5 year old tantrums, please help! Should i call his doctor?
Question: My 5 year old son (he will be 6 in oct) has multiple tantrums daily, it is so hard to deal with. His tantrums last a long time and it almost feels like the whole day is nothing but a huge tantrum with a few minor breaks in between of him being calm.
He started his tantrums around when my son was born back in 08 when my son was 3 year old and have just gotten worse and worse. My son has dealt with a lot of changes and I'm not sure if that may be the reason for the tantrums or not.
He got a new brother and once my youngest son was born he moved away from his dad (we are not together) and the rest of the family due to my husband being stationed (army) 6 hours away from our home state. So he sees his dad and the rest of the family every few months.
Then after a year we moved back home while my husband was in Afghanistan. Then once my husband came back a year later we moved back down to my husbands duty station. He says he likes it here but we deal with a lot of tantrums. The main thing that triggers my son's tantrums is when he doesn't get his way or if I can't drop everything to get him what he wants.
My son is very demanding and will ask for something and I will be changing my youngest son's diaper or going to the bathroom or something and my son will scream and cry and throw a fit and will be in a horrible mood the whole day.
I try to explain to him that I can't always drop everything right then and there and get him what he wants (usually food). He seems to take all his anger out on me. For example, my husband will tell him to stop doing something or tell him not to something and I won't even be in the room and my son will come in and hit me or tell me he hates me for no reason.
He wants everything to go his way and he wants to control everything. He tries to control me and will throw fits if I do something that he doesn't want me to do. For example, today I took a shower and he heard the shower on and he ran in my room and banged on the door screaming "NOOOOO I DON'T WANT YOU TO TAKE A SHOWER. I WANT YOU TO TAKE A BATH" or he will throw a fit if I'm wearing something he doesnt want me to wear (like a dress or a hat or sun glasses.).
My husband and I do not control each other or act anything like that towards each other so I don't understand why he is so controlling. He is also like this with my youngest son as well. My youngest pretty much doesnt get much because of avoiding tantrums.
He gets his toys taken from him and my oldest always gets to watch or get read whatever book he wants right before bed or we will be up all night with a tantrum. I'm literally at my wits end I do not know what do. My son also started screaming "I'm hungry" (when he is really not he screams that to try to annoy me.
He will have just eaten), but it seems like every time he has a tantrum he will say "I'm hungry I'm hungry I'm hungry" in a mean and annoying way and I think he does it to try to annoy me. (even though he has eaten non-stop all day. I know he is not hungry so I don't understand why he saying "I'm hungry I'm hungry" during some of his tantrums.
Someone please help, should I call his doctor? Last time we were there I tried to talk to her about his behavior and she said she did not wanna diagnose him until he starts school (which will be in a few weeks, but I dont know how much more I can deal with the tantrums).
Answer: Before focusing on his behavior, I think it's important to rule out other possible causes of his tantrums. How is he sleeping at night? Does he have a good diet or is does he frequently eat a lot of foods high in sugar with artificial food dyes, such as red dye 40 that have been known to exacerbate behavioral problems.
You can read and find out a lot of underlying causes of frequent agitation in my free ebook. After reading that if you feel that these may not be contributing to your difficulties, then I would focus on how you may be responding each time he has a tantrum.
Does he end up getting his way even once in awhile? The controlling may be due to a need to have his environment be a certain way for him to avoid anxiety as the result of an underlying condition, such as asperger syndrome behavior. After also reviewing that information if you feel he has any of those symptoms talk to your local school district about getting him evaluated as soon as possible.
If all of these other possible things are ruled out and you are finding that you just need help learning how to respond to his behavior, then I would look for a local board certified behavior analyst to help at www.bacb.com. Good Luck!
Question: My 5 year old granddaughter, her parents are separated and both have remarried, is acting out at bedtime, not wanting to sleep alone, and crying and screaming if she is put to bed.
Answer: This can be a pretty common struggle for parents of children this age regardless of whether they are separated or remarried.
Helping her feel more secure with a night light on, hall light, door open, and/or music on can help. However, if she is allowed to avoid or delay going to bed every night then she will continue this behavior.
Her parents may try fading their support by sitting in her room until she is asleep gradually moving their chair closer to the door and eventually out into the hallway.
They may also try a reward system using a printable reward chart to give her a star for each night that she goes to bed without struggles. Once she earns so many she can earn a special reward.
They may even try only allowing special priveleges for an activity, such as watching TV, when she has gone to bed without struggles the night before. Developing a bedtime routine may also help her as well. Consistency is most important along with helping her to feel more secure, but it may take a couple weeks to notice a difference.
Question: My daughter has major tantrums when she doesn't get her way which includes shouting, spitting, nipping, hitting, kicking, and biting.
These episodes can go on for about an hour before she calms down. She has never been spoiled or been allowed to behave in this way. She also has no respect for any adult and talks to them quite rudely with no provocation.
Answer: Dealing with tantrums can be very frustrating, especially as the child gets older and stronger. The most important thing to remember is that consistency is very important as well as not giving in to her demands when she behaves that way.
I have some great pages with help for temper tantrums that you may find useful. It includes tips for ways to say no without a temper tantrum.
Be sure to check out my free ebook that provides reasons a child may be more likely to have a tantrum and how to avoid them. This may include making sure she/he is getting enough sleep as recommended by age, making sure the child isn't hungry since this can cause irritability, and/or making sure there aren't any underlying allergies.
I have also found the following books to be extremely helpful for providing ways to respond to tantrums or other undesirable behavior.
Question: My two and half year old, can have huge temper tantrums, the only thing that can calm him down sometimes is if we cuddle him.
I have been told at school that he is not joining in with class activities. If he is told to stand up he sits down, he refuses then to speak to them. At night time when you put him in bed he will get up with out me knowing and go and do things around the house.
When he meets people even if he has met them a few times, he will not speak to them. He will sit and blow spit bubbles, but he is fine with grand parents, school teachers etc.
For example at school this morning when I tried to address the issues they were having I spoke about a reward chart to him and he refused to speak to me. He sat on my lap, hid his head and simply would not talk? Is this normal behavior?
Answer: Temper tantrums in a two year old is very normal. Defiance is also pretty normal as well. Now is the time when a child needs to learn there are consequences to behavior and what they can and cannot do.
I'm wondering if he is probably too young to be attending a school. Girls may be able to handle a school environment at that age, but boys are not usually ready for that type of structured environment. This can set them up to fail being that they are simply not developmentally ready.
A child is still learning many valuable things just by simply having a lot of free play. You may want a routine and some organized activities, such as play doh and story time, but expecting a child at his age to sit still a long period of time may be very difficult for him.
This may be overwhelming him and the reason for his tantrums that are difficult for you to calm him down. He may just need more time to grow and become developmentally ready for a school environment. You might try a sticker chart, but if you are asking for him to do something he is not developmentally ready to do then you may be setting him up to fail.
As far as not always talking to others, this can be a timid age as well. He is learning more about strangers and may have some shyness he will outgrow over time.
So, for the most part I would say this can be pretty normal behavior for a two year old. If you are really concerned, consult with your pediatrician just to be sure. Your doctor will be able to better evaluate him and determine if he should be referred for any type of services.
Why does my 35 month old daughter throw fits only with her daddy?
Question: My daughter will be 3 in a couple of days. I'm a stay at home mom. I also have a 15 mo old daughter. My issue is with my oldest daughter. She is a daddy's girl NOW.
When she was an infant she was so attached to me I was afraid how she would act when her sister was born. I breastfed her till she was 15 mos. My doctor told me to stop because I was pregnant.
My daughter never wanted to go to her daddy as an infant. She would cry if I left to go any where. She needed to see me at all times even if I was in the shower. She got better as she turned 1. She still prefered me over her daddy.
When I had my 2nd daughter it's like a switch turned on. She became a daddy's girl. My husband works a lot. He spends as much time as he can with her. He gives her baths and puts her to sleep.
My issue is she has these crying fits. She doesn't throw herself on the ground or hit anyone or anything. She constantly twists her hair crying and asking for a tissue. She ONLY does this with her daddy.
She does it when she's tired. An episode could last up to an hour. I try to calm her down, but she wants nothing to do with me. She wants daddy to tell her bed time stories, but gets frustrated when he tells one she doesn't want to hear.
Nothing makes her happy. I told my husband to ignore her but he doesn't listen. He just continues to try to calm her down. Then she eventually falls asleep. I'm with the girls all day long.
When I feel like she may have a fit, I ignore her. She may cry for a minute then stop. She's good with me when daddy's not around. She eats well takes her nap, but for some reason when daddy's home she's difficult with him. Why????
These crying fits are not only at night but happen during the day when daddy's home too. It started happening a month ago. It seems more frequent now. She may go one day without a crying fit. Why does she only do this with her daddy????
Answer: Children learn very fast what works with one person and what works with another to get what they want. She has learned that these fits don't get her what she wants from you and therefore doesn't do them with you.
As long as her dad reinforces her fits with attention and complying with her requests during them she will continue to do them. I agree with you that he should ignore them as well until she is calm and asking appropriately for something.
I guess the trick will be getting him to agree with you. Perhaps telling him to say things like, "I can't hear you when you are crying, so when you stop I will listen." Then ignore. It's also good to mention that they will likely get worse before they get better. Good Luck!
Question: What do I do when a child with Fragile X is having a melt down and won't cooperate with me?
Answer: There are some great resources for dealing with these on the tantrums and melt downs page. It's important to determine possibly why the child is having the melt down (because he/she can't have something, can't do something, doesn't want to leave a certain place or not getting the amount of attention he/she wants possibly).
You may also find the preventative strategies in my free eBook Child Behavior Guide: What you need to know very helpful as well.For more individualized help I really need more information regarding the meltdowns, such as where they happen, what time of day, and what happens before and immediately after the melt down. Good Luck!
Question: My granddaughter is suffering from her dad, whom she cherishes, walking out on them 8-10 months ago.
She keeps talking about her dad. Also, she is having a lot of tantrums that are affecting her at day care. My daughter has tried everything. We need some advice.
Answer: Wow, this must be really tough for her and her mother. It sounds like both the mom and her daughter really need some outside help.
If they are able, a marriage and family therapist (MFT) would be a good person to help both of them deal with the situation, as the daughter may be partially reacting to the mother's stress from him leaving.
The more one on one quality individual time she can spend giving her daughter undivided attention the better to try and compensate for time she would have normally been spending with her father.
She also may not be sleeping as well as a result of the situation, which could be making her have more tantrums also. So, make sure she is getting the recommended amount for her age every night so that she is well rested.
A lot of times this situation can just result in such a dramatic change for a child that it takes time for the child to get used to the new situation.
Maybe as a result, mom is working more and having to do more around the house, which is upsetting to her daughter because she doesn't get as much attention as she wants.
This may also be why she is having issues at daycare because she really wishes to be with her mom. Especially, because her father left she may be feeling insecure about her mother leaving also.
Telling her every day how much she is loved and that mommy is not leaving may help as well. I hope this helps!
Question: Hi, I am a mother to a 6 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter. I'm in desperate need of help managing my 6 yr old! I don't know what elsse to do, try or where to get help. My son has paddys and tantrums which are spiraling out of control, so much so that he is becoming very angry and uncontrollable when in a tantrum rage! I just don't know why and what to do about it! They tend to happen when he has been told off for doing something he shouldn't, he becomes so enraged it is really worrying me! I have tried reward charts, smilie faces and treats at the end of a good week, but nothing seems to stop them starting and there is no reasoning with him. I feel that his behavior is so inapppropiate for his age and don't know what to do, so am asking for any advice as I am desperate. Your's Kate
Answer: There are many things that can cause tantrums/rages to be more likely in some children than others. Some of these include food allergies, sensitivities to food dyes, especially (red dye 40, and inadequate sleep.
He may also be sensitive to certain food preservatives, such as BHT or sodium benzoate. These are ones that are avoided on the feingold diet for children with ADHD that have severe behavioral challenges.
The other possibility is that he is a very sensitive child and therefore will overreact to scolding and punishments. I highly recommend the book Parenting with Love and Logic Magic: Birth to six years old.
It gives great ideas for logical consequences and tells you how to deliver them so a child views the consequence as a result of the choices he/she made. Some children can't make that connection and therefore just feel you are being mean and become angry. Good Luck!
3 year old daugter and 2 year old son are nightmare
Question: I am 6 weeks pregnant and my 3 and 2 year old are really bad behaved they fight and draw on everything they scream and shout and climb on everything and I don't know how to calm them down without getting stressed plz help
Answer: Wow, it really sounds like you have your hands full. Toddler temper tantrums during the 2 year old and 3 year old stage can be unbearable, but it will pass.
Although, this may be time consuming at first I highly recommend putting together a picture schedule for both children. You can learn more about this by clicking on the link.
By having things planned every day and essentially in the same order, they will know what to expect and be too busy to engage in other behavioral problems.
Try to keep anything they are able to draw with out of sight until they show that they are capable of using them correctly.
When they do have behavioral incidents, try separating them by putting them in their rooms to play by themselves for 15-30 minutes. Only allow them to come out while they are calm and behaving appropriately.
One of these may be lack of sleep. Make sure they are getting the recommended sleep for their age as this is frequently a cause of behavior problems.
Also, be sure to have regularly scheduled meals and snack times. Children don't always correctly recognize hunger signals, but instead may become irritable. Finally, it's okay to take a break once in awhile. If you are a stay at home mom and can afford to have someone watch them one day a week, do it.
You will be a much better mother the other 6 days a week if you are able to get a much needed break, especially while you are pregnant and shouldn't be stressed. Good Luck!
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