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Thread: Tantrums in a 1 year old

  1. #1

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    Default Tantrums in a 1 year old

    Since my DS turned one just over a week ago he has been having tantrums all day everyday! It really has just come out of nowhere, I didn't think he'd turn into a toddler so fast!
    I'm not sure how to deal with his tantrums. Seeing he is only one am I supposed to comfort him, let him have/do what he wants, ignore the behaviour?
    Someone has suggested putting him in time out - I thought he would be too young for this? Plus it doesn't seem like it would help him.
    Please help! I'm in over my head at the moment


  2. #2

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    Hi Hun, the toddler stuff hits fast huh? I'm not ready for a toddler either, I was just getting the hang of this baby stuff!

    Reading "The Science of Parenting" I discovered that there are types of tantrums and how we manage them is different. There is a "Distress" tantrum that is a meltdown due to emotional reasons like disappointment (mum told me I couldn't do something and i really, really wanted to do it, I'm so disappointed), boredom, tiredness, etc and the "Little Nero" tantrum that is all about manipulation and control (I want a biscuit, I WANT a BISCUIT, now, now, I want a BISCUUUUUIIIIITTT). The trick is trying to work out which type of tantrum is in play before deciding how to deal with it. Your little one is at an age where he wants to do so much more than he is capable of doing so I imagine that most of his tantrums are coming from frustration and are distress tantrums.

    Distress tantrums need love, empathy, soothing and cuddles. The little one's immature brain is flooded with stress chemicals and needs your help to calm down. Even when they dont seem to want it! Calm voice, lots of "oh darling, I know, you're very upset about that, it's ok to be upset, you're okay little man, mummy loves you", cuddles, cuddles, cuddles.

    Pick your battles too, if its something that you can live with, maybe you can let him win one or two. Never loose a battle over safety.

    Little Nero tantrums are dealt with by ignoring the behaviour.

    Hope that helps, for more info, maybe try and get "The Science of Parenting" out from your library.

  3. #3

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    DD has been throwing mini tantrums since she was about 10 months old! She spent most of this morning throwing one..because I wouldn't let her crawl onto DF's bedside table to play with the money on there! Her worst one was in Officeworks earlier this week, she wanted to get down and started crying because I wouldn't put her on the floor, so then I did put her down and she threw herself face down and started screaming

    I find distraction works well most of the time, if I ask her if she can see any birds outside (if we're near a window or outside) or where is Mason (our dog) and she cheers up pretty quickly. Or I tell her in a bright & chirpy voice what we're going to do next. if that doesn't work, then I just try and ignore her and finish what I was trying to do (if we are out).

    I definitely wouldn't be trying time out just yet...there is no way when he has just turned one that he would understand what it means, and most tantrums are over minor things that aren't about "bad behaviour", it's just their way of coping as they are learning boundaries.

  4. #4

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    It's way too early for time out. The tantrums are normal as distressing as they are. He is trying to communicate with you and when the cue is missed he gets upset. It does get better. Watch for his actions as it begins you might be able to work out what he is watching by his hand movements etc.

  5. #5

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    I'm not a fan of time out either, and since they aren't really young enough to understand an explanation, it's hardly worth it.
    Distract, redirect, rechannel the energy.
    I have been lucky with my two that when they are having a barney because they want something, I pick them up and move them from where they are and put them somewhere safe and tell them to let me know when they're done. When they're finished we just move on. I know this doesn't work for everyone (my sisters kids for example have no idea what you're talking about), but it works for us.
    Neither of my kids will let you touch or cuddle them when they're going off - it just makes them worse, so we've just adapted to using voice and letting them calm themselves down.
    At this age they're learning to understand what we are communicating but they still haven't mastered the return communication properly and that's frustrating.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your replies girls

    Winter - Thanks for that! I think he is having distress tantrums too. Poor things, it must be so hard on them not being able to communicate. I'll have a look for the book you mentioned - sounds very informative. I do let him win some but wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not!

    SS - Distraction sounds like it'd be very effective, will try that more. No I didn't think time out was appropriate either. I don't think he is trying to be naughty so was surprised when someone mentioned it to me.

    Black rose - Thanks, I agree that time out wouldn't be effective. I'll try to catch some of his cues - though they do seem to come outta nowhere lol!

    Kim - Yes it must be frustrating for them. DS often just pushes against me when I comfort him too. Depends on whats upset him I guess!

    Thanks for all your tips girls! And thanks for reassuring me on the topic of time out

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Kim~ View Post

    I have been lucky with my two that when they are having a barney because they want something, I pick them up and move them from where they are and put them somewhere safe and tell them to let me know when they're done. When they're finished we just move on. I know this doesn't work for everyone (my sisters kids for example have no idea what you're talking about), but it works for us.
    Neither of my kids will let you touch or cuddle them when they're going off - it just makes them worse, so we've just adapted to using voice and letting them calm themselves down.
    At this age they're learning to understand what we are communicating but they still haven't mastered the return communication properly and that's frustrating.
    I could have said the exact same thing as you Kim My DD is the same. Depending on the 'type' of tantrum she is having, I make sure she is safe and I say to her "when you're ready, come and give me a hug please, Mummy wants a hug" and I will sit there in front of her and wait for her to come to me and she usually does and wants a big hug afterwards when she's calmed down!! She knows I will wait for her.
    I also tell DD what I am feeling or would like her to do instead of just ignoring her (sometimes ignoring is best tho just depends!!) like I'll say "I can't let you have that as it's not safe, I'm sorry you're so upset" and empathise with her.

    I do think that the idea of the naughty corner is a great idea but for a child this age, I think, IMO, that they are too young for that. I don't think it would be very affective for this age group. Maybe from 2.5-3yrs?

    I'm reading "the science of parenting" and it really explains how tantrums develop and why. It's really great read.

  8. #8

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    I agree with SS, I am the queen of distractions

    I was actually talking to DF about this earlier saying DD was at her worst with tantrums and generally being quite tiring around 13-16 months but she was really quite easy going and even reasonable from 18 months on. We're nearly halfway through the two's and *touchwood* haven't experience the "terrible two's"! I really do think we had them back when she was one, so hopefully this is the case for you too!!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poppetty View Post
    We're nearly halfway through the two's and *touchwood* haven't experience the "terrible two's"! I really do think we had them back when she was one, so hopefully this is the case for you too!!
    Ohhh that would be nice!! Lol. I don't think that will be the case for us...my mum told me I was the queen of tantrum throwing when I was little, so I think DD might be paying me back for all the grief I caused my mum

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