Need your advice/help for dealing with a 3-yr old's temper

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lib...@gmail.com

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Mar 17, 2008, 1:24:13 PM3/17/08
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Hello Everyone,

Having been reading this forum for a while. I have found out this
forum is so useful. I have found many good advices here. This is my
first post. I need your help!

I have searched for how to deal with tantrum etc. So far, I am still
not very successful in handling that. I really need your advice.

My son has just become 3 in this March. He goes to a daycare for
almost half a year now and is doing well there.

He tends to start his "tantrum" when a little tiny thing is not
satisfied. Then, I have been using all different strategies to deal
with it. It works sometimes, but still far from been successful.

Things triggered his temper seem trivial: eg, a banana is broke, a
cookie is not in certain shape, I get him a tissue from the wrong
tissue box, insist on wearing his pajama pants, etc.

I normally would try to give him more care/attention/distraction
before he starts the whole thing. I would offer him toys, reading a
story, or a hug/hold, talking to him, etc.

I also would make sure if he is too tired or too hungry, or if his
need is misunderstood.

Sometime, I would try let him cry a few minutes, then he wants me to
hold etc. I would give in in a few minutes.

I would also try a warning, like count to three is the first warning,
and tell him, after the third warning, I have to 'punish' him.

But almost 7 out 10 times, he would have this kind of throwing tempers
before getting ready to school, or going to bed.

For example, it took me a hour and a half to get him dressed to
school. We skipped breakfast too!

I am so exhausted. I know that I should be calm, and not emotional.
But it seems that I am not good at dealing with it on a daily basis.

I need your suggestion, maybe a little bit support would also be
appreciated!

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 17, 2008, 1:52:51 PM3/17/08
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lib...@gmail.com wrote:

> But almost 7 out 10 times, he would have this kind of throwing tempers
> before getting ready to school, or going to bed.
>
> For example, it took me a hour and a half to get him dressed to
> school. We skipped breakfast too!
>
> I am so exhausted. I know that I should be calm, and not emotional.
> But it seems that I am not good at dealing with it on a daily basis.
>
> I need your suggestion, maybe a little bit support would also be
> appreciated!

It's hard to say what's going on from the little bits
of information one can post to a group, but you may be giving
him a bit too much rope here. This might be about him determining
where the limits of his control are, and he's finding that he's
really got you over a barrel and controls quite a bit.
When it comes to 3yos, I find it somewhat useful to
be very clear about what they get to choose and what they don't.
Decide in advance. If they have an unlimited choice, let them
choose what they want. If you can only tolerate a couple of
choices, then give him two or three options to choose from.
If it's a no choice area, then be clear about what he is
required to do, give him a short and defined period of time
to do it on his own, and if he doesn't, make it happen.
If he's fussing about getting dressed, you might
give him the option of choosing between two different outfits
(and you might do that part the evening before), but perhaps
he has no choice about the timing of when he gets dressed.
Either he dresses himself now, or you dress him and ignore
the tantrum. (Or talk to his teacher in advance and take him
to school in his pjs, though I'm not a huge fan of that solution.)
I'm guessing it's no surprise whatsoever that his worst
times are before school and before bed. He's learned how to stall
very effectively. When it comes to bedtime, I'd set up a clear
routine before bed, and any stalling or tantrumming means that he
immediately goes to bed--no story, no goodnight cuddle, no nothing.
Put the most critical things at the beginning of the routine
(e.g., tooth brushing) and the fun stuff (stories, cuddles, etc.)
at the end.

Best wishes,
Ericka

Nan

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Mar 17, 2008, 1:52:20 PM3/17/08
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 10:24:13 -0700 (PDT), lib...@gmail.com wrote:


>I need your suggestion, maybe a little bit support would also be
>appreciated!

Hi,

You certainly have my sympathy! My 8 year old was a lot like this
when she was younger. The seemingly tiniest thing could set her off,
like turning on the bedroom light myself when she wanted to do it! Or
not getting off the bed on the right side. It was frustrating but I
finally decided to choose my own battles.

I figured it didn't hurt anything to let her turn on the light, or let
her get up on the side of the bed she wanted to. My dh thought I was
always giving in to her, but my stress level went waaaay down while
his escalated.

I don't have any marvelous solutions for you, but my daughter did
eventually outgrow 99% of it. I say 99% because if she's tired or
hungry she'll still have a melt-down, but most kids will.

Good luck!

Nan

lib...@gmail.com

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Mar 17, 2008, 2:16:57 PM3/17/08
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Thanks for the quick response. I appreciate that.

I have to admit that I lack of a consistent way of dealing with it. I
normally would try to meet his demands, or negotiate with him. If
those do not work, I would start using "count 3 warning" or try to
ignore him and let him cry.

I am wondering if I should use " let him cry" from the beginning, be
firm. It seems this do not work well combined with negotiation.

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 17, 2008, 2:54:37 PM3/17/08
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Exactly. You need to decide *in advance* whether he
has some choice on a particular issue. If he has a choice, let
him know his options and let him choose. If he does not have
a choice, make it clear that this situation is non-negotiable
and follow through every single time. If you make a mistake,
tell him you made a mistake and start over. Don't change the
ground rules in the middle of an interaction. That just teaches
him that *everything* is negotiable if he makes a big enough
stink over it.

Best wishes,
Ericka

Stephanie

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Mar 17, 2008, 3:46:08 PM3/17/08
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<lib...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1dc88c31-80b0-4ada...@e23g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

> Hello Everyone,
>
> Having been reading this forum for a while. I have found out this
> forum is so useful. I have found many good advices here. This is my
> first post. I need your help!
>
> I have searched for how to deal with tantrum etc. So far, I am still
> not very successful in handling that. I really need your advice.
>
> My son has just become 3 in this March. He goes to a daycare for
> almost half a year now and is doing well there.
>
> He tends to start his "tantrum" when a little tiny thing is not
> satisfied. Then, I have been using all different strategies to deal
> with it. It works sometimes, but still far from been successful.
>
> Things triggered his temper seem trivial: eg, a banana is broke, a
> cookie is not in certain shape, I get him a tissue from the wrong
> tissue box, insist on wearing his pajama pants, etc.
>


The idea I got from How to Talk ... around the banana issue would be
enormous and silly empathy. MAN it must be a bummer to have a broken banana!
I wish you had a whole one. I wish you had two! No I wish you had a whole
rocket ship FULL of broken bananas.

> I normally would try to give him more care/attention/distraction
> before he starts the whole thing. I would offer him toys, reading a
> story, or a hug/hold, talking to him, etc.
>
> I also would make sure if he is too tired or too hungry, or if his
> need is misunderstood.
>
> Sometime, I would try let him cry a few minutes, then he wants me to
> hold etc. I would give in in a few minutes.
>
> I would also try a warning, like count to three is the first warning,
> and tell him, after the third warning, I have to 'punish' him.
>
> But almost 7 out 10 times, he would have this kind of throwing tempers
> before getting ready to school, or going to bed.
>
> For example, it took me a hour and a half to get him dressed to
> school. We skipped breakfast too!
>
> I am so exhausted. I know that I should be calm, and not emotional.
> But it seems that I am not good at dealing with it on a daily basis.
>
> I need your suggestion, maybe a little bit support would also be
> appreciated!
>


In the final analysis, if whatever prevention has not worked, and tantrum
has begun in earnest, you remove him from the situation. And tell him when
he is calm he can rejoin the group. Rinse and repeat.


lib...@gmail.com

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Mar 17, 2008, 5:20:47 PM3/17/08
to
Thanks for the advices!

I am now wondering if this belongs to some type of "terrible two"
phase. It never really occurs to me before.

I realize that I need to set out some clear rules and then stick to
them. Something like "positive discipline"?

But it took me some time to realize that. At first, I just do not
understand why he likes to do that. Now I think it is time to set the
limits on certain behavior. Of course, I know lots of care/ attention
is necessary. I also tend to be a good listener to his kind of
"complaint " about broken bananas. I do need more and more patience
though.

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 17, 2008, 5:36:31 PM3/17/08
to
lib...@gmail.com wrote:

> I am now wondering if this belongs to some type of "terrible two"
> phase. It never really occurs to me before.

It's a very common developmental thing for kids around
this age to explore the limits of their control. I think it is
also important to understand that kids' capabilities are changing
rapidly as they develop, and one has to be careful not to infantilize
the child who's growing and developing. There comes a point when
they are quite capable of turning on the crocodile tears or being
manipulative in other ways. They don't always do it consciously,
but they learn very, very quickly how to avoid things they don't
want to do (like going to bed). If you allow negative tactics
to work, you'll see a lot more of them in the future. By the
time kids are as old as your son, they are quite capable of
blowing things out of proportion or being overly dramatic. You
can respond effectively in several ways (ignoring, playing along
and making it silly and over the top, etc.), but if you believe
that it's really a case of the child being genuinely distraught,
you're unlikely to respond in a way the curtails the behavior.
Obviously, preschoolers *are* sometimes genuinely
distraught, and need comfort at those times. You have to be
able to tell the difference between genuine behaviors and
manipulation. Worse yet, if you allow negative behaviors to
be successful, you get into a situation where it's even more
difficult to tell the difference between genuine panic and
manipulation, because the child actually *does* start to panic
when you get his number and start shutting down manipulative
behavior. He doesn't like it when he feels his control slipping
away, and he's likely to escalate to attempt to preserve his
control. It can become a very challenging cycle to break.

Best wishes,
Ericka

Banty

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Mar 17, 2008, 6:01:26 PM3/17/08
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In article <c6ftt3pndg2b4evo6...@4ax.com>, Nan says...

I'll add that it sounds just like my son at 3 years old, excep that his
reactions weren't quite so drastic.

He'd have some image of how things are 'sposed to happen, and when they
deviated, he'd flip. And there was this thing where, if we ever passed our
house on the way to another errand, he'd be all upset that we didn't stop at
home.

I think it's a developmental thing.

No specific advice, except that it's a pick-your-battle thing as has been
already said.

And "this too shall pass" is a pretty good parenthood mantra.

Cheers,
Banty

Banty

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Mar 17, 2008, 6:03:14 PM3/17/08
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In article <51aba3ef-8eeb-4a1d...@d4g2000prg.googlegroups.com>,
lib...@gmail.com says...

It absolutely is a phase.

My son was easy at two. But he had the anal little strangeness similar to what
you describe.

Exasperating, I know.

Banty

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 17, 2008, 6:06:55 PM3/17/08
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Banty wrote:

> He'd have some image of how things are 'sposed to happen, and when they
> deviated, he'd flip. And there was this thing where, if we ever passed our
> house on the way to another errand, he'd be all upset that we didn't stop at
> home.
>
> I think it's a developmental thing.
>
> No specific advice, except that it's a pick-your-battle thing as has been
> already said.
>
> And "this too shall pass" is a pretty good parenthood mantra.

I agree that it's normal and developmental (though some
kids are more dramatic than others), and I also agree that it's
very much a time to pick your battles. However, I think "this
too shall pass" only works if you deal with the issue. It's
normal developmentally for kids around this age to test the
limits of their control. As long as they find that their span
of control extends about as far as it should, then it will pass.
If they find that they have rather a lot of control over things
they shouldn't control, then not only will it persist, but it's
likely to get worse.

Best wishes,
Ericka

Banty

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Mar 17, 2008, 8:13:03 PM3/17/08
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In article <qqmdnVScu6TNdkPa...@comcast.com>, Ericka Kammerer
says...

True. I think it may also get worse if they have control over too *little*.

Banty

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 17, 2008, 8:54:12 PM3/17/08
to

Absolutely. That's why I think the key is being clear
*in advance* where they have choices and where they don't. It's
no wonder they're all over the map if they get mixed signals,
plus it totally defeats the purpose.

Best wishes,
Ericka

Stephanie

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Mar 17, 2008, 9:14:06 PM3/17/08
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lib...@gmail.com wrote:
> Thanks for the advices!
>
> I am now wondering if this belongs to some type of "terrible two"
> phase. It never really occurs to me before.
>


My kids' terrible twos defintely happened at three.


> I realize that I need to set out some clear rules and then stick to
> them. Something like "positive discipline"?
>


Yep. Lots of great books on the subject if the techniques are not part of
your natural repetiore. They certainly were not part of mine!

toto

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Mar 17, 2008, 10:30:41 PM3/17/08
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 10:24:13 -0700 (PDT), lib...@gmail.com wrote:

>I need your suggestion, maybe a little bit support would also be
>appreciated!

As others have said, this is a normal phase of development. I know it
is hard to deal with.

Someone suggested empathy for what he is upset about and that is a
great idea.

Some other ideas - be proactive in teaching flexible thinking and
anger management.

First, acknowledge the child's anger. Just saying "Wow, you are angry
because you could not have ice cream for lunch" or whatever, sometimes
defuses the tantrum.

Second, when a child is calm, teach them how to deal with anger
productively. Teach them to breathe out their anger and create a
sign (maybe just touching them on the arm) that reminds them to
breathe.

Third, when your child is calm, try using puppets or dolls to act out
scenarios and give him words and other ways to deal with his anger.

Fourth, stay calm yourself. Walk away (I know it is hard) and take the
wind out of his sails. Don't react to tantrums at all when they
happen. Let him have his *fit* and then when he is calm discuss what
happened.

Fifth, read books about emotions and talk about how the characters
acted. For toddlers, "The Temper Tantrum Book" by Edna Mitchell
Preston is fairly simple and tells why the characters are having their
tantrums. For preschoolers, "When Sophie Gets Angry, Very, Very Angry"
by Molly Bang is helpful. So is "When I Feel Angry (Way I Feel)" by
Cornelia Maude Spelman. "It's Hard to Be Five : Learning How to Work
My Control Panel" by Jamie Lee Curtis is good for 4 and 5 year olds.
"How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger" by Elizabeth Verdick is good for
older children as well as preschoolers. "A Volcano in My Tummy :
Helping Children to Handle Anger" by Eliane Whitehouse
gives you activities to help you get a handle on anger.

Relaxing together can help - take deep breaths together. Practice that
with him as a regulatory pattern . Take him away from that scene
first. Then hold his hands or him and say "You are not calm. Lets
become calm. Breathe in....." "Breathe out...." Breathe in a very
exagerrated manner. He may not do the heavy breathing but will
probably try. This will take his mind off from whatever was bothering
him first. After a few minutes tell him "You are calm now! Wow! We
both are calm and that feels so much better" and return to what you
were doing. Removing him from the scene, getting him to calm down,
will make him more receptive to what you want to say or do with him.

You can teach breathing using games (when he is already calm)

Ballooning

When you balloon, you breathe in (deeply) and as you breath in you
start with your arms at your sides and raise them up parallel to
your shoulders and up over your head. Then you blow it all out,
make it exaggerated like a balloon spewing out all the air. The
kids really like it and it really lowers tension.

Draining

When you drain, you put both hands out in front of you, you twist (and
twist, and twist and twist) your hands around like you were turning
off water and you screw your face all up, then you blow the air out
through your lips (I know... there will be a little spit!) but the
kids really like that one and you can feel the stress and tension
leaving your own body! (automatic stress relief!)

After he knows these, sometimes when he is angry, you can just say
*balloon* or *drain* and he might start the game with you.


--
Dorothy

There is no sound, no cry in all the world
that can be heard unless someone listens ..

The Outer Limits

toypup

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Mar 17, 2008, 11:27:50 PM3/17/08
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"Stephanie" <ha...@noway.net> wrote in message
news:3t6dnQzXrveVikLa...@comcast.com...


> lib...@gmail.com wrote:
>> Thanks for the advices!
>>
>> I am now wondering if this belongs to some type of "terrible two"
>> phase. It never really occurs to me before.
>>
>
>
> My kids' terrible twos defintely happened at three.

They always happen at three. I don't know when they ever happen at two,
LOL.

To OP, I'd echo everyone else and say it really helps to let them know what
is going to happen before it happens. Choose what you will let slide and
what you won't before it happens. It's very confusing when you first react
with absolute authority that he can't do something and then negotiate and
relent or just always negotiate.

In fact, I don't quite like negotiating all the time. It just gives the kid
too much power over everything Negotiate occasionally, yes, but not over
everything. I'd give choices when there are choices. In fact, I thought it
funny one day when DS came to me in the store one day. He wanted a toy, but
instead of asking me for a toy, he asked me which one I wanted.

FWIW, I've seen kids who were absolute horrors at that age grow out of it
quite well without much intervention. It must be cultural. The boys run
wild at that age, but they are perfect citizens once they hit grade school.
By that time, they are expected to understand appropriate behavior and would
then be disciplined accordingly.

Message has been deleted

Ericka Kammerer

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Mar 18, 2008, 8:40:09 AM3/18/08
to
toypup wrote:
>
>
> "Stephanie" <ha...@noway.net> wrote in message
> news:3t6dnQzXrveVikLa...@comcast.com...
>> lib...@gmail.com wrote:
>>> Thanks for the advices!
>>>
>>> I am now wondering if this belongs to some type of "terrible two"
>>> phase. It never really occurs to me before.
>>>
>>
>>
>> My kids' terrible twos defintely happened at three.
>
> They always happen at three. I don't know when they ever happen at two,
> LOL.

I think it's two different things. I think some kids have
"terrible twos" and they seem to be the ones who can't yet communicate
effectively. They get very frustrated because they can't get the
world to go their way because they can't explain what they want.
I think a lot of kids have challenges at three, because that's around
when they usually start up with pushing boundaries.

> In fact, I don't quite like negotiating all the time. It just gives the
> kid too much power over everything

Not only that, but it takes *forever*. Sometimes you just
need to get a move on! I had a friend who was very into negotiating
everything with her first. She explained everything, gained consensus
on everything, had a very mild mannered, compliant child. Then she
had her second ;-) She found she no longer had time to negotiate
and explain absolutely everything, and number two really took her
for a ride for a while! It was a tough transition for all of them.

Best wishes,
Ericka

lib...@gmail.com

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Mar 18, 2008, 1:05:13 PM3/18/08
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I could not access the internet last night. Thanks for all those
wonderful suggestions.

It helps me to understand DS's problem better. I would absolutely
explore those suggested approaches.

Ericka-- I agree with you totally on " decide *in advance", respond
effectively, be careful with the negotiation. I need to learn to
quickly tell the difference between genuine behaviors and
manipulation.

Nan-- thank for the warm support and suggestion.

Banty-- I totally agree that too much power is not good for DS.
Thanks.

Stephanie-- "How to Talk" definitely matters. I would check this out.

toto -- good advices. *ballooning* or *draining" sound like fun
strategy. I will check out those books for sure.

toypup-- I could not help LOL about your story that "DS wanted a
toy, but
instead of asking me for a toy, he asked me which one I wanted". They
sure learn quickly!

Again, I found this forum is way useful than my googling the internet
aimlessly.

Best wishes to all,

Alice


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