when i fail to be the parent to my kids, and instead get wound up in thier anxiety or panic; try to be calm, put your son's tantrums in perspective, and be the bigger person; show him that you are always a safe source of compassion and that he can trust you to meet his needs and take care of him, rather than punishing him for being a helpless little dude.

good luck
J.

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A.M.

answers from New York on

Let his needs guide you. This is all the parenting advice you'll ever need so let me repeat that again. If you want to you can just stop reading after that: LET HIS NEEDS GUIDE YOU.

All I'm doing now is elaborating on that one statement. As I read your post I got the impression that you're forcing him to do things he doesn't want to do - listen to yourself: "When in the highchair, he will thrash around and start screaming and crying. In the swing he will hold his body straight out and kick and try to grab us with his hands, which makes it a two person project to get him strapped in." Reevaluate the baby proofing you did a few months ago to make sure he's still safe roaming free with any new skills he has (walking, reaching, etc) and give him some space. I'll probably get bashed for this but if mealtime is so stressful and he's already eaten then put a 15 or 20 minute video on for him so you and hubby can eat in peace. Once the video is over, bring him back to the table to have some fruit/applesauce/pudding for dessert (he should start learning to feed himself soon, if he isn't already, and he'll learn more quickly if you start with foods he likes). Make sure you and hubby stay at the table too - this is now "family time" and as his tolerance for sitting for longer periods grows he'll be expected to eat his whole meal with the family. If he always wants what you're eating then have some of whatever he's having. This will begin to teach him that he'll be expected to eat what the family eats and won't be getting special meals for much longer (if he is).

I agree that ignoring him at this age is not appropriate. So is spanking and "flicking". But you also can't give in during the tantrum. Get down to his level. Even if he's screaming talk softly (but not "baby talk") and lovingly saying "you sound very frustrated". Hug him or rub his back and smile. Say "I love you very much and want to help". If he hits or thashes when you get close keep smiling and say "wow - you are MAD, MAD, MAD!" If he doesn't stop, get silly. "This is what I do when I'm mad" - jump around, wiggle, wave your arms in the air. He should be easy to distract at this age. And maybe he just needs to blow off some steam. After two or three minutes of bouncing around the kitchen you can revisit what upset him in the first place, if ncessary. But putting a label on his feelings will help him communicate his needs as his vocabulary grows.

The crib thing is tough. Make sure it's on the lowest setting so he can't climb out and if his "body slams" rival those seen on WWF make sure it's VERY secure. Make his bed a sanctuary. Never put him in there when he's in the middle of a tantrum. And never use it for timeout. If he's safe and just whines a bit before falling alseep I wouldn't worry about it. If is behavior is dangerous or his sleep habits are irregular you need to reevaluate the situation as they pertain to HIS NEEDS.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Dear D.,

I think your husband is right and your pediatrician is wrong. It makes no sense to think about a one-year-old in terms of discipline. They don't have a sense of cause-and-effect, and this is relevant twice over.

First, one-year-olds don't have tantrums to get results; they have tantrums because they get overwhelmed and their little systems short-circuit. The logic of raising older children -- not rewarding bad behavior -- isn't relevant here.

And second, one is much too young to associate a punishment with an infraction. According to one-year-old logic, not having your food fast enough is bad, and having mommy not happy with you is an unrelated terrible thing. So therefore, the world is coming to an end.

I do think, though, that your son's tantrums may be a sign that he's ready for a little push into the world of language. If he wants his bottle and you don't have it ready yet, you can say "Do you want bottle? Bottle? Bottle?" You *will* have to produce a bottle when you get a "baba," but at your son's age, that should buy you a little time. If he wants more food, same thing -- "Do you want more? More? More?"

The same principle applies to coughing for attention. Lots of older babies fake-cough, and it's cute, but when they're looking for attention is a great time to get them to make positive bids for attention. Pick a word you want him to repeat and say "hey coughing boy, can you say mama?"

And there's nothing wrong with modifying your routine slightly so it's not so miserable for your little guy. Can you get all his food ready before you put him in the highchair? Can you replace the swing with a play yard? Can you get his bottle ready before you start bedtime? (A toddler who's tantruming at bedtime also sounds like a toddler who needs a slightly earlier bedtime -- he could be getting over-tired.)

Finally, as others have said, it sounds like your son has had a lot of pain and discomfort recently. A child who's not feeling well will have a shorter fuse; that's true of adults who are feeling sick, too.

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J.W.

answers from New York on

Sounds like your son is trying to communicate with you and he's getting frustrated b/c he can't get his message across. If he's having a fit when you put him in his swing, then don't put him in the swing. He's probably outgrown the swing and doesn't like being confined to it. Instead of feeding him before you eat, feed him at the same time and give him the same thing you are eating. Put his highchair right up next to your chair or get a portable highchair and put in on a regular chair so he can sit at the table with you. Put his food on a regular plate just like yours and make meal time a together time. Bedtime should be a strict routine of bath/bottle/story, however you want it to go just as long as it is the same every night. He will soon learn that every night after his story he is supposed to go to sleep. It might take a week or so but he'll eventually get the message and stop fighting it. It's also important to make it the same time every night.

But sometimes they just have tantrums and there isn't anything you can do about it. My son would have them (still does sometimes) if I won't let him have candy for breakfast. When he starts screaming and crying I simply walk out of the room. He soon stops when he realizes he no longer has an audience.

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M.K.

answers from New York on

Spanking only teaches them to hit, and act out of control

I would say he seems to need structure.

I hear you saying he has a routine, but it needs to be a steady routine, at the same time every evening,

before dinner feed him a few crackers,
then put some food on his plate for him to eat, independently,
he WILL make a mess and might choke alittle BUT he will learn to eat, and can feed himself at his own pace.

dole fruit cups are great slide down easy and are healthy and pre cut.

before sitting down to eat cut up a plate for him, and give him a little SPORK ( spoon shaped Fork) from walmart
and let him copy you. HE WILL do it.

His tantrums are frustration because he can't communicate.

OR you can't understand him.

Your husband and you need to get on the same page.
you need to gently explain to him that although you are sensitive to his needs and the needs of your child,

that if you continue to allow him to get attention from these tantrums, he will learn that TANTRUMS wORK and when he goes to school he'll be the kid no one plays with, the one all the teachers can't stand, and he will get removed from class because he doesn't know how to respond appropriately.

That as parents its your job to teach him the skills.

That You love him , and want him to learn compassion however
Compassion is reserved for BOO BOO"S hurt feelings and things of that nature,

NOT for I want a cookie and I want it NOW.

Hopefully he can see your point.

So like i said set up a clear routine, everyday LIKE at
6am MOMMA wakes up
7am wake up, wash up, get dressed
8am breakfast
9am TV time, story time
10 am playtime
11am bottle
1130am new diaper and naptime
12pm sleep
1pm sleep
2pm clean diaper and wake from nap
3pm Snack,
4pm BOTTLE
5 pm playtime,
6pm mommy time
7pm dinner time
8pm daddy time
9pm bed time.

By doing this your helping your son, letting him know what will happen next, so he can anticipate, it will keep him calm and relaxed, and you will feel more relaxed.

I know its hard to do everything, but if you plan your days around HIS schedule, it will run far more smoothly.

Cleaning and everything else can wait till the weekends.

M

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N.V.

answers from Albany on

I completely disagree that a 1 year old can't be defiant. I have an 18 month old daughter and she is extremely strong willed and defiant. She also started throwing tantrums around 12 months of age. Sometimes 5-10 a day. I believe that even at this young age we are setting the groundwork for future behavior. It's very important to set up expectations for behavior and remain consistent no matter how difficult or how aweful the tantrum. We found that her problem wasn't limited solely to her inability to fully communcate. Often we were fully aware of what she wants and she knows it, but it is not what we want to give her. We found that when we clarified our expectation for her behavior by repeating the same responses to her, the tantrums stoppped. Let me give two examples. When she gained the ability to walk, we often went to the mall and sometime we let her walk around and sometimes we popped her in the stroller. She began throwing tantrums when it was time to be confined to the stroller. So we stepped back and said, we don't want tantrums at the mall what's the problem? We realized that we took her in and out of the stroller at the mall randomly. FOr her she didn't have any reason that she should have to be in it and she protested. So we set up rules. We decided she would be in the stroller at all times while in the mall except a select few stores where there were toys to play with. She was allowed out for a brief period of time and then put back in. Although there was of course an adjustment period when she continued to throw tantrums, once she understood our rules, she stopped resisting. Example two. More recently she began throwing horrible tantrums when placed in the high chair. She arched her back, kicked, screamed, cried and threw her food all over the floor. When she stopped crying she would refuse to eat. So again we evaluated our expections and decided what was important to us was to not have food all over the house and to eat together as a family. We allow her now to climb up into a chair at the table alongside us and she must stay in the kitchen at the table until she is done eating. When she gets down from the chair we give her food to the dogs and she's done. However, we babygate her in the kitchen until we're done with dinner. This solution immediately stopped her tantrums as we did not force the high chair issue. For us the goal was to eventually get her out of the high chair anyway. There was nothing wrong with sooner rather than later. We also were able to keep her within the confines we wanted. So really I think if you set up your rules based on what behaviors you expect from him and remain consistent, the tantrums will decrease. Now that's not to say tantrums will go away all together, but they're less. This is certainly a testing phase and they are certainly learning to acert their indepedence which then equal tantrums and defiance. Just let him know you're in charge. He'll feel better in the long run.

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R.L.

answers from New York on

My daughter went through a similar phase, just about 1 year old and after a month long cold. I think that we babied her a bit during her cold, so she got used to her saying jump!, and we said how high? :) I think around 1 they are at a strange phase where they are more limited physically than they are mentally in some way. He knows he wants to put food in his mouth, but needs you to give him the fork. Stuff like that. For one, and this works for us almost every time, when my daughter is starting to break down I reflect her feelings. She had a similar sippy meltdown like you described. Every single morning and every single meal time, she'd see her sippy and loose it. I could not put milk in fast enough for her. She'd see that I was doing it. I'd talk her through it. But, she'd hit the cupboards, throw herself on the floor, throw herself at us, etc. Rather than reasoning with her I started to say things like, "wow, you must be REALLY thirsty. I've been that thirsty before. I can tell you really want your milk. It's a good thing I'm getting it for you. then you wont be so thirsty." I'd keep saying similar things the entire time I was getting her sippy together. Would you believe it only took a couple days, and we do not have sippy meltdowns? She went through a highchair thing too. I did a similar thing. "You do not want to sit in your highchair anymore. You are sick of your highchair and want to get down now. Okay, then your dinner is over and it's time to get down now." I'd take her out and clear her dish. Other things to think about are how long he's spending in his highchair. Average 1 year old has got about 20 minutes of highchair patience. Some shorter and some longer, based on personality type. Make sure you're making the most of your 20 minute window. Also, are you making sure he's aware of what is happening? Really giving him transition time? With my daughter, she really responds to me explaining what is next. I start about 10-15 minutes before the change. Like, in the case of the swings, I'd say we're going out to swing pretty soon. We'll put our coat and shoes on and go out to swing. Then a few minutes later, almost ready to go swinging? etc. So, when we go to the swings I'd say "oooh, look! the swings! Let's swing!" She's usually pretty ready for it. Last things... 1)make sure you give him a choice. Do you want to swing alone, or with Mommy? If he's feeling nervous about swinging, the sense of control will help him. or, like in the case of my daughter, we hear "no" frequently now. :) we'll go for a walk and it will be time to go inside and I'll say, okay let's walk back home. She says "no!" I give her chances to come with me, and if it doesn't work, I kneel down to her level and say, "it's time to go home now. do you want to walk home, or should mommy carry you." NOT, do you want to go home now or in 5 minutes. but, she has a choice how she gets there. If she throws a fit in my arms, I give her another chance, but always explain to her "okay, let's try walking home together again." She usually stays with me all the way home after that. If she doesn't, it's 3 tries then we try another day. I always warn her in advance, "okay, sweetie, we're going to try one more time. but, if you don't walk with mommy, then I'm going to carry you all the way home and you can try to walk with mommy next time." You see what I'm saying. They're all about independence now. Anyhow, I hope all of that helps!!! I know it is hard to find patience through that. It is really hard. You're not alone! Millions of parents around the world have a toddler arching their back and screaming! LOL :)

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A.J.

answers from Albany on

#1 A 1 year old child is never defiant (defiant in the sense of being bad. Babies are NOT bad they are being babies. Babies haven't been alive long enough to know right from wrong). If you think your 1 year old is being bad I feel very sad for that child.
#2 It is inappropriate to discipline a 1 year old child.
#3 1 year old children are learning control over their world and exhibit the behaviors you mentioned.
#4 Your dr. is ABSOLUTELY 100% CORRECT IGNORE these tantrums. (this doesn't mean neglect, it means don't give him attention to reinforce negative behavior. Give him attention when he shows positive behavior).

You as his parent are his teacher. So teach him properly instead of controlling him.

He is trying to communicate to you.

If he thrashes about in the highchair, perhaps he is done. Take him out.

Give him his own food to self feed himself. Mary K's advice about this was spot on!

If he tenses up and starts to object to the swing - do not put him in it. Why do you have your 1 year old in a swing anyway? Swings are for infants not toddlers.

If he throws a tantrum when you put him to bed, take him out. Read him a story. Read him another story. Read him another story. Rock him. Sing to him. Say your prayers. Cuddle with him. Then say good night. This will take about a week before he stops thrashing but you have to give bad habits time to correct themselves.

Educate yourself better on child development. You son is being completely normal. You need to learn how to understnad him better so that there is enough peace in your house so he can grow in a healthy environment.

And for God's sake - get that kid a flu shot next year.

A.

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S.W.

answers from Albany on

D.,

I am a Charge Nurse, I take care of geriatric patients. My patients figure out real quick how to get our attention. I have 40 patients--so you can see the difficulty. There really is a nursing shortage--as I am sure you are aware of. That said, your little guy, while in the hospital, learned this also. God bless pediatric nurses, the nurse to patient ratio in Peds is probably more like 3-4 patients per nurse. So they pampered and comforted his every symptom--as I am sure the whole family did. Now that he is home--he expects the same type of service. And you don't have an army of nurses! He is used to his needs being addressed immediately. I would contact a Pediatric Patient advocate. I'm sure this is not a unique problem. They could most likely give you some insightful interventions to ease the tension in the house and to help your son feel better---and you to Mom! Good Luck--S.

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A.W.

answers from New York on

D.,
Don't worry first off. Your son is one. He is frustrated most likely because he can't do the things he wants to do or tell you what he wants. That is normal. When he acts up that way tell him with a firm voice "no". I am not of the mind set that giving him everything he wants is the best approach. He needs to learn appropriate behavior-if he doesn't calm down put him in his crib. Obviously, don't let him freak out any longer than 10 minutes but try to get him to understand you wont accept this behavior. Don't give in, try different things- maybe put out some finger foods that he can pick up himself or give him a spoon he can hold while you have a spoon you use to feed him, or toys to keep his interest. Just don't get stressed because I believe they can feel your frustration and feed off of it. This will pass- I am a mother of three(my youngest turning a year in a few weeks). You just need to stay consistent and not allow your child to rule you. Just remember it is our job to teach our children and give our children the tools needed to be successful in life- giving in to bad behavior, or giving your child everything he/she wants will only make an unhappy non-productive adult-cause you dont get everything you want!Enjoy him and remember you and your hubby need to have similar approaches in handling his tantrums! United front!!!

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T.S.

answers from Elmira on

Unfortunatley, your doctor has given you very good advice. Your problem now stems with your husband. It takes two to make your child learn right from wrong. You mentioned that you both argue over the best way on how best to handle the situation. Take a turn, try each others ideas. If those ideas don't work then you can resort to what advice your doctor has given you. You and your husband are going to have to work through this together. Everytime your husband runs to your child during his tantrums, that is teaching your child that it's ok to do that becuase he gets what he wants. For future reference, my husband and I learned a long time ago to never ague in front of our children over our children. It's a sure way of the child using that and playing one parent against the other. Even at an early age they catch on.

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S.M.

answers from New York on

Hi D.,
I am a Mom of five and have seen my fair share of tantrums. Your son is only one years old so it is perfectly normal for him to do this. At this age their communication skill are not fully developed and this is their way of telling you as dramatically as they can that he doesn't want to do something. It's really ok! I would be very patient, do not make a bid deal about it but do not run to fix the problem right away, allow him to calm down a little before you move him out of where he doesn't want to be. Does he stay with a sitter during your work time? If so, have them be consistent with him also. He may also be acting up on you if you work alot. I used to work full time and my kids gave me a hard time. I now work from home which is also hard but I need flexibility. He is still a baby and you shouldn't worry too much about this phase, in a couple of months he will have another phase to go through, some better, some worse. We all have our moments and we all go through phases in our lives. He will be fine, dont' sweat the small stuff. I wish you lots of luck, your son will get through this in no time and you will be planning for College before you know it, so enjoy it now because it goes by so fast. Wishing you lots of luck
S.
If you need to talk you can contact me at [email protected]____.com

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K.M.

answers from New York on

Far be it from me to think I know what I'm doing (I have 2 kids under 2, and they are far from perfect, but generally pretty well behaved). I'm flying by the seat of my pants like anyone else, but I have a couple of tricks that might help.

First and foremost is health-if your son is over his illnesses, then there are no excuses not to discipline. If his condition still needs attention, then you may need to wait. That being said, when my 2 year old was younger and started acting out, I immediately removed him from the situation - no warnings or second chances - not ever. Consistency is key - your husband will need to get on board here, too. My son learned that if he acted out, he didn't get to swing at all, he didn't get to go to the grocery store (yes, I've had to leave a cart full of groceries -advice, always get refrigerated items last in case you need to just go before you have a chance to get to them - not so hard on the grocer), we left restaurants, etc. Eventually i was able to leave the store, restaurant, etc. and just go outside with him. I would talk to him about settling down and then we could go back in, otherwise, we were going home, and which did he want to do....settle down and go back to have fun, finish a meal, etc. or just leave and go home. He started getting the message.

One key I found useful was to stay calm yourself (easier said then done, I realize) WHen I yelled, he got worse. When I stayed calm and hugged him, he seemed comforted, even if resistant at first. I think he was a little scared by his own emotional outburst - they have so little control at that age- I could see how he might be upset in addition to being just plain mad.

I have also taken him aside and said that he and mommy are going to just take a minute and calm down together because if we don't settle down, we'll have to leave, and that won't be any fun, etc. etc. I remind him mommy loves him, but he needs to settle down. He can't act that way if he wants to do special things with mommy. None of the other kids are acting that way - and we look around at the other kids (again from a spot away from all of them). Things like that.

Don't know if any of this will help, but be consistent and be as calm as you possibly can. You can also try taking away things that he values for 30 seconds or a minute at a time if he acts up - maybe not a security object, but a favorite toy or something. Tell him in advance it will happen when he starts acting out, i.e. If you don't settle down, mommy is going to have to take that toy for a little while, and I'd like for you to be able to play with it, so why don't you settle down so mommy doesn't have to take it? Works sometimes, not others. Might just have to take it. ONce you do, hold him, and talk to him, remind him that you love him, and once he settles down, he can have it back- redirect whereever possible. Try to find a new toy - change the scenery - like go to his room to play instead, or to a playroom if you have one, outside if it's nice, etc.

Good luck!!! Hang in there, and know that every mom will understand. You're not alone, just don't give up, don't make empty threats, and stay consistent. He'll get it!

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S.R.

answers from New York on

When babies are first born, they do not realize that they are a seperate person, then about your son's age this changes, and they start letting their feelings be known. that is probably most of it, but part of it is also they start to understand language, but do not effectively communicate what the want, and get frustrated, resulting in a meltdown. I know several people who have taught their babies to sign and that helps.

I know it is hard to do, but instead of trying to "get control of the situation" sometimes it is best to let him let it out. Babies don't have good emotional control, they also learn that from us, and just being there to comfort him may help him get through it. I bet know one told you that the terrible twos can start at one. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that the stronger his feelings are, the more he trusts and loves you. (That's why he always behaves with grandma and the babysitter - he does not love them as deeply as he loves you.)

Also, you may want to lure him back to sitting table by letting him have his own spoon or fork and letting him start to feed himself. Toddlers like to do things that make them feel independent. Things like cooked carrots and green beans, big pieces of pasta, cut up plain chicken breast, pieces of cheese, chunks of a baked potato are good dinnertime choices, and at least if they end up on the floor, its not that terrible. A lot of pediatricians just say to chop up what every you are eating and give him his own, along with the toddler friendly foods, so his curiousity is at least satisfied. Some parents even allow their children to eat standing up, so that they can play, but this is a bit messy. I would also think of getting rid of the swing at this point. I had to do the same thing, because my son got too big for it. Try toys that he can pull up and stand by instead that engage him. That way he has more control.

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R.C.

answers from New York on

At the on set of the tantrum, Tell him "No" and remove him totally out of the situation....take him into another room. Sit with him, talk to him until he calms down. Keep in mind if your child suffers from Asthma, a tantrum can bring on a Asthma Attack.
Once you have him in another room be loving and patient and when he's calm...then talk to him about what you want him to do. Chances are he'll go along then but if he makes a fuss, he's not ready so don't force the issue...wait and try again untl he is willing.
Keep in mind that children go through many stages and changes, and this too shall pass. For them it's part of learning, growing, developing, and in the process they do a lot of testing you to see what they can get away with.

A firm NO lets him know you want him to stop and removing him from the situation changes the position of getting into a control struggle with him. Sitting and talking to him lovelingly will calm him and avoid a possible Asthma Attack....work with him until he is ready to move on...just don't give into what he wants.

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M.B.

answers from New York on

I feel your pain - my doctor says that the terrible twos are a result of ignoring the terrible ones so you are ahead of the game! For a while my 15 month old daughter was having tantrums regularly and, on the advice of my pediatrician, I put her into her crib for a minute or two (depending on how upset she was), and then picked her up (even if she hadn't stopped crying) to give her a hug and a kiss and start a new activity. It has worked for her - she has stopped throwing the tantrums (as often - still one every now and then and we do the same thing) and still loves to get into her crib for naps (I was worried that she would start to hate her crib, but not so). It created a "consequence" that is non-threatening and that she can understand at that age. But I do give her a lot of leeway with sickness and new teeth, both of which have caused her to act out because she is so uncomfortable and unhappy. Hope that helps and good luck!

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J.V.

answers from Buffalo on

Bless your heart...your proverbial plate certainly is full! I have three children, ages 19, 17 (almost 18) and 15, so my days of this type of behavior have been long gone, but now that I am babysitting other people's children, I have fallen in love with sign language for little ones. I started caring for Dylan when he was just 4 days past 1 year old and I taught him simple signs for "more, all done, please, thank you, hurt, sorry", etc. so he could communicate better when he had something to say (he just turned 4, two weeks ago, so he's been "my boy" for a while now). That could possibly be something to help in the future. I realize, though, that your problem is now. I might have tried to have a distraction ready when these stressful times came up, such as a special toy or book that would only be used when you need to do something other than tend to his every whim. Does that make sense? Whatever you do, realize that he will survive so much in his life, including you eating a meal before moving him on to the next event in his life. Don't feel that you are depriving him just because you need to do something else occasionally. I don't know if that helps, but I trust you could be encouraged you are doing fine and it will turn out okay. My kids are healthy and very well-adjusted and they had to learn to wait and calm down, too. Be well and do well, D..

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S.M.

answers from Utica on

make it a game~~start asking him to try to say what he wants~~
if he has his tantrum definately don't give him what he wants
as that will encourage the behavior~~it's really hard to do, but if you are strong and don't give in the tantrums will be over before you know it~~if you keep giving him what he wants
he will never stop the behavior

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E.C.

answers from New York on

My daughter is 11 1/2 months and has started throwing temper tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants - a toy, food, out of the highchair, etc. I've been struggling to deal with it because I've heard from many people that this tends to happen at this age because the kids can't communicate yet. I've tried ignoring it, which works sometimes and makes it worse sometimes. I've also tried putting her in her crib and closing her bedroom door until she calms down. It's been difficult to deal with but she seems to be getting a little better. Along with ignoring the tantrum I've tried doing something to make her laugh at the same time to turn the screams into laughter. Doesn't always work but again, it does sometimes. Sorry I can't be of more help....

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J.R.

answers from New York on

Im a go with it kind of mom. If my daughter didnt want to be in her high chair, then why make her? eventually she goes back to whatever it is because I didnt make a big deal of it.

There might be a bigger picture here. Maybe he just wants more attention. Who wouldnt? I too would like to know who is caring for him while you are at work. I am a stay at home/work from home (dont ask how I do it, little sleep) so I got to spend some time with kids and their nannies. I have seen some pretty awful things. Please look into this.

Sick, my daughter was a very sick little baby. She didnt do the tantrum thing, so Im guessing that might not have to do with it. Sounds behavioral.
Finally, sign language. Nothing hard core, but starting now is totally doable. 'All Done' and 'More' you can start using with him. 'All Done' applies to eating, bathtime, ending books etc...he will pick it up eventually. Also, My First Signs by Baby Einstein. Watch it with him and you both will pick up on the signs so that you can have even the tiniest bit of communication and some bonding time as well.
There are additional Baby Einstein Sign DVDs to use after that one. I cannot recommend this more.
My daughter is 2 now and we still use signs when we can because I dont understand what she is trying to say.

Good luck.
Again, look into what is happening during the day. Suprise visits home at odd times etc... will show you a lot. TRUST ME!

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S.T.

answers from Albany on

One question, who watches him when you work and if you and your husband wants to go on a "date"? If daycare or babysitter, do they see that with them and why you haven't been told of it and what they do to take care of it. Let them know how you want them to discpline him!! First of all, you and your husband need to sit down and talk and come to an agreement in how to discipline your son. Second, I think one way is to not give in when he wants to eat what you're eating. If he can have some, give some to him when you all sit down to eat. If he gives you a hard time demanding, you tell him, say please may I have some and then give some to him to show and model what is expected. If he makes attempt using his voice no need to be clear in his language or tell him please when you give him some. If he is throwing a tantrums, take him out and put him in his crib and calmly say you don't yell at me, that's a no-no and leave him there for couple of minutes. They say put in time out in number of minutes equals age because kids forget a minute later. That did not work for my son and he remembered 10 minutes later when he was 2 years old. You learn more about your child as time goes on. Every child wants boundaries because they don't know and they will push the boundaries til you give in or they finally give in. Stick to it and be consistent. If your husband goes against you or vice versa he will learn that he will get his way and he'll learn it fast! My husband and I back each other up and our boys know that too. If we diagree, we talk about why we did what we did in disciplining and come up with a solution we agree....we follow God's wisdom besides Biblical. I'll pray for all of you. Let me know how it goes.

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S.W.

answers from New York on

I Diana,

Um, I can't say I have had the problem, actually I have had the opposite with my now 2 year old so maybe I can share some things I did/do with her maybe that will help. First though, I think your instinct that being ill is so not fun and makes most of us very cranky is a good start to knowing why he does what he does as my daughter is no fun either when not feeling her best. I stayed at home with my daughter and I see you work full-time so it may be more difficult for you to manage some of these behaviorial things since you have another person providing care for him during the day. I took on what many a Mom told me to was too much attention to her. I got comments like "Why don't you put her down" "Give yourself a break". I didn't because I had read much of DR. Sears and much of attachment parenting books and I was trying to avoid these tantrums I had heard about and she was very demanding of my time so I basically said ok, you got it. I put her in a sling and carried her, I didn't use the swing unless absolutely necessary and think that was once. This helped alot and yup, I still use today occasionally. I let her eat where she wanted to do, when she wanted to, how much, she wanted to . . . get the idea. I basically saw that since she was so young I needed to follow her insticnts on what to do and that would make her healthier, atleast thouse were my thoughts. I let her sleep when she wants, etc. I would make all of her food, feed her organic foods, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc) to keep her moods balanced because food imbalances also create emotionally distress for all of us, but babies/toddlers can't communicate them so that leads to tantrums. I used Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby and now Toddler books. And I bought/borrowed from libray Signing Time dvd's so she could learn basic signs to let me know how she was feeling as well. It was beyond all reason constant. I am quite tired now and gld to know nursery school will be in September when she is 3. But all worthwhile as she is healthy (again no sugar, no cookies, all veggies, tofu, fruits, grains and some animal proteins like poultry), close to me in the sling and not force her to do what she can't handle and really try to ask/see/let her know that I am trying to understand her and do what she needs me to do.

Sorry if I don't have all the answers, but hopefully there is something in there that will help. I do know the cry it ouy advice by the doctor will never help in the sense that what it teaches a child is that my caregiver gave up on me and stopped trying to help and we all stop crying at some point when we learn no one coming to help/get us. I know that last part may sound harsh, but I cringe when doctors won't admit they don't know the answer and just tell the Mom the truth, I don't know why he is crying try other sources, instead they let the Mom think its someting to be tolerated. I love when Dr. Sears once said "Colic is a 5 letter word for a pediatrician that means I don't know".

Best, S.

H.V.

answers from Jamestown on

don't ignore his cries. That's his only way of telling you he needs something.

you need to listen to your instincts, not the dr. the dr didn't give birth to your son, you did.

I'd like to suggest to you a website to join for more support.
www.gentlechristianmothers.com/mb

blessings

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L.D.

answers from Albany on

D.,

While I agree that you shouldn't all out discipline at 1, you also can't let him not have boundaries. It is a fine line.

I agree that 1) he shouldn't be in a swing. He's 1. I would be putting him in a pack and play with a ton of toys or have a room gated off and baby proofed where he can exhibit some of his independence. 2) Can you get his food ready first or give him some Cheerios while you make his food? My youngest is almost 8 months old and we have had to change his routine. Before he would sit in the highchair and play. Now he throws his toys and wants a banana in those Munchkin feeders. I get that ready first so that I can give it to him as soon as he is seated. By doing so, I avoid any crying or fits.

I agree with some of the other moms about seeing what your expectations are of him vs. what they SHOULD be. Definitely don't feed into the tantrum but try to figure out what is causing it and what you can do to prevent it in the future. How about a booster seat at the table with you? Or if you see he likes something you are eating, immediately give him some more while speaking to him about wanting more.

Again, I'd set boundaries. You can't run to him every time because it will reinforce the tantrum but you can't completely ignore it because obviously he's trying to tell you something and he's trying to exert his independence. While he can only have so much, you do need to make sure he has SOME. It sounds to me like he is usually confined which at 1, I have no doubt he has a problem with.

Best of luck and be consistent. They are only little for so long and it's up to us to help them grow up to be the best children they can be.

L.

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N.B.

answers from New York on

So far I have had amazing luck following the advice in the book "the happiest toddler on the block" with my 13 month old. When i read it i thought the ideas were a little hokey, but they absolutely work. the quick recap is when you notice your son starting to throw a tantrum, in very simple language acknowledge his desires. "you want food. you want food. you want food now". somehow this will quiet my son and rescue him from the cliff. then you can continue with whatever "no, you can't have it now." or "one minute while mommy gets it on the fork", or simply "no". whatever. but only after you acknowledge that you understand what he wants. the book goes into further details about how to do it, situations, resolutions, etc. I highly recommend it.
personally i couldn't disagree more with your pediatrician - i'd get pretty pissed too if i wanted something and the only person who could give it to me just flat out ignored me!
i'm also had limited success with sign language - i have to remind my son to use it to communicate instead of whining etc, but that will sometimes also stop the fit from getting out of hand.
sorry to hear your son has been so sick - i'm sure that only adds to the frustration of trying to figure out a real "need" (i'm gagging) with a real "desire" (food faster, please).
good luck!

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J.V.

answers from Syracuse on

I think your son is trying to tell you something. If he kicks and screams in the highchair, its probably because he doesn't want to be in it. pull the chair to the table without the tray and let him eat with you. Also, if he wants your food, make him some of what ever you are eating. I find that with my kids, if I cut up 'their food' on my plate, they think its the same. If he's fighting the swing that much, again, he probably doesn't want to be in it. Both my kids outgrew the swing when they started to crawl. Its too confining for them and they are trying to gain their independence, so let them, safely! My son's tantrums are usually because of some other factor, he's hungry or tired. Usually once that is taken care of, no more tantrums.

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J.V.

answers from New York on

You have a few options , so don't panic ! I have to agree with letting him have his tantrum , even if its difficult to listen to. You can try praising him when he does a good job and be stern when he doesn't.(I don't believe in spanking)Maybe even set up a few minutes a day (besides to eat) to have quality time. Also, you can try checking out his diet. For a while Ive noticed that food can cause behavior changes, esp. like the ones your son displays. There are studies done on behavior and even diseases like autism, terets syndrome, cyliacs disease, and ADHD. There caused by wheat and gluton. You can still eat everything from meat, to most diary, and vegetables. Things like cereal, pasta, bread, basically carbs that you can get from a health food store or check local grocery stores to find where the speciality items are. Good Luck to you !

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T.R.

answers from New York on

the best way I found to deal with tantrums is to ignore them, as per your pediatrician's suggestion. because what they're looking for is attention, and so if they don't get it, the tantrum is pointless and fizzles out. of course, i'm a single mother, so don't have a partner to do things that are contrary to what I do. it's important that you and your husband figure out a way to deal with it consistently, or else your son will know that if he doesn't get what he wants from you, he can go to his dad. I know this is easier said than done, but maybe a conversation with your pediatrician would help your husband understand that he's only hurting your son by encouraging the tantrums?

good luck!

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A.A.

answers from Albany on

D., We went online and got Dr. Harvey Karps the Happiest Toddler on the Block, a dvd (no time for reading these days) it deals specifically with that age group regarding tantrums and how to speak "toddlerease" with your boy. I would HIGHLY recommend this dvd, it made total sense and I can count on one hand the tantrums we'd had since, good luck!

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V.K.

answers from New York on

hi D., raising a 1-year-old AND a 20-year-old? that's too much to deal with! your son sounds like he has been sick a lot, just like my 14-month-old. bronchiolitis and reflux. my husband and i have always tried to respond to the baby's cues. if she is not happy about being put in the swing, we take her out of it. if she starts thrashing around in her booster feeding seat, we take her out of it. sometimes she is happy to be there, other times, not so much. she likes to be on the go, walking around and exploring and will come back every once in a while for a bite to eat and i think that's fine.

i just think your son is communicating with you and this is a good thing. go with what your instinct tells you, don't listen to your pediatrician! letting the baby cry when he is being clear with what he wants from you -- i don't understand that at all. who can tell you how to respond to your baby? only you know what feels right to you. i think if you respond to him now, he will do that in turn for you when he is older...

V.

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C.J.

answers from New York on

Hello D.,
So, I have a son who turned 1 today actually! He has started throwing tantrums as well. It is SO frustrating to say the least. I am a speech pathologist and attribute it to him not having the language to tell me what he wants.

Use as many gestures or signs as you can with him, because it accesses a different part of the language center of the brain and maybe he can get there faster to communicate. Hence my son uses some signs/gest but still tantrums... :) I try to acknowledge it saying "want banana", "you are frustrated", "more" etc. or gesturally tap on something to show that he can communicate he wants something open...

Good luck :)

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C.P.

answers from New York on

Dear Diana,

Everybodies right,

Kids have tantrums because they are hungry, tired or sick. Be patient. This is his way of letting you know that. I had this problem with my second child. He is four now and even though he is this old, if he does not get his nap and rest, he will misbehave. Do talk to him about he want's. If he wants milk, say "Do you want milk? This is milk. Milk." Repetition is the key for a child to learn words they need to communicate. Hope everthing works out for you and your baby. And again have a lot of patients.

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N.M.

answers from New York on

I think you have tons of great ideas here, look at ways to prevent the tantrums before they start, give him some more independence and know what your boundaries are, if they are crossed you let him know what is a no and put him in a safe area to let the tantrum out and ignore it as your Ped suggested. I am more concerned about the contradiction between parents, the both of you need to decide on how to handle this situation and act as a team, your consistency together strenghtens your relationship and your parenting. My son too has bad asthma, the only reason we have not had to hospitalize is because I too have bad asthma and they felt real confident if I saw the MD daily and took a family leave from work that I could handle it at home. Anyways, it still gave my son LOTS of extra attention day and night and it was always a struggle to get back to a routine afterwards, for me and him, but the consistency is key. I am sure that these medical issues have affected some of the behavior you see now, I saw it too. It gets better!! It usually would take us 2-3 weeks after a bad attack was under control to get back to normal. Good Luck!

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C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

Your son is reaching a stage where he needs some independance...can he walk?(it usually starts around the time they walk/run). At a year, I would put the swing away and either get one of those baby gate playpens or gate off a room where he can have free reign and be safe....I understand your need for keeping him where you can see him and at this point he's probably into everything(mine is)...I would also change from a highchair to a booster at the table...he wants to be included...and especially at night if you bathe him after dinner...let him feed himself...put finger foods in front of him that he can do by himself(cheerios, puffs, cut fruit) while you are feeding him other things that should cut down on his demanding. As for discipline for him, the best thing you can do is redirect his attention but if he does something like hit you or something un safe I would out him in a time out in a pack-n-play....I use the term time out loosely, he will not think about what he did was wrong but he will figure out cause and effect...I stand on the sofa, I get put in pack-n-play....no fun...that's how we taught our 1year old not to climb the spiral stairs that we couldn't gate off...you just have to be consistent and you can't use it for everything...we do it for climbing and hitting. Your son is screaming to comunicate so when he is give him words...eat/food, down/up, etc...ask him to repeat you...you want down? say down...and when he grunts, say good job and get him down...the more he learns to say, the less tantrums.
My 4th son went through the rsv and asthma as a young baby too and he used to do the coughing and such when he got upset, try not to over react and it should be fine. Best of luck!

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M.B.

answers from New York on

Your doc is correct... you can't respond and give in. that's just allowing the tantrums to work. my best advice is to remove him from the situation.... if possible. so he off screaming away from the table(i dont me put him in another room just away...)
good luck

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