temper temper – advice please

We’ve been dealing with some tantrum issues for a few months now, mostly born out of frustration when things don’t go Sprocket’s way or he’s told ‘no’. These have mostly been fairly quick to come and go, usually involving him sitting down where ever he is and banging his head on the ground and screaming. He is a very stubborn and willful kid to say the least!

We’ve kept them under control by trying to stay calm, removing him from the cause and giving him a car or toy to play with as a distraction. At our last plunket visit, the nurse said that it wasn’t uncommon for the terrible twos to start early like this and that his brain development is probably at that point then/now.

How old were your children when you started using timeouts? Are there any other techniques that you think worked or are worthwhile trying?

Things have ramped up a little in that department here, we’ve had our fair share of grumpy days which is exacerbated by getting his last 3 front teeth and starting on his molars all in the space of the last 3 weeks.  So with tiredness and pain comes tantrums. What has changed is that he’s moved on from simply reactionary. Before he might have lashed out if we said or did something that offended him, but when we laid him on the ground and distracted him he would mostly snap out of it. In the last week though he has started looking for something else to do that he knows is naughty. He will lie there looking around the room until he spies something, and unfortunately at the moment it is usually our sleeping dog who he then makes a beeline for and whacks. It’s a vicious circle because they say the best thing is to ignore/distract but we can’t have him beating up on our animals either (for their sakes and his).

When he did this one day last week I took him out to the hallway and laid him on his back out there. He wasn’t happy with me at all and tried to smack me then lay there screaming for a minute or so before coming back into the lounge and playing with his toys again. It worked well, the door was open and he could see me the whole time so he wasn’t being held there but it did give him the space to sort himself out. It hit me though that it may not be long before we’re heading into the real discipline side of things. I think he’s too young yet (16 months today) for time outs but he is definitely starting to understand cause (his behaviour) and effect and has proven this by looking for more naughty things to do when he is growled so it might not be as far away as we think.

We also had our first breath holding tantrum on Saturday. We’d been out at the park and he had got wet so had to be changed when we got home. Well, Sprocket thought he was being put to bed and wasn’t having a bar of it..he was MAD. So there I was trying to undress him and change his  nappy as quickly as possible when things went silent. I looked at his face and it was a blueish/gray colour and covered in blotches. Luckily I’d read about this, because it would have been damn scary otherwise! I blew on his face which snapped him back a bit but he did it again so I quickly got his nappy done up and took him back down to the lounge to finish dressing him. He was a bit subdued after that! Turns out instinctually that was the right way to deal with it, without making a big deal of it, so hopefully he won’t try it again or at least not often seeing as he didn’t get a reaction.

Oh, such fun!


About Tui

30-something kiwi-lesbian-stay at home-Mama, raising our toddler son with my wife, two cats and one dog.
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3 Responses to temper temper – advice please

  1. strawberry says:

    We started time-outs around 15 or 16 months. At the time they begin to understand cause and effect, it seems to work. You do something bad, you get a warning. You do it again, you get a time out. Very easy. A few months later, he knew a warning meant he better stop, and the threat of a time out worked well. Sometimes he even put himself in a time out! It’s just a minute per year, and we used a stair. These days we do a count to 3, and if we get to 3 he gets a time out. This gives him a little time to think about and correct his behavior if he chooses.

  2. we started time-outs around that age (thought i can’t say it has stopped tantrums all together). sometimes everyone just needs a few minutes to cool-off!
    the breath-holding sounds scary; i’ll keep my fingers crossed he won’t try it again!

  3. tbean says:

    Oh man, I’ve read about the breath-holding and it truly terrified me, I cannot imagine witnessing it! We’ve started time-outs here (18 months) but I don’t think they get them _at all_ so far. So it’s really just for the moms to get into the practice of instituting them and for the boys to see that they are happening. Discipline between ages 1 and 2 is so hard because they are so so young for any real discipline but plenty old enough to misbehave purposefully. I recently, for lack of anywhere to contain him, have started putting Tiny in his high chair when he is really in trouble on the first floor (like touching the stove knobs while I’m cooking). It contains him, stops the behavior, and works as a re-set. But yeah, we talk a lot about discipline here too and are mostly at loose ends.

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