Thursday, October 21, 2010

Toddler Tantrum Day

The sweetest words I've heard all day: "Night night, mommy!" It was only 6:45pm but after the day we've had, I was more than pleased to kiss my monster pumpkin to bed! Of course now that I'm "off the clock" the day doesn't seem quite so terrible in retrospect but in the moment, it was ROUGH! Today I had daydreams of wine and visions of margaritas which were wonderful coping mechanisms prior to the pregnancy of baby #2 so now I've got to find new ways to unwind from toddler tantrum days.

Help me out here moms..... Parker is 18 months old (19 tomorrow). He was an angel until 13 months when he started walking and he's progressively getting worse (15 months and 18 months have been by far the most difficult). My pediatrician told me everything he does is completely normal for his age BUT that doesn't mean I'm particularly enjoying these "developmental milestones" as he so eloquently put it. It's hard to comprehend that throwing himself in the grass because I turned the cozy coupe away from the street is a developmental milestone but apparently it is. Changing diapers is once again a fight as is putting clothes on, taking them off and washing his hands. Strangers shouldn't even look at him because he flips... much less touch him. We get paged out of church on a weekly basis and he no longer participates in activities at MyGym if they're facilitated by a teacher other than the female (who is a friend of mine). If he doesn't want to go in the car, he arches his back. If I tell him "no, we're not vacuuming right now" (more on that in another post), he throws himself on the floor, beating on the door the coat closet. I believe I'm essentially looking for a non existent way to skip these lovely developmental milestones and go back to hugs and laughs which have been replaced with "NOO WAY's", screams, "mine's," "give me's" and kicks.

He is; however, a polite tantrum thrower. Today he yelled to me "NO maam!" after I told him "no sir" for pulling up the lights around the walkway. The 8 times his hiney landed in the time out chair today he immediately said "sorry" and then got up (at which time he was put BACK in the chair because he wasn't sorry... he just knows he has to say it). 

I've got to give him a little credit... he's USUALLY a good kid. Most days we have "bad minutes." Essentially, scattered throughout the day we have some rough patches but the hours of good minutes totally make up for them! I don't know what triggers the toddler tantrum days but when it happens... look out! It's a whole day of battles to accomplish anything!

Help me out here moms.... is this what I have to look forward to for a while? If so, when does it END?!? How do I stop this behavior when it starts? Any idea of what triggers it? Parent's magazine cracks me up. "Just sit there with your child while they throw the tantrum".... "They'll finish this phase around age 4."... "You just have a strong willed, assertive child. You're raising a leader!"  AHH... none of that is helpful! I'm officially open for mommy advice! Help me!!!!!


  1. Im going through the same thing with my 19 month old. He's taken a liking to smacking me in the face if I am holding him when he gets mad...he hits hard too! I try to ignore him when he acts like this because he is looking for a reaction. Though be warned, my 3 1/2 year is wayyyyyyyyy worse. She knows how to use her words in a mean way and the tantrums are far more dramatic. She screamed" i hate you" to me while running down the hall to her room and slamming the door. All because i sent her there for pushing her brother. Being a parent is tough!

  2. I hear boys go through this stage faster but furious than girls do. Girls tend to be dramatic longer but less aggressive about it. I also think girls are better about vocalizing how they feel and boys scream, kick and yell. I guess we'll see if that is the case for us!

  3. Oh, welcome to the preface of "Terrible Two's" and "Trying Three's". Rest assured, it does get better in time. As Parker gets older and learns new words, he'll be able to better communicate to you why he's mad or frustrated. I think that's where the majority of tantrums come from. For instance, he doesn't understand why it's not okay to drive his car in the street. He sees other cars on the street and wants to imitate that. Furthermore, he has no concept of safety.

    My advice, continue to remain consistent with your discipline. It WILL pay off. Kids crave consistency (even if they don't act like it).

    As far as the things he pitching fits over (i.e. getting dressed, washing hands, etc.), give him a couple of choices. Kids want to feel like they have a voice. So, if he's getting dressed, lay out 2 or 3 options and let him choose what he wants to wear. When it's time to wash his hands, tell him either he can stand on a stool or you can hold him. Again, he has a choice and the end result is the same ... his hands are clean.

    Of course, as a mom, I know that there are some things that he won't have a choice in. In those areas, I encourage you to remain firm with Parker and in time, he'll learn. If he decides to pitch a fit, my parental suggestion is to put him in his room, close the door and walk out. Let him know that you'll be happy to talk to him when he calms down. When he does settle down, don't forget to follow through and discuss with him why his behavior is unacceptable (by the way, I use that word a lot when talking to my kids). Always, always, always end your discussions with a big hug and "I LOVE YOU!!!"

    And that, dear Taylor, is my Mommy Advice. Take it or leave it. Good luck!!!

  4. Thank you Thank you! Helpful advice! :) Today our only "disagreement" has been over taking off his PJs and putting on play clothes. It's been a MUCH better day. I'll start giving him choices (some days! haha!). You know how I am about his fashion! If it were up to him, he'd wear his PJs and furry crocs all day! Thank you again! Your advice was well received and helpful! I'll "take it!"