April 13, 2012

Terrible 2's

Joycie has always been mild-mannered, easy going, and generally laid back. As an infant, everyone marveled at how calm she was, as a toddler how content she could be no matter where she was or what was going on. As her 2nd birthday approached, everyone warned me that the "Terrible Two's" would soon descend.  But I naively believed that Joycie's personality would continue, and that my sweet, loveable, easy going daughter would remain as such.  HA!


Seemingly overnight, Joycie began having temper tantrums – and since she is my daughter – she can't do them half-way. These tantrums are not just a few tears and screams.  They are full on lay in the floor, scream, kick your feet, cry for nearly an hour fits.  A few tantrums and my nerves were stretched thin.  M and I have tried all methods of discipline – time outs, loss of privileges (no Dora episode after supper), spanking, etc.  Nothing was working.


Yesterday, Joycie screamed for nearly an hour, over seem unknown injustice (She was not tired, hungry, in need of a pull up change, hurt, etc.). She was just mad.  M was still at work, and I felt like the world's worst Mama.  So I chose to ignore her screams and we went on with our evening routine.  I told her "Joycie, I understand you are upset. But throwing a fit does not mean we stop doing what we need to do."


And while she screamed, I gave her a bath, put on her pajamas, gave her a dose of her nighttime meds, and got things ready for the next morning.  When Joycie realized that her fit was not garnering a reaction out of me, she simply stopped.


Now, I know that this is not the end of her temper tantrums.  But I feel as though I have turned a corner in how her tantrums cause me to feel. My game plan for now is to administer discipline so that she learns that this is not the proper response to life and then to simply forge on ahead with our day.


Okay, experienced Moms, is this a good approach?  Any other tips/advice for dealing with the Terrible Two's?


Jennifer said...

I am right there with you. Easton has started doing these and his are not as bad as his older sister's were (and still are). I have chalked EmmyKate's up to her being a very strong willed child, which is not fun for mom and dad!

Maria said...

I hate to say it, but 3? SOOOO much worse than 2. Maybe Joycie is getting an early start? At any rate, tantrums around here are a daily occurrence, and they can be epic. All over something as simple as, her milk isn't in the cup she wanted. I don't know if my response will be popular, but I've started carrying her down to the basement playroom and telling her that this is where tantrums belong, and when she is finished, she can rejoin the family. And then I leave her there. If she follows me back up the stairs screaming, I pick her up, and repeat. It's exhausting. But I know she's somewhere safe, she has the space to calm down, and I'm not giving in to her demands. Some things, like the milk cup, just can't be "disciplined", know what I mean? She's not hurting anybody, she hasn't really done anything wrong...she just wants her way. The battle of wills is tough tough tough. Some days I see progress, some days I reward myself with a glass of wine at the end of the day. Sounds like you're on the right track, this age is just very tiring. Good luck!

Kim @ Kim and Mikey said...

Maria - I am keeping my fingers crossed that Joycie is just getting an early start. I like your idea of putting her in a safe place until she is finished with the tantrum. I may have to try that during her next tantrum.

Kathie Brinkman said...

Kim, sounds like you're going about this the right way. Making sure she's safe, that she knows you understand that she's upset, but not giving in to her demands will put a quick end to these fits. The least amount of attention to give to her outbursts the better. She'll learn quickly that this behavior is not getting her anything. good job mommy!