Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tantrums: Stop and Think

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I have been trying to pinpoint what makes Kaitlyn's tantrums easier than Brayden's were. A lot of it has to do with perspective. A 14 month old tantrum (mini-fit as I call it) is nothing compared to a 2-3 year old tantrum. A 14 month old just isn't going to hold on as long as a 3 year old will. To me, it is nothing, borderline amusing. Not that I think the behavior is okay, but I have absolutely no temptation to give in.

A big part of it is experience. Perspective and experience go hand in hand. I am not tempted to give in to her mini-fit. When Brayden was first starting his fits, it was a bit of a shock to me. This sweet baby suddenly started throwing fits. I wasn't exactly sure what to do about it. Sure, I had read things to do, but in the heat of the fit, it was like I froze and just wanted to get it to end as quickly as possible. With Kaitlyn, I knew it was coming. I knew the day would come when she had her mini-fit. Been there, done that. I have also made the mistakes. I have given in to fits before. I know the consequences. I know it is much easier to stand by your rules now than to fix the even bigger fits that are sure to come after you give in.

A result of my experience is that when the mini-fit starts, I pause and think before reacting. I analyze the reason she is throwing her mini-fit and what it is she wants from it. I run through the possible scenarios from start to finish in my head (which is easier for me to do since I have lived out scenarios). I then decide how to handle it. The process really only takes a matter of seconds.

If you are on your first child, know that you are going to make mistakes. Moms with experience also make mistakes, but hopefully we have learned enough from past mistakes that we make them less often. Try to mentally prepare yourself and think through your reactions so you will be better able to react to these mini-fits appropriately. The better you handle them now, the easier real tantrums will be in the future. So remember, stop and think before you react to a tantrum.

Here are some other posts on discipline:


Sammy'smommy said...

What a wonderful blog, just found this today. I have a quick question for you: I have a 13wk old daughter who was born 5wks early (with everything we count her as 8wks becasue that is what MD recommends) so my question is she eats every 2hrs in the day and goes about 8-9 at night. She very consistently wakes at 4am, and I would love to not have that feeding any more. But because she technically should only be 8wks, is it okay to cut that feeding? Especially if she is a slow grower, and isn;t on growth chart yet?

mtmommy said...

I am having trouble w/ my 27 month old not going to sleep when we lay him down for bedtime. Naps are no problem, but night-time is harder. We don't overstimulate him, he acts calm (sometimes seems asleep) as I hold him a few minutes before I lay him down. He'll even lie there a few minutes, then it's baby olympics! He plays in the crib, sings, talks, takes off his clothes/diaper, etc. This has gone on for > 1 hour before, pushing his actual bedtime to 9:30 or 10:00. We've used BW since birth, and he used to go to bed great, but now it's like he can't turn his brain off! Any suggesstions? I've started cutting back on his nap hoping he would be ready for bed, but it doesn't seem to help. Is there a point to dicipline him for disobeying our command to lay down and go to sleep?

susie said...

My 10 month old has done really well with playpen time until this week. She hates it and I haven't done anything different and I haven't changed the times we do it either. But she screams the entire time. She was doing playpen for 30 minutes, but now I end it at 10 minutes b/c she is hysterical! Her separation anxiety has got a little more intense lately. Any suggestions?

Ashley & Rhett said...

i posted a comment under sample schedules

Emily said...

Lately my 5 month old daughter has barely been able to stay awake in the morning - only 30-40minutes. If I try to keep her up she cries the whole time. She takes a good nap and will sleep almost 2 hours.

The problem is if I fed her when she woke that would put us on a 2.5 hr schedule when we had been on a 3-3.5 hour schedule. Should I feed her when she wakes or try to get her to wait 30min-1hr?

I also posted a comment under
45 minute intruder

Plowmanators said...

Sammy's Mommy,

My first inclination would be no, but that might be a question for a doctor. It sounds like only one night feeding is pretty good if she is that small.

Plowmanators said...


This reminds me of Brayden last summer. He would stay up for a while after we put him to bed. The reason he was doing it was the sun was up so late. I would consider that reason.

Personally, I wouldn't discipline for not going to sleep. I would say you can have certain rules, like no taking your clothes off (lol), but you can lead a child to bed but can't make him sleep. Get him there. Try to figure out the reason he is staying up. Try to solve the "problem" if possible. You can have consequences for disobedience. It he takes his clothes off, he could lose a priviledge the next day. He is old enough to understand cause and effect like that.

Plowmanators said...


I don't really have any experience with separation anxiety. I would continue as you are and stick it out. I would also consider possible sickness and/or teething.

Plowmanators said...


You could wait some time before feeding her. See this post:

Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle:

I responded to that 45 minute question, also.

Plowmanators said...

Ashley, I just responded :)


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