Tantrums — The Bump
Parenting after 35


My 18 month son has started throwing the worst tantrums since the arrival of his little sister a week and a half ago.  These are all out on the floor screaming to no end tantrums that are sparked by the most insignificant things.  The latest one this evening lasted 45 minutes until he finally fell asleep on daddy's lap.  He huffed and puffed to the end, though.  These tantrums are truly inconsolable and really frustrating to me and my husband since we just don't know what to do.  Putting him in his room to cry it out is all that we've been able to do, but he is a little on the young side (I think) to truly comprehend the "time out".  Is this just a phase that anyone else can comment on and/or give some pointers on how to handle? Also, on the day of arrival home with Little Sis, we all came down with a GI bug that put us all out for 72 hours to add more stress to our little guy's system.  I am feeling so guilty for throwing his whole world upside down right now.
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Re: Tantrums

  • PeskyPesky member
    DS can do this too sometimes.  Unlike DD, who I can use timeouts and such, with DS it is usually a cry for attention.  I simply sit by him and ask very quietly "do you want mommy to hold you?"  He will usually crawl over and slowly stop.  I talk to him quietly and say "okay, next time just say 'mommy hug' and I know what you need and there's no need to cry.  How about we put on your comfy PJs/ read a book/watch Elmo/etc.?"  So it's giving him a way to react next time that is more acceptable and distracting him.  Doesn't work all the time but a lot of the time.  Now he is older, we just ignore him and let him have his fit and get it out.

    DD -- 5YO
    DS -- 3YO

  • mwdmwd member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Comments

    First of all, Congrats!  I know exactly what you're going through as my DS was approximately the same age difference as DD.  IMO, it is a method of getting attention.  DS does not have the vocabulary yet to convey his feelings, he gets frustrated, and has a tantrum.  If you can, then do try to give him attention, and console him.  If you can't, then put him in a safe place, like his room, a stool with a favorite book, maybe a video on bad days.  When he is calm, emphasize what a helper he can be by getting diapers, wipes, etc. Give him extra love, as he is used to being your one and only, and now has to share the limelight.   

    When DD was born, we started to go to an indoor playground during her naptimes.  DH or MIL would watch DD while I played with DS.  Gave him a little mommy and me time.   Good luck!!

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  • Congrats on the little one! His behavior isn't unusual at all, and you're right, he's not old enough to understand time out. Giving him time to cool down is absolutely fine. My kids at that age only had the freak out tantrums because they were tired, hungry or not well, and the 10 second spaz turned into WW3. Sounds like this might be the case, and adjusting to the new baby.

    Giving him extra cuddles when he's screaming works, but if it's not, putting him in his room/crib/bed is fine, and safe. Sounds like you already are doing the right thing, don't let mommy guilt get to you. And ditto pp, get some alone time with him, he's probably feeling like he's not #1 with you right now.

  • At Jace's school, they don't do "time outs". They say, "You need to go to your "thinking spot" and think about why we don't do x." I've started the thinking spot at home, too. It's really good because it's not punishment...it's more like, "I need to cool off and think about my actions." I think adults need a thinking spot, too ;)
  • I think at 18 months with so many changes in his life, and probably limited communication skills due to his age alone, that your DS probably needs helping calming down and letting his emotions out and not time-outs per se.

    My DS went through a period where he'd have intense tantrums and it was because he had a speech delay and some sensory issues. He didn't have the means to express himself. So what I would do was give him deep hugs and just say to him that it was OK to have __ feelings and that I was there.



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