Monday, February 25, 2008

the temper of a child

Sophie, in all her cuteness, with her plump belly and darling toddler-speak, with her smile that shows her teeth and her snuggly, cuddly hugs, has decided to throw temper tantrums.

I know why.

They're always at the same time of day. 5:00, after we pick her up from day care and get her home. She's tired and she's hungry, and she's unwinding after her day at school. Rationally, I understand why she is acting the way she is - she doesn't know the words to communicate what she wants, and that's making the assumption that even SHE knows what she wants.

But still. I'm at a loss.

I let her throw them. Kick and scream on the floor. Follow me around clinging to my leg. She won't let me pick her up or put her down; she wants both. She refuses to eat in her high chair. This is an obvious problem since her hunger is fueling the tantrum. So do I let her starve to teach her a lesson, or do I succumb and feed her on my lap to get her some food? Argh.

It's no fun, but it's normal and I accept that. Right now what I'm looking for is advice. Can anyone share things that have worked for them?


Unknown said...

Aww sweetie, you know I have NO advice, but you are a wonderful mother, and what you do will work out for you and Sophie both!


Dan said...

Perseverance. Or, you could do what we did when Veronica hit that stage, and keep a Disney movie paused and ready to play at all times, because that distracts her from the tantrum long enough for her to calm down on her own.

Strangeite said...

I have suggested hourly beatings; but, not only has Anna vetoed this, apparently it is illegal as well.

kclblogs said...

i know that with greta there is a point of no return, where she will not accept any type of consolation from us. she'll get to the point where she's beyond help. she's older than sophie, but what i usually end up telling her in a calm voice is, "i would be happy to hold you right now, but i need you to calm down." i realize this probably doesn't work with a 1 year old. we've also learned over the years that with both our kids, food ALWAYS helps. we always try to get food in our kids at meltdown times, because the mood shift is incredible. also, i think her state of mind and age make it so she's not able to learn a lesson from it. so, i guess what i'm saying is i think the best you can do is offer her comfort and nourishment. it IS normal, like you said, but remember it's also scary for the child to lose control like that.

Rachel said...

Seeing as how both my husband AND my eldest have food related meltdowns, I have learned to carry around preemptive snacks. Like, when I pick Ella up from preschool there is a snack sitting in her carseat, waiting for her to gobble it down.

If I'm at home, and Ella is melting down, I often try to sit on the floor, near where she is, and just quietly wait. Not always, but often she will eventually make her way over to me and, when she's got everything out, she'll sit on my lap. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we move on.

Hang in always seems like there's an ebb and flow to these things.

AnnaMarie said...

Thank you all for your advice. I am so grateful to my blogging community!

Claire said...

Hear. You. Cluckin'! Since we're raising children the same age, I can totally identify what you're going through. I've found what USUALLY works (not always) is protein snacks and poetry. When Ben starts throwing a fit or I see one starting to fester, I get a snack of protein ready (turkey, almond butter and apple, string cheese, etc) and start reading out loud so he can hear me. It's usually a favorite poem where he interacts, too and that seems to help.

But, not always. That's just the nature of the 1.5 year old... as you know. :)

Rae said...

I echo much of the advice here, I'm not sure I beleive in the whole "don't give them snacks before supper, it will ruin their appetite" mentality. Kids, just like us, know when they're melting down and need food. I certainly know that when I'm crashing, I can't get to a piece of turkey or cheese or apple soon enough. My body craves it. My body needs it. So do they. So a snack on the way home from work/school could help.
That said, you WILL have tempertantrums. (Lauryn occasionally still throws them... although for different reasons now.) But I've learned that fits have to be dealt with in different ways. Owen (when he was that age) would tire easily, get bored with his frustration and move on to something else. I just waited him out, offered love and compasion at the end of the fit, did some deep breaths with him and moved on. Lauryn, on the other hand, I think could go on for hours and hours if we let her. This girl has some stamina and determination that I hope one day will be very useful to her. But when she throws a fit, love and cuddling and "I'm here for you, let's work this out" type behavior helped.
This stage is tough. And I remember advice my mother-in-law once gave: sometimes you just have to walk away, or even take a step outside, get a deep breath, collect yourself, and go back to the situation. You'll often make the right parenting decision, once you've taken a moment for a bit of mental clarity.
Good luck!! (And remember.. you're a great mom!!)

Claire said...

So, after I wrote my little paragraph of ideas I wrote last night, Ben had a tantrum (overly tired). I tried my way and lo' n behold, it didn't work that time. Luckily, I had just read this post, took some of Katie's advice (sit on the floor and calmly talk with him) and looked up "tantrums" in my Dr. Sears Baby Book and he slowly calmed down. It's so hard at this age, because they don't understand everything we're saying, so it looks like we're big, bad wolves taking things away/not letting them do things and NOTHING works. I think the communication bit is the hardest. I'm HOPING when he understands language more, that will help A LOT. It won't cure the tantrums, but it's just one more thing to help, you know?

Tough, tough age, but SO fun all the same!

kristin said...

all i can say is that if you are giving this part of life this much thought, you will find the answer within you.

i truly believe this.

and it is a little positive self talk as i work to care for a VERY feisty eliza.