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What kind of tantrum is this and how should I react?

My spirited almost 3yr. old DD tantrums over seemingly minute things, many times where the choice is all hers. Its almost like she is tantrumming about making the choice. If she is not offered that choice though she would definitely have a meltdown. I've read about manipulative tantrums vs. spill over tantrums, but I can't seem to categorize this behavior from my daughter. For example, I am pregnant and trying to get up off the floor. I ask her for help jokingly since she thinks this is fun and she says is tired. I tell her I can get up on my own (normal tone of voice not teasing) and begin to when she starts screaming she wants to help. I tell her sure and she repeats she is too tired. So I get up and tell her I can do it on my own and it is no big deal that she doesn't want to help with this because I gave her a choice. HUGE meltdown! Trying to console her made it worse and she began swatting at me (new behavior). EDIT:  I have tried the immediate move to time out or a spot away from me when she starts screaming or swatting and the screaming has only seemed to worsen.  Lol--I am a former teacher and daycare provider so I know consistent time outs work with most children.  I'd like to know if anyone else has a child that flips out about little things like this.  The stay in time out until you stop screaming method has not worked even after being consistently applied IMO and trying to not jump on the first scream and trying to reason with her about her feelings (she is very verbal for her age) doesn't seem to work either.  I'll definitely look up the resources everyone listed --maybe it is a little step i'm missing but I can't help but compare how easy it is for me to deal with other children's tantrums and she is such a puzzle. 

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Asked by mommyprovider at 10:26 PM on Apr. 10, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • Ah good DD is sorta in the same boat. Yep. Ill be on the look out for some good answers as well.

    Answer by Keeely07 at 10:27 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Not sure but in my house that would probably result in time out.

    Answer by kayslay at 10:30 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • get and read the book 1,2,3 magic by Thomas Phalen IT WORKS

    and anyone who tells you its about using the time out method has not read and understood the book you can read it in 2 hours cover to cover


    Answer by MELRN at 10:33 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Never respond to a yelling child or you lose all your parental control. Look her straight in the eye and in a calm voice tell her to speak in a normal inside voice. Children who scream are just bein little manipulators. It's not their fault, it's the parents. Sorry, but the first time she didn't want to help and screamed I would of taken this action and not allowed a second opportunity to act like she was in control. It's totally okay for parents to set healthy boundaries for children and teaching them to talk respectfully is a good one and also will make your life much more peaceful . Raising children is not a game and I don't want to sound like I'm being negative to you. Just want you to know you are the parent and you set the tone for how children will behave. Trust me I learned this early when working in daycare. I played alot and it came back to haunt me on a daily basis.

    Answer by TwinkleLites at 10:41 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Just wanted to add a Tantrum is a trantrum no matter what you call it. Dont' let it happen in the first place.

    Answer by TwinkleLites at 10:41 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Time out only work with certain children who weren't allowed to be manipulative previously. Children who throw tantrums must relearn teh appropriate behavior first before time outs can be used.

    Answer by TwinkleLites at 10:43 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • i dont know but i wouldnt respond at all.

    Answer by cassie_m at 10:44 PM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • I do not agree with TwinkleLites. Sorry but unless you have had to deal with a "spirited" child you should not be saying that it's the parent's fault for letting this behaviour happen. If you have successfully dealt with a child like this and quickly had results then by all means.
    My 3rd dd is quite difficult and stubborn and very willful. She is mean to her older siblings and will throw a tantrum at the drop of a hat. None of this behaviour is EVER tollerated! Neither has it been taught to her. She is almost 3 and she has had timeouts, lost privelidges and been given praise to let her know the difference between her good behaviour and naughty behaviour. Her brother and sister have never bahaved like she does.
    I worked in a daycare for years before having my own kids and since having my own have done home care. I don't think that makes any of us experts on raising kids. Caring for other's kids sure, our own, no.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:23 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • To answer the op's question. I don't know what type of tantrum she's having. I've never tried to tell the difference. When my dd is not doing what she's asked and has a fit, it's a time out. If she hits or hurts she goes into an immediate time out. Try having her father talk to her about hitting you. We did that with my son. When he came home ds saw me tell daddy what happened and he turned to him and instead of saying don't hit mommy he very seriously said to him, "That is my wife and you may not disrespect her that way." I think it help the kids to see that you're not just mommy. I know how you feel about thinking time outs aren't working but be persistant, we're finally strting to see some results with it and it's been months!
    I also ignore when she's getting demanding I do things for her. I tell her You may not talk like that, if you want to ask nicely I will help you or get that for you.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:30 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

  • I also don't give in. This morning she wanted to leave the table to wash her hands. She was told to have 2 more bites and then she could leave the table. She then stood there saying that she couldn't go wash her hands because her knees hurt. She wanted to wash them with a wipe but I was not able to get her one, I saw a tantrum coming on so I told her that she can't touch any toys with sticky dirty hands and she needed to go wash them. She know's enough now, after several times of letting her know that I mean what I say. She grabbed a toy and I took it away and told her again and she went off to wash her hands without another word. It's hard and very trying dealing with a child who is so stubborn and strong. Beware they will still try to find a way. My dd speaks very well and will go back and forth between me and dh to try and get her way. We're onto her now though! Have fun because these "spirited childre" are fun!!!

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:37 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

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