Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Dealing with Temper Tantrums - A response

What can I say, apart from a great big thank you obviously.  The blogging and Internet community has done it again and come to my aid.

I have had some fantastic comments on my post about minimads temper issues and one thing I am sure of it that it will pass, all of your comments has made me sure of this.  It seems that I am not alone in experiencing this and if others can get through it then so can I.

The comments were so good and insightful I felt that they deserved a post of their own, that way if anyone else is going though this, they can see them all.

I have been advised to stay icily calm by Some Mothers Do Ave Em and Pink Milk is Yummy agrees this is a good start, I am not sure I can manage icy, but I have been working on the calm. Cyrstal jigsaw confirms that this is a key point in dealing with her child too.

Emily at Babyrambles suggests a reward chart, as does Snafflesmummy and The ramblings of an everyday mummy, so I have decided to set down what behaviour will mean thatminimad gets more points and in our house points make more buying power at mummys shop.

Fraught Mummy finds that letting everyone know what is coming well in advance of it actually happening can be helpful.  So there is a constant - in 10 minutes we are going to leave to go to nursery - in 5 minutes we are going to have to put our boots on.  This is a tactic that Pink Milk is Yummy uses too.

Cathy at Nuturestore suggests having a chart detailing expectations in pictures.

So this is my action list:
  • Set realistic expectations of Mini, clearly letting him know what I need and expect og him.
  • Reinforce and reward good behaviour with points and attention
  • Learn to recognise flash points and avoid them or distract mini (ie wellies, he hates wellies)
  • Give timescales
  • Give choices, not lots, just one or two
  • See if I can find a physical outlet for his temper
  • Be firm
  • Be calm
  • Be CONSISTANT
Some of the mummys with older children have been there and done that and just knowing that fantastic mum's like Penny, Suzie, Amberlife and Pomona have all been through similar is something of a relief.

So thank you friends for all your insightful and helpful comments.  Thank you for the support, for the hugs and for the camaraderie.  Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone. 

If all else fails there is always chocolate!






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14 comments:

SnafflesMummy said...

glad you got lots of suggestions and have an action plan. Feeling calm and in control is half the battle.

I hope you begin to see some progress.

THanks for the mention.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Good luck with it! It is so tough, but do keep in mind that it is just a phase and it will pass. Do you remember all those sleepless nights as a baby and you thought you would never sleep more than 3 hours again? It passes. The nappy phase - potty training - goes on for what seems like decades and then suddenly it is all gone. It passes. This will too. Doesn't make it any easier of course! Big hugs, a virtual cup of tea whenever you want it.

bad penny said...

lovely post - I'm glad you had a lot of support. You'll find some days are easier than others so sit down & have a cup of tea - the Alixier of life ( or something ) ! Good Luck xx

bekimarie said...

Chocolate may not solve all our problems but it does help ;)
Even though the little man is a bit younger, i'm going to try the reward chart with bed times.
He will not go to bed and most nights sneaks in with us (although I have to confess to quite liking that).
Glad you seem to be feeling much more positive today.

Take care
Beki xxx

Floss said...

I didn't see yesterday's post, but I've just had a look now and I feel for you, because yes, we've been there too! The advice you've summed up here is so good - aren't bloggers wonderful?

One thing I found is that my younger son's tantrums hardly bother me - they seem to be about such pointless things, and I have usually been able to remain cool and un-involved.

With Son 1, though, it's always been the opposite - he 'presses my buttons' as an ADHD teacher I worked with used to say. Somehow we are so alike that his tantrums spark off the same anger in me, so I've found it much harder to deal with.

Thus it's probably good to realise that your similarity to your son may be making it harder for you to react calmly - if you KNOW that then it's half the battle, I think.

I like what you say about giving lots of time warnings and a few limited choices. They are very useful tactics to head off a tantrum in the first place.

Have a great day, and, yes, it is just a phase!

Annie said...

it sounds like a good plan.

Having a now 19 year old son who my mum called Satan because of his vile temper tantrums at the slightest thing up until the age of 9 (yes 9!!) I really can empathise with you. I also have a little fireball in my 4 year old daughter, but she's easier to deal with.

I have to say that a couple of the suggestions that you've had worked very well for me. time out was a waste of time as I ended up covered in bruises and crying a lot.

The star chart is a miracle worker and I still use it now. We've just gone through an episode where my daughter wouldn't go upstairs for a wee by herself (she has a naughty brain that tells her bugs are in the bathroom apparently), so out came the trusty old star chart and even for a 4 and a half year old, it worked a treat once more.

The other thing I always do is the 5 minute warning. In 5 minutes were are going to... in 5 minutes it's time to get ready for bed... in 5 minutes you are going to bed... you can have 5 more minutes playing whatever and then.... she always has prior warning and it works really well for us.

One other piece of advice I'd offer is if it's getting out of hand and you are about to explode.. walk away... outside if you have to. Give yourself a couple of minutes to calm down (cry) etc and then go back in having taken a deep breath and get down to his level, on your knees if need be, look him in the eye and speak calmly to him. I know it all sounds great on paper (blog screen?) but really, good luck. He will get through it and you'll both come out the other side alive..

pinkmilkisyummy said...

I'm glad the advice was helpful for you. It was good to see what other people do. I think one of the best things for my soul was realising that other people's children are just as bad, or worse. It seems to make it easier to know that I'm not alone. And remember that if it happens in public, at least half of the parents around are just thinking "Thank heaven it's not me today."
Good luck!

It's a Mummys Life said...

Thanks for publishing that list of expectations. I will be using it. My 2 year old girl is starting on her tantrums and I'll get them with the baby in a year or so too. SO thanks for compiling this. Most helpful.
I hope you feel better too. As someone else said, staying or at least feeling in control is part of the battle I find. x

The Dotterel said...

That's a pretty good list... Ever thought of writing a book? Only Gina Ford's star seems on the wane at the moment!

A Modern Mother said...

Three cheers for mumosphere!

Liz (LivingwithKids) said...

Brilliant sound advice - it can be so frustrating but being consistent in how you deal with them is exactly the right step. Good luck!

Pomona said...

I always remember that my mother in law (a children's nurse) said to me, 'Don't ask a question if you don't want to know the answer' - it took me a while before I understood it, but she was quite right really! She had 3 naughty boys so she was quite wise about these things. And the bit from Annie about walking away is a good one - it reminded me that once or twice when it was all too much, I hid under the bed in our bedroom, it was the only place in the house that I could find to go to where the boys couldn't find me! Although it only worked when they were quite small - and you know, it all went completely quiet in 5 minutes, I had 5 or 10 minutes peace, and when I guiltily came out they were playing quite happily on their own!

Pomona x

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Consider yourself tagged over at mine for the songs and stories meme... you can't escape that easily!

TheMadHouse said...

Just a little update, being consistant is really the key isnt it. simple, but such hard work at the same time!!

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