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Help Susan Help These Children!


  1. I love these ideas. My son’s tantrums have changed over this past year. He used to give me great fits out in public, but now it’s mostly at home. He is highly verbal, cries loud and for a long time. His meltdowns take up so much time during the day. I try to be real consistent. I like the hug idea. I am really trying to get to the bottom of what is making him upset. Yes, parenting is so much harder than I thought. I am so thankful for this blog. It has helped me a lot!!

  2. These are great reminders, Susan. That “change the subject” one is so helpful here. Dealing with two daughters who have mood disorders year-round, just getting to a different part of the brain – with distraction, changing the subject, and asking a question – can dissolve a whole meltdown!

  3. It can be really tricky to narrow down the causes – I think it can be hard for our little ones too – they cannot express their needs and it can be even more stressful for them! I certainly have had to learn some new tricks!

  4. These are some great ideas. I’m reading a book my son’s doctor recommended, “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One-to Four-Year-Old, by Harvey Karp, MD. If someone is looking for some more detailed reading on the subject, I highly recommend this book. One thing that works really well for my very stron-willed son is what they call the Fast Food Rule. They compare it to when your at a fast food restuarant, they always repeat your order back to you, rather than just telling you that’s $5 pull up now. When toddlers are having a tantrum or can’t get what they want, you’re supposed to repeat back to them what they want, or what they are feeling, then once they calm down, it’s your turn to say what you want. The book explains it better and in more detail, but it’s been working wonders! 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing the information on the book. I have not heard of it – so will check it out as well!

  6. Tackled temper tantrums? I don’t think we’ve tackled them….but we’re chasing them down! Our 5 year old has awful tantrums – much worse than our 3 year old. I’ve been narrowing them down, even working on diet. We found a huge allergy to food coloring, which caused him to get belligerent, and almost violent. After eliminating that, he will still have tantrums, but it will be because he is hungry or tired – and as a parent it is my job to anticipate that and be on time with meals! If it is not one of those times, then usually he needs a hug. If that doesn’t work, then it could be that he just needs some alone time. He’s an introvert and gets very overstimulated when there are too many people or too much loud stuff going on. Even just having one loud brother circling him for an hour can get to him. In this case, he gets sent to his room to calm down. He will get hugs and cuddles after he calms down, and we can talk about whatever the problem was. Usually this results in quiet play time for him, away from everyone (which is really heaven – he loves when he can just be left to his legos and books!!) We’ve been talking a LOT about how it would be much easier if he used his words to tell us what is bothering him, but sometimes he doesn’t even know what the problem is – just that he can’t handle his environment anymore. He won’t tell me he’s hungry, even if I know he is. I sometimes have to send him with a snack to his room, saying, “Ok, you don’t have to eat, but if you are going to be like this you need to stay in your room until you eat this snack.” Parenting is soooo hard!!! And every child is different!!!!! This child is my hardest right now. (Sorry so wordy!)

  7. I meant to write at the end – your ideas are FANTASTIC!!!! Thank you!!!! I wish I had them 3 years ago, before I even read blogs. ha ha! I learned some new info, though, that I hadn’t thought of to use for my 3 yr old.

  8. That is great you were able to determine the food coloring issue – wow, that must have taken a bit of time. You are doing a great job! Sounds like you are very in tune with your kids and their specific needs – awesome!

  9. Susan,
    I love your ideas. I have tried many of them, but I am still struggling with my daughter. She is 5, and temper tantrums are becoming more of the norm than not. She has gotten more aggressive with her tantrums, and I am at a loss as to how to manage them. Nothing I am doing is working anymore. I know I need to teach her anger management…do you have any ideas on anger management for younger children?

  10. It can be stressful and difficult. Expect more resistance as you hone in on your tactics, she will resist big time trying to get you to break. Consistency in your approach is the best thing you can do. Keep doing what you are doing. If you are truly seeing aggressive behavior, I think you may have another issue to deal with and I would suggest bringing it up to your pediatrician and see what their take is. As far as anger management, allowing her to show anger is good, but helping her learn to display it in appropriate ways – using her words, writing it out, drawing, crying, screaming into a pillow are all beginning places to start. Hitting and hurting others is a completely unacceptable draw.