7yo & tantrums-long vent-advice please!

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Registered: 07-08-2007
7yo & tantrums-long vent-advice please!
7
Fri, 08-31-2007 - 10:31am

I need help! Our day started to go downhill @ breakfast. First, a little background. Every morning, I set the timer for 20 minutes when DD sits down to eat her bowl of cereal (which I believe is plenty of time). We use this as a way to pace her so she knows how much time until she has to get up & brush her teeth & get ready to get on the bus. (We use the timer b/c she often has a problem pacing herself-not just @ home, last year @ school as well). When the timer goes off, whether she's finished or not, she has to get up from the table and finish getting ready for school. No bargaining, no whining. Usually she's done with time to spare. This morning, she just sat there, not really eating much. I gave her warnings @ 10, 5, & 3 minutes that the timer was going to go off. Still, she really didn't eat a whole lot. So when the timer went off, DH went in and told her to get up. She started having a total meltdown! This escalated into a full blown tantrum--throwing herself on the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs, jumping up & down, etc. (Who knows what happened after she got to school-may have told the teacher we don't feed her!)
She seems to be doing this every time she doesn't get her way about simple things--like going in to brush her teeth by herself, getting her pj's from her room, picking up her toys. It's about to drive DH & me CRAZY! We've tried timeouts, groundings, taking away toys, even resorted to a few swats on the tail. Nothing seems to work.
Most of the time she's a very sweet, loving girl & does well in school. I'm @ my wits end.
Most of the time we're a pretty easy going family. That's probably part of the problem--we've been pretty overprotective of her & I'll admit, she's somewhat spoiled.
When we ask her what's wrong, she says we're mean, hate her, are ruining her life. (Sounds like a teenager, huh? lol) If anyone has read this whole vent & can impart any advice (before her screaming gets us kicked out of our apartment or a visit from the authorities), I'd be grateful.

Mia

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Registered: 06-15-2007
Fri, 08-31-2007 - 10:49am

"We've tried timeouts, groundings, taking away toys, even resorted to a few swats on the tail. Nothing seems to work."

One more thing to try: Reward her instead of giving her negative attention. Reward her for getting her pj's on, for finishing her breakfast on time, etc. We had similar problems with my ds, but a counselor got us started on a great "token system," where he got poker chips for good behavior... He could "spend" the chips on rewards like TV time, a trip to the bookstore, a playdate with a friend, video games.... It worked great. We eventually phased it out, but he has improved vastly.

The other thing is, have one consistent reaction to the tantrums and don't ever fail to enact it. If they know exactly what to expect -- a timeout in their room, a loss of privileges, etc. -- each & every time they have a meltdown, it eventually sinks in.

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Registered: 07-08-2007
Fri, 08-31-2007 - 11:53am

We've used the behavior chart before-get so many stickers on it to earn a treat. But it didn't seem to work well with her either. I guess when she starts pitching these fits I'll just put her in the middle of the living room floor in a time out. Maybe if we do that consistently for awhile it'll work.
Also I like your idea about the poker chips. We may try something like that as well.
I also made an appt. to go in & talk with her school counselor. Hopefully we can get some help there as well.

Mia

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Registered: 07-29-2002
Fri, 08-31-2007 - 6:51pm

We give our 7 yo DD 2 choices.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 09-01-2007 - 12:26pm

HI I am new/lurker....my son just turned 7


I've been using Positive Parenting since he was about 15 months....there's a great book out there, that has real life examples and even worksheets to give good and different ideas on how to deal with issues like these.

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Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 09-07-2007 - 11:27pm

I have been having similar issues with my 5.5yo DD. I put a poster on her wall that said "No Fits Today!!!" Whenever she gets through a day with no fits, she gets to put a sticker on it. No prizes or anything at the end, so it isn't really a "chart". It is just a tool to remind her that she can handle frustration in ways other than throwing a fit and she gets to feel good about it when she succeeds in doing so. This has really made a huge difference.

Also - make sure you give her a way to "save face". Usually my daughter will come around on her own, so long as she has a path to do so without having to lose face. When my daughter is throwing a fit, instead of saying "Stop throwing a fit and use your words!", I say "When you are ready to use your words, I will be glad to listen." One is an order, which puts the child in the situation of having to "give in" or be disobedient. The other leaves them more control. I know that when I am told what to do, I get defensive and dig my heels in. But when I am left with options to get out of the hole I have dug myself into, I will get out of it. Kids are the same way.




Edited 9/7/2007 11:31 pm ET by walkasia
- Gwen, proud Mommy of Quintin (8 yrs), Aspen (6.5 yrs), and Carson (3 yrs!!!)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-11-2007 - 9:06pm

OMG! I think we have the same 6 year old daughter. All the windows are open and dh is at school this evening and when he is not around she gives me the hardest time. Just picks fights over every little thing and always pushes the limit by asking for more time to play at the nieghbors or more tv or more more MORE>... I can't take it anymore. Everynite when its time to put ds who is 2.5 to bed she comes in to say good night and picks a fight about what animals are in his bed and she wants them. They swap sometimes so she has some of his and visa versa... Both dh and I have told her OVER AND OVER... this is not the time to do that say good night and please get to bed or please leave and she starts in with her jumping up and down and but but but but I want....ARGH. I looked at her tonight and deepened my tone and I guess scared her, she started crying I said you get out of this room right now. She thought I was going to spank her but I kept my hands top myself. I tend to think that kind of punishment is useless so I stay away from it as much as I can. So she went into her room and cried like she was an infant hungry for food. Whaling like there was no tomorrow top of her lungs screaming. Windows are wide open...I have to shout for her to hear me and ds is waiting to be put to bed in the other room...OMG. Not to mention the motivation in the morning for getting ready for school.... her "I am not listening to you I will do it when I am good and ready" attitude are still lingering from last year. I get her up 1 hour before the bus comes. Plenty of time considering the clothes are all laid out for the next day.

I like the no fits sign I am going to try that. I have tried quarters in a jar and that worked for a short time. she could earn up to 4 quarters in a day. Morning noon night and then an extra one for helping out her brother. I have done sticker charts but they don't work very long. She just wants the "stuff" she would get a reward of going to the store with 5$ after filling a chart. And then it just got to be about the stuff and not trying to change the way she was. So we stopped.

I want her to be strong and well rounded and nice. She thinks I am mean. She said to dh last night why doesn't he just try to act like he loves her. I try very hard to start off each day with a hug and a smile and how'd you sleep, it's going to be a great day. Great her lovingly when she gets home and when I speak even when I am trying to REEAAALLLy ge tmy point across I try so hard to keep my tone quiet and not shout or yell. But it just doesn't work.

Oh man I am frazzled tonight. Any input??? Please excise the siggy I usually post on Secrets of Married Sex...haven't had much of that lately as she is not going to sleep until we do and then I am too tired... anyways...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2007
Wed, 09-12-2007 - 9:24am

I didn't think we'd be ruining their lives until they were teenagers! (DD likes to let me know when she thinks I AM ruining things).
Lately, the best thing I've found (& it seems to be working) is every time she starts throwing a tantrum, I warn her to stop & that if she continues she will loose a toy; then if she doesn't stop I promptly walk into her bedroom & choose a toy (something she plays with a lot-it makes more of an impression) and it comes to live in my room for a week. Amazingly, we've seen quite a decrease in the tantrums. (Although my room was starting to get crowded for the first few weeks!)
Also, trying to start the day off "happy" is a good idea. We try to do this too. Not so easy some mornings, but her before school mood seems to set a tone for the entire day.

Mia

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