My son is just turning 19 months. He has always been a happy child, he is funny, and usually very good.
However, the past few weeks he has become extremely irritable when we go out. He throws extreme temper tantrums in public, where he will hit, bite whatever. He screams and cries and tries to run away. This always stems from not being able to do what he wants.
He occasionally does the same thing at home, but really he will test us. We tell him no, he will do it anyways, we punish him, by taking him from the situation, putting him in a chair, etc. even the odd time tapping his hand and saying no. He will just do it again, almost as if to say "you are not the boss of me"
It is becoming extrememly upsetting for me. I do not want to feel anything bad towards him, but when he behaves like this I feel like a failure, and then wonder how the heck I can explain to such a small little person to stop what he is doing...Is this what they call the terrible twos?
Well he is entering the stage commonly referred to as the terrible two's. I personally don't like that term because I think it is really not an accurate or positive portrayal of what is occurring at this age. But anyway I remember when my youngest daughter did this and this is what I did. First I made it clear to her after an incident that I didn't like how she behaved. I was specific. Then the next time we went to go out I played up the fact that we were going out. We were going somewhere she liked to go so that helped. I told her if she acted up I would have to leave. And of course she did. I don't think we were at the place more than 10 minutes. I VERY CALMLY said, "I am so disappointed because I was looking forward to spending some fun time with you." She was mad but I stayed calm and drove home. 35 minutes home!! And it worked. She didn't do it again. Hope this helps.
You are not a failure! You are the mother of a perfectly normal little child who has hit the age where there are boundaries to be pushed and a world to be conquered. Having said that, it can be a real challenge to hold on to your patience. You are doing all you can. The shortest remedy is to physically remove him from the situation and let him fuss in a safe place (car seat, wherever). Remember, he can find his anger quite scary and upsetting in itself, so you must keep as calm as you can. ENJOY Sera
I agree with both of the PPs. One of the causes of this at this age is the fact that they do not have the language to properly express themselves when they want something, are angry, etc. In addition to what you are doing and what was suggested, give him the language because the sooner he has that that sooner the tantrums will end. It will not happen overnight, but may take months and you will need to be consistant, but eventually it should help. You would say something like, "You are angry because we have to put your toys away now but we have to clean up before we go outside", or "You are upset because mommy will not let you have that pretty vase, but it could break and hurt you". You will get tired of doing this, but the sooner they have language the sooner they are able to cope and express themselves. You might also try to head them off before they start if you are not already doing that. If you are going to a restaurant, take some crayons, paper and something quiet he enjoys playing with. If you are going to church, plan to use the nursery, at the grocery store take a toy or two for him or hand him all the non-breakables and let him drop them into the back of the cart, etc. Make a game of things whenever you can too. Say I'll pick up the blue blocks and you pick up the red ones, or I bet I can clean up the toys before you. Give choices as much as possible too. Ask him if he wants to nap with his blue blanket or his yellow one, or ask him if he wants to wear his Sponge Bob shirt or his Spiderman shirt, etc. If they have some control they tend to not throw as many tantrums.
I wish my 2 were old enough to get the "language". Mine are 19 months also, twins. Boy and Girl! We have the same issue. I have finally figured out that a tantrum for the girl, means she needs space, so I have started (no matter where we are) making her sit somewhere alone until she calms down (easy huh). My son, on the other hand, isn't so easy, he goes limp when he doen't want to do something, and has gone so far as to slam his head on the tile in my kitchen to get his way. I am WAY more stern about situations like this, because if he gets hurt, it's my fault for not taking control.
If he does this in church, or in a restaraunt, my DH and i have started saying taking him out into a quiet, secluded spot (even the car), sitting him down until he calms down and being very, VERY consistent with this. The first time he gets his way, or we give in, this doesn't work! In the grocery store today, he was hollering and throwing his bottle. So, I walked to the back of the store, took his bottle away, and we stood right there until he calmed down and forgot what he was freaking out about.
I know this is long, but i feel your pain, Im right there with ya!!!