Lilypie - Pregnancy

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tantrums and the terrible twos

Wow, I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted. Yikes!

One of the reasons is that Tadpole has a tendency towards diarrhea once she's gotten sick, and keeps having it for a long time after. My daycare person refused to have her as long as she still had diarrhea, so I was a full-time SAHM again, with no help and no breaks. And then my in-laws came! And that has been AWESOME! But we've been busy going for walks and playing and opening gifts and singing and dancing.

No seriously, I love my in-laws. They are helping me keep the house so clean and the kids entertained and giving me a bit of free time, too. My only real complaint is they have the kids watching a lot of TV, and I'm feeling like it's about time to cut it off. They are actually leaving on Monday and we are quite busy between now and then, so I'm not going to say anything to them, but we've been having some major behavioral problems on the part of Turtle and I suspect they are related to a combination of computers and TV.

Any readers have any input on that?

Here's the situation. Typically, we watch 30-45 minutes of Italian and some English music videos after dinner and before bed. I don't mind, because usually one of us watches with them, they get to know traditional songs in both languages, and sometimes we all dance. It's fun. We usually watch on our tablet device, which Turtle likes because he gets to pick the songs. The problem is, we also have toddler games on there. And he likes to play with our smart phones. And our computers. And lately, if he sees any of these devices, he WANTS IT NOW, and throws a tantrum if he can't have it.

I've tried many things to avoid the tantrums, and I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to handle it. I've tried comforting him, which he does NOT want. He is very much a "don't touch me, I hate you" kind of tantrumer (although sometimes he does want to scream while throwing himself dramatically into my lap). I've tried talking to him calmly, telling him I'm sorry but he can't have whatever and I'll be happy to play when he calms down, etc. That doesn't work either, and seems totally ineffective because he is screaming so loudly and is so into his fit that he doesn't hear me and seemingly doesn't even notice that I'm talking. I've tried leaving him and ignoring him, but I really hate doing that (I want to at least be there for him), and it doesn't seem to work either. Distraction sometimes works, but if he's too upset, he throws or pushes away whatever it is I try to distract him with. Picking him up and walking around works, but I can't do that for an hour. Lately, I've been just sitting near him and letting him lie on me if he wants, and waiting it out, but yesterday he had an hour-long tantrum. And these tantrums happen many times per day. And I have another child that I can't just ignore during Turtle's hour-long tantrums.

So I need help.

I think I'm going to keep all electronic devices away from him, starting as soon as my in-laws leave, and as much as possible before. It's going to be really hard for me, because being a SAHM with no internet use is very isolating. And also, sometimes he tantrums for other reasons, just not being able to always get what he wants, so tantrums are going to be unavoidable, and I just don't know what to do anymore.

I want him to be happy, I want him to learn some self-control (within the expectations of what a child his age can learn, which should gradually improve, I hope), and I would like to be able to take him out in public and not have TOO much trouble.

Any advice?


  1. I wish I had some advice for you. Ginny has started having tantrums recently, and I'm still sorting out what works best for her and me. For her, she hates being denied something... so if I say no repeatedly (whether in reference to the books on the bookshelves or the drawer underneath the over or reaching for my glasses) she sits down and plants her face on the floor and shrieks.

    Most of the time, I let her shriek it out... to our neighbours' displeasure I'm sure. (She has an amazingly ear-splitting shriek) Thankfully, her tantrums haven't been that long lasting yet, and she lets me comfort her a little. I'm not sure how this is going to work once there is another little one around, tho.

    I'll probably be coming to you for advice in a few months. I hope you find some solutions that work for you and Turtle.

  2. Oh, man, I'm just dreading the upcoming tantrums. My girl tends to do best if I just say, "well, if you want to cry then that's your choice; I'll be over here when you're done if you would like to play," and I walk away. But every kid is so different.

    I have heard that screen time within an hour of bedtime can result in more difficulty going to sleep, so if you decide to introduce some back into the schedule, maybe earlier in the day would be better? Who knows. It's all such a guessing game.

    hang in there!

  3. Howdy! Unrelated comment :) in response to your question. We encourage the kids to use whatever hand they picked up the crayon in. If they had/have it in their left, we write from the left; if the right, then the right. They seem to show a preference for their right hand, but then on other days, use their left hands. Maya uses her left less than Bobby, but they both still use both hands. Since they are still learning to write, no clear preference has arisen (and we havent encouraged one hand over the other).

    Tantrums... Fun times. I tend to embrace (or force a hug) and say things like "Hands are for loving, not hurting." or "We dont behave like that." If they want to throw fits, we let them. We walk away and say somethign along the lines of "If you want to behave like that, then you'll have to do it by yourself. Mommy/Daddy is going to go over here (or go to the kitchen, etc) and when you are done, you may join me/us." Seems to be working (thank gooodness!!!!)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!