I really need help with tantums.please!

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Registered: 02-05-2010
I really need help with tantums.please!
7
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 5:22pm

I have a 3.5 year old step son and a 3 year old daughter. We have dealt with our share of tantrums. But lately my step son's tantrums are out of control. This has been going on for about 6 months. His mom, my husband and I get along great and co parent and we are frustrated. I am his primary caregiver during the week and really at my wits end. I need help please!

He won't listen. He walks away or falls down and pretends he doesn't hear me or even covers his eyes. When he finally "hears" me falls down or plays dead and screams! If he doesn't get his way, or I tell him no he stomps his feet and screams and cries. Even little things like today he wanted some junk mail to look at that his sister was holding, I said and to wait the tantrum lasted 5 min.

The general way to handle this is time out. We were sending kids to beds, but he kicks the wall and falls off the bed screaming. We changed to standing in the corner. Standing means his feet are too busy to kick. :) But if he gets destructive (hitting, kicking, throwing toys) I spank his or his dad does. He used to try to hit and kick me but that stopped a few months ago because he realized it wasn't worth a spanking. I know most people say no spanking but I feel like something more than time out is needed for some things(like hitting me in the face). Spanking is generally the last resort. I have tired putting what ever he is throwing a fit for in time out, but then when it comes out he refuses to play with it. If he wants something but he is throwing a fit he all of a sudden doesn't want it. He threw something down the heat vent the other day because I told him to put it back. (fridge magnet)then he screamed for it for 15 min because he couldn't get it back and he wanted it. It isn't just me i took the kids to my mom's and her bathroom is unsafe. She has a huge mirror leaned against the wall and it is under construction. She told the kids not to go in there, as soon as she did he took off running and jumped in her tub and laughed! He wouldn't get out, she had to catch him.

He can be so sweet and playful but lately, I am just at my wits end the last few days- these temper tantrums have been like every 10 min. he isn't sick, hungry, tired anything. He get plenty of attention. But it isn't getting better it is getting worse! It seems way beyond normal to me. He is stubborn and in a power struggle constantly. I try to give lots of choices for him to feel independent. I want to be constant and firm but short of yelling at him all day or spanking him all the time I am just taped out, I feel like I have tried everything else. I want to be a good parent for him, Just don't know how. HELP ME PLEASE!!! My kids are making me crazy!

- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia
- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia
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Registered: 04-08-2008
Sun, 02-07-2010 - 1:37am

I'm not sure I understand. When you say "if he gets destructive" it sounded like that was during a time out? Time outs should be away from ALL toys and anything that can be throw or destroyed. I prefer to have DS sit - he will lie down to show his defiance but as long as he stays on the spot, I won't push it. You need to be firm about time outs or they don't work.

You absolutely MUST ignore all tantrums completely. We had a 6 mos period where the tantrums were getting out of hand. Some were lasting 20-30 mins. My DH would try to talk to him or threaten him during the tantrum and that definitely was not working. I will actually walk away/out of the room when DS is having one. Once he realizes he is getting no where, he will generally stop. If he gets up from the tantrum and throws a toy - then it is an instant time out (he knows he is not allowed to throw toys). We have had an occasion where he got so riled up and his tantrum was so out of control that I put him in his room. He kicked the wall, screamed, etc. I waited till he calmed down and then went in and spoke with him very gently. I've only had to put him in his room twice. Now I say, "please calm down and talk to mommy, I don't know what is wrong." Eventually that turns to, "do you want to go to your room to calm down?" and then he stops.

Good luck and try to be consistent. Whatever you do, don't let him see that he is frustrating you bc he might be wanting to get a rise out of you. I hope things improve for you.

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2008
Sun, 02-07-2010 - 10:51pm

I used to nanny for a little girl with downs' syndrome who threw out of control tantrums (much worse than my kids throw). We actually used to have to lock her in her room with a baby gate because she was so out of control. Her therapist gave her parents and I this suggestion, and it worked really well, and has worked for my kids.

Move them to the "time out" spot where there is nothing for them to destroy, grab, etc...for us, it was the foyer. You say, "no tantrum or no hit (or whatever you feel works...no more than 2 or 3 words), and then turn your back. You're right there, so they know you hear them, they also know that you won't respond to the tantrum. The only thing you respond to is that if they move from the spot, you put them back on it. Her hour long tantrums were reduced to a couple of minutes. Finally, we made it through days with no tantrums.

It sounds like your DS is really testing his boundaries. Sounds like he's testing you to see that you're going to love him no matter what. When my stepson went through his tantrum phase, we noticed it was during a time his mom had just moved. So even though nothing on our end had changed, he was feeling insecure bc things with his mom were so different. We found that having a really strict routine during this time helped a lot. It was kind of restrictive for us, but it helped settle down his equilibrium. From time to wake up, to meals, to bedtime, there were no changes, no exceptions. We didn't leave the house a lot for about a few months, but it was so worth it. It also meant no visits to Grandma's for the weekend, etc (which made her pissed off at us), but she threw him completely out of whack (by letting him do whatever he wanted) so that when he came home it was hell for the next week. After he was tantrum free for a couple of weeks, then we "loosened up..." Hope some of this helps...


Sarah
Wife to Kevin
Step-mom to Justin (11)
Mom to twins Grace and Isabelle (3)and Boyd (21months)
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Registered: 02-07-2010
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 2:49pm
This worked for me.
Avatar for cmkristy
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Registered: 07-05-2005
Wed, 02-10-2010 - 1:10pm

Hi Corinne,


I'm sorry to hear you are struggling so much with tantrums in your house.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2010
Sat, 02-13-2010 - 12:46pm
That is defiantly something we can do different, we generally don't ignore him when in time out. I tried it the other day though at it helped a little, i think that will help in the future. Thank you.
- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia
- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2010
Sun, 02-14-2010 - 12:06am
I have learned so far to let kids have their tantrums. Hard as it may seem... They need to let out their stress... Stinks but for me it has worked... Good luck!
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Registered: 02-05-2010
Wed, 02-17-2010 - 3:35pm
Thanks everyone so much for there comments. I am still doing time outs but I am handling them different and my SANITY is back! I am putting them in the corner and they have to face the wall and be quiet and wait to get out of time out. So if they scream, kick, thrash on the floor I don't start counting. I set the timer when the act the way they should. The first time I tried that with Roger it took about 15 minutes of screaming and such then a little voice said, "I am standing good now." SO much easier. PLUS, since I am not spending so much time and attention with the kids being "bad" the other isn't acting up for "bad attention" also. Before It was a tantrum every five minutes by one or the other. Now it is noon and we have had maybe 4 tantrums from both kids since 6 this morning. THANK YOU- I was so overwelmed before.
- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia
- Corinne
mom of Roger, Annie, and Olivia