We are at our wits’ end and we just don’t know what to do, or how to handle it anymore.

I’m speaking, of course, about V and his behaviour.

I just don’t know how to handle his tantrums anymore.  They spring from nowhere – usually when he doesn’t get his way – and there’s just no reasoning with him, even though I KNOW he understands what I’m saying.

For instance, this afternoon…

It was lunch time.  His meal was something that he enjoys eating (and asked for).  As his lunch was put in front of him, he stood up, walked over to his cabinet and opened it.  This is where all his snacks are kept.  He decided that he wanted a cookie.

I told him that was no problem and that he could have a cookie after he ate his lunch.

The tears started.  This was soon followed by foot stamping and throwing himself around the room.

I told him he could take one cookie out of the packet and keep it next to him, but that he could eat it after his lunch.  This appeased him.  For about two minutes.  Because then he decided he wanted it right away.

I told him again that he could have the cookie after lunch.  This isn’t unreasonable, is it?  And it’s not difficult for him to understand?  I think he just wanted it his way!

After another ten or fifteen minutes more of crying, I told him that if he didn’t want to eat his lunch, that was fine.  But he would not be having that cookie.

Oh.  My.  God.

I held my ground.

But then started feeling a little guilty that he wasn’t eating his lunch.

I gave him alternatives.  He chose one.  And all was forgotten!

He had lunch and then he had his cookie.

I think his rewards and sanctions have to be immediate – otherwise they probably won’t make sense to him.  Right?

But how do I do that when he won’t listen to reason?

Yesterday he asked me to download new games onto the iPad.  I told him I would not do that because he’d made such a fuss to go in the bath (It took forty minutes to get him in).  He looked at me and said, ‘No I didn’t make a fuss.’  I know he couldn’t have forgotten about the tantrum he’d had.  It had only been fifteen minutes since he was screaming like he was being tortured!

I’ve thought about the ‘Calm Down Corner’, ‘Naughty Chair’ and ‘Naughty Step’.  But I just don’t feel they would work.  He wouldn’t sit there, I’m sure of it.  He thrashed about so much, I worry that he’s going to bang his head against the wall or a door or something.

Someone suggested just holding him while he was tantruming – apparently that’s meant to calm some children down?  Not mine.  He hates being held while in the middle of a tantrum!

Plus he knows exactly how to play us all off each other – me, LagosDad and the nanny.

I tried a smiley face chart – I explained it all to him many times.  He understood it.  He knew what it all meant.  But he didn’t care.  After the first day, he didn’t bat an eyelid when he got a sad face.  In fact, he stopped me getting a pen so that he could choose which colour the sad face would be!

Yesterday I realised, as I mentioned earlier, that his rewards and/or sanctions need to be immediate.

But what do I do?  And how do I implement it?

Yes, the twos were terrible.  But the threes…?  There are no words!

7 thoughts on “Tantrums

  1. Lily throws epic tantrums at times too.
    We use the naughty step and it works for us, as she sees it as the consequence that follows bad behaviour. She will howl, please don’t put me on the naughty step as I’m taking her there! She stays put too. Although she might stand and yell for forgiveness and to be able to get off it,I stand my ground. I have never made her stay for any longer than a minute, but it has the desired effect. She apologises for whatever it was she has done wrong, whether throwing a tantrum or giving cheek (incessantly).
    I would also take away the lunch and let her do without! She’s not going to starve and the option to eat is still there once calm is restored.
    It’s so tough, as seeing them howl and carry on is horrible, almost like you’re being cruel, but giving in will have the opposite effect and will mean the bad behaviour might escalate. Small children are never going to be perfectly behaved all the time but showing firm boundaries will help restore sanity to some level!! 🙂

    • Thank you – I know that everything you’ve said is very true. It’s just a matter of sticking to your guns, isn’t it? Re apologising… Yesterday I told V to apologise to LagosDad for something (can’t remember what!). And he said, ‘No. You say sorry.’ It’s almost as though he’s already too proud to admit he’s made a mistake! x

      • Sometimes they are so obstinate!!
        It’s all trial and error with the discipline. What works for others, doesn’t necessarily work for you. It’s frustrating all the same, when all you want is a polite well behaved child. Saying that, V, like Lily, will be adorable most of the time xx

  2. Jojoba is right, something will work for him, I used naughty chair for my daughter and it worked a treat, even at the nursery. Some children the first few times will not sit down and you will keep taking them back about 20 times but it will reduce and they will learn.

    The trick is that you need to be strong and you need to be ready as this will be tougher on you than it is for him. Also giving into him or giving him other options because he is throwing a tantrum only makes it worse.

    If you don’t want to use naughty chair then you need to just ignore him while he is having his tantrum as any attention whether it is good or bad is still attention.

    I hope this helps

    Kimberley xx

    • Thank you! It does help. I know the main reason I’m having a problem is because I don’t follow through! Time for me to stay strong! X

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