Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oh what have I gotten myself into...

Today I am going to share with you some ugly truths & honesty... something I have never said out loud before today... but before I do, if you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my post for help this morning.

"Can someone please tell me- How do you deal with a yelling toddler? I want to yell back and tell him to stop yelling but obviously thats not right lol. What do you do? He is 20 months old and seems to yell about everything- Help!"

It has been a trying time for me lately. My son just turned 20 months and I would say around 19 months he turned into a whiner but just recently a screamer/yeller. He has these short little tantrums about anything and everything and I don't know where they came from.  I feel like a failure, like I somehow made him this way. What did I do wrong,  how did we get here?

I have never felt so out of control. Being a wife, mother and SAHM has always been my dream job! It wasn't until today that I wondered if I am actually cut out for this.  I have never questioned this before. I mean, I've had my moments of concern and wondered how I would handle things but I never doubted my ability to be a good mom before. Please,  don't get me wrong, I love and adore my son and still want 3 more crazy kids running around {insert crazy smile} but I have got to get better at this! How do I be tough and gentle, quiet and loud, a playmate and a mommy, as well as a housekeeper, friend, blogger, etsy shop owner, daughter, sister, neighbor and devoted wife? I want to be all these things and I want to be/do them well! However, I struggle. Today I couldn't handle the noise. So while my son had a movie playing, I put in my headphones. I needed a moment of peace. I was right there with him, but I needed a mommy moment. I needed something other than Baby Einstein and kid whining. I needed a short, two song getaway. {It was fabulous by the way! No matter how horrible it sounds}

I know these moments won't last forever, but for right now it sure seems like forever and I'm not sure I know how to handle it.  I want to be the best mom and "teacher" I can be for my son (and future kids) but right now it feels alike I am failing....

...After my son went down for his nap I took some time to "research" {aka google} his tantrums. There certainly is a lot of information out there. Some I'm aware of, some not so much, and others were great reminders!
Here are some things I found. I hope you find these helpful too if you are going through anything like this.

"This may feel like the last thing you want to do when your kid is freaking out, but it really can help her settle down," Levy says. "I'm talking about a big, firm hug, not a supercuddly one. And don't say a word when you do it -- again, you'd just be entering into a futile battle of wills. Hugs make kids feel secure and let them know that you care about them, even if you don't agree with their behavior." Cartwright Holecko, of Neenah, Wisconsin, finds that it helps: "Sometimes I think they just need a safe place to get their emotions out."

Offer Food or Suggest a Little R&R
"Being tired and hungry are the two biggest tantrum triggers," says Levy. Physically, the kid is already on the brink, so it won't take much emotionally to send him over. "Parents often come to me wondering why their child is having daily meltdowns. And it turns out they're happening around the same time each day -- before lunch or naptime and in the early evening. It's no coincidence! My advice: feed them, water them, and let them veg -- whether that means putting them to bed or letting them watch a little TV." Think how cranky you get when you miss out on sleep or your blood sugar hits rock bottom, he says. With young kids, who have greater sleep and food needs, the effect is magnified tenfold. 

Speak Calmly
This is a biggie -- and is much easier said than done. But experts insist you must keep your cool during a child's tantrum. "Otherwise, you'll get into a power struggle and make the whole thing escalate. Plus, part of the reason kids resort to tantrums is to get attention," Dr. Hoecker says. "They don't care if it's positive or negative attention they're getting. All they care about is that you're giving them 100 percent of it." Levy agrees, and adds: "Talking in a soothing voice shows your child that you're not going to let her behavior get to you. It also helps you stay relaxed -- when what you really want to do is yell right back. In fact, the calm tone is as much for the parent as the child! If you're tense, your kid will pick up on it, and it's going to amp her up even more."

Baby Sign Language- We use some of this now and it does work wonders!

1. Squeeze together the tips of your fingers on each hand to form two points.
2. Touch the tips of each point together, then separate.
3. Repeat Step 2 a few times.

How to handle toddle tantrums from Mother Nature Network

Imagine you have listened to one audio lesson in Swahili. Overnight you find yourself inAfrica. You’re hungry, tired and grumpy. You do not like the situation one bit. How do you get your point across?
“You don’t have the language,” said Susan Epperly, an Atlanta-based parent coach and writer on early childhood. “Your brain is going crazy with all this new stuff, and you have no words.”
This is how toddlers feel, she explained. And this is one reason these children, from ages 1 to about 3 years, throw their knock-down, drag-out temper tantrums: they are frustrated, they sense we as the parents/caregivers are frustrated and they have few other ways to express themselves. Children also are responding to parents setting boundaries; toddlers are mobile and curious, which means we are, for the first time, telling them that dreaded word “no,” Epperly said.
“It’s very natural for these children to act the way they do,” she added.
It may be natural for a toddler to scream, kick and cry at times, but that doesn’t make it easier to tolerate. So how can parents temper those raging tantrums? 

Here are a few tips that I needed to hear today (you can read the rest on their website)
  • Keep perspective. Often parents – especially mothers, said Epperly — believe their children’s behavior is a reflection of themselves. Caregivers need to know and understand that children simply do bad things. “It’s human nature to be a little rotten,” she explained. “That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the kid,” and, by extension, you.
  • Ignore some behaviors; react immediately to others, says the AAP site. If you do not respond to minor whining, crying and even stomping, toddlers are less inclined to continue. At the same time, do not tolerate hitting, biting or kicking, or throwing things. Tell the child firmly, “No hitting,” and remove the child from the situation.
  • Take care of yourself, Epperly advised. If you go for a run, get enough sleep, have date nights and time with friends, and partake of your own interests, you will feel recharged and be less apt to be bothered by tantrums. Being clear-headed and eliminating your own stress can also keep your toddler’s anxiety level down, she said, keeping you more tuned in to her needs and ultimately cutting tantrums off before they start.

I would also love your advise as well. How do you handle things in your home? What ways do you use to get around tantrums? Anything you want to share...

Thanks for listening!!!



  1. I feel your pain. Mine is 5 and still a whiner, I will be no help with you in that department. Well except to say I refuse to talk to Carter if he is whining. I tell him that he has to talk like a big boy in order to get a response from me. It took a while to take hold but he is getting a little better... Still whines about the smallest things though.

    Now the screaming part he got over. I never gave in to his tantrums, I pretty much always ignored him. Actually, when Carter started throwing screaming fits I would pick him up and set him on his bed and tell him when he stops screaming he can get up and play and/or come out of his room. I designated an area for the fits because I just couldn't deal with them, this allowed me to be able to walk away for a minute or two, breathe, and then go back in and check on him. He knew that as long as he wasn't screaming anymore he was allowed to be off his bed. It worked for us.

    I love motherhood. The trying times always have me second guessing my parenting skills. At the end of the day I am pretty proud of how my little guy and how he has turned out and proud of myself for forming him into what he has become thus far.

    Good luck with what ever method you find works for you and getting your little guy to stop the screaming.

  2. I know what you mean about questioning yourself. I do it a lot. :( my son just turned 3 and my daughter is 20 months (today) and it is tough. I haven't found any 'magic" trick yet but I can definitely see the difference in how they react by how I react. When I am tired and grumpy and snap, the situation usually escalates much worse than when I am calm and more soothing or simply ignoring the bad behavior. Some days are just tough and it is all you can do to just make it through. You just have to begin again the next day.

  3. I have 2 screamers. Yikes.

    What works for us is trying to head off a tantrum before it begins. If that doesn't work, then I get right in front of the girls and talk in a very calm quiet voice. If they still can't {or won't} calm down they get put in their room until they stop crying and are able to listen to me.

    It works when we are out to. I've hauled them off to the van, buckled them in the carseat and waited the tantrum out.

    Don't give in. Eventually {really!!} they learn that they are not going to get their way and they stop. I promise.

  4. Hey Tass!
    Don't beat yourself up too much. Tantrums are normal toddler behavior. Some things I learned from dealing with a VERY strong-willed little boy is that when he throws a fit it does not mean I am a bad parent or I am doing something wrong it's because toddler's are developmentally unable to cope with and express feelings of anger and frustrations in a socially acceptable way. Basically they cannot respond correctly. Now I don't think that means you should just always coddle them and let it all go. I think how you respond is important but responding correctly will not always mean that you will have the results you wish for (less screaming/crying.) At least in my experience.
    When I first started parenting I would discipline every single infraction basically to "nip it in the bud" but honestly I don't believe in that anymore. You have to have a balance. When I think about God and how he is to us and how we are a picture of God to our kids I try to think how God would respond. He does not ignore me or discipline me for every infraction but shows me love and grace as well as just consequences. I know this is not how we grew up but I have noticed that the more I show love when my kids are acting out the more I see them show love to each other when one of their siblings act out towards them and the more strict I am (letting nothing go) the meaner and less forgiving they are to each other. I don't know if any of this makes sense, I'm probably just babbling. but I think you are a great mommy and are doing awesome!!!
    Holy Cow I didn't mean for this to turn into a book!

  5. Wonderful post! Thanks so much for this because I needed it too. My boys are 3 and 18 months. We are dealing with 2 different types of screaming tantrums (the 3 year old has the ugliest). I will be putting all of this into our way of dealing with them. It's hard to stay calm but we have to remember, they are young, and still learning how to express themselves. When they can't, or are overly tired they need to do something to get our attention. It will pass, it will get better, and then we can shout on a roof top about how happy we are that screaming and tantrums are gone. Patience, its what my husband has been telling me the whole time, guess I should have listened. Its just nice to hear it from another mom though.
    Your a wonderful mother, don't worry about it. It's a phase, and a learning experience for both of you. Everything will be fine.


Thank you for your comments, I love hearing from you