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Is this normal 21mth old behaviour? Rages...

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#1 Rumply

Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:37 PM


Not sure really where to start... I have a DS who is 21 months, who I think may already have some real frustration and anger issues. Briefly these are the things that happen:

- Escalates very quickly.
- If something isn't working the way he expects he will bite it in rage (thankfully not to other children... yet).
- If he doesn't want to do something he will throw himself back, whether in your arms or on the ground, with no concern for his own safety, often banging his head.
- He will bite me.
- He will try and gouge DHs face.
- He will smack me, in the face too if he can get to it.
- These things all happen very quickly and things have already escalated, on occasions, before we are even aware.
- Doesn't handle change very well (I assume this is fairly normal though).
- He rages, full on thrashing, rolling about, head banging on whatever, clawing, crazy stuff. This is if he is over tired and isn't getting what he wants.

- He is usually fine at day care (busy and distracted).
- If he hurts you and hasn't escalated yet, and you tell him, he will give you a kiss better (where he hurt you).
- He is actually great most of the time.

It is the times that he isn't getting what he wants that things escalate. We don't pander to all his 'wants' to avoid confrontation, however, most of the time we just cruise along.

We have noticed these characteristics for months now, and it is mainly when we need to change his routine or something that these things (like the rages) really come out. For example, we have just introduced a big boy bed. He seems to understand it is his bed and will go there to sleep (instead of the cot in our room or our bed). He tries to go to sleep but then wakes right up and goes into a rage. Even after falling asleep for a couple of hours he will wake up and have an episode.

I understand we are coming into the terrible twos and I fully expected tantrums, but these just seem above and beyond what I was expecting. I would really like to help him manage his emotions and try and give him the right tools from the start, so it is something as he gets older he can manage. My DH thinks that this behaviour is going to be indicative of how things are going to be when he gets older.

Does anyone have any suggestions of where to go from here? Are there parenting courses for this kinda of behaviour? Is he still too young to understand (I personally think he is a pretty clued on kid and he has some understanding, as he settles down straight away if he thinks he is getting what he wants)?

Any advice, help, words of wisdom, book recommendations, are all greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

#2 gabbigirl

Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:41 PM

Alot of what you are describing is an intense form of frustration which occurs at this age group.  Some kids are just more sensitive and temperamental than others.  the aggressive behaviour you are describing could be a symptom of his frustration.  

Make sure you try to give him lots of warning, communicate lots with him even if you think he can't understand.  Also, I would do anything get DD1 to sleep as if she was over tired she was out of control.  

An author I like is MAry Kurcinka - her book is "Raising your spirited child'.  You may just have an intense child on your hands.  Also try a positive parenting course..I found the biggest benefit of these was meeting with other parents of spirited kids!

#3 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:56 PM

My son (17months) does this too except when he doesnt get his own way he lashes out at other kids as well.

Even if that kid has done nothing wrong if I tell him no verbally or just by removing something dangerous for example he will hit the first kid/ adult that walks past. Like you said it escalates quickly and he goes limp if I try to put him down or throws himself on the ground.

He went through a stage when he was really bad and I was so upset and getting to the point where I didnt want to take him anywhere where there was kids present.

Thankfully the bad rage stage has passed, he will still occasionally hit and throw a massive tantrum but its nothing like he used too.

I hope your son will get over this stage quickly too.

#4 justcait2

Posted 26 March 2012 - 08:07 PM

In regards to his new bed I think it would be a good idea to move his cot into his room and sleep him in the cot until he gets used to the idea of the big boys bed.  Even trialing sleeping in the new bed only for day sleeps for a little while then perhaps transferring him for night sleeps from his cot while he is asleep for a few nights this may make the transition less stressful for him, even if you just sit on the bed and read him a book is good too.  Sometime with little kids who don't have great communication skills yet,  gradually change overtime not overnight is better, once they feel safe and actually understand what is going to happen or go on then they should be more accepting

Good Luck

#5 Kemma

Posted 26 March 2012 - 08:24 PM

Hi there,
I've had some similar episodes with my 22mo DD. albeit prob less extreme.
From what I've read the 18-24mo period can be the most challenging despite the bad rap the terrible 2's get original.gif

She's coming out the other side of it already and it only went on for a little while. There are glimpses of it now and then but it's all getting more and more a distant memory.
So there's some hope.

Here's a couple of things that worked for her. I'm NO expert and I had days where I just thought I was doing every thing wrong, so just take this with a grain of salt. bearing in mind I'm 30w pg. wink.gif

When she'd throw herself down I'd make sure she was in no real danger but I wouldn't pick her up. She just struggled more. Afterwards if she came to me for comfort I'd happily give it.
I tried to think of it as her struggling with feelings she couldn't deal with. It helped my frame of mind.

Id tell her what behaviour I was unhappy with. I'm very conscious of not saying its her that's unacceptable it's the action. I don't know why. It's just how I verbalized it.

I tried to avoid triggers if I could. Slowly I've started reintroducing things and they don't seem to be triggers any more.

Even though it felt like a lifetime it wasn't. But I so feel your pain.

My Dd has just gone in to a big bed too. I had no choice but to put her in as she could climb out in he sleeping bag. But I did have the cot and singled in together for a week as a pp suggested. Then this last week we've moved her in to her big girl room with her bed and blankets etc. she coped well ith the change in the end but there was one midnight tantrum and. Though what the hell have we done. But, that too passed.

It WILL be ok and I honestly don't believe it's in any way an indicator of future behaviour. But that's just me.

#6 gabbigirl

Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:41 AM

It WILL be ok and I honestly don't believe it's in any way an indicator of future behaviour. But that's just me.

i completely agree.

#7 EBeditor

Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:53 AM

Both my kids have gone through this and come out the other side original.gif

#8 Bluenomi

Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:03 AM

Sounds like a start of the toddler tantrums to me. DD can get like that but thankfully as her talking gets better it has lessened as she can communitcate better.

How is his talking? You might find as he learns to talk more, it will get better. Daycare have the great saying of 'use your words' with the toddlers to encourage them to say what is wrong instead of having a complete melt down. They seem to need to use it more with the boys who tend to act out instead of talking.

With DD I find distraction helps, I try and take her mind off whatever is getting her upset or worked up. Other times if she is thrashing about on the floor I just ignore her and she eventually stops when she realises it itsn't getting her anywhere

#9 bailee

Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:05 AM

My DD, 20 months, is the same and has been like this for months. She intentionally hurts people and she also picks up things not related to what she is doing and throws them, often at people. I dont have any other concerns about her development so I figure she will grow out of it as her language progresses (well I hope so), although her language is actually quite advanced for her age, but obviously not enough to get her point across without a massive tanty. I find the behaviour escalates when tired so I try to get her to sleep, but often that means putting her in the car and going for a drive because she is determined not to sleep!

#10 Rumply

Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

Thank you all for your response!

I have ordered a bunch of books from the library to help us learn how to help him.

He has actually taken to the big bed really well. I think after the initial shock he has come to understand that is his bed and ended up sleeping the WHOLE NIGHT THROUGH last night  ffear.gif !! He doesn't really even do that in the cot.

He did have a rage attack once we got home for care, so we distracted him and slowly he calmed down. I think once he starts learning that he can rage all he likes but we aren't going to give in (like with the bed) he might lessen the frequency.

I will have to look closer for triggiers. And really keep an eye on the start of any escalation and maybe I can avoid some of this.

Again, thank you so much!! It is reassuring to hear that others are experiencing this and they have come out the other side.

#11 lozoodle

Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:15 AM

My DD was a little bit older when she went through this, but boy did she have some terrible tantrums.

It was just after her second birthday, and I had a newborn at the same time too so for a while I was convinced it was because I'd had a new baby.

I was so upset by it, and I was almost scared of my first DD, I didn't want to be alone with her as the tantrums were just so full on. Thankfully it passed very quickly!

What helped was giving plenty of choices. The tantrums come from frustration and having a lack of control. So the more control you give them, the better. It can be simple things like "do you want the red top or the blue top today" but it didn't matter how simple, it made her happy to have some control.

Shortly after this her speech improved massively and she was talking in full sentences. This really made all the difference in the world - once she could communicate properly, the frustration was gone.

We still have whinging and tantrums sometimes of course, but nothing like those horrible ones.

It passes!

#12 neaka

Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

I could write this post word for word....

This is exactly what we are experiencing with DS who is 22months old.

Our problem is he DOES bite other kids and also hits. I am finding myself not wanting to be around him and am trying to work more and get away more often because i feel like i just cant handle him. Ive also been worried that it is an indicator of what his personality is developing into and i dont like it! I am 33 weeks PG so im sure that doesnt help. My patience these days are very thin!

I will be reading this thread with great interest and i really hope you find some strategies that help.

Thanks and good luck original.gif

#13 Rumply

Posted 17 April 2012 - 08:56 PM

Just got the first couple of books from the library.... Will keep you posted!

#14 Lokum

Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:11 PM

This is our DS, 22 months as well.

He also throws big heavy toys in frustration. Or trashes the play area.

I find warning him and explaining to him what's about to happen helps. Eg, if he's playing with toys, and I go and pick him up to change his obviously stinky nappy, he'll chuck a razz and scratch or hit my face. If I go over, explain we're going to change his nappy, tell him he has to come with me, help him to stand up and lead him by the hand, it usually goes better (not always.)

We also insist 'no hitting,' and he cuddles us for sorry as well. We practice gentle touching and cuddles when he's calm, so if we think a hit or scratch might be coming, we say, 'Gentle touching, gentle touching,' and may be able to head him off.

We're also trying to practice 'gentle playing with toys,' to minimise the throwing of the toys in frustration.
We HAVE to take him out, a LOT. He needs to run and roam and be physical as much as possible (not strapped into a stroller.)

His language isn't great, heaps of single words, and very few 2-word combos. Sometimes when he goes 'ah ah ah ah' I say, "stop, shhh, tell Mummy what you want,' and he tries, and I try to listen. Being listened to and focused on seems to calm him.

It's tough, and often very embarrassing in public , but I figure it's actually more difficult being him at this stage.

Good luck.

#15 libbylu

Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:19 PM

Ahhh, the terrible twos
He is getting to the verbal stage.  Try to encourage him to use his words, or help him verbalise what is wrong when you see him getting frustrated....
I remember doing lots of verbalising at that age like:
"oh dear, the lid won't come off? What can we do? Try the other way? No? Mummy help?" Try to talk him through it and help him to a) say what is wrong b) think of ways to solve the problem c) ask for help.
Then as he gets a bit older you can say "use your words!", which always helps.
Good luck.

#16 whydoibother

Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:51 PM


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