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Example of a 3 yr old tantrum
Tell me what you would do

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#1 Natttmumm

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:21 AM

Today DD2 had an explosive meltdown. We were driving home after having a swim and I'm driving on the highway. She drops her shoe and starts crying for me to get it. I can't stop and I can't reach it as we have a big car. She then escalates and hysterically screams the whole 15 mins home. She continues at home. Eventually I put her in time out which escalated the tantrum and she threw all her toys around her room. So I took the toys out.
Eventually after about an hour she stopped saying she wanted a hug. I gave her a hug and explained the behaviour was not right etc etc.
DD is 3. She is asleep now
Any tips on how you would deal with that situation. I feel really stressed about it all and not sure what I should have done.

#2 Yomumma

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:25 AM

She sounded like she was just over tired..I think you did the right thing..Sorry, not much help!

#3 lorywhol

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:29 AM

Not sure if this would have worked but I saw it on a UK tv series.

She said sit on the floor with your child facing outwards (so not looking at you but looking forward)- you hold them firmly in your lap and just comfort - not too much chatting.

I think the theory is that the child is emotional they are actually beyond the point of being able to express emotion. So all you are doing as a parent is coming straight down to their level and assuring them you are there until they calm down.

The first few minutes are the hardest because that may be when they want to fight/flight. But she said persevere during that time. But don't make eye contact, as that may be seen as confrontational.

#4 FlutterbyBlue

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:30 AM

Sounds like you handled it very well.  The only things I would change would be: I would have put her in time out as soon as we got home; and I would have explained the behaviour was not acceptable, rather than 'not right'.  

bbighug.gif  for you both.

#5 Natttmumm

Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for the reassurance. Should I give the toys back when she wakes up?
She will ask for them as soon as she wakes up?

#6 opethmum

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:07 PM

I would tell your daughter that her behaviour in the car was not acceptable. You need to tell her that it is not ok to stop in the car for anything but going to the toilet and that it is it.
I would have put her straight to bed from the car and not bothered with all the in between.
Cars are dangerous and having her yell and carry on like that is dangerous for you and your ability to concentrate and she needs to know that.

#7 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:14 PM

QUOTE (lorywhol @ 20/12/2012, 12:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not sure if this would have worked but I saw it on a UK tv series.

She said sit on the floor with your child facing outwards (so not looking at you but looking forward)- you hold them firmly in your lap and just comfort - not too much chatting.

I think the theory is that the child is emotional they are actually beyond the point of being able to express emotion. So all you are doing as a parent is coming straight down to their level and assuring them you are there until they calm down.

The first few minutes are the hardest because that may be when they want to fight/flight. But she said persevere during that time. But don't make eye contact, as that may be seen as confrontational.

My Dd is only 21 months so it's early days but I currently do a version of this where I will lie on the couch and say "Mummy is lying down, when you are finished and ready for a hug come over". kind of like time out but not putting her anywhere or leaving her - i see it as me not engaging in the theatrics. mine had a similar one in the car yesterday. she was holding one of those bubble blowers and was out of the mixture - she wanted me to produce more mixture while driving the car! I listened to about 30 minutes of hysterical "more bubbles!" screams.

#8 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:15 PM

I wouldn't put kids in time out during a full on tantrum. I might put them to bed, or sit and hold them facing outwards until they stop.

Abandoning a child who's out of control is contrary to helping them regain control. Talking quietly to a child who's 'lost it' is my preferred course of action. If time out was to be employed in this situation I would only do it if that had been a consequence mentioned as part of the car tantrum and it would have been done straight away as the consequence to the car tantrum. Time out for being out of control is counterproductive.

#9 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

Regular thing in our house with Miss 2. She tops the class in tantrums!

I agree with Howdo. I would not have put DD in her room. It can get to a point that it's moved past a tantrum and the child is so out of control that they need their parent to help them calm down again.

If we put DD in her room she would just get more hysterical and I don't see the point of that. Full blown, out of control tantrum is not the time to teach them anything. They have shut down at that point. They are out of control, they need help need help to calm down. Circle of Repair is well worth  reading as is Circle of Security.

We do time in here (Circle of Repair) - I just hold DD and talk to her calmly. Sometimes it can take as much as 30 minuets before she is okay again.

Give the toys back and don't saying anything about it. Punishment needs to be immediate, especially at this young age so there is no point in taking it any further. She has probably forgot all about it by now.

#10 Emma600

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:19 PM

I read a little tip once that I've been using sucessfully with my daughter(now 3.5) for a while now. When she has a meltdown I put her into her room - not to leave her on her own as I agree with PP in that when they're really loosing it leaving them alone isn't helpful, but I have a younger son and he gets upset with her screaming so I take a couple of minutes to settle him, then I go into her room and without talking/yelling or even making eye contact I find a toy in her room and quietly play with it (she has a train set in her room which is ideal for this) it usually only takes a minute or so for her curiousity and desire to play get the better of her temper. After we've calmly played together for a little while I explain the reason why I put her in her room I explain that I'm going to leave the door open and when she's ready she can come out or stay in her room and rest.

#11 axiomae

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

Give her the toys back. Address the behaviour and move on.

#12 ElevenYears

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:40 PM

Abandoning a child who's out of control is contrary to helping them regain control. ....... Time out for being out of control is counterproductive.

This isn't always right.  Some kids need to be left alone in order to calm down.  My 3yo daughter gets to the point where any contact with the person she's grumpy with, including having them in her line of sight just makes her arc up further.  Time alone is what she desperately needs and craves and when I initiate it it's not a punishment or consequence but a step towards helping her work towards control.  I always leave her with "I've got a cuddle for you when you're ready for it" and she knows that she can call me or come to me as soon as she's ready.  And after the cuddle we talk about the tantrum and how the situation might have been averted.

My son, OTOH, would have been very distressed by being left alone while out of control.  Different strategies for different kids.

Edited by Eight.years, 22 December 2012 - 08:41 PM.

#13 EBeditor

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:44 PM

I had two explosive tantrummers and the only things which worked were to try to recognise the warning signs (tiredness, hunger etc) and intervene.

Once a meltdown has started you can't do much but stay calm and keep them safe, ignoring from a near distance while letting them know you are there once they are ready for a hug.

Both of my children grew out of extreme tantrums by 3 or 4. Hopefully the stage won't last long for your DD. If she had been swimming perhaps she was tired and hungry.

#14 libbylu

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:48 PM

I think at age 3 time out during a tantrum might not always be helpful. They are out of control and might need some help to regain it. By age 4 possibly, or 5 definitely, they should have mastered the self-regulatory skills to calm themselves down in time out, but at 3 I would think that cuddles might be the quickest way to resolve the situation (but don't give in to the demand that started the tantrum of course).  Especially if the tantrum is caused by tiredness or hunger - since that is not really their fault.  It probably depends somewhat on the child.  My DS was always distressed further by being separated from me.

#15 iwanttosleepin

Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:57 PM

My 4 year old actually responds to being sent to his room for time out.  he will look out the window and play with the little things on the window sill for 15 minutes and then come back when he is ready and calm.  He seems to be able to gather himself in his own time and in peace best.

When we are out he is stood facing a wall for 1 minute to calm down and this has always worked really well for him.  now he's older the threat of facing the wall is usually enough 90% of the time.

#16 Natttmumm

Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:27 PM

Thanks for the tips and advice. We have been working on the tantrums this last week and she seems a lot better.
We are only using time out for bad behaviour like biting or hitting.
If its a meltdown we are just sitting with her until. She clams down.

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