Monday, December 15, 2008

Tantrum City Here

So. I am the proud mother of a one-year-old. I still can't believe that. This year just flew right by! And, oh, his little personality. It is a-changing. The temper tantrums are UN-believable. And also hilarious at times. He sits on the floor, legs out in front of him, and puts his head down between his legs, face touching the floor, and screams at the top of his lungs. Then he turns over onto his stomach and stretches his head up with his hands on the floor (like a downward-facing-dog in yoga) and has the saddest look on his face while he screams. It is too funny. Also, sometimes, he grabs at his face with his little hand while he's having a fit, as if to say, "AAH, MOM, I'm so ANGRY!"

What sets him off? Let's I took a piece of trash away from him...that made him mad...if he brings you a toy and wants you to play with him and you don't do it RIGHT AWAY that irks him...and he's always grouchy when he's hungry. Also, diaper changes? Yikes. I put a mirror up by his changing table so he can see himself in it, and that helps some, but he is always trying to turn over and sit up, so we struggle with that, too. I think he's teething this week, too, so that doesn't help. He was pretty good this afternoon, though, and now he's been asleep for almost two hours, and I got to take a little rest myself, so that was very nice.

So, I guess if you think of it, pray for God to give us wisdom in parenting these new personality 'traits' that are showing up in our TODDLER! :) Believe me, that's what I pray for ALL day long- "Lord, give me patience and wisdom!"


JoodyC said...

Your child must be very precocious to have tantrums so young. Usually, they start when a child has about 100-200 words in his vocabulary and can express some thoughts, but not all. The child can say he or she is hungry, but not specify that it's a peanut butter and banana sandwich that's desired instead of a peanut butter and jelly.

You're getting his message, though.

When his message (the reason for the tantrum) becomes unclear you need to know what sets off a tantrum. The obvious triggers are hunger, exhaustion, and frustration.

Keep a pad and pen handy and take notes whenever your child explodes (a chart or matrix, perhaps done on an Excel spreadsheet, may help you visualize these events more easily - whatever works). Among the items that should be included are:
Where was your child?
What was he or she doing?
What day of the week was it?
Was someone visiting?
Was it the first time?
If not, did something happen that frightened your child the last time you did this activity?
Is someone at day care or school calling your child by a proper name instead of the nickname used at home (e.g., James instead of Jimmy, Marie Clare instead of Clare Bear)?
Who was with your child?
What time of day was it?
What happened right before the tantrum?
What was your child wearing?
What was the last thing she or he ate?
When was the last time he or she had something to drink?
When was the last meal?

Then list how long the tantrum lasted and how the issue was resolved. Did you help your child over this rough spot or did he or she calm down independently?

You have to put a CSI (crime scene investigation unit) to shame with all the details you collect.

You may discover that tantrums occur most often before nap time or bedtime, or when you are busy making dinner. They may happen when your child returns from a play date with a friend. Changes in the weather, temperature (heat and cold, indoors and outdoors), humidity, and air pressure can affect a person's physical and mental well-being. Thunderstorms may trigger a tantrum because the winds stir up mold and allergens. If the tantrum starts about four hours after a sugary dessert or something else sweet, ask your doctor if your child is hypoglycemic.

Eventually you should find a pattern of tantrum triggers. Avoiding, as much as possible, that pattern or chain of events can go a long way to avoiding tantrums. That requires another list so you remember what you did last time and what works and does not work.

Do you see signals that your child is nervous or upset? Perhaps your daughter chews her hair or your son twists rubber bands around his fingers or wrist. Do these signs precede a tantrum and can you catch the signals before the tantrum erupts?

When you discover a tantrum-prevention technique that works, use it. If the tantrums come when your child is hungry, feed your child before you leave your home or bring a snack with you when you run errands. If exhaustion is the cause, plan your outings immediately after a nap, whenever possible. If strange situations are the cause, bring a favorite toy or blanket for comfort. If frustration is the trigger because you will not let your child run into the street, explore that fascinating electric socket, or touch the hot stove, be prepared to divert your child's attention.

Love and praise are almost always excellent ways to stop the tantrums.

Good luck!

Judy Colbert

Erin said...

He kind of sounds like his uncle, Aaron. :)

Stephanie Precourt said...

Me, too!! I'd love to answer your babywearing question, too- email me!


designHER Momma said...

right there with you sister! I'm in the same boat...