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22nd April 2012 05:37 PM #1
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- Apr 2012
How to deal with a two-year old tantrums?
I am a new mum and parenting is totally new, refreshing and at times difficult for me. Like any other mothers, I want to inculcate good values to our growing toddlers. Anyone who knows how to deal with baby's tantrums? Once she started crying over not getting something, I always give in. Is this okay? I am afraid I am not doing the right thing and I am not giving the proper discipline. But it always break my heart when she starts crying.
Thanks and regards,
23rd April 2012 02:50 AM #2
This is a great question and you are wise to question whether giving in to a toddler's demands is a good thing.
Your toddler's #1 way of communicating with you is through crying and tantrums being that their verbal skills are not very developed at this age. So... when she doesn't get her way, she will naturally cry or throw a tantrum. Now I want you to think about this. If your daughter was 14 years old and wanted to go out on a date with an 18 year old boy, and you were very uncomfortable about this, would you want her to respect your decision when you told her she couldn't go? How would you feel if she walked up to you and very defiantly said "NO - I WON'T LISTEN TO YOU AND I'M GOING TO GO WITH HIM ANYWAY".
I'm guessing you would feel helpless knowing that she might sneak seeing him after school or tell you she was going to a friend's house when in actuality this 18 year old boy was waiting to pick her up.
Your heart would be broken and you'd be very sad that you had lost your daughter's heart and that now, she could very well be setting herself up for an unsafe situation.
But your daughter's not 14, and now is the time to win her heart and win her respect so that when you say "no" in the future, she will be happy to comply, trusting that you know what is best for her. This is possible as I've done it with my own children. To this day, we will, at times, say "no" to something our 20 year old daughter wants to do, and she respects our decision because she trusts us and we have her heart. (She makes a lot of her own decisions and has proven that she can make wise decisions, but every so often something will come up where we have to say "no" for her good.)
When you start to stay "no" to your daughter and reinforce that "no" rather than giving in to her tantrums, she will start to respect you and you will start to see less tantrums because she will realize that they don't work anymore. Having worked at a preschool, I often saw that the children whom I had to correct more were the ones I had the closest relationships with. It was as if they were saying "PLEASE give me some boundaries and help me to make good decisions".
So here's something you can try the next time your daughter doesn't get what she wants. First of all, if she only starts crying, you can tell her that if she needs to cry, she can cry in her room and then take her to her room and leave her in there (you'll have to have a way to be sure she stays in her room). Tell her she can come out when she's ready to be happy. You could stay by her door (the door will be closed) and if she comes out without and she's still upset, just turn her around and put her back in her room and close the door again. You may have to do this many times, but she will eventually get the idea. Mama said "no", and I can't come out of my room until I have a happy face even though I'm not getting what I want. Once she comes out with a happy face, you can just go on with your day as if nothing happened. "Okay - let's go have lunch now..." or "let's go read a book", or... if you wanted her to do something (like pick up her toys) and that's what caused the crying, then as soon as she comes out with a happy face, you say, "let's go pick up your toys now". Ultimately the goal is to stop the crying, help her regain control, and then help her do what it is you want her to do.
On the other hand, if it's not just crying, and she actually throws herself on the floor into a tantrum, or throws a toy in a tantrum, then you'll immediately go to her and look in her eyes and say very firmly, "I will not let you do that." If you do this right the first time, it will take her aback because she will not be used to you acting firmly. She may react by immediately stopping the tantrum (mum's in control, which feels good to me because I can't control myself) and if she does, then you can firmly give her direction (i.e. now, let's pick up your toys, or it's time for a nap, so stand up and let's walk to your room). Anytime you want your child to walk somewhere give them the option to do so on their own and let them know that if they choose not to walk on their own, you will pick them up and carry them. You can gently guide them by taking their hand. Some children will go on their own, others will fall to the floor and you'll have to pick them up (at 2 years of age).
If the child continues in the tantrum after you say "I will not let you do this." then you'll need to hold your child in a way so that she does not hurt herself or you until she calms down (you don't want to allow her to kick you so a way to hold her until she calms down is to sit down and have your child between your legs with them facing outward and you having them in a big bear hug. Just tell them that as soon as they settle down they can get down. This does two things.
1. It helps them to realize that you will help them control themselves and they truly respect this. They want to be in control and at 2, they're testing their boundaries. "Will mum let me have my way or will she show me boundaries which is what I need and will help me?"
2. It develops respect and your child starts to trust that the decisions you make for her are for her best. Developing respect for the word "no" is very good to start now and if you're consistent throughout her childhood, it will carry over into adolescence and you'll have easier teenage years because you will have her heart. She will willingly respect your direction and the two of you will be very happy with your relationship.
Please let us know your thoughts on this and if you have any questions. We're here to encourage you
29th April 2012 08:29 AM #3
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- Apr 2012
Thank you for responding to my question. I'll be honest Kate, I am not sure if I can do this. I hope I would be strong enough to be firm and be consistent with it. It will definitely take a lot of courage for me to do this. I must say I always loose to her when she starts crying. On the other hand, the picture of not having her respect is such a scary thing. I don't like that scenario at all. I got to do this then. Like what you've said, we only want the best for our children. Hopefully, I will do a good job of raising her.
A million thank you Kate!
4th May 2012 01:53 PM #4
We're here to encourage and support you. Post back and let us know how it goes the next time it happens - even if you give in to her. Maybe we can give more ideas so you can make baby steps in the right direction. Even 2 steps forward and 1 step back is still making progress