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Dealing with ferquent crying fits

  • I have a 2 year old that will break out into tears for almost any reason. Having to get dressed, being asked to go to the table to eat a meal, being told it's time to go inside and of course being told 'no'. We try to let her do as much as possible for herself and try to give her warning of a change of activity but the frequent tearful responses continue. Right now we're using time outs and loss of treats like desserts but with little obvious success.

    This behavior wears most on my husband who is a stay at home dad. On particularly bad days he expresses that it's a personality issues that will never be changed. It does add stress to our home since it frustrates my husband that the behavior continues without showing any signs of improvement.

    Any ideas???
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MTmomof2 on 26th March 2008
  • We went through a really tough period with our daughter around this time. (And I can confess that during really stressful times I'd worry about whether it was her personality). She is 3.5 now and those days are long gone -- so I do think it's just a phase.

    We used time outs, although it got to a point where the threat of a time out was enough. This might sound odd but at times I found that she just needed to be left alone to cry and she'd get that stress out and be fine in a minute.

    My husband was better at this than I was, but when she would throw a fit, he'd calmly just walk away from her and tell her that she needs to speak instead of crying for him to be with her. She would follow crying and yelling, but I feel like after a while she understood that she needed to calm down to talk to us.

    Mostly I just want to tell you to hang in there -- I really know where you're coming from but I now have a very sweet 3.5 yr old who rarely misbehaves. I think they change so much at that age, and I don't think it's any indication of their personality.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 26th March 2008
  • I have worked in a pre-school and daycare setting with kids this age a lot, and one thing that I have heard that stuck with me is that sometime between 2 and 3 years old children's emotions are the strongest they will ever be in their lifetime. And they have very little experience communicating those emotions. So it's really important to remember that, and have patience with them. It truly will get better as her communication skills improve. I think that the best thing to do is to aid by offering her words to describe her feelings. You can ask things like "Are you frustrated because you can't do XXX right now?". It doesn't change the outcome of the situation. She still has to come to dinner when you tell her to, but it might help alleviate some of the melt downs.

    That's my two cents, hope it gets better.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 26th March 2008
  • I have no advice because I'm right there with ya ~ My daughter will be 2 in May and we do the same thing every day. I believe part of it is her temperament, but I think a lot of it is just her age. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how much of it she outgrows.

    Hang in there mama!!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jackie Lee on 27th March 2008
  • My twin girls are almost 2.5 and one of them is exactly like that....everytime she is told to do something she doesn't want to do...she cries! It is very trying when you are home with them all day and I can sympathize with your husband

    The tactic that I have started using that really seems to sending her to her room! Sounds so harsh...she is only 2.5....but I tell her to go upstairs to her room and when she is done crying then she can come down again. She is usually gone for about 5 minutes total (climbing up/downstairs included) and comes back with a big smile and tells me she is "happy now"!

    Hang in there....I think you just have to find what works for you!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Linda on 27th March 2008
  • My favorite, and it's worked with both of my kids (one of which is 22 months and going through this now) and the few kids I've nannied is this: Please throw your tears out the window so we can talk and I can understand you. When you throw them out it will be easier.

    It happened today at the grocery and the oldest said to the youngest that she'd throw the tears out and baby said, "I do myself." And all was well with the world.

    They will make a throwing motion toward the window and you will cheer them on and they will feel like they are in charge again. It's amazing how that works. Seriously, I've not had a child negate it yet.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mandy Nelson - Dandysound on 28th March 2008
  • Interesting suggestions ~ I like it. I think I'll try it tomorrow!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jackie Lee on 28th March 2008
  • Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one - I was beginning to wonder if I should find my daughter a therapist! She's 2 & 3/4 and any kind of transition - time to go home/out/to bed/to the table to eat - sends her into a nuclear meltdown. We've tried the warning, time outs, letting her do it herself, validating her feelings by saying we understand she's frustrated - sometimes those things work, other times they don't. I'm at wit's end with her. Poor kid.

    Mandy - I am going to try that throw your tears out the window trick and let you know if it works for us! If it doesn't, does anybody know any good child psychologists?!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Caitlin on 3rd June 2008

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