What would you do differently here re: tantrums/whining? — The Bump
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What would you do differently here re: tantrums/whining?

My 3.5 year old (he'll be four in July) has recently started a NASTY whining/crying/tantrum streak. Mostly, it's centered on bedtime and brushing teeth, but there are a whole host of other things also ("But I don't want to go to school today!" "But I don't want to go to the grocery store." "But I want to wear shorts!" (and it's 12 degrees outside). It's gotten so bad that outside of bedtime, every time he whines or cries or starts to throw a temper tantrum, we tell him we know he's upset, and it's ok to be upset, but that he can't ruin everyone else's day/morning. We send him to his room and tell him he can come out when he's ready.

Other times -- mostly when we're out -- we tell him that we understand he's upset but that he just can't do what he wants to do because of X, Y and Z. We give until the count of three or five to stop the crying/whining or we'll sit in the car. Example: At the grocery store today, he wanted to push his own cart instead of sit in the carts with the steering wheel. We had 35 minutes to get through the grocery store and I knew he'd be all over and tipping his car (accidentally) and getting in peoples' way, so we said no. He cried for about 30 seconds and would have continued, but I did the "I'll give you to five..." and it worked.

I know these aren't the best methods -- and I know a lot of it is that I need to slow down, give him a little more attention, and say yes more. But I'd love your thoughts. What do you do?? Just letting him cry usually means a 45-minute tear session. 

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Re: What would you do differently here re: tantrums/whining?

  • I kind pick and choose what to do when. Sometimes I know counting won't work. 

    We're big on consequences. If you do A, then you can't do Z. That usually is my fallback in public. Or I'll make a deal - if you ride in the cart this time, next time you can have your own. Or you can help me bag up the veggies only if you're in the cart (DS loves this).

    We also started the 3 strike rule a few months ago. If we have something coming up that he wants to do, we'll give him 3 strikes - either over the course of that day or the week. He totally gets it and will do almost anything not to get strikes. Earlier this week he threw a fit and I gave him 2 strikes before it was over. When we got to the third, he got a choice - either TO or Strike 3. Strike 3 meant no donuts on Friday (our weekly thing). He took TO instead.

    I'll even admit that some days I just blurt out "you're about to get strike 1" without even having anything to take away. He doesn't know and I come up with the item late (no movie Friday, no cartoons in the morning, etc) but he snaps out of it pretty quickly. 

  • Most of the time, if I ignore the behavior and distract her, it stops and won't escalate.  Just now, we were folding clothes and she got mad because I was hanging her clothes up in the wrong order.  I just ignored her, she thrashed on the floor for about 30 seconds, and then got up and asked me nicely for a hug.  Not sure if this is right, but I don't bother discussing or reasoning why she shouldn't throw a tantrum when she's already starting down that path because she's usually not in a mood to listen at that point anyways.  I also don't do the "Stop whining or _____", but I have no problem blocking out whining and just going about my business without giving into her whines.  I might tell her that mommy will listen to her once she asks nicely, but that's about it.  And I try not to take my kid grocery shopping under a time limit.  That's just a recipe for frustration on my part and probably a resulting tantrum on her part.  However, if I had to, I'd prep her as much as possible beforehand: "OK, we have to go to the grocery store fast!  Can you help mommy by sitting in the cart?  We can't push our own cart today, but we will push it next time!"

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  • imagehoneybee111:

    Most of the time, if I ignore the behavior and distract her, it stops and won't escalate.  Just now, we were folding clothes and she got mad because I was hanging her clothes up in the wrong order.  I just ignored her, she thrashed on the floor for about 30 seconds, and then got up and asked me nicely for a hug.  Not sure if this is right, but I don't bother discussing or reasoning why she shouldn't throw a tantrum when she's already starting down that path because she's usually not in a mood to listen at that point anyways.  I also don't do the "Stop whining or _____", but I have no problem blocking out whining and just going about my business without giving into her whines.  I might tell her that mommy will listen to her once she asks nicely, but that's about it.  And I try not to take my kid grocery shopping under a time limit.  That's just a recipe for frustration on my part and probably a resulting tantrum on her part.  However, if I had to, I'd prep her as much as possible beforehand: "OK, we have to go to the grocery store fast!  Can you help mommy by sitting in the cart?  We can't push our own cart today, but we will push it next time!"

     

    This is us as well. Personally, I just don't have the strength to want to fight every battle. Big ones I will engage little 3 yr old OCD stuff like playing princesses and I talk about of character wrong or something and she gets mad I just don't engage.

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  • I encourage dd to calm down, and remind her to take a few deep breaths

    I read that it's good to teach them how to cope with their frustrations

    I will ignore a silly tantrum, but if it goes on then I put her in the other room until she calms down

    she seems to be starting to get the deep breath thing, then we can talk once she has calmed down

    I think other than that, you're doing the right thing by taking dc away to the car to calm down

    I'd also just say pick your battles - it's hard when they are tyring so hard to be independant - hard for them & us lol!

  • I let DS have as many choices as he possibly can.  He can pick his clothes, he can pick where to put them on (he loves making this choice for some reason), etc but he can't pick to NOT put them on.  

    Since DS2 was born, DS1 started getting really bad getting ready to leave in the morning and getting ready for bed at night.  We started a sticker chart.  If he gets through the whole morning production without us counting all the way to 10, then he gets a sticker.  Four stickers = a cheap prize (for him, Chuggington books ($3 each) or a hot wheel type car).  It is working pretty well but we still have some mornings or nights when he says he doesn't want a sticker or a prize and is a complete and total hot mess.  :)   

    We also try the deep breathing and using his words to explain how he's feeling.   

  • as much as you can, I would try setting the expectations in advance. so - if you know you need to be quick at the grocery store, tell him in advance that you needt o be quick at the grocery - tell him and make him your helper. And, a bribe in advance never hurt either - so "Johnny, we need to be really quick at the grocery store - if you can help me be quick, then you can have a cookie/balloon when we get home.
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  • jlw2505jlw2505 member
    It is all about picking your battles.  I love 1 2 3 Magic and Love and Logic and use things from both books.  Different things work differently on my kids.  They both know that when I start counting, I mean business.  Follow through and sticking to what you say the consequence is every single time is very key also just consistency in general.  At home, I often just ignore the tantrum until I notice my DD starting to calm down and then I will sit with her and we snuggle.  There is no point to explaining anything during a tantrum or giving reasons, if a child is having a tantrum, they are past the point of listening to anything you are saying.  And I have spent lots of shopping trips sitting in the car with either of my girls while they cool off while DH and my other DD finish the trip.  I have no issue picking up a child having a tantrum and making a lovely exit to the car or a bench or anyplace besides where the tantrum started.  I swear that often, just getting my child into a different setting or different room make a world of difference.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
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