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Screaming Mimi

So hey, how do y'all handle tantrums? And I mean full-on, blow-out, breaking windows and peeling paint tantrums?

See, I don't read parenting books anymore because every last one seems designed to make parents feel ineffectual and inferior, and while Mia has certainly had her moments before now, it is only in recent weeks that she has discovered the joys of hard core tantruming. And I'm at an absolute loss.

My usual approach to irrational fits is to distract her with something else. Gosh Mia, I'm so sorry your chair was an inch and a half out of ideal alignment, now let's go make Play-Dough worms. Or even, gee babe, life sure us hard when you are forced to pick up and put away the occasional toy, now who wants a cookie? But lately? Hoo boy.

Let me give you yesterday as an example. We had somewhere to be at 10:30, so I took the kids upstairs to get them dressed. Mia wanted a shirt with a picture on it, so I presented her with her options, she reluctantly chose one, and I went off to try to get Owen down for a nap. Mia then decided she hated her shirt and came to complain to me. I told her to pick a new one and change. That was not acceptable and the screaming started. And I mean screaming of the sort that I half expect the neighbors to call the cops and report me for it. I was stuck with Owen, so it went on for a few minutes. When I went to try to help her she wasn't having it. She didn't want help, didn't want to do it herself, really seemed to just want to sit there and scream. Eventually she moved on from hating all her shirts to hating all her clothes and by the time Chris came to investigate the howling he had heard all the way in the basement she was totally naked and screaming to beat the band.

He got her calmed down and dressed, but five minutes later she was flipping out about the shirt again. We did eventually get her dressed and out the door and she was fine all through our outing, through our trip to the pediatrician, through lunch, through quiet time, after quite time, and then at 3:30 it started all over again. Still about the shirt, still screaming and crying loud enough to pop eardrums. She went on for two hours. Chris and I tried helping her, tried ignoring her, tried everything we could think of. I finally went up to her room, forced her into some clothes and carried her down to her playroom. At which point she calmed down, wiped her nose, and headed off with her Dad to play Legos.

This morning, we had a repeat performance, all about her clothes again. Since it worked yesterday, I just picked something, got her dressed, and told her to deal with it. Which she did, once she realized I was done dealing with it.

But I just don't know. Is that the right thing to do? I know a lot of this is just being three and I think it must be hella frustrating to be three and know and understand and be able to do so much and still be so dependent on adults for everything. And I think she is just trying to have some control and some opinions and some power, and I am trying to let her have those things wherever I can, but I can't have a naked kid screaming in her room all day long.

I'm at a loss. What do you do? What would you do?

Comments (61)

I think you handled it well. For us, putting as little energy into the tantrum as possible works best. Ignore, act blase, and by all means don't let yourself get worked up. That's the hardest part for me. But ME staying calm works the best... of course, that is just for MY kids....

Also, I've seemed to notice that we have "seasons" of this kind of behavior. It'll be kicking my ass for, like, a month, and then it'll mysteriously stop. So we just buckle down, stay calm, and weather the "season". I usually conclude, later- when things are more clear, that it was due to this developmental phase or that. Like the tantrums/frustrations are just a side effect of a particular milestone they were going through.

In any case, have fun with that! =)

"deal with it" is a good phrase. I think you did fine. Someone has to be in charge, and I vote for the tall people.

Don't let those books make you feel guilty. They only think they know everything.

Tranq darts?

It sounds like you did everything right. My eardrums ache for you. I have handled trantrums in really bad ways (yelling back, wrestling clothes on, etc.) but I think I've gotten a lot better since they first emerged. Sometimes she's just hungry and I don't realize it. Sometimes I wait until she's in the car at our destination to get her shoes on -- often the change of scenery helps.

If it's so bad that I simply cannot deal with her, I shut the baby gate and tell her to call for me when she's ready. This will work until she makes it over the gate one day.

Good luck.

For the screaming my sister started putting black pepper on her 2 year-old's tongue. It's not pleasant but doesn't hurt her at all. She stopped screaming bloody murder in a week. You can't have kids screaming like that in public, and Abby didn't care where she did the screaming

and the staying calm is the best. Time out until they can do what you've asked them to do, and just be matter-of-fact with it. And be consistent. Do the same thing every time, they want you to give in. Don't. Kids know how to manipulate to get what they want. It must be some kind of survival of the fittest thing or something.

I always laugh when people talk about the "terrible twos" and think to myself, "Y'all, you ain't seen three yet."

We go through it to. I have a low tolerance for it - my reaction is typically to walk away, "Come find me when you can talk to me in a nice voice."

Doesn't always work, but it's the only thing that keeps me from going completely crazynuts.

Michael's a little bit different b/c he has a tantrum and then its over, he doesn't normally go back to it. But, i leave whatever room we are in and tell him to come get me when he is done. I don't engage. My opinion is that a tantrum is about attention, and when he doesn't get the attention he stops.

I haven't had Bridget throw tantrums of such Biblical proportions like the one you described, but she's not even two yet. I know it's coming.

But what I do is pretty much ignore. I try to accommodate the requests as much as possible but when I see that nothing is going to make her happy, I choose and am done with it. When she gets to screaming, I get on eye level with her and talk very quietly to her, usually a whisper so she has to be quiet to hear me. And I ask her what is the matter, to use her words to tell me what she wants and for now, that works. Like I said, I know it will change.

The couple of times we've had the really bad screamers, I shut her in the safety of her room and let her scream it out. It took less than five minutes before she was knocking on her door to come out and calling me in her sweetest voice.

As everyone says, ignore and don't lose your cool. Sounds like you did a great job.

She's 3, right? Right?

I call it being very, very 3. Because we get these on occasion. I think a lot of it stems from frustration and the feeling that they're not being heard, even though we're trying our darndest, and they just can't bring themselves back from the complete meltdown once they tip over the edge. It sounds like you handled it well. I often put our 3 year old in his room by himself when he hits this point, and let him know I'll be there to talk the moment he's done. And then I follow through. I refuse to 'feed into it' by remaining with him and pleading with/yellint at him to shut the h*ll up! Quiet time is best, if you can do it I think.

Oh the lovely tantrums.

I sometimes ignore the child completely, until the tantrum disintegrates into a screaming mess of WANT A HUG!, then I give the child a hug and she's done and I'm done.

Or I sit with her while she thrashes around and reflect/validate her feelings until she wants a hug and stops.

And then sometimes I force her to do it my way and tell her straight out to deal with it. Which is what I would have (and have) done in the clothing (and stroller) instance.

Don't worry Beth it's a phase of Being Three and you're doing great.

Yep, do what you did. I let them scream for a minute or two and then I'm done. I've dressed a screaming kid more than once. And yes, at which point they have had their scream, you have had your stand-up-for-yourself moment, it's time for a distraction. However, I'd avoid food so it doesn't seem like a reward.

I think you've done VERY well!! Anyone with a kid over three has been there! What FINALLY kicked tantrums to the curb (for the most part) was when I had a little bit of extra time to let him scream it out. I put him gently in his room and set him on his bed. I told him that he obviously needed to throw a tantrum and that was fine as long as he stayed in his room with the door closed. He screamed and called me names through his door (you smell like poopy!!! you are a pee pee!!!) and finally came out - still screaming! So I gently (I was in a good place that day to handle things...) led him back to his room and put up the baby gate in his doorway so he couldn't escape. I told him again, calmly, that when he could stop screaming I would let him out. Ten minutes later I was holding a whiffling little man with snot all over his face and kissing his neck. I explained that this is what we would do whenever he needed to throw a tantrum. I had to repeat this only two more times - each shorter than the last - to break the cycle. Then all I had to say was, "Do you need to go to your room?" and he would calm down a lot. Still tears, of course - I wasn't trying to turn him into a robot - but it helped with the banshee screaming.

I'm still expecting, so haven't had to deal with tantrums yet, but my father-in-law was telling me about something he did that worked with my husband. My husband started throwing a tantrum, so my FIL took his wife & other son & dog into the bathroom, locked the door so my husband couldn't get in, and just totally ignored him until he settled down. He said that my husband never threw another tantrum.

So I figure that the first time my baby girl throws a tantrum, it's into the bathroom with the rest of the family! Haha... oh god...

of course i don't really know, because lola's not quite there yet. she still has the little tantrums that you can distract her away from with something else...

but have you tried some form of guilt? like "that's not how we act in OUR family" or something like that. my mother was a master at that. but she got us to behave :)

It sounds like you did a lot better job then I would've done. One thing I've learned as a parent is children love to test our patience and I have found out I don't have many. And this is something I've learned to fix and one of the ways that I fix it is by just laughing at my 3 year old as they're having a tantrum. I often times have to leave the room and let him scream it out, then when it does go on for too long then I start with the consequences. "If you don't stop crying, then you don't get to do such and such)" This sometimes work. I always try my best to keep a calm voice as well.
Good Luck!

When mine scream and throw fits, I leave the room and ignore them. Or I put them on their bed, tell them they can talk to me when they can talk, not scream, leave the room and ignore them. In public, they get put in their carseat and we go home if possible. If not, I let them scream it out in the car and I stand outside of it.

If you go in and let her change her shirt, or Chris goes in and does it, basically you're showing her that when she acts like that, you'll do anything to please her and make her stop. It's counter productive sounding I know, cause honestly we really just do want them to stop.

Best thing to do is ignore her and when she is done, take something away to prove the point that we don't do that. Like, I'll say to mine, okay because I had to listen to you scream for this long and it hurt my ears, you can't watch Dora today or whatever it may be. Because she may be three, but Mia is smart and she'll figure it out kinda quickly. The last thing I'll say is this, be consistent. Whatever you decide to do, make sure Chris does it too and make sure it happens for all tantrums. That's the best way to make it obvious to her that she's getting nowhere with tantrums...and she'll then move onto something else.

My 2 1/2 year old has discovered The Joys of Tantruming from time to time. I have:
1- ignored him and walked away.
2- Told him when he's ready to talk to me nicely, come and get me.
3- Forced him into clothing/a hug/the car. This works well, even if it is full of shame in the moment.
4- yelled. This does NOT work. It only scares him.
5- cried. Works even less than yelling. He gets completely freaked out.
6- Compared him to a real PITA child at daycare. This works great. I'm all "Did Chloe scream like that today? And how did it sound? Not very nice, huh? We do not act like Chloe!"
7- Googled alot. I made myself a sheet of notes with great tidbits, such as "Two year olds do not have emotional control." And "Kids need boundaries and are overwhelmed with too many choices." I'm a total freedom freak and think my child should have lots of esteem-building choices in the day. However, too many esteem building choices blows his fuse.
8- Had a drink. With dinner. Occasionally with lunch. But not yet, as such, with breakfast. Keeps me mellow which helps me not resort to
numbers 4 and 5. Hang in there. It's hard to be three.

Keep in mind that I'm not a parent and have absolutely no business commenting on this ubject, HOWEVER....

Wouldn't spraying her down with the garden hose help her to understand that her behavior is out of line? Don't say a word while your doing it or after, either. Just do it, then let her process it for herself.

Man. Maybe I should write a book.

I would like to say that 3 is way harder then 2, my daugher is a month shy of 4 and for the first 3 months of her turning 3 I thought I might kill myself, the fits, it was all about the fits. But just like most stages it passed pretty quickly, but my honest opinion is consistancy, and show her who is boss, options are great but if it makes things to complicated for the kid don't give her any:) Hang in there it will get better.

sounds like you did a good job. if you are in public and you need it to stop you can try pulling her aside, getting down to her level and telling her in a VERY firm voice "this is unacceptable. if this continues we will not (fill in the blank)" or something to that effect. also if she won't stop screaming to listen to you, you can whisper. she will be curious to see what you're saying and stop screaming(albeit briefly) good luck!

I think the tactics you're using are perfect. And you're right to quit reading the books.
Someone mentioned that sometimes a child may be cranky because of hunger or something, and this was very true with my second child. I got to the point where I figured like us, maybe children just need to have a good cry, and as long as they were warm, dry, fed, and safe, let 'em rip. Tell her you'll be waiting with hugs when she's done, close the door, and walk away. Hopefully, it won't happen in the grocery store!


we have tried ignoring and sometimes it works. but we are in a small apartment with doors that don't close properly and if i walk away, my 3yo comes after me. her latest thing is to yell, "i can't calm down! help me calm down!" so of course i try, she does for a minute, and then it resumes. anyone have any ideas for us?!?

our only other solution is to set the timer for X minutes and each time it rings we take away a toy. but i feel like ignoring would work better if i could do it more effectively.

I think you handled it perfectly. There comes a point when you have to say enough of this behavior, its unacceptable. Not allowing her to continue to control the clothes situation was a good move. She now knows, she loses that "right" when her behavior is unacceptable.

I stopped reading parenting books and magazines too. I just do not think they can do any better than I can and they do make you feel inferior. I do my best and I do not abuse them...what more can I give my kids anyway.

I still believe the even years are the best though! LOL!

Ugh. #1 went through that lately and I was *not* going to put up with it. Who knew he could scream like that?! So I put him in his room and locked the door. That, of course, made him scream harder about the door being locked. He lasted about half an hour (me cringing the whole time) til he subsided into crying and we had a talk about being more calm.

He's had a few episodes since then, not many though, and he has to go into his room if he's going to be like that (no door lock aside from Mommy's ire) and he calms down pretty quickly.

My sweet bippy, I'm not even going to remark on sara's pepper comment. I think you and I are on the same page with that anyway. Issa on the other hand, her approach is what we usually do here. We tune out the tantrum and if it's disrupting us or a sister then the offender is removed until they calm down. And I hate to say it, but I do agree that it sounds like you and Chris are showing her that you'll do anything to get her to stop, which could just lead to even worse behavior down the road. Some details might have been left out that mitigate that notion, though.

Two books that were not preachy and actually made a lot of sense were How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and How to Behave So Your Children Will Too. I'll put them in your mailbox and you can ignore them or skim them as you see fit. Or you can tell me to go to hell and I won't drop them at all :)

Well, I would have done exactly what you did. I don't have advice because my 4 year old does this from time to time and I just try to give it as little attention as possible.

I feel for you. I wish I had a magic cure.

My son is now 9, but good grief, I remember those! I put him in his room, on his bed, and whispered that when he was finished, he could come out, but not a second before. (There were a few times at first that I had to put him back in his room after he wandered screaming down the hall, but it worked.)

In public, he would throw himself on the ground and demand this or that. I WALKED OVER HIM and walked away (where I could still see him, but he couldn't necessarily see me). I never said a word to him, just did it. (This may have been the hardest thing ever at that point, but it worked! He only pulled this stunt twice, and then never again.)

Hope that helps! The most difficult part was to remember not to give his tantrums any power. He could NOT get what he wanted just by throwing a fit.

I think Swistle solved it for you - tranq darts.

Oh, I feel you... my daughter has recently decided that she shall refuse to wear jeans, or tights. Any attempt to put either item on her body results in screaming, weeping, and shouts of "OUCHIEOUCHIEOUCHIEOUCHIE"... sigh. ONLY leggings/stretchy pants are acceptable. The tights embargo makes getting dressed for ballet class rough. Oh, and she hates her winter coat. Which, you know, she needs to wear in 30 degree weather. I pretty much do what you did-- but it sucks, huh?

Well I normally shy away from parenting advice because everyone is different and frankly, you know Mia a lot better than I do so what do I know? But, since you asked, I'll stick my nose in.

My son just turned 3 last week. He started throwing tantrums when he hit 2 and really only did it for no reason for about a month. He still throws the occasional fit now, but usually only when he's tired. My main piece of advice is, "kids love consistency." Consistency makes kids feel secure because then they always know what to expect.

For us, tantrums get a warning and then a time out so he could calm down. Also, I do love to give him a choice but it does frequently lead to a fit so the rule is, I give him several options, he picks one. He can change his mind once, but after that he's stuck with it. If he changes his mind again, too bad, if this leads to a tantrum he gets (you guessed it) a warning and then time out. If he's still screaming at the end of the time out he gets another one. (until he's calmed down). This seems to work pretty well for him and he usually doesn't need more than 1 time out before he's calmed down. But like I said, all kids are different. :)

Huh, your kid was my kid yesterday, actually the past few days. Over clothes amongst other things. I SO did not handle it as well as you did... it totally sucked. I need to read the comments for ideas on how to deal with it. It's driving me BATTY!!!

Huh, your kid was my kid yesterday, actually the past few days. Over clothes amongst other things. I SO did not handle it as well as you did... it totally sucked. I need to read the comments for ideas on how to deal with it. It's driving me BATTY!!!

I usually just ignore the child or send child to their room, when they can come out and behave a little less alien like we talk about what it was they were so upset about.

However, I will say, with a 12 year old boy who is picky about his clothes, I have learned it is not worth the battle of disagreeing on what to wear / not to wear.

With my 6 year old, I tell him it is a matching game, all the pieces have to match and he loves it. On the weekends he comes out of his room dressed in various shades of blues but that's ok. He is only going outside to play. :-)

Maybe I blew this one out of proportion.

Sometimes the act of giving them the power to choose is overwhelming. It is too much 'control'. Limiting choises to one out of two things is far easier for them to control. Even then there are times when you will have to step in and not give any choices to end the matter.I think you did very well removing her from being overwhelmed and over stimulated.

I don't know what I will do, since my daughter is only six months old, but I do know what my mom used to do with me and my brother, and it seemed to work. Tantrums were not acceptable. Period. If I wanted to have a tantrum, I could do it in my room with the door shut. I was a really stubborn kid, but faced with the choice of a day all alone in my room or calming down and re-joining the family, I always calmed down within an hour.

I remember being embarrassed once I had calmed down, like, how was I going to go downstairs and pretend everything was normal after making all that racket? But my family always received me lovingly, and whatever so bothered me before was forgotten.

And my mom was one of those hardliners who would drop everything in a store or driving or whatever and head straight home if I started a tantrum. Momentarily inconvenient for her, but in the long run, we learned the rules. I totally respect and admire my mom for her parenting choices and hope I can do as well as she did!

Griffin sure seems to have them every once in a while. It's rare but it's like they build up over a month or two and then it's just time for one. Nothing I've tried works (distracting, consoling, scolding). I've found with him my best bet is to just carry on with what I'm doing and ignore him, but if sitting within his sightline to keep a calm/poor-baby face. (If I look irritated, he screams all the more.) Eventually he comes for a hug, crawls into my lap, and the screams become cries which become sniffles and eventually "Sorry, mommy." I don't know what brings them on. Too much being 3 like you said.

I think you're doing good so far. I know that I've personally tried putting her in the room, yelling myself, spanking, and some others. But the best one (at least for me) was seeing the look on her face when I sprayed her in the face with the shower wand while she was having a nice screaming fit in the bathtub.

I wish I would have had the camera for that one.

Ignoring. That is the only thing that worked for us. Really hard to do most of the time, but worth the effort. Good luck and get some ear plugs :)

Our tantrums have dwindled in frequency and duration... but it takes a few ignoring sessions for them to go to a manageable state. Best of luck!

It sounds like she needs you to be in control on some things, a simple "this is the way it is" kind of thing. It almost sounds like she is overwhelmed at those times and struggles to regain control but needs intervention to help her achieve that.

You're doing great. Take heart that everyone has mommy moments like these.

Hi Beth - I didn't read the other comments, but I'm sure you were told you did the "right" thing. Whatever THAT is.

Having worked in schools with kids who actually get tantrums at school, and with my own Owen at home, I find that the more escalated the tantrumer gets, the more mellow I need to make myself. Even if that's hard. That means walking away after making sure there isn't anything I can do to help. And I think telling Mia to "deal with it" is okay. I've told my own Owen that he can trust me to let him know when something is a big deal, so he has to trust me when I say "deal with it."

Sometimes it feels like we're not "acknowledging" our kids' feelings, but at a certain point, it's just ridiculous!

Keep up the good work. Have a glass of wine.

It's a good thing God makes 'em cute... Don't worry, we've all had our "why the hell did I do this motherhood thing?" moments. Hang in there!

With 3 kids, I've certainly seen my share of tantrums. Usually, I put them in their bedroom or esle the rest of us left the room the screamer was in. Seems boring to scream and not get any attention! Also, I was one of those mothers who left a full shopping cart in the grocery store, left in the middle of swimming lessons, you name it. They didn't last terribly long. BUT watch out for 9. That's a doozy year!

I still have kids coming to Kindergarten with tantrums. In the classroom, I sit them on a chair and we continue around them and I tell the other kids so and so just needs to cry right now. They accept it and it eventually stops. Some kids last for a LONG time! Outside of the classroom I just take their hand and walk but otherwise ignore them. And then have a huge cup of tea after school. Chocolate is also good.

I think you did fine. My mom is of that variety - with kids (she teaches 8th grade) she lets them know she's not going to put up with their shit and it USUALLY works. Hang in there!

I read the comments and re-read the email and I think you should see if she might be hungry (as someone suggested). 10:30 and 3:30 are rough times for us on weekends because, unlike school, I often forget to give her a snack and she doesn't ask but I think she's hungry and gets extra whiny/tantrummy. If you aren't already, just make sure she has a little something in her tummy.

also, around our house I refuse to fight over clothes. If she's completely inappropriately dressed I let folks know she chooses her own clothes and bring a coat in case she realizes she's cold. that said, we live in a pretty temperate climate and she's not into full nudity, just weird/ugly/weather inappropriate combinations.

Sorry for the long comment. Good luck with this adorable/annoying age. I'm with ya!

If what you're doing worked, stick with it. If it stops working, come back and re-read all these comments and try something else.

I am not a parent but still will add my two cents (dontcha just love that).

You and Chris are great parents. Remember that even through tough times. I'm sending you a cyber hug!

I say ignore it. If you try screaming for attention and screaming only gets you ignored, you'll move on to something else. That's how my 30-something mind thinks a 3 year old mind works. LOL

I've only skimmed the other comments, but it seems that I might have a very different point of view on this. I think that time-out is the wrong approach (under almost any circumstance, actually). When your three-year-old throws a tantrum and loses control, you should offer her the comfort and solace of your self-control, complete attention, and open arms. But if that doesn't work, tranq darts it is.

I think you handled it pretty well. It sounds like you put a lot of effort into listening to her, giving her a chance to express her opinions, desires, etc, but at the same time, can put your foot down. That last part is the important thing. She has to understand what exceptable behavior is and what isn't and its up to us to help them understand where that line is, otherwise we're setting them and ourselves up for trouble. Draw your line wherever it is [for you], then help her learn to calmly and verbally express herself.

I usually just told Anthony that I wasn't going to listen to him screaming, and that if he wanted to scream, he had to do it in his room with the door shut.

One time, I screamed, too...that threw him for a loop. Then I told him that Mommy needed a time-out and I stood in the corner for five minutes. He thought that was hilarious, but told me, "Mommy, when you had that tantrum, it scared me and made me sad." So I just told him, "Your tantrums make me scared and sad, too."

Since then? No tantrums. It could be that he's almost five, though...

Best of luck! I think you handled it really well!

i *just* wrote a post today about our tyrannical threes, too. the screaming. my God, the screaming.

i just put her in her room/on the step/in the corner until she can settle herself down. but i am not feeling like we are handling them well over here either. i'm going to read all the comments and see if i can get any other insight into all of this.

I do different things depending on the situation. Lot's of times I tell him I'm not going to listen to it and when he's done crying I'll talk, play, or whatever it is he wants.

Peanut is 3 and he gets more cranky when hungry. I sometimes forget he needs a little snack between breakfast and lunch. Around 10am he starts to lose his mind.

Sometimes we threaten to take something away if he doesn't listen. Once he starts to really listen he's ok. We can talk him through the situation.

It's super hard to not yell back, but I don't think this does any good. Giving as little attention as you can seems a good strategy, though it's hard to not get worked up.

Hang in there. They won't be 3 forever - I hope!

you did exactly what I would have/have done with my kids when they were that age..

you are doing just fine. stop doubting yourself.. :)

I'm sorry, I didn't have time to read all the other fab comments....

I may have mentioned before, I have five kids.

So firstly - all children are different, so may well have different reasons/triggers/situations for tantruming.

I've found two things usually work pretty good...
not ignoring exactly, but once i've tryed to help and that's been rebuffed, I accept that they want to scream for a bit. I feel that way my self sometimes! I will step in if I feel they're just shouting to anoy people, or direct them to a safe area like the toilet or their bedroom if they are hitting out or throwing stuff.

also, if tantrums start happening, especially in the 2-5yrold I will make sure I offer AS MANY choices between two things as HUMANLY POSSIBLE the rest of the day, even if it gets to the point where it feels ridicolous. THis seems to be a pretty good preventative measure as tantruming is often (not always) but often to do with a general frustration and feeling of lack of power, rather than a or even the specific situation - or it is with my boys, anyway.

also with older ones, we do talk (at other, calmer times) about communication and chill out techniques, etc.

I'm a great believer in, if you are telling kids that a behaviour is not exceptable, you need to tell/show them how to do what they want in a way that IS exceptable.

You did the absolute right thing! The fun part is you get to do it over and over and over again! Gotta' be consistent so pick an approach you can deal with.

Hi Beth, unfortunately I don't have any children yet, so I can't help with the tantrums. I do have a question for you though, I've been reading your website for quite some time do you attract more readers to your website? I started mine recently but am not sure how to "put myself out there" so to speak. Would be glad to hear any tips, thanks!!

I go back to something an older woman told me when I first had my baby..."Kids need hugs the most when they deserve them the least"...helps me remember they are little people and when I want to hang my son out the window, I remember...maybe he really needs a hug...amazingly it works most times...don't get me wrong I'm not that nice all the time...I'm only human...

I've been a nanny for more than half my life (I'm so old!) and the one thing that has worked for all my little muffins is to firmly state that you may throw the tantrum for as long as you want, but you will have to do it by yourself in your room. I put the child in his/her room, tell them to come out when they are finished, and shut the door. I have had a few that I had to keep returning to their rooms until they understood the system, but other than that it's very effective. Kids feel like they've gotten their emotions out but don't reap any rewards for the outburst.

In public, I use something I simply call the side hold, which is uncomfortable for the child, but won't harm them in any way. If you want to know more about that, feel free to email me. This method is also great for toning the entire arm, which is a definite bonus.

Huh, Mia does that to? I thought the suggestion of hosing the kid down wasn't too bad... but DSS might not like that. I usually have to walk away once I've tried my best to solve the problem, else I lose my cool.

Other than that, I have no idea...

I thought of you the other day, and realized it'd been too long since I'd visited your site. Sorry I've been MIA... I'll have to catch you up sometime.

I would do exactly what you did. When they're like that NOTHING you do is going to fix it. I remember that age, and sometimes you just have to bulldoze your way through and say, wow I'm sorry your having such a hard time, but you need to get dressed (or fill in the blank meltdown) so here we go. I honestly think that sometimes it's our mindset they respond to the most. When they know, "hey, things are going to go this way, you can respond however you want" that's what helps them pull it together.

I'm slightly behind on reading your blog and actually commenting so um sorry for the late addition. I realize the post was about tantrums and not the clothing, but if this story helps in the future great. If not, well now you'll know about another weird kid I know. I was a nanny for a fabulously quirky 4 year old kid before my preschool teaching days and he would only wear turtle necks and long pants. We were in NC for a summer thing and no one could get him to wear anything else. When we were home (I was living with them for the summer) he would be fine in underwear. But outside in the 80 bajillion degree heat and humidity, turtlenecks and long pants.

We found out later that he thought the turtlenecks would protect him from strangers who would steal him. He had heard something about stranger danger in school and in his mind that was going to be his armor. Sometimes the kiddos come up with the usual reasons for not wearing clothes (itchy, tags, turtlenecks choking) but sometimes there is a awesomely bizarre reason. So if clothing happens to be a reason for another tantrum here's another strange possibility why she might not like it that day. Or she just doesn't like the color. :-)

Ah, yes. The tantrums. I SO remember those.

I used to put Jake in his room and shut the door, just like you did. Mostly because he could go full tilt for a solid 2 hours. In public, I'd do the "scoop and dash", meaning I'd just scoop him up and make for the car. He really only tantrumed in public when there was a transition and it was time to go home. I wrote about it here...

Tantrums are HARD.

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