Monday, June 22, 2009

Fits at 15 months???

I need some help from all of you mom's out there (and dad's too if you're reading). My 15 month old daughter who is normally sweet, well-mannered, and polite has been having.....some moments. I had no idea that throwing fits could start this early - is that normal? Anytime I take something away that she shouldn't have (but thinks she should) there is a fit which involves crying to the point of tears, running after me saying "mamamama", and most recently hitting me. When I tell her "no" when she is about to do something she shouldn't, she looks at me, says "no no no" and does it anyway. Now, I don't want to blame Shaun but I think I will anyway. My mom is here right now and has witnessed these fits and has said "you never did that"...not at this age, not at any age. So, I have to obviously assume that it is Shaun's genes. Ha!

I have no idea what to do when she does this. Just ignore it? That's pretty much what I've been doing. It's not like you can have a rational conversation with a 15 month old. She's to young for a understand what it is I mean. Not to mention that if I tried to sit her on a time-out chair she'd probably just get up and throw the chair. What is a mommy to do? I'm sure this is just the beginning of many parenting moments where I want to pull my hair out. I have nightmares about having a child that causes a scene in a store, crying because she can't get her way. I feel like when she is older I can control it better and she will know that that type of behavior is not tolerated. But at this age...what do I do? Anyone else have children who started this at a young age?


Rachel said...

Brings back memories! My advice to you would be to ignore the crying and yelling parts. If she realizes that she is not getting ANY attention from it, maybe she will realize that it is not going to help her get her way.Maybe...fingers crossed anyway. I would also (personally) give my son a swat on the bottom for hitting me. That is just me though.

septembermom said...

I remember crying fits and tantrums with all 4 of my kids at that age. Try to ignore as much as possible. It can be tough especially in public. I wish I could say the tantrums would end, but I still have "episodes" with my older kids. Oh, the joys and trials of motherhood:) When they are very young, I think it is all about asserting themselves and saying "hey, I'm someone and have something to say." I wish that they wouldn't assert themselves so loudly at times :) Good luck!!

Aleta said...

I don't have children, so I have no right to comment. But I do know that if my brother and I acted that way (and we did), that we got spankings. It taught us that there are punishments. I don't know about ignoring a problem, because then she will possibly think she can get away with it. Have you ever watched the Nanny show? Seems that a lot of parents (on the show) don't discipline their children and the kids think they can get away with yelling and hitting. At least that's the crux of what I take away from the shows. Again, I'm not a parent, so I don't have any authority to answer and I'll be curious to see other responses!

andiscandis said...

From what I hear, "terrible twos" is something of a misnomer. It starts at 1. Hazel is the same way. And my mom told me that it must be Brent's genes because I was never that bad. I think our moms must be forgetting some stuff. It's like how you can't really remember labor, I guess.

When Hazel totally flips out, I put her on the sofa alone and walk away. She usually doesn't stay there, so I don't know how much good I'm doing.

We need to get a play group together!

Sally said...

J just started this, too!! But, I think he's kinda sick (tummy bug) and that is what is bringing it on. It's not when I take something away from him, it seems to happen for no reason at all. But, it's making me think that the terrible twos are here already -- just months and months early!! If you find something that works, let me know!!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

My first two babies didn't do much of this, but our third (who is now just almost 15 months) has started screaming and even hitting every so often.

I don't consider myself an expert, but I'll share our approach just in case it's helpful. Our family does not believe in using a fear-based form of discipline for both religious and philosophical reasons. For that reason, we do a lot of holding and talking and especially listening to our children when their behavior is off. Even our 14 month old communicates with his face and body (and lately with hand signs) when he notices we're paying attention.

It sure means some majorly active and alert parenting. We constantly remind one another what we've read so often--that a child who is hurting someone else usually isn't feeling good, themselves. Either they're scared, or feeling hurt, or frustrated so we seek the source of the outburst and address those issues immediately in a belief that we're addressing long-term feelings instead of just a behavior. We might react with our children with, "Hey bub, what's going on? Is something bothering you? Mommy is listening." Other times we pick our baby up and say something like, "No sweetheart, we don't hurt, we LOVE each other" and then snuggle him closely. His crying turns to smiles and sometimes even giggles. Again, it's work. REAL work. Especially on those days when you'd rather just send them off to time out so you can have some peace and quiet.

Anyway, I feel your pain because it sure gets busy around here when we have an episode of screaming or hitting. Prayers for you during this time of trial! BTW, I look forward to visiting again!


Sierra said...

I'm not a mom, so it is really hard to comment, but I know when I was a child and I was disobeying my mom would sit me down and either put me in time out, talk to me about it, or ignore my antics. Lol, I hope all goes well and she turns into a sweetie again - I hope it's just a stage, otherwise, I know you are a super mom and you can go through it with her.

Karen said...

You need to ignore the negative behavior while giving her some redirection. Clearly tell her no, then calmly carry her to another place and offer another object, toy, etc. If she does not accept the new object, simply walk away, because if you react to her fit she will continue to do it (gets her what she wants). When she has calmed, pick her up for a cuddle to show her this is the behavior that gets your attention.

Tiffany said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and wishing me luck with my wedding! I just wanted to stop over and say hi. Your daughter is adoarable. As for the tantrums I would ignore her. When she is doing good things I would praise her a lot. Hopefully she'll realize she gets attention when she does "good" things and not bad. I don't have children, but teach kindergarten. For the most part this tactic works. Best of luck!

Amy said...

I have actually done a time out where I put H in his crib (don't let him have any toys, blankets, stuffed animals) for 1-2 minutes. This is only if he is doing something that I have repeatedly told him not to do (not so much for getting angry b/c I took something away). I will tell him he can't do that, warn him again and tell him he'll have a time out, try to distract him with something else or remove him from the situation (give him attention), but then if he continues I will follow through. When I get him out of time out I try to remind him what was "no" and then engage him in some other activity. I haven't done this yet this summer, but when I did it a few times at home I felt like it got a response and there was once or twice when I warned of a time out and he actually stopped the bad behavior.

I read about using the crib as a time out in a book and at first was a little skeptical (you want the bed to be a happy place, etc) but it said that because the way you put the kid in there is so different (cuddling, talking about night night vs time out with no comfort) that they will totally know the difference. Plus I felt like when I swatted his hand he gave NO response, which just made me angry, so this was a better alternative.

This discipline thing is hard. If you find any books/advice that you like, let me know!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

We use nonpunitive discipline in our home meaning we don't punish or ignore negative behavior and reward or bribe good behavior. We discipline (= teach) by communicating with them and finding the root of their behavior. Being both a teacher and parent, I've found this communication to be especially important to start with very young children while building respect and relationship.

I can't lie. Punitive acts like spanking, seclusion, and withholding affection and attention, may get instant fear related results for you, but we seek longterm behavior changes based in love and mutual respect. We believe our children will come to understand the way God sees them the same way WE see them. Some days we lose our temper and resort to a quick fix, but always regret it when we discover compliance strictly out of helplessness or desire to regain our love.

It's way too short, but we find these types of articles somewhat helpful:

We've also bought a lot of books, but some that have been particularly helpful for us are:

Families Where Grace Is in Place (VanVonderen)
Biblical Parenting (Lutton)
Grace-Based Parenting (Kimmel)
Playful Parenting (Cohen)
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (Faber) This is next on our list, but I've heard wonderful things about it.

One more helpful resource for us was the "Gentle Christian Mothering" discussion board which we've used for YEARS. It's open 24/7 and offers a great place to vent and ask for help in addressing certain behaviors you're encountering:

Good luck with your little one. After prayer and reading and searching, every family eventually comes to find something they feel is right for their family. It's great that you're seeking answers and getting a lot of advice here from a variety of belief systems.

Kelli said...

I deal with this with my 2 year old and havee been for a while. I don't know where he gets his temper from because neither my husbnad nor I have tempers. Anyways, I always tell him to look at me and tell him to stop screaming (I say it in a calm voice). If not, I ignore him or sit him down to have him calm down. Good luck.

Lift Like A Mom said...

Hope it gets better for you. I guess I have this to look forward to :) Oh, the joys!

Speckledpup said...

she's not too young for a time out.
she won't understand time, so get a kitchen timer that dings or a minute timer with sand (set where she can see it, but not touch)
and take her back and back again if she gets up and throws or whatever.

We also, didn't spank much, I know I'm the evil mother for saying it.
But we did indeed spank if nothing else worked. One swat with a wooden spoon will work. I swear you won't do it more than twice. I used to just carry the wooden spoon to church with me and when they were acting up, just pull it out of my purse, set it on my lap.
Worked like a charm.

I have six children. All well behaved, all contributing to society. Ignore me if you want, but you asked...right?
Most of all, pray over her, and bless her for every little thing she does right. What a gift from God children are...hard to remember at this age sometimes...

Sara said...

I won't bog you down with any more advice but I will say, Don't feel alone sister!! Gray is definitely my biggest fit thrower. I am not one of those who believes in the terrible twos. To me, this phase from about 14 to 20 months is the hardest. There are behaviors that need to be disciplined but a fine line on what they are able to understand and be responsible for. Add limited communication to the mix and it is HARD. I will say the work pays off though. Deal with it now and the twos will be much happier. Not perfect but better!! Hang in there. And she is still the cutest thing ever!

BeckeyZ said...

My daughter is 6 yrs old and will scream "MEANIE!" at me when she loses her temper. Sometimes you gotta be the bad guy, what can I say? I've actually been thinking about putting it on a t-shirt.

However you choose to handle the tantrums, just remember to keep your cool and not get ruffled. Always use a normal tone of voice, never scream back or holler.

You'll do fine.

Kiley said...

I just stumbled across your blog today through band of brothers... I think every mom has had a post like this up... I have a 6 year old and a 21 month old.. We struggled with our 6 year old when he was younger. He would throw fits and scream like nothing else - we used to call him our velociraptor. It took my husband and i a while to figure out how to discipline him, we tried the positive approach ( which would back fire big time), time out and then turned to spanking. We are firm believers in spanking our kids - never out of anger and never with a loud voice. there was always a warning first which involved telling them what they are doing is wrong and if they do it again they will be spanked , then spanking. Over time he got it - he hardly ever gets spanked any more. Our little one is very smart. With her we started once she was able to understand the word no, it was before she turned 1. She get's the same treatment, a warning of no, then spanked and then we sit her down and explain again why she was punished, usually by hugging and snuggling - then we end it with a "Yes Mama or Yes Dada". Now with both of them we teach them bible verses as part of our family worship time - yes our youngest is still to young to know them but if we go over them regular they will be apart of her life. Our 6 year old has verses memorized and knows what they mean. We don't believe in the terrible 2's - all ages are going to have difficulty in them. We need to pray and ask the Lord to guide us and pray for our kids that He will reach them. Enjoy her, don't get upset and don't ignore her fits. Never ignore anything that they do. Always respond out of love - being discipline or praise. Its hard and i have failed many many times, but they do love you as you love them and forgiveness has had to come both ways ;)