Someone should warn you when your child is around 12 months old that the ‘terrible two’ stage doesn’t mean that it starts when your child is two. My daughter is now 17 months and for last few weeks I’ve noticed a change in her tantrum outbursts.
Before she would get upset for reasonable things….stumble…I left the room… sleepy….etc. But now she will have a complete meltdown for apparently no reason at all. She wants a fork instead of the spoon. She doesn’t want to eat what I gave her. She wants to play with another toy. She can’t see the plane in the sky anymore. I’m left like “whoa child…. it’s not that deep”. I haven’t given into her demands (I don’t think sometimes I try to get her to pay attention to something else instead of the catastrophic event that just occurred to her). Sometimes I wonder if giving her even that kind of attention to distract her is feeding into her need for attention. I’m actually still unsure how I want to handle these tantrums. I want to be consistent in what I do but I wasn’t prepared to start thinking about this so soon! I thought I had a few more months!
I’ve read a lot into the subject and nothing has quite felt like how I would want to deal with it. My mom tells me to lightly ‘pop’ her to get her attention but I feel that doing so 1. teaches her to hit to get the response she wants 2. she’s already upset so I’m not sure how that will help. 3. I’m not quite comfortable with that. I know I was never really spanked as a kid but I know my mom gave my brother and I a few little poppings; and I turned out alright. lol
A lot of articles say to explain to the child what happened and the desired outcome I would like. UM that’s perfect in theory but have you ever tried to calmly explain anything to an upset 17 month old? Not realistic at this stage in her development. I do talk to her but I do it more because I talk to her and explain to her everything that is going on in her environment- I explain why we are getting dressed; what I’m cooking for lunch; etc.
I’ve also read about using a ‘time out’ for tantrums. Again, I can see how that could work for a child a little older but I don’t think my child is ready for that concept fully. I guess I have been up to this point doing a version of time out. When she starts to throw a fit where she flings her arms and legs (oh and the head banging… really child? so unnecessary; she has a flair for the dramatic flair) I will lay her down on the floor where she can’t get into anything or hurt herself then I’ll step back a bit and let her just have it out. I will watch her but I won’t give her the attention to feed into the tantrum. Eventually after a couple of minutes she will get up and come over to get in my lap. If she is still trying to throw a fit I put her back into the spot. Only if she comes to me calmer will I pick her up and hold her; and then talk to her.
Meal times are also becoming a lot more frustrating over the past several weeks. Sometimes I even find myself dreading it. She has been feeding herself with a spoon and fork for a while now which is great….sometimes. But now I can’t feed her without a fit and sometimes it would be easier, quicker, and not to mention CLEANER if I could just feed her so we can get on with going somewhere or if we are on a time crunch. I hate when she starts to throw a fit while eating because I don’t want her to choke on any food. I try to feed her what I cook for my husband and I but she is so finicky about new things that sometimes I don’t know if I should just give her that or if she doesn’t seem to like it give her something that I know she will like. I don’t want to create a habit of making essentially two meals but I also don’t want to force her to eat something she doesn’t like. Can we just go back to when she was drinking formula and that was all that required… lol! kidding! Well maybe a little serious.
I haven’t gotten to the point of pure frustration with her because I have been able to remind myself that this is a normal stage, she is still a baby even though she thinks she is so independent, and this is her way of communicating some of her feelings. So I know this is all a stage and it too will pass but I feel a little unprepared for it and I don’t want to be inconsistent in my actions with her so I’m hoping we find a groove soon. Granted I know that’s when she will start a whole new phase!
Until next time…. props to all the moms (and dads) out there going through similar situations! Parenting by far is the hardest thing I’ve ever done!