Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Temper Temper!

HELP! Oh just help!

My sweet baby is turning into a cranky baby!

My little man has started throwing mini tantrums. They even come with their own special cry that is squeaky and probably one of the most alarming sounds I have ever heard come out of this little baby.

He has a fit when he does not get what he wants. And that is a LOT lately.

A fit when I have to take away the dangerous thing/choking hazard he has found, from a plastic bread bag closer to a dead leaf from the floor. Oh and heaven forbid if you take away the pen or pencil he has managed to grab.

A fit when I will not lift him up onto the couch. Sometimes I just do not wish to deal with him on the couch, because he will literally THROW himself off the edge of it because to him it is fun to be caught by your ankles and lifted up by mom or dad. And sometimes, I do not want to play that game. He went to fall once and I caught him and now he thinks it is a game.

He throws a fit if you want to change him or dress him and he does not want that.

He throws a fit over being told "STOP" when he reaches for the power cord to the computer.

If you scold ANYONE, or speak in less than a perfectly sunny voice he throws a fit!

It is especially bad if you stop something before it starts. Move the bad item out of reach or pull it away before he gets his hands on it. If you say "STOP" before he gets that cord in his hands, or just plain refuse to lift him onto the couch.

I know I have to teach him about dissapointment, about not getting what you want. That the whole mentality that you can not spoil a baby is ending now. But oooh my poor baby.

If you try to give him a toy instead of the bad item he will THROW the toy across the room and resume screeching.

I worry that this will get worse as he gets older.

It is terrible with another infant around. I babysit a little boy who is 5 days younger than Liam, and that little boy will do something tiny like touch Liam's arm and Liam has a FIT. Granted, this baby has pushed Liam over before, and taken toys away from him. But Liam does the same to him. That is just how babies are. They are selfish creatures and that is how they are supposed to be. They put themselves first because that is how to survive. But at times just the SIGHT of Forest crawling toward him will make Liam screech. And god forbid Forest goes for a toy that is Liam's favorite, even if Liam is currently showing no interest in it.

How do I teach my baby about disappointment?

I just can't let him play with dangerous things, I can't give in every time he wants up on the couch.

The fits only last a couple minutes until something else distracts him, but they are breaking my heart. And I wonder, isn't this a little early for this sort of thing?  Yes? No?

I am at a loss. Where does being a good mama level out here. What do I give in on, what do I hold my ground on? Am I bad when I don't want to sit there on the couch and keep pulling him back from the edge? I know I am not bad that I don't want him to gnaw on a pencil and risk wood splinters in his mouth and the chance of poking himself with the sharp end when he takes it and goes to stand somewhere. Images of him falling and that thing stabbing him fly through my mind. I'm not bad when I take away the choking hazard... he still does not always understand "NO" or "STOP" He hears you, but keeps on doing it. He certainly gets it when you say it sharply, but then the screeching and crying happen.

I need advice, or someone to tell me that I am doing this right, or to gently suggest something if I am doing it wrong. So hey, all you moms. How do you do it? How does it work when you start saying No?


  1. ah....what a fun time. It is so hard and the fear is it is never going to change and this is the child he will be. Not true! Here is my advice:

    Distraction is your friend. When he is doing something and you want him to stop-distract him with something else before the tantrum (easier than during.)

    He has no idea what no or stop mean. Say them and remove him (sometimes over and over) from the situation. Just setting him on the other side of the room. He is figuring it out and that means he'll repeat the action not testing you, but testing the world in order to understand.

    He does not have to be happy all the time.

    Control the environment because it is a lot easier than trying to control him. This means having more "yes" things in a room than "no's."

    When he has a tantrum, stay calm. (VERY hard) Ignore the fit but not Liam. Does that make sense?

    GIve him as much freedom as possible with clear unwavering boundaries. It just takes time. Everytime I am at my moms Dot goes over and bangs on their flatscreen Tv. I say "no" I shout "no!" I move her away etc.. I get frustrated. over and over. Now I just ignore her basically. I say"no" she loves it and thinks it's a game. But with no response she stops.

  2. We have many more yes things than no. It is just that he LOVES the No's! We have one power strip that is under my desk and mostly hidden that he adores. The only other No's in the house are the trash can in the bathroom and the cat room where the litter box is, but he can't get into there anymore since I fixed the sliding door with a stick to keep it from going open any more.

    I like the idea of ignoring the tantrum but not him. I cuddle him as he screams and give him a kiss and then try to get him interested in something else. This is the times that the cats are fantastic, just LOOKING at one of them makes him happier.

    It is so hard to get in on the thing that he does not have to be happy all the time. For all these first few months it was all about keeping the baby happy. Fed, changed, clean and content was just the given. If he was upset, something was wrong. Now he is upset and there is nothing physically wrong with him. It is hard to shift my mind to that phase.

    Liam will listen to a No or a Stop, He stops what he is doing, But he also will sit down on his bum and have a good cry if you scold him. I try to comfort him but not let him get away with what he was doing at the time.

    I love distractions. He gets fussy and I pull out the super nifty toy, or get a kitty cat to come hang out. Unfortunately, my son is just as stubborn and determined as his daddy. I thought that would be a LEARNED trait, but it seems to be inherited. When he wants something there is no stopping him until HE decides to move on. Maybe next time we will try a change of scenery and go into another room or take a crawl up the stairs. He loves being upstairs, even if the only room he can go into is his own and the bathroom.

    Thanks for the ideas. It is so hard to see your sweet little baby being unhappy when for so long your only job was to keep them content.

  3. Coedith's advice is just right. She said a lot of the things I was going to. The only thing I'll add, after reading your response, is that you should not cuddle or kiss him when he throws his tantrums. Pick him up and move him, distract him, but don't reinforce the behavior. If you cuddle him when he squawks, he will keep doing it longer. I know this is hard, Jessie. And you're right about the stubborn part. He didn't just inherit it from Dan. Ted will tell you it comes from me, and I can tell you it comes from my mom!


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