O My What a Tantrum

Updated on January 21, 2011
E.A. asks from El Paso, TX
10 answers

My daughter will be one next month and lately her tantrums are rlly getting to me she throws her head back and will sometimes it her head if something is around her she crys until i give in to what ever she was fussing about or i distract her. She will get mad and starts throwing things or lets out a scream its so frustrating i try to keep calm but i don't know what else to do or how to act or react she does it every where we go how can I stop this behavior what can I do so she won't be like this in the future or how do i rewire my brain so it won't bother me so much please help me mommas i need advice from experienced moms who have dealt with tantrums i have tried sign language but i guess i don't know how she mostly throw thems out of frustration like when i feed her wit a spoon she wants to grab it cuz i guess she wants to be independent :) so i should encourage her

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answers from Dallas on

This pretty common at the 1's and 2's age. The best thing to do if she is in a safe place is to just let her continue with her fit, you can't play into the attention she is trying to get. My son is 17 months old and does this, once he realizes we arent watching him he stops.

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answers from Phoenix on

After two my best advice is two part:
1) Ignore the tantrum and let it run its course..really hard to do...usually lasts longer than it should
2) DISTRACTION...kids at this age haven't quite figured out how to express themselves, so if they are throwing some major fit, try to get them happy or distracted doing something else.

Susan "SH" had some awesome points. i think i'll try some of hers for my 15 mth that is doing the exact same thing you are describing! Thanks Mommas!

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answers from Honolulu on

tantrums.... begins. Even to the best of kids.
It WILL happen.
And at later ages... but manifested differently PER the age-juncture and phases of a child. It being age-related.....
It ALSO occurs, because they CANNOT communicate articulately yet. They cannot say, literally, things.

BUT, you might want to teach her sign-language... so she can communicate simple needs.
Teach her functional 'words'... ie: tired, hungry, drink, stop, more, etc.

At this age, they have NO impulse-control... so you need to keep expectations.... age-appropriate. AND, in terms of how you manage her at these times.

They also have NO understanding of feelings/emotions, yet, nor the abstractness of it. "Emotions" are NOT even developed yet, nor fully developed at this age. AND they do not yet have down pat... concepts of "cause or effect", yet, either. They do not have linear thinking yet, nor rationality.... nor coping-skills.
These things, are all taught.... to a child and per their development and maturity....

At this age.... they have things in their head they want or want to do... BUT per their fine-motor skills.... they CANNOT yet do that, exactly what they want. Hence, frustration. Hence, 'tantrums.'

Also, if a child is tired... or over-tired... or over-stimulated... or hungry.... they get fussy and more prone... to Tantrums.
So have her nap... still... too. Regularly....

This is all... developmental based.
Even a 3 year old, does NOT have complete nor automatic 'command' of their emotions/development/coping-skills. Nor is it 'at-will.'

Coping-Skills.... per age appropriateness... is REAL important to teach a child.... over time.... they will not get it immediately. It takes.... time.
- Some Adults... do not even have coping-skills for their emotions. So.. to expect a baby/child to do so... is not... always the thing to do.
Coping-skills... also has to do... with teaching the child the NAMES for feelings... and how to say it. I began teaching my kids that, from at least 2 years old. So that, by the time they were say 3 years old, they KNEW their feelings, the word for it, and how to say it... even if grumpy. It just helps... with OVERALL communication... of the child.

At this age.... redirection and distraction... is used for Tantrums. Because of their developmental cognitive, stage of their age.
Even using 'humor' to dissipate.... or REdirect.... or "rewire".... a child's outbursts or tantrums.

Keep 'adult' expectations... in line per the child's age. Or both will be continually, frustrated.

all the best,

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answers from Portland on

Learn her usual trouble spots, and plan ahead to avoid or mitigate those. It's terribly frustrating to be a tiny who is just beginning to realize how badly she wants all those shiny or intriguing or delicious things that she can't quite reach, or handle correctly/safely, or eat. Most children get told "NO!" constantly. There are ways to keep your boundaries intact while saying yes. It does take some creativity, but is well worth the effort, for both your sanity and your daughter's.

Keep those things that she can't have out of her sight as much as possible. If she's in the shopping cart and you can give her something safe to handle BEFORE she starts reaching for the no-no's, that helps. It might be a loaf of bread or plastic ketchup bottle, anything in your cart that she can handle without breaking. Or bring along a toy that she gets to play with ONLY while shopping.

And you're right, encourage your daughter's independence as much as you can. If she gets to hold her own spoon and try scooping with it, you can use a second spoon to give her bites of food while she's preoccupied. Give her only small amounts of food to work with, because throwing is a natural developmental stage that will last a few months. Don't expect neatness, but you will see progress over the next few months.

Teaching her sign or actual words (she'll be there soon!) is great. It will take time and repetition. And work on those signals when she's not already mad, or she won't have the brain circuitry available to take them in.

Try two things when she's in a full-blown tantrum. The technique of empathizing practiced by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ1428uYs2g&NR=1&a.... is often very effective. He demonstrates in this (and several related video clips) how he gets on the toddler's wavelength, which can surprise them out of a tantrum.

And if that doesn't work, don't give in or you'll only increase the frequency of the tantrums. Set her in a safe place, sit quietly nearby to keep her safe (use earplugs and read a book), and let her scream it out. Give her no more attention than is required to keep her from doing anything truly dangerous. But you can let her hit herself or bang her head – the pain of that will teach her not to do it as fast as anything.

Sounds like you have a bright and eager little girl. Get those distractions lined up, get yourself some of those soft foam earplugs if the noise rattles you too much, and enjoy being a mommy! These years will feel like forever at times. But when they are over, you'll be amazed at how quickly they passed. And you'll have some amazing memories!

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answers from Chicago on

i don't know if she's too young for this but my son had A HUGE tantrum and as long as he was safe I immediately left the room. no audiance. it stopped almost immediately. it only got worse when we tried to talk to him or reason .... though i think he may of been closer to 2.

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answers from Austin on

You may or may not agree with me but here's my suggestions. First in public you should immediately get on to her and stop the tantrum. Otherwise she'll continue to do it and you'll be pressured into giving in bc of others around you being annoyed. I completely believe in spanking and God calls us to discipline our children. I have an almost 2 yr old and he has been punished in public. I usually will take him to the bathroom and have a very stern discussion with him letting him know that the way he is acting is inappropriate and if it conitnues he will be spanked. When I have these discussions I get down on his level and make sure that he is looking straight at me when I tell him and I ask for confirmation that he understands. Usually once is enough. I have had to do this in a couple of places and not always private. By doing this they learn that they can't always have what they want and then you don't have to constantly change directions bc something she may want.

At home as soon as she starts throwing a tantrum walk out of the room. When she realizes you aren't there she'll prob get up find you and try again. After about the 2nd time I ask my son why he's throwing a tantrum and does that work on mommy. Usually this gets him thinking and I answer with that doesn't work on mommy so why are you doing it. Get up and act like a big boy. If this doesn't stop the tantrum then he'll either have a spanking and timeout or I'll stand him up and explain to him again stern that if he wants somthing he needs to use his words. I also say "You will not get x by acting like that so if you want it then you need to ask. Now use your words." This usually stops the tantrum and then when he asks properly then he usually will get it. This reprograms their mind that by acting good I'll get x or I won't be punished and get to play, etc. I have a 9 year old as well and even as a toddler he learned that very quickly and if he was told no to a toy in the store we didn't have a melt down. It may be a little more harsh to some ppl who don't want to hurt their child's feelings but I didn't have to do it very long with my older son and just started having to do it with my 21 mth old and he too is learning fast.

It's ok to start allowing her to be independent. Let her use the spoon. I also bought a toddler plate that had sides so it makes it easier for them to scoop food onto their spoon. My son gets to help me turn on the washer and dryer, put clothes in the dryer, help me turn the knob on the blender, helpo daddy make toast, carry groceries, feed the dog and a whole list of things. He loves helping and will get upset if he doesn't get to help. Sometimes it makes it take a little longer but it's good for them to learn these things early and the early they enjoy helping the easier it is later.

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answers from Houston on

Oh no don't give in! Then the tantrums will never stop. Depending on the situation either redirect, or completely ignore. I remember being in the super market with my toddler son in the cart and he was throwing a fit. I ignored it and let him scream. I talked calmly to him, tried to distract him but ignored the fact that he was throwing a fit and not getting his way. I didn't care about the looks other people in the store gave me, I ignored those too!

If you can pin point what is causing the tantrums, and try to cut them off before they start, that would be ideal. Is she frustrated because she is having trouble communicating, or does she just want what she wants and not understanding no.

Speaking from experience you definitely want to be consistent and if you say no, stick to your guns otherwise it just gets worse!

One other note: if she wants to feed herself, let her. She's plenty old enough to learn how to feed herself with your help. You definitely want to encourage her to be more independent!
Hang in there hopefully it's just a phase!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

let her have her own spoon so she can try to. it will take her a while to get her cordination and when she gets hungry enough she will let you feed her. she is trying to be independent and speak her voice that she doesnt have. show her the sign me so she can tell you she wants to do it. also sign the word and say the word at the same time. mine has learned some new words this way and if the word is too hard he tries to sign it sometimes with sucsess and others not. if she tries to repeat the word you are signing you will learn to put the attempted word to the sign and be able to figure out what she wants. mine is hard of hearing and this is how I handle him when he is having a tantrum. I sign what I think he wants and say the word. the words do come out wrong but I am starting to figure out the partial word and the meaning of it. dont touch and stay with mom are the most frequently used words in our house. he brings me food and is whining when he is hungry. he has only signed and said eat once. so look for clues to what she is trying to tell you. he brings me his sippy when he wants a drink but of course is throwing a fit when he does it or whining. but he is 2 1/2 and cant communicate like other kids so I say the words to him loudly when he is looking at me DRINK. but he cant hear well enough to articulate so I have to follow his lead. also teach her the sign help. this is another I am using alot but he hasnt picked up on yet.



answers from Phoenix on

This is such a frustrating age for babies, since they're starting to realize they have needs/desires but are unable to articulate them. Like all things child-related, this too shall pass. Just grin and bear it.

When she's a little older, you can start implimenting what we call the no-fit corner. It's different than time-out (and should even be in a differerent place) because the child can leave whenever they want...as long as they're done throwing their fit. Make sure it's a place that's totally out of sight so that your daughter gets absolutely zero attention for her theatrics. And if she comes out, you can simply ask her if she's done throwing her fit. Be prepared to send her back if she starts up again, however (though she'll learn quickly and you probably won't have to do that often). Toddlers need to vent in some way, even though we wish it was more controlled. A no-fit corner is a great way to allow them to release that frustration and have a good cry without getting any attention...which would only encourage it.

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