Not Really Tantrums, But....

Updated on November 05, 2010
B.W. asks from Seattle, WA
10 answers

I have twin sons, almost 3 1/2. One has speech, motor and social delays and gets ST/OT and the other was delayed but caught up. My "typical" son throws the usual 3 year old tantrums, although he seems to be getting better. My son with the delays rarely has "tantrums" per se, but he CRIES a lot. If I want him to do something, like get dressed or go to the potty, he will often wail like he lost his best friend, crying real tears. He seems sad rather than mad, so I don't really think of these as tantrums. It is obviously a response to frustration about being asked to do a task, he has done this for a couple of years now. I usually prompt him to finish the task while soothing him. Sometimes I get frustrated and speak to him sharply "stop crying" or something like that, I know that isn't the best response. I don't give him time outs for this because it doesn't seem like a disciplinary issue, you know what I mean? So after I prompt him several times he usually does it and I praise him. Today I decided to start ignoring the crying all together and see if that works. I gave him his clothes and left him to put them on. He cried and cried but eventually did it. He can use the potty and dress himself, although he isn't very coordinated, hence his frustration. Is this the best way to deal with this? Any other suggestions?

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answers from New York on

My kids are a boy,4.5, and a girl, almost 2. Yes, I also see crying from frustration especially from my younger one who only talks a little. Tantrums from my older one get time outs if he doesn't respond to prompting to explain in words. And I also sometimes snap/yell if I am having a bad day myself (not ideal, I know). I think walking away and letting him do it himself is a fine idea to try.

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answers from Spokane on

Some kids are just more sensitive than others. My 4 year old is a VERY sensitive girl and frequently cries when she's mad, sad, frustrated or otherwise upset. It's frustrating for me because there's little I can do to help her when she's not communicating to me what the actual problem is. My advice is to try and be patient and ask him to "use his words to tell mama what's wrong or she can't help". Even if he just give one word answers "sad" or "angry", at least it's something :)

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answers from Oklahoma City on

i would definatly not show feeling sorry for him in any way....he's crying real tears hoping that will get what he wants

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answers from Eugene on

I've said this over and over. Get your kids with delays, behavioral problems and emotional jags to a homeopath. The developmental delays straighten out with the right homeopathic treatment and so do emotional problems from fits to sulking to out and out emotional autism.
You live in Seattle. Find someone who is a specialist with children and has been in practice at least ten years.
If your son has coordination issues go to a Rolfer and solve the motor skills problems with that method as well.
Also get them swim lessons it'll help both boys to relax and develop a skill that is useful for co-ordination and saving their lives.
I've been in practice for over 35 years and these are tried and true methods.
Your children will develop more quickly and you will find yourself in a much happier frame of mind.
Been there personally.



answers from Seattle on

I suggest that you stop soothing him when he cries. I think that when he cries it is a form of temper tantrum, just a different form of tantrum.

If you ignore him every time he cries (I know it will be hard) each time he cries his crying time will be shorter and shorter.

I suggest that when he cries you walk out of the room. If he cries and follows you, walk into a room where you can shut the door. He will be fine.

This is not cruel or tough love. This is looking forward to making him into the eight year old you want him to be. An eight year old boy should not be soothed every time he is frustrated.

Love him with big hugs when he has completed the task you have set for him.

He will only become more independent if you require him to be more independent. Soothing him when he cries will make him dependent on the soothing. That is something that you don't want him to be.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi there.. I'm sorry but this is off topic. You said that your kids have/had delays. How did you figure it out, and what did you do with the one that no longer delayed. I'm very worried about my daughter, she is 14 months old and I was told she is very delayed. I can't sleep at nights, her doc. apt is in few weeks. I always thought if she is delayed it's for life, but hearing that one of your little once is not longer delayed gives me so much hope! I'm sorry again that this is of topic but I had to ask you because i've searched the whole internet and just couldn't find any positive feedback. I'm going to post a question about all this (separate question) right now, maybe you can reply to it or reply here? Thanks and btw my daughter does the same, tears of what seems like sadness not tantrum.



answers from Seattle on

All tantrums are is a child's inability to show how frustrated and upset they are about something. I would assume that your crying son is doing the same thing but in a different way. Tantrums are not something that are a discipline issue either. I just read a good article on and part of it dealt with tantrums. I would deal with them the same. If I were you I would continue to ignore the crying or at least not let it get him what he wants. Maybe try and repeat to him how he feels so he feels validated but then stick up for what you asked in the first place. "You are upset to stop playing to get dressed but I need you to get dressed now." Then leave him to do it. I hope it works for you.



answers from Seattle on

I might try some sort of reward system with him for getting dressed, etc. My 3.5 year old is also not wanting to dress himself, put on his shoes, go to the washroom himself even though he was doing all those things by himself a few months ago. I'm going to look for some sort of reward chart or something for everyday tasks...I have 15 month-old twins so don't have a lot of time or patience for helping my older one because I know he can do it, so hopefully a chart or something like that will work!



answers from Harrisburg on

If he is delayed, that might be his way of expressing himself. I think you are doing good by trying all 3 methods. You could try just ignore the crying and not give it the attention, and focus on what is causing the frustration, then reassuring him he will get it.



answers from Tulsa on

kids with speech impairments get fustrated cause they cant communicate. and you may be babying him too much because of it. I say treat him like you do your other kid withing reason. if he is fustrated cause he cant commmunicate give him another form of communication. showing you or whatever. but other than that treat him like you do your other one. show him how to do his task without helping him. like putting on pants one leg at a time then the other and so forth. he may feel he is not as much of a big boy as his brother cause he has a setback. make him believe he is just as much of a big boy as his brother. kids with disabilities who are told they can do it anyway dont know they have a disability.

my son ran with a kid who had cerebal palsy who was raised like he didnt have a disability. you could not convince him he wasnt capable of doing anything. he could do it he just had to do it differently. he had a lame arm so he couldnt hold a glass and would drink it out of a pop bottle instead. give him big boy feelings which is what it sounds like he wants and teach the kid sign. good luck.

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