Friday, August 13, 2010

I Will Not Negotiate with Terrorists

My child has turned into a tiny, tantrum throwing terrorist. At first I thought it was funny, even kind of cute. Well it's not anymore. She yells and screams, arches her back and throws herself around on the floor. When I take something away from her that she can't have, like garbage, when she tries to steal another kid's toy like a big bully, when she needs to get strapped into her car seat/stroller when she'd rather be walking around.

Now I understand that it sucks having to do something you don't want to do and I wish I could throw a tantrum every time I need to make dinner when I'd rather be watching TV or when I really want a pair of shoes that I just can't afford. So I get her frustration, but sometimes I need her to sit in her car seat, like when I'm driving and sometimes I need her to not try to play with garbage, ya know, for sanitary reasons.

So what do you do with a toddler who's being a giant tantrum throwing pain in the ass? Not quite sure, but distraction works the best for me. Anything to take her away from what is currently pissing her off. A sippy cup in the car seat. A cookie when she can't take a toy away from another kid. Sometimes there's nothing I can do so she just needs to sit in her stroller and wail. I'm only afraid that by distracting her I'm rewarding her terroristic behavior.

I don't want to have to deal with a child who throws themselves on the floor in public. I just hope I'm doing the right thing by her.

post signature


bluewhitelife said...

Distraction works best for teaching, but it only lasts so long. I'm not sure the best method for teaching kids "um, yea, can you stop playing with the garbage? kthx." I'll refer you to though, because her Ollie is giving her a bit of tantrum trouble too. Maybe you two can work it out together! Good luck!

Lil'Misa said...

I don't know what to do either. DH and I have talked about this because we use the distraction method as well. I've read that kids throw tantrums most when they are tired and/or hungry. The best thing is to avoid either and maybe, just maybe they won't throw as many tantrums. IDK.

Lynn said...

I don't really have an answer either, but I think you're on the right track. One of the women I work with has a daughter that's 24. Until the age of 17, this girl would throw herself on the floor and have an all out tantrum if she didn't get her way. Seventeen! I think as long as you continue the way you're going, she'll be fine.

Desi said...

I am dealing with the same thing! It has to be the age. She definitley throws more tantrums when she's tired or hungry but she doesn't discriminate, any time, any place will do for her. If I'm around a lot of people I tend to distract her and when we are home I don't try as hard to distract her, but instead tell her "no" and ignore her behavior. Who knows really what the best is, but it sounds like you at least have a method you're using and thats a start right?!

Babes Mami said...

No advice...helpful right? But I will come back and see who says what because we are only in the mini fit stage, a little grunt maybe a stomp and we ignore it (as much as we can) but I don't want a terrorist in my future either!

misssrobin said...

I'm going to offer advice, which is not something I usually do.

I have five kids and the youngest is 12. So I've been through this a time or two. And I tried everything.

It is an age thing. It will pass. But that doesn't make it any easier on you now.

Pick your battles -- if it really doesn't matter and you just want her to be obedient then it's not worth it. Plus she isn't really learning anything except how to let others tell her what to do; not something you want her doing at 16 on a date.

If it does matter (security or something) be firm and don't feel bad. Understand your motivations.

The main thing, however, is to remember that she doesn't know how to deal with the emotions she is feeling. She isn't doing this to be difficult or to take revenge for something, she's just trying to navigate her way through her frustration. If you can find ways to talk to her and be understanding, even while enforcing what's necessary, she'll learn that there is a calm way through frustration. It's incredibly difficult to do in the heat of the moment.

But is it so important to be on time somewhere that it's worth a screaming match with your child?

Motivation matters. Be mindful or yours and hers and it will help.

Good luck!

Jen said...

Distractions are good but I just try and ignore the tantrums. This is easier at home but sometimes in the store, you just have to strap them in the cart, and go along your way, with screaming.

Quixotic said...

Distraction is good if you use it to head of the tany, but once they're in "full flight" it rarely works. I found that sometimes I could pick her up and get her attention, talking calmly to her, and get her to copy my breathing to calm down, but if that failed and she went "DefCon 5", if I didn't react, stayed calm and continued on like she wasn't there, it peetered out pretty quickly. Once she had stopped throwing herself all over the place, I would give her a cuddle and explain why I had said No or whatever set the tanty off. Then we would have a cuddle and I'd bring her round with some raspberries, kisses, tickles etc until she was laughing again.

The important thing is to try and NEVER let the tantrum get her what she wanted. So far I've been able to stick to my guns, but the few times her Dad has relented to save his sanity, it has meant SOOOOOOO much more work, as she learnt that tantys work, you just have to scream louder and longer!! But even that can be un-taught with consistency and calmness in the weeks following.

Hang in there!!!

Janet said...

My two cents: You are doing exactly the right thing. It is normal for toddlers to throw fits, but you don't have to tolerate it (and shouldn't).

Distraction is a great way to stop the behavior without becoming a crazy person constantly telling your kid what NOT to do.

It will get easier as she matures, I promise. (Then it will get worse when she becomes a teenager. lol)

Post a Comment

Have at it...and I will respond to all comments here so check back often to stay in the conversation.