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Grandson tantrums

(28 Posts)
Funnygran Mon 06-Oct-14 13:27:25

Can anyone offer advice about coping with a 3 year olds temper tantrums? My DD is at her wits end with him, he is the youngest of three and is at pre-school for half the week where he is apparently very well behaved. Any small thing seems to set him off at home and he then throws things, hits his parents and upsets his older siblings. They've tried 'time out' (useless!) and withdrawing treats, toys etc. When he calms down he is usually very apologetic and loving to them. Health visitor suggested more 1 to 1 which he gets anyway. DD told him she was going to send him away which upset him - I wondered if having a few days on his own with us might help both of them? Only thing is, he might think it's a treat as he absolutely adores his grand-dad!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 06-Oct-14 13:33:10

well, you'll have to be careful now she's said that to him! If you have him to stay he might think he has been sent away. I should leave that until halfterm.

Some kids just are little b***ers. Don't worry about it. smile

hildajenniJ Mon 06-Oct-14 13:45:30

Reminds me of the little girl who had a little curl. When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid. Don't want to worry you, but this sounds like the behaviour of my DGS1, who has just recently been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome. He was charming and very bright at nursery school, but different again at home. He has nipped and hit me and has even tried to bite me when he has a meltdown. Soon as it is over, and he has gained control, he is his lovely little self again.
All I can suggest is "wait and see". It may be just a case of the "terrible twos".

Anya Mon 06-Oct-14 14:22:15

If they can behave in one setting eg pre- school, then they can behave in any setting. If you know he will behave better at your house then the problem lies with his parents, so sending him to your house will make no difference except as jingl says to upset him.

I'm wondering why 'time out' or 'the naughty step' doesn't work. Discipline needs to be consistent, explained and calmy applied.

Anya Mon 06-Oct-14 14:38:19

PS He needs to be occupied with games or play material suitable for his age and ability, or out and about doing things and with adult input. A bored child will soon get cranky.

Elegran Mon 06-Oct-14 14:45:20

Yes, distraction works better than anything else with them at that age. They have so much energy and curiosity they get bored very fast. In pre-school their time is structured, and there is always something else interesting to move on to. At home they are expected to "be good" which is not easy for a busy mind and body to do. They need activities to use up spare physical energy, and other things to keep their minds occupied while the bodies are resting - painting, cutting, cooking, pretending.

Taking turns with another mother to "do things" with both children while each mother gets a moment's peace is a good idea

janeainsworth Mon 06-Oct-14 14:49:00

Your DGS must have been terrified when your DD said she was going to send him away confused

Elegran Mon 06-Oct-14 14:54:38

I would never, ever, say that to a child, nor would I ever say, as I heard someone say in a supermarket "If you do that Mummy won't love you any more". They believe what mummy says - that they really ARE in danger of being sent away or not loved if they make a mistake and are "bad" again. It is emotional blackmail, worse than saying that you will smack them if they do it again - a smack is temporary, rejection and withdrawing love are permanent.

Do stop her threatening that again. She will just store up more trouble from an insecure little person.

mollie65 Mon 06-Oct-14 15:05:43

I do worry at 'diagnosis' of Aspergers in a child who has tantrums (don't they all) and most grow out of it with love and guidance.
this is not to belittle a genuine case of Aspergers or on the 'Autistic spectrum' as I have a great-nephew with Autism who will never advance beyond a 'toddler stage' although he is now fully grown.sad

FlicketyB Mon 06-Oct-14 15:53:07

Between the ages of two and three DGS was a monumental tantrum thrower. He is now 4, at school and tantrums are all behind him. It was a phase he has passed through it and is out the other side.

The main thing is for parents to keep calm, relax into the tantrums and let them pass over you not through you and when the child is finish wash their faces with a cool flannel, offer a drink of water and let them get back to their play.

Lona Mon 06-Oct-14 16:52:11

My mum threatened to put me in a home when I was little.
She put an envelope on the mantelpiece and said that she would post it if I didn't behave!
I've never forgotten, and I was so scared at the time.
My mum was a wonderful mother and I can't imagine what was happening at the time to make her do that, as I don't remember ever being a naughty child.
I would never ever say anything like that to a child.

Funnygran Mon 06-Oct-14 16:57:27

Thanks for all your comments - I do agree about the threat to 'send him away'. I think/hope it was in the heat of the moment as I know he's a much loved little boy really. He does need to be constantly entertained and doesn't seem to be terribly good at being on his own.
Yet he is rather jealous of attention given to his older brother and sister which might be at the bottom of the behaviour and I do hope this is something he will grow out of when he realises his mum and dad love them all equally.

Elegran Mon 06-Oct-14 17:14:36

I am sure he will, though threats to "send him away" won't help! To his mum it may be a one-off when harrassed, but he will remember that for a long time. She needs to be extra loving to him to reassure him, and not just when he is good, either. When children are being "bad" they need just as much love, or even more.

janeainsworth Mon 06-Oct-14 17:23:39

All my DGCs who are old enough have tantrums.
I think they are exacerbated by the parents trying to reason with them, instead of firmly telling them how to behave and following it up when challenged, with 'Because I say so' grin

hildajenniJ Mon 06-Oct-14 19:08:01

He doesn't just have tantrums, these are full-blown meltdowns, where he is totally unreasonable and if sent to his room he will trash it. They can last from a few minutes to over an hour. He was assessed properly by an Educational Psychologist and her team, and their findings given to his parents a week later. The naughty step doesn't work for him because he doesn't think he has been naughty. He can't distinguish facial expressions and doesn't realise when he has overstepped the mark and fun turns into rough play which hurts his siblings. It is very difficult and confusing for him. His new school are fabulous with him and are working wonders.

Sorry, this is not about your GS problems Funnygranthis is to answer mollie65

Thanks for being patient with me. Aspergers is new for us, and we are having a hard time adjusting to a new way of parenting.

mollie65 Mon 06-Oct-14 19:26:05

I was actually trying to be helpful in my post by pointing out that people often rush to diagnosis and you implied that the OP should be concerned about 'tantrums'
you then added further information about your grandson which went beyond what you had previously posted where you referred to his 'lovely little self'
I responded to your first post (if you read my post) (and I did mention my great nephew who has autism) accordingly with the caveat 'this is not to belittle a genuine case of aspergers'. hope that is clear enough.

Anya Mon 06-Oct-14 20:04:45

I don't understand your statement that he doesn't think he has been naughty.

What makes you think that? Does he tell you that?

Cressida Wed 08-Oct-14 11:11:00

Funnygran, could he be feeling frustrated because he isn't yet capable of doing things his older siblings can do with ease?

elena Wed 08-Oct-14 13:55:51

Funnygran, the parents have not really had time to try any approach consistently.

If these are frequent tantrums, and long-lasting and aggressive, they're not really normal and they are indicative of frustration and a lack of security...not that this means they can't be 'cured' with the right approach.

Usually, positive responses to 'good' behaviour (an educational psychologist friend of mine says this is 'catching them being good') help - so he gets a simple and brief bit of praise and affirmation even for doing something simple like sitting nicely at the table, or chatting, or walking without running off.

He also needs to feel he is loved unconditionally, for himself. No threats or anything that undermines his confidence in this love - certainly not being told he will be sent away sad

No talking about how horrible he has been when he can hear.

Elegran Thu 09-Oct-14 09:24:57

I second that about not talking about how awful a child has been when he can hear - and no saying the morning after a tantrum "Now, you are not going to have a tantrum today are you? You are not going to be naughty?"

There is a saying that if you give a dog a bad name you might as well hang him at once. If you tell a child often enough that he is bad, he will believe you and live up to expectations, and it doesn't take many tellings.

If you must comment in his hearing, say that he is usually so helpful, but he made a mistake today.

Coolgran65 Thu 09-Oct-14 10:05:55

We've had the tantrums, dgs is about to turn four and will now and again still 'try it on'. His sister is 7 and is a very well behaved child, even when naughty it is more just like mischief. But she too had her moments.

The naughty step worked really well for us. We absolutely followed the lead of our DS and DIL who are very firm over tantrums/meltdown. At the first sign of unacceptable behaviour they get a warning. If it continues they are told - 5-4-3-2-1. This is now enough usually enough to stop whatever is going on. If we get to 1 they go on the naughty step.
If they try it a third time it's straight onto the naughty step which is actually the third tread on the staircase.
When out for dinner they are allowed to get underneath the table and 'play' etc. But at food time it's up to the table and reasonable manners are expected. If one of them plays up they get the 5-4-3-2-1. If they continue to play up then (usually) Daddy takes the hand of the child (it's usually the 4 year old) and they go outside to diffuse the situation and so not spoil the meal for any other diners. DGS calms down eventually, it may have been over eager enthusiasm that got out of hand or it may have been naughtiness, and when he settles, and understands why he was removed from the table, he comes back and says sorry.
Mind you, he might try it on again smile But that would usually result in no cartoon before bed, or no favourite toy to bed.

Last week the two DGC were bickering unrelentlessy. They eventually lost privileges of their i-pads for 5 days. Lost of priviliges is exactly that. There is no giving in by the parents.

Now, DGS can do absolute meltdowns with the best of them. He can be very defiant, and can on occasion kick, throw, the full works. etc.

I think that the reason the naughty step works for us is because right from the very beginning when it was brought into being, it was adhered to without any parent/grandparent giving in. Tears/shouts/screams/drumming heels/snot while on the step....... All of us ignored it. Then whoever put him on the step goes and has a little chat, are you now calm, do you understand why you were put on the step, what do you say (sorry), it has to be a real sorry or parent walks away and he is still on the step. He soon says a real sorry.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to say that we thought DGS nearly 4 years would never respond to the naughty step. It only took a few goes until he got the message and understood that we don't give in.

OP - when the naughty step was tried was the method of carrying it out consistent, over and over and over again. It can be hard to keep on at it but for us it paid off and generally, we can take him anywhere and expect decent behaviour.

I'm your your DGS really is a delightful child who is just pushing the boundaries and seeing how far he can get.

The adult is in charge.
If DGS comes to you for a few days have a great time.

I agree, definitely no 'sending away' or 'won't love you any more'.
We've used the phrase, '''That was very naughty and it made me very sad'''

Good luck.
Sorry again about the length of this.

Nonnie Thu 09-Oct-14 10:11:09

I don't believe that children are 'naughty' I think what they do is 'naughty' as I hate the idea of hanging a label on a child. At 3 everything you say is taken literally and can be taken much more seriously than intended.

I really do think that this problem lies with the parents. Sorry, but if he behaves well away from them I can't see any other explanation. MY GC will accept 'No' from their father without a protest but have tantrums when their mum says 'No' and that is because she gives in! If you make a tantrum worth while the child will do it again. It is the same with meals, if they don't eat DS says nothing and lets them see him throw it away, then they don't get anything instead. They usually eat for him. DiL coaxes and cajoles and gives in. It really is all very logical. If you make a fuss about something you have 'rewarded' the behaviour. I have watched a 2 year old look at the sweets, look at me, look at his Granddad, look at me again and then say "Granddad can I...............? He was clearly weighing up which of us was the softest touch!

I think it is good that children test the waters to see what they can get away with, that is part of growing up and is not a bad thing. What is important is the way the adults deal with it.

Nelliemoser Thu 09-Oct-14 10:37:23

Well it sounds as if this little one might have an actual problem or it is parental inconsistency.

Where a child is really difficult at home and OK at school does suggest the parents might need some direction in managing the child's behaviour.

Having watched a number of Nanny Jo "whatshername's" toddler taming programs she seems to be able to turn around the behaviour of some very difficult children.

This is largely by teaching parents to give the children clear rules about what is and is not acceptable behaviour at home and what the consequences will be for bad behaviour.

She then has to convince the parents that it will work if they can just stick to the rules on enforcement and to cope with the children's anger over no longer being able to get away with behaviour that is against the rules. There usually seems to be an increase in defiant behaviour before things improve.

She supports the parents with rules for them about how to do this and tries to reassure them that being consistent in applying the agreed sanctions is not being mean and should end in a much happier family.

At the same time the parents need to give more positive interaction and praise to the child when he behaves well.

It sound simple enough but then people are only human.

harrigran Thu 09-Oct-14 11:59:57

A lot of the problems I see are usually because parents are frightened to upset their children, they are afraid to say "because I say so" and "I am the adult and make the rules".

Funnygran Thu 09-Oct-14 12:50:16

Have been treading very carefully with him this week and today is my day for looking after him. He has been perfect and I have enlisted him to help me in lots of ways. Have had to go and clear up afterwards when he wasn't looking but he feels very useful! Apparently has only had one bad tantrum this week and DD tells me he has wanted to go to bed early as he said he was tired. I wonder if this could be the root of the problem. Mum admits that being the youngest of three he doesn't always have the strict routine that the other two had now she is back at work part time. Time will tell but I do appreciate other people's comments on their experiences.