i have a very beautiful, and very smart 22 month old little girl, who has tantrums like ive never seen before. we are parents of 3 boys and 1 girl, in all of our years of parenting we have never seen a child explode like our little girl does. she is having around 4-8 huge tantrums a day, it starts from the smallest things saying no, telling her not right now, putting her in a stroller, car seat, or shopping cart, or just sitting around the house and she doesnt like something. when she is having a tantrum its like she is another person she will scream, kick, hit, bite, pinch, pull her hair out, bite herself, pinch her self ect. i have not found anything that helps. the only thing i do when she starts hurting herself is to hold her like a hug rock her while she is pulling my hair out and hurting me just so she wont hurt herself. this saddens me deeply when she does this, i cry when she is done. my husband and i have been arguing a lot in the last week because of her tantrums, i don't know what to do anymore i need to find something that helps before she hurts herself really bad or before it ruins my marriage.
Hi there. Ugh, that is really hard. I have a couple of thoughts.
First, deep pressure (the hugging) is actually calming for a nervous system that is going haywire (as it does during a tantrum)--- however, I would not try to hold her tightly during the tantrum as it is possibly making it worse. She sounds like she is having a base level neurological response of fight or flight. And holding her is going to increase the intensity. Better to remove things in her path and just let her go. Even if she bangs into a wall, she will be okay. She is very young, but you will have to start helping her with strategies to use instead of the tantrum method of expressing herself. These include using her words. As she is just now 22 months, this will increase with time. Go tot he library now and get simple books on emotions to read with her and talk about it a lot. Act out crying and say "I'm sad." hold your handsi n fists and make a grim face and say "I'm mad." Smile happily and say "I'm happy." Help give her the language she needs to communicate how she is feeling with you. Then go ahead and start talking about thingst that might help. Deep breath. Show her how to do it. Say when you are mad (once she has the language for that) take a deep breath. As she gets older, you tell her you will not respond if she screams or has a fit. And then you ignore her.
Also, start tracking her triggers. Is this happening more when she is hungry or tired?? Those are often triggers for this age.
Now, you describe over the top responses/reactions and an inability to calm/self soothe. I know a lot about this as my own child has sensory issues. Things that don't make sense to me could upset him greatly and he had a huge reaction to them. We worked with an occupational therapist and things improved tremendously. How is your child's speech by the way??
I am just finishing up a book called,"Raising Lions" by Joe Newman. On page 40 he describes working with a little girl (28 months) who threw tantrums. Basically when she started her tantrum he took her hand and said, " its ok but sometimes when a little girl needs to have a tantrum she also needs a nap." And started walking her to the bedroom. She would yell louder and he would say "tantrum equals nap" and keep moving. She finally said, "I'm not having a tantrum, no nap" and settled down. (Well there was a lot more to it then this). But his main point was that the parent needed to take some form of action. And the nap idea is like a form of timeout.
I think that all of the points that specialmom makes are valid and are definitely things to work on with her.
But you might want to consider buying the book. It does sound like you may have a "young lion" on your hands.
I can't comment on aggressive behavior specifically, but the others posting above gave great information on ways to handle children with those type of specific issues. What I can tell you is that as the mother of a child in preschool, what I love about his teachers (and the general policy there) is that they work with me on any challenges my child is facing. We discuss everything and they always respect my wishes and we work together on any behavioral issues that come up. We can nip things in the bud prior to them becoming a big issue. We also for the most part keep expectations the same at school and at home, and the consequences are the same as well for the most part. So my suggestion to you would be open and honest communication with the child's parents, first finding out if the issues at school are also happening at home, then coming up with a plan together. Personally, I think the relationship between parents and teachers is extremely important.
I agree completely with Adgal. I also think the book I recommended would be helpful. If you go to his web site - http://raisinglions.com/ and subscribe to his newsletter (free), you can get $3.00 off the book.
Is the childs behavior directed only at other kids or adults too? On the playground or also in class? Do the parents have the same problem at home?
I was thinking about this last night and just wanted to give a specific example of how my son's preschool teachers work with me.
2 weeks ago I picked up my son and was handed an incident report. My son had bitten another child. I was surprised as this is not something that has been an issue, he's just not an aggressive kid. Instead of just handing me the report, his teacher took 10 minutes or so to explain the full story to me. The child my son had bitten is a bit of an aggressive child and had hit my son, so the bite was in retaliation. This information was extremely important. If all I had been told was that he bit another kid, I would have focused the conversation I had with him on why we don't bite. Having this information changed the entire focus of my talk with him. Instead of talking about why we don't bite, I talked to him about alternative ways to deal with a child hitting him or being aggressive to him. We practiced that night and the message got through. The idea was to make it ok for him to stick up for himself, but to learn other ways besides a physical retaliation. His teacher then did the same thing the next day as a group lesson for all the kids - she had them all practicing how to handle another child hitting or biting them. My son is now getting a consistent message, and that can only benefit him.
Lots of my friends have kids in pre school. They tend to just get handed an incident report with no real information. It makes a huge difference.
I do want to comment though, something that I have seen first hand, is that some parents are unwilling to look directly at what might be going on with their child. I can use my own son as an example. The school aproached me saying that there was a major issue. My son was not aggressive but had other issues. This was my beloved first born that was perfect in my eyes (okay, not really . . . but you certainly don't WANT anything to be wrong with your child.). When this happens, parents deflect and find 'other' reasons for their child's behavior because it is too painful to say that perhaps the issue is deeper than the surface. I fought my son's diagnosis for a bit of time of sensory integration disorder but then realized that accepting it was the only way to help him. Some parents flat out refuse to do this. And that is very difficult for preschool teachers. They do not get the cooperation with parents to address the underlying issues a child may have.
I agree that working with parents and being very specific is oh so very helpful. I needed specific examples about what my child was doing and in fact, observing him myself made a huge difference. I think a preschool teacher should provide as much info on their end as they can.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.