Toddlerhood is difficult for both parents and children, especially with the terrible twos temper tantrums.
I find it purely coincidental that yesterday I blogged about patience and this morning I had to basically drag Annabelle out of the house to go to baby school. She woke up on the wrong side of the crib – kicking, yelling, and even throwing Bunny down on the floor.
Is this a preview of the terrible twos?
In the last few weeks we have seen a new side of Annabelle. The behaviors I have heard described to me before by my own Mother as the behavior of a little Caitlin.
Around the age of two I became quite obstinate. The doctor told my Mom my temper was actually a sign of intelligence and an inability to communicate what I truly wanted. I was known to throw mega-fits and scare my cousins when things did not go as planned.
I couldn’t process or explain how I was feeling, so I took it out on the wall/my toys/my precious curly hair. I also began experiencing night terrors: waking in the night and screaming uncontrollably and incomprehensibly for no apparent reason. Thankfully, my temper faded when I entered school. I am seeing Annabelle exhibit the same behaviors my Mom has told me about in great detail.
When Annabelle was five months old I blogged about her tantrums tantrums. At the time I thought her fits would be permanent, but soon learned that going dairy free and sleeping in her own bed helped her issues. She has been rather pleasant the last 23 months of her life compared to the manner in which she has been behaving on and off lately.
I am thinking we are getting a preview of the Terrible Twos, but I don’t want to be so quick to judge. We are visiting the doctor’s office tomorrow to check out the status of the ear infection she has seemed to have for a month. Perhaps her fits are just a result of an irritated ear and a cranky baby?
Or maybe it’s more. Maybe our toddler is exhibiting the behaviors of a very-smart-almost-two-year-old who is having issues with communication and accepting change?
All of Annabelle’s temper tantrums have been a result of us telling her “No,” or not being able to do something.
I read that two year old toddlers don’t have the language to express feelings, so they resort to pitching fits. However, Annabelle has been able to tell us when she is scared or if something hurts for the last 6 months, so she can actually express some feelings. What she cannot do is say “I’m mad” or “I’m frustrated” – which is something we will work on. Once she is better able to verbalize her emotions, I think we will be in a better place. Until then…
Here are the ways we are dealing with temper tantrums, which is fortunately the same way Dr. Jeremy Friedman, author of The Toddler Care Book, recommends.
- During a tantrum, it’s important to remain calm.
- Avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.
- Keep your emotions in check. If your emotions escalate, so will your child’s.
- Do not laugh or confront her.
- Instead, ignore your child without making eye contact and wait for her to calm down. This will ensure you are not reinforcing bad behavior.
Afterwards we try to provide reassurance that everything will be okay. We always speak to her in a calm tone and tell her that we love her. We are trying. And when it seems we are failing, we take some deep breaths, and start all over.
OMG my daughter is almost the exact same age as Annabelle (born very early January 2014)….and this is the exact same. although she had never been anything but a perfect angel for 20 months…honestly the best child (and I have a son to compare her to)…but then at 20 months she turned into a sass monster…she has so much attitude. she can stare you down with one glare. she started hitting and sometimes biting. it’s unreal how quickly it changed and how quickly it came on. I am just hoping it will go away as quickly as it began!! HELP US!
So if Vic had his way, we’d play outside all day, every day, and now daylight saving and colder weather has really messed this up for him. He of course does not understand why we can’t play outside at 6 pm. The other night, I put him in his high chair as he was throwing a fit to give him dinner. I asked if he wanted his sippy cup, and he nodded vigorously, reaching for it. I then learned he only did this so he could throw in it a fit of rage. I had to seriously walk out of the kitchen and out of sight so I could crack up.
Girl I feel your pain! My 18 month old is wonderful at throwing a tantrum herself! I have found that ignoring her and walking away works best and almost immediately to stop them! Good luck!
Trista @ The Classy Chaos says
Oh goodness!! I am with you, right there. Although I’ll venture to say we struggled with 3s more than we did 2s with my oldest. My youngest who is almost 14 months does just as you described. He is most definitely hot tempered. and I’m in complete agreement with your list of how to handles. Ignoring it by far the best thing to do. Even my almost 5 yr old still throws a tantrum every now and again. Anyhow, love this post and want to read your post on patience too. Will be keeping up! 🙂
Tantrums are the worst and my daughter started them early too! Now that she’s three and a half, I find that often connecting with her is really helpful when we have those hard days. When it’s a bad one that lasts a while, I’ll finally just give her a cuddle when there is no end in sight. Taking some time once she settles to stop and play something for a good 20 minutes or so uninterrupted is also helpful. We also love watching Daniel Tiger (we have to watch on iTunes here in the UK). We watched one the other day about not getting your way. There is also an App with the songs from the show that are all about emotions. She actually sang the one about being mad the other day and it calmed her down. 🙂