One Year Old with a Temper!!

Updated on September 24, 2006
K.C. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL
20 answers

I have just recently started staying home with my one year old daughter, Cadence. My husband Roy is in the Army, and is statioded in Germany. In the last year, he has been here to help me a total of 8 weeks. Basically till Cadence and I are able to move with him, Im am a single mom. Like I said I have, in the last 3 weeks started staying home with Cadence. I have noticed now more than ever that her temper is out of control. If she is upset when Im holding her, she will throw a fit so bad that she will throw herself back and kick so hard that I come close to dropping her. If she wants to be held and I put her down, she will lay on the floor and kick her legs and scream. I hate to see her like this. Cadence had colic when she was little, so I sometimes wonder if she throws these fits since she was so pampered when she was a baby. I spoke to the DR about it and she recomended that I ignor her when she does this. Or that I set up a time out, but Im not sure that she is ready for that. I have tried the ignoring, but her fits go on so long that she even starts to lose her breath, and that scares me. Any help would be great!!!

K.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your help!!! Things seem to be getting a little better. I think part of the problem was both of us adjusting to me being home full time. I havent put her in time out, but I have ignorred her. Another thing that weve been doing is distracting her with something else. She loves to be read to, so I will get a book and start reading. Another issue that we had was her kicking me while I was changing her. Her Dr sugested that I look her right in the eye and tell her no, and tell her that she was hurting me. While the kicking hasent compleatly stopped, she is not fighting me the was she was a week ago. I guess I didnt think that she was need time to adjust to me being home, but I think that was a big part of it!!!!! Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!!

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D.

answers from Miami on

I am having a similar problem myself with my 1 year old but not as bad and i am in the same boast as you being a military wife. My hubby is is the navy and on deployment, we have 2 kids a soon to be 4 year old and a 13 month old he has been with us a total of maybe 2 years, if you feel like talking you can email me at [email protected]____.com.

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P.

answers from Miami on

Hi!!!!
I'm a mom of a 1 yr old also....Sometimes he decides to do the same as you daughter and the thing that i will suggest is to hold her and cuddle her. In another situstion i will say to just let her cry but since i've been there i know what it's like. Sit with her on the floor and play with her. change her activity, tell her that what she is doing is not nice. But just hold her and try to calm her down. Give her Puffs, my son loves then and that will calm him on the worst day. Hope this help.....and dont get frustated, she can sense it and it will be worst. Take care

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V.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi K.
you didn't mention how old your daughter is. But anyways, i have 25 month old twins with a bad attitude ever since they were 15 months. This is for your reference. Time-out hasn;'t worked out for us at all, ignoring them, it helps a bit. Our ped. says my girls are 'emotionally immature,' which is a nice way of saying 'spoiled rotten.' I suggest ignore her as much as possible. Don't let her notice she's getting to you and if she gets completely out of control put her in a safe room, for example her, so she doesn't have access to dangerous objects, small objects etc, and then let her scream as much as she wants and for as long as she wants. Once she has calmed down or at least her cry is not as intense and as loud then go in and say; are you done? do you wnat to join mommy, or something like that.
Mine take up to 30minutes crying but when they stop they say i'm sorry.
I know how hard it is to ignore her but if you know she's fed and isn't thirsty but she's having one of ehr temper tantrums then you should feel ok about doing this
good luck mami
V.

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S.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I too experienced this with my daughter who is 20 months. At first I would pick her up and try to comfort her, but it wouldn't help. Now, whe she starts her fit, I make sure she is in an area where she won't hurt herself and let her go. She has gotten to the point where they last less than a minute (although it seems a lifetime). It is hard to ignore, but it will eventually work.

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J.F.

answers from Miami on

K.,

I don't think she is too young to get time outs, just start with a a few seconds and see if she stays in place and stend to one minute. Also when you are holding her make sure you lock her arms so she can't hurt you or hurt herself. Keep her very tide and give her kisses and hugs all the time. I have heard other people say that kids who loose breath and turn blue do that because they know parents will get scare, but that is all. I don't have any experience on that but try to give time and see how it progresses, you can also trow some cold water on her when she is kicking.

I hope it helps,
J. (mother of Richard 6 and Lea 3)

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E.S.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi K.--I read your message and thought I'd offer a sympathetic ear...my 20-month old also has a big temper and I've found that ignoring her on some occassions does work (even though it's really hard to listen to her scream!). I try to figure out what she wants when it's obvious that she's having trouble communicating with me, but if she's just screaming because she's mad (like she does when she wakes up from nap) or because I've told her no, I try my best to ignore it. I figure this at least sets some boundaries. That said, my husband is also in the military, and I have learned never to underestimate the effect deployments and TDYs have on our little girl. Even though he works really long hours and she spend most of her time with me, when he's actually gone (not at least coming home to sleep), she acts out.

Good luck!
--E.

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B.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

This type of behavior is totally normal for a 1 yr old, it has nothing to do with giving her lots of attention when she was colic. Temper tantrums are the only way she can communicate that she is frustrated or mad. With my daughter (she is 15 mths)I normally try to get her attention on something else. I will start to play with a toy and talk to her, she normally stops and comes over to see what I am doing. She forgets what she was upset about and wants to play with me. I also tell her I know you are angry but this is not the way to express it etc. I would try to distract her with her favorite toy or do something funny and she will forget what she was mad about and want to do what you are doing. Just remember every parent with a child this age goes through this and it is totally normally. SHe will eventually outgrow it unless you constantly give into her temper tantrums and then you will make it worse.. Good luck.

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K.K.

answers from Boca Raton on

I had problems with Leah hitting me and saying no in a firm voice and ignoring her worked wonders. we are working on this with her tantrums now. Distracting with something else also works (sometimes). With the diaper situation- I know it's hard to find a way to walk away when you're changing a diaper- so what I would do is say no, finish up changing the diaper, put her down, and walk away- go sit on the couch, go get a drink, whatever. She isn't kicking to hurt you. She's trying to see what kind of attention she can get. If you give her no attention, she'll stop. That's what we did for the hitting and it worked like a charm, like I said.

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A.R.

answers from Ocala on

It is so funny how underestimated our little guys are. I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old. I went through this when my oldest was one and now with my current one year old. The biggest thing to realize is so many people think that they are to young to discipline or they don't understand. Well guess what, they understand. Try this, in good times and bad times, see what she reacts to. Ex: ask her simple questions like-are you thirsty, hungry, no mam,etc.. My son(1yr) knows what I am asking or saying. If I ask "are you hungry?' he will get up and maybe go to his highchair or he will stop what he is doing and come to me, etc.. Likewise, if you notice, things that you say to them (especially on a routine basis) they understand. With my son I started putting him to bed when he would cry to pitch a fit or throw himself down,etc... and I would always say "okay, you are going to go to bed." If he did not stop he would go to bed (only for a minute or two)then I would go in his room and say "are you finished?" Then I would get him up. I do it the same everytime. Now he knows when I say that he needs to stop or he will go to bed. Point being HE KNOWS. So don't assume they don't understand, because they do and you have to start teaching them young or it only gets worse. Hope this helps.

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B.O.

answers from Ocala on

MY DAUGHTOR HAD TIME OUT AND WOULD SET A KITCHEN TIMER FOR A FEW MIN. THEY HAD TO SIT IN A CHAIR FACEING THE WALL UNTILL THE TIMER WENT OFF THIS WORKED FOR HER. ONE OF HER FRIENDS HAD A WATER GUN FILLED WITH COLD WATER AND ONE SHORT SQUIRT WOULD QUITE HER THREE BOYS THEY WOULD STOP AS SOON AS SHE TOOK IT OUT OF THE REIG, SAYING 'I,M SORRY'' I DON,T KNOW IF I COULD HAVE DONE THAT BUT IT WORKED FOR HER NOW THE BOY,S ARE BIG ENOUGH TO LAUGH ABOUT HOW THEY HATED THAT WATER GUN.

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K.S.

answers from Tampa on

Just know that this type of thing is normal. The way my pediatrician explained it to me was like this:

Before now your child has learned that when she needs something (i.e food, water, diaper, sleep) she cries and she will get it. Now she is learning to "want" things, and tries to use the same method of crying to get it. When she doesn't it is hard for her to understand why she can't have it.

So this becomes the challenge...how do you teach your child other ways of communicating what they "want" and get them to understand that they can't always have what they want vs what they need. When my son would throw tantrums, I would try to divert his attention. He loves to be outside, so when he got really upset because I wouldn't give him a cookie at 7:00 am, I would scoop him up and go outside. As he gets older, I gently tell him no, repeatedly and when he starts a tantrum I walk away, and then try to divert him again.

Its a long process and will take some work, just know you are not alone.

Good luck.

K.

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T.O.

answers from Sarasota on

A very simple, almost silly solution I found with both of my tantrum throwers (oh, yes, they both pulled it off at barely 1 too!) was simple distraction. I'd let it go on for a minute or so to see if it would stop on it's own, then I'd try making him (both boys) laugh by tickling him (sometimes that just made them angrier though), making silly faces, or getting a stuffed animal out. Sometimes I would just have to give them a cookie or something to distract. Sure, some would say that was "rewarding" him for a tantrum but it didn't happen often that way, it didn't always work, and we're talking about young 1's, not 2's or 3's. If they have a favorite video, sometimes turning it on helps too. Good luck!

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J.B.

answers from Orlando on

K.
my 1st son had such bad temper tantrums that he would cry until he stopped breathing. it is very normal.my dr told me to ignore it i thought he was nuts. but after a while i had try it because i was going crazy. IT WORKED. and i was sorry that i didn't do it earlier. my daughter did the same thing and i nipped it right away. let my tell you. the crying might drive you crazy at first, but the end result will be well worth it.
jennifer

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D.B.

answers from Port St. Lucie on

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/6/T063300.asp Here's my favorite site for all kinds of kids advice.. this page it on temper tantrums.

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C.V.

answers from San Diego on

O honey, ive been there, done that. My son who is now four, when he was able to start to sit by himself (8-9months)he would throw himself back when he was upset...i would literally have to dive to catch him because he didnt care when and where he did this. And what got him to stop...was infact ignoring him. It's an attention thing, so before i would see him throw himself i would calmy talk to him and see what the problem was, if he wanted something he shouldnt have i just told him with a calm voice "no, you cant have that, but you CAN have this" SO i gave him options, and it seemed to have worked for me.Maybe try that..hope this works and good luck!

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A.W.

answers from Tallahassee on

I am a single mother (going through a divorce from an ex Navy man) and have a two year old son. Sometimes he will through terrible fits and I have tried several ways to deal with it. I think sometimes they just get so upset and cannot calm themselves down, so we have to help them. I will hold my son in a kind of restraint position and talk to him about calming down. He will kick and scream for a minute, but then seems grateful for the help and will return to my lap after I let him go. He says "Mama help me calm down". This way he recognizes that I am paying attention to him and is prevented from helping himself or someone else. Good luck!
P.S. They all do that- and you were right to pamper her as a baby!

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E.T.

answers from Tampa on

Hi K.. I feel like a single mom sometimes too. My husband is in the Coast Guard and is always gone and my daughter was the same way at that age. I hate to tell you but there really isn't much you can do. My daughter eventually grew out of it. She really didn't understand timeout and she would just scream forever. I did notice though that if i gave her a snack or juice or something to play with like my cell or a remote, (something new to her) that she would relax. good luck. E.

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K.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

You aren't going to like this answer but your doc is exactly right. The only way to break her of this habit is to quit rewarding it and that means ignoring her when she does it. If there is no payoff for her to behave that way, she will automatically stop. Usually, it takes between 3-7 days for it to really take effect but that totally depends on how consistent you are with it. She is definitely old enough and if you don't nip this in the bud now, you will regret it later.

My 7 1/2 month old daughter just started pitching fits when I put her in her crib at night... one night she cried so hard for 30 minutes, I thought she was going to throw up. But I held firm and didn't go back into her nursery and she doesn't do it anymore. AT ALL. Problem solved.

Your choice, but I recommend the hard line. It takes less time, is hard on you, but will be VERY effective and over before you know it.

Good luck!
K.

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K.

answers from Tampa on

Your doctor is right. If you let her get away with this now it will only get worse. I suggest putting her in a playpen or another area with no toys. Make sure when you do this that you tell her that she is behaving badly. If you are holding her, you can sit down so you don't drop her. She learns from you, by both your words and actions. Have patience. Time out can be used at any age usually it is 1 minute for each year old. I would add that the minute starts when the misbehavior stops. You can start with less than a minute but don't go to her if she is throwing a fit or right when she stops. When she stops tell her that now she needs to wait for you. Over time she will adjust and change to behave better. It takes time and consistency.

I hope this helps.

K.

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N.M.

answers from Port St. Lucie on

My little guy just turned 1 on 8/2 and he has a bit of a temper himself. Since you just started dtaying home with her this is a transition she may find difficult, perhaps keep her on a simliar schedule as did the daycare, she is used to the routine and needs that kind of structure. Specifically make sure she is getting her snacks meals and naps at regular times similar to daycare setting and slowly wean her into your own comfortable schedule. The naps and snacks should help. Routine is very important to a chilld's sense of security.
Also spend plenty of time reading to her (try to do this every day)and talking to her as if she understands because at this age it's so hard for them to communicate their desires to us, so the more time you spend on her vocabulary and this type of interaction the more and faster she will learn to communicate with you in her own way.
Finally, distraction may be the charm. Switch to a different activity. Put music on and dance with her, make silly faces and sounds, tickle attack, different toy, put on a movie she will enjoy, have her sit in the kitchen with you while you clean or cook and let her play with pots and tupperware, just walk with her in your arms outside or even a stroller, change of scenery, run a bath, anything! If you are at wits end hive her a few minutes in a safe and secure place like a playpen or crib and you spend a few minutes with yourself and regroup. Wash your face, go into another room, just breathe. I do not recommend ingnoring a child of this age because the temper tantrum is more about inability to communicate not the lack of getting one's way. Love your child through this, you both need all the unconditional love you can get and no better place than your child.
~N.
"There is no joy greater than a child to love and treasure".

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