Need Parenting Help

Updated on December 05, 2006
A.G. asks from Monroe, GA
16 answers

Dear Moms,

We need some advise:

Just recently our son has been throwing himself down when he gets in-trouble...arching the back - face first - on the ground he goes. It gets better - now when he gets mad, he tenses-up and hurts himself. For example: He has a thing for getting in the dogs food/water bowl. I caught him doing it yesterday and slightly raised my voice just enough to tell him that was bad. When I went to pick him up, he starts splashing the water out of the I quickly pick him up. He starts arching his back, so I sit him down and tell him that what he is doing is not nice. When I go to stand and clean up the mess...he throws himself back - hits the back of his head on the ground - and PUSHES his pacifier ALL THE WAY IN HIS MOUTH (plastic and all) - which ends up busting is lip open! Shocked - I rush to get the pacifier out of his mouth...and he flips to the wall and purposely hits his face on the wall....

My son is a very loving - pleasant child. He is usually really well behaved and happy. Just in the past weeks has he developed a temper when he gets mad...and it is only when he gets mad. I do not want him to be a angry child. Using a sweet understanding voice does not work...slightly raising my voice just seems to make him angry.... I am confused.... How do you handle a child's temper at the age of one? How do I get him to stop throwing himself down,etc....?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Savannah on

Hey A.,

DonnaJean said it best, I haven't had this problem but I've seen it on "The Nanny" with a situation like this and she said the same thing as DonnaJean. Just ignore it, only a few more times of you ignoring it and he will learn other ways to get attention. Good Luck A.

More Answers



answers from Atlanta on


I am a mom of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. When my oldest was having tantrums (your described it very well) my mother gave me a book called something like "Parenting your Strong Willed Child." I was so naiive that I didn't know why she gave me the book. After having another child, I see how strong-willed my first born is!

In my opinion, your son is having tantrums. It's normal. More importantly, it's normal for him. He is learning that things don't always go his way and that's a lesson we all learned. Its just part of growing up.

I found John Rosemond very helpful on this subject. I strongly recommend you go to the library and read some of his stuff. He's fantastic.

Finally, here's how I handled my oldest and it was very effective (not easy, but effective).

1. Ignore the behavior. When Cate started her tantrums I stopped talking to her and walked away. If she made a mess then she made a mess. As she got older and had a little more ability to reason, I would tell her that she could have a tantrum in the bathroom but not in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc. where the family was. In other words, "have your tantrum but it's not going to ruin my day." She still had tantrums but by the time she was two, she was walking herself to the bathroom and closing the door to scream and cry then coming out on her own when she was finished and felt better.

2 Check out books about kids having tantrums and read them to your child. this lets them know that they're okay. I loved "When Sophie gets Angry." It's fantastic and it reminds me that it's okay to loose it.

3. Be consistent and firm. Don't react emotionally to a tantrum and NEVER GIVE IN.

4. Be clear about expectations. When you go into the kitchen with your son, remind him what you expect. "Remember that you can play with the Tupperware." If he goes towards the dogfood, move it out of his reach! If you can't get to it, gently remind him "Remember, we don't play with the dog's food. Isn't it time to bang on some pots? Here is a spoon so you can make some music." Etc. Distract, distract, distract.

Of course, there are times that you will feel like you should earn an award for distracting, removing potential tantrum-starters, and you've been patient, and consistent. But, your son will still loose it. Remember that it's normal. He's just learning that he wants something he can't have.

I'll end with my favoirite tantrum story that a friend shared with me.

Her daughter was a little over two and she was standing in the doorway, one foot inside and one foot outside, while screaming her head off. When her mom asked why she was crying, the little girls replied "I want to go outside AND stay inside."

Of course she couldn't have both but she couldn't have it so she had to scream until she worked out the conflict internally. So, allow your son to find his own way to work out the conflicts internally. Give him the space and dignity to do so but not at the expense of peace in the home. Confine, set boundaries, and limit but do so lovingly.

Good luck!



answers from Augusta on

Hi A.. I am having the EXACT same problem with my one-year-old! He is a wonderful, loving boy, but when he gets mad, he literally slams his head into the nearest thing, such as the wall, the back of the chair, the table, the door, and even the floor. He does the back-arching thing too. I don't really have any advice to give you. I wish I knew what to do, myself. Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that your child is not doing anything abnormal. Just remember...this too shall pass. Good luck and God bless :)



answers from Athens on

My 23mo does sort of the same thing. Whenever you tell him no or try to take something away he the top of his lungs..high pitched.I'm sure you can feel my frustration as I can feel I've found the only thing that stops him is to ignore him. In your case of course you want to make sure he's not gonna seriously hurt himself so try to put him somewhere he would do the least ammount of damage. Wrestle him to his crib or the couch or even the center of the room. Then walk away. The less reaction he gets from you the less likely he'll be to keep doing it. For saftey ask your dr. next time you go. I did and he told me put him in the safest possible place and walk away until he stops screaming(he also hits and pinches sometimes). I'm not knocking religion here b/c I believe in god as much as the next woman but I couldn't help but read one response about praying for him and talking to your pastor.. almost as if suggesting an exorcism and I just don't know about all that. Your beautiful loving child is a far cry from the girl on the excorcist so talk to the dr. and just do your best. Your a good mom and you know he'll get thru this..and so will you..:)



answers from Savannah on

Hi, I understand your frustration, my first child used to have some major temper tantrums also. For me, I tried so many different things and nothing seemed to work. I'd put her to her room only to have her destroy it in a fit of rage, spankings didn't work, the only way I got through it was to put her on the couch for time outs. I would have to sit with her the whole time at first to make her stay, but it was the only way I could keep her from destroying something or hurting herself. Good luck, and if you find something that works, write us back, I still have another baby to look forward to.



answers from Atlanta on

HI A.;

I had a similar situation with my children (all 3 of them) at various ages. I was so desperate, that I went to my pediatrician, and this is what he told me.

Unless they're in a situation where they can really hurt them selves, ignore it. I know that's hard, and you might feel like EVERYTHING can hurt them, but when you stop to think, most times they aren't in any danger.

If your son throws himself down on the floor, and you ignore him (peek out the corner of your eye just to be sure...), he might do it again, but when he gets no response, he'll stop.

Splashing in the dog water - not a big deal. I would pikc up the dog bowl, place it on a counter top (or wherever he can't reach it), and just calmly say, "don't do that".

He's looking for a reaction. And if you don't give it to him, he'll ask for attention in other ways. You have to reward good behavior with lots of attention, and punish the bad, by letting him know that "bad boys" don't get all the attention in the world.

Hope I could help, and that I don't sound too much like Dr. Phil. Good luck



answers from Atlanta on

I think ignoring his behaivior is the best approach but I also understand your need to keep him safe. If you have a playpen you can set up, then I'd suggest when he starts his tantrum you pick him up, tell him he can be mad all he wants he just isnt going to do it where you can see him and put him in his "safe" place. Tell him when he can be happy again he can come out. Then walk away. When he calms down go back in and ask him if hes ready to be happy and take him out.

I dont suggest you put him in his crib as you dont want him to assiociate his bed with being punished. This behaivior is pretty normal, children need to learn how to deal with their feelings and they need a safe place to do it.



answers from Macon on

My advice is to totally ignore him when he does this. Sounds like he is doing this for attention. They are very testy at that age trying to figure out just where the boundries are and stuff like that. Hope it helps. My son did this too and we totally ignored him and he quit because he didn't get anything out of it.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi A.,
I would suggest restraining him. I don't think spankings are effective for all children. Especially not your son because he's doing more damage to himself than you will ever do with a spanking. Children HATE to be restrained and this is very effective. When you see him began his tantrum, grab him and cradle on your lab him firmly so that he can't move his arms or legs. In a firm deep voice and very serious face, tell him that his behavior is unacceptable, ask him if he is going to repeat the behavior, and tell him when he calms down you will let him go. When you let him go, if he looses control again, repeat the restraint. He may scream and cry but don't let him go until he is calm. He needs to know that you are in control of the situation and you are running things, not him. Once you can let him go and he is in control go back to being sweet happy mommy. Praise him like there is no tomorrow. Clap and hug him and tell him that he is such a big boy.

I hope this helps. He can't go on hurting himself. God forbids if he really smashes his head and you end up in the ER being questions by social services. Please try it and let me know how it works!



answers from Albany on

Children do these things for a reason. Anger, attention, or just not knowing what to do when you take something away from him. The ideas all of the moms have sound fine. I'd go through each of them and see if there's any improvement. Personally I'd try the ignoring it first. My son and daughter have both done this. They've even pitched fits in the grocery store. If they did that I'd just walk away. I'd keep an eye on the kid, but just keep walking. When he realized what I was doing he'd get up and chase me telling me to wait and forget what he was mad about. Basically the you can have a fit but I'm not catering to it routine. Kids are all different. Be sure you do not give in to what he wants just because of the fit though. If you do that there's no stopping them. Everyone has to learn you can have it your way all of the time.



answers from Augusta on

Your probably not going to like my answer, but it's effective. When my child was one I though that a child that age should not be getting spanked. So I would just pop him on his hands for bad behavior. But personally Id take him to his doctor first and tell him how he's been acting, make sure it's not a medical problem.If not then its a behavior problem which would require u standing ur ground.Its ok to let him know u love him, but dont let him parent you.



answers from Augusta on

Hey I go through the same thing sometimes. I think it might just be something they go through. It's usually to get attention becuase you've told them no about something so you can either walk away with them (if it's in a store) and go to an area where maybe no one is right there and get them to calm down or try to ingnore it and don't get upset try to stay calm so that they get calm. I am 22 and a stay at home mom and Mary Kay consultant. I have a 2 1/2 yr old daughter and a 1yr old son.



answers from Atlanta on

dear parent
my first suggestion to you may sound some what off the wall but when i read youre letter something woke up in me and made my spirt jump i would suggest that you have your pastor and other church friends get togther and pray for your baby and in the event that you think imceazy you might also speak to a doctor sounds like your child may have a slight case of autisum or may even be bipolor and i know that this sounds kinda crazy because he is only one but stranger things have happened i hope this helps



answers from Atlanta on

I was told when my son started this to STEP OVER HIM AND GO TO THE OTHER ROOM. Literally you have to walk over him and not pay attention to him, because as bad as it sounds thats what he is doing, trying to get attention. My son was a funny, loving, loveable child he is 20 and still loveable when he wants to be. Try it, its tough believe me..but it only took me stepping over him twice for him to stop because he realized I wasnt jumping everytime he was unhappy.
Good luck!!!



answers from Atlanta on

All I have to say is this, based on my own personal experiences...consequences, consequences, consequences!!! Telling him in a "nice voice" that he is being a bad boy is just not enough. Even at age 1 children need to clear boundaries, and have consistent consequences for unacceptable behavior, whether it be a time out chair, or sent to his room, or anything that you know he does not like. The key is to be consistent - for example, if he won't stay in a time out chair you consistently pick him up and put him back in the chair until he stays. He also needs to participate in cleaning up messes HE makes, even at age 1. It may take some time to master this but you MUST do it! Be may take weeks, or even months to see results, and you will feel frustrated and tired. But don't give up! Now is the time to teach your son about consequences for unacceptable behavior. If you don't do it now you may have even more serious battles as your son grows into a pre-teen or young adult. And also remember - you and your husband MUST be on the same page with your strategies. If one parent handles things one way and the other doesn't you may not see any results.

Another suggestion, particularly for intense children - try to avoid over-stimulating activities. Some kids just can't handle it. Also, try to recognize signs of when he's about to "blow" and intervene before he's out of control - help calm him down before he reaches a point of no return - remove him from an over-stimulating environment, rub his back, teach him deep breathing techniques, play calming music, re-direct his energy ,etc. Try to prevent the tantrum rather than allow it to happen in the first place. Yes, I said "allow it"....remember, YOU are the parent and YOU need to take control of your 1 year old child. Believe me, I understand...I've been there. Hang in there - there's light at the end of the tunnel. These techniques WORK! K. Moore



answers from Atlanta on

My little angel just started the temper tantrum thing. I was freaked out!!! After trying to tlk to him, control him, beg him...Well I went with ignoring. We were on a walk the other day, and it was time to head home. WELL HE DIDN'T WANNA...he threw himself down and cried on the pavement for 7 minutes while I quietly stood near...ignoring his tantrum...everytime he looked up, I just looked at him like there was NOTHING going on. When he realized I wasn't going to play his game (this was hard to ignore) he stood up and said, "OK mommy, All done." LOL!!! and we walked home. Not a tantrum since. I thought he might bust his head on the pavement, but I stood my ground, and I think I may have won...Just keep your eye on him and make sure he doesn't choke, other than that...try my trick! Good luck, we all know how stressful this can be

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches