Temper Tantrums – When to Worry

Temper Tantrums - When to Worry

Temper tantrums can be a normal and common part of early childhood, but sometimes they are a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed.

Parents often ask me whether their child’s tantrums are beyond what is normal. When is a red-faced preschooler screaming and flailing about normal; when is the tantrum a cause for concern? What’s too often? What’s too long? What’s too extreme?

Stay tuned for the top 5 reasons to be concerned.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine analyzed the tantrums of 279 children from 3 to 6 years old. Their results were published in the January 2008 Journal of Pediatrics.

They divided tantrum behaviors into aggressive-destructive (kicking others, hitting others, throwing objects, breaking objects), self-injurious (hitting self, head banging, holding breath, biting self), non-destructive aggression (non-directed kicking, stamping feet, hitting wall), and oral aggression (biting others, spitting on others).

The authors suggest that parents need not worry about isolated or occasional extreme tantrums, especially if the child is hungry, overtired, or ill. Instead, they should pay attention to tantrum styles, the overall pattern of tantrums.

They identified 5 high risk tantrum styles and suggest that kids over age 3 with any of these deserve further evaluation by a mental health specialist.

The results of the study are preliminary, and by no means proven, but at least give parents and pediatricians a place to start.

Aggressive Tantrums

If a child shows aggression toward a caregiver or tries to destroy toys or other objects during most tantrums, the child may have ADHD, oppositional-defiant disorder, or another disruptive disorder. Specifically, if more than half of a series of 10 or 20 tantrums includes aggression to caregivers and/or objects, consider an evaluation. Depressed children may also have a pattern of aggressive tantrums.

Self-injurious Tantrums

By the time a child reaches age 3, a pattern of trying to hurt oneself during a tantrum may be a sign of major depression and should always be evaluated. At this age tantrums that include behaviors such as scratching oneself till the skin bleeds, head-banging, or biting oneself are red flags no matter how long the tantrums last or how often they occur. In this study, they were almost always associated with a psychiatric diagnosis.

Frequent Tantrums

Tantrums at home are more common than tantrums in daycare or school. Having 10 separate tantrums on a single day at home may just be a bad day, but if it happens more than once in a 30 day period, there is a greater risk of a clinical problem. The same goes for more than 5 separate tantrums a day on multiple days at school.

In this study, when tantrums occurred at school, or outside of home or school, more than 5 times a day on multiple days, there was a higher risk of ADHD and other disruptive disorders.

Prolonged Tantrums

A normal tantrum in this study averaged about 11 minutes (though I’m sure it seemed a lot longer to parents!). When a child’s typical tantrums last more than 25 minutes each, on average, further evaluation is wise.

Tantrums Requiring External Help

Kids who usually require extra help from a caregiver to recover from a tantrum were at higher risk for ADHD, no matter how frequent the tantrums were or how long they lasted. Speaking calmly to your child in the midst of a tantrum, or acting reassuringly, is normal. But if you find you can’t stop a tantrum without giving in or offering a bribe, pay attention. By age 3, kids should be learning how to calm themselves.

It’s normal for healthy preschool kids to have extreme tantrums sometimes, and to lash out at people or things on occasion. Starting to pay attention to tantrum styles rather than individual tantrums may help sort out what’s healthy and what’s not, and how to respond.

What’s your experience with tantrums?

Beldon, AC, Thomson NR, Luby JL. Temper tantrums in health versus depressed and disruptive preschoolers: defining tantrum behaviors associated with clinical problems. Journal of Pediatrics. 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.06.030. January 2008.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

  1. Luke Enright

    I am an 11 yr old boy I have a 5 yr old sister who I think is so annoying because the only thing she ever wants to do is have big tantrums. My parents do everything they can to calm her down but it never works. I do love her but I just really wish my sister lived somewhere else. She is impossible to deal with. I try to help her but my parents always put me back in my room. She has like at least 5 huge tantrums every day. This has been going on since spring. I need help!

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    • Matt Dalton

      Hi there, Luke,

      I am encouraged to see you are researching these issues to make yourself as informed as possible. That is, in a way, the answer to your question. I’m also happy to see that you are reaching out on a public forum such as this and admit your genuine care for your sister. That is very brave.

      Since this is a public forum, the best advise one can give is to seek the help of a mental health specialist. Perhaps a place to start is by looking in your own family, ask your aunts and uncles what they do, or if they have any experience with psychology or preoperational behavior development.

      If no one in your family is familiar with these issues professionally, perhaps you might expand your search in a close friend’s family if you see fit. This is a very mature thing you are doing so keep in mind that you must always keep questions.

      Best of wishes Luke!

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  2. Emily Edwards

    Hi! I have soon to be 3 year old twin boys. One of them has been intense for as long as long as he’s been mobile. As a baby he was so quiet we thought something was wrong. But as soon as he became mobile he started defying authority. We never know what will set him off. Even if we avoid saying the word “no“ and try to say something like “you will absolutely get your toy after your bath“, he still has a fit. He does not hurt others, but he pees on the floor, or rolls around on the floor yelling “no mommy“. The thing is, he very rarely gets over his tantrums by himself. He always needs a distraction (by distraction I do not mean bribe, we never bribe), sometimes it can be as simple as asking him to come help with dinner and he forgets all about the tantrum. What worries us is that, he ALWAYS needs a distraction, he cannot control his emotions in the slightest. Everyday, several times a day, something will set him off.
    WHen do I start worrying that this is a bigger problem than just the terrible twos?
    What can I do to help him?
    It’s gotten to the point that the daycare no longer wants him on outings unless I m present, because we never know what will set him off, and they cannot afford to have a child rolling around on the floor while 50 other children are waiting.
    I have been trying to tell myself he will grow out of it if we help him put words on what he is feeling, but so far, nothing.

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  3. Kelle

    My son is 2.5 almost 3 years old he is a very smart little boy I am very concerned though that there is a problem today for example and this is literally almost and everyday thing with the exception if he is at his memes where they stay extremely busy he doesn’t even have to be told no it will just start happening his tantrums go from screaming bloody murder to hitting, head butting, breaking his toys an here recently butting himself. I am very concerned my best friend is a doctor but I don’t just want to take him in if this is normal but I don’t feel as if it is help!

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  4. Annette Aggett

    My 4yr old son is a loving sensative boy who I feel is between prolonged and self injurious tantrums.
    If we say no he can react in a way where he will bite himsel and hit himself in the face (not always). Other times he will be sent to his room and he screams for over 10 minutes and then screams for help even more louder because his head is hurting so badly it’s like his blood vessels are going to burst (he points above his temples when it hurts). We help calm him down without giving into whatever started the tantrum, but feel there is an underlining issue. Recently we had a heap of blood/urine ans stool tests and all came back normal. Is this behaviour normal? Should we be looking at something else? We have other children aged 19, 17, 15 and 2 and have not had this problem with any other (hopefully the 2 yr old won’t react like this when he reaches 4). Have you any advice for us.
    Annette

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  5. Bonnie

    My son is 3 years old and has always been the “spirited” kind – never happy unless outdoors, needs constant stimulation, never ending energy etc. He has also been crying for hours every single day since birth. At daycare he does very well, and as long as he is hiking, running or otherwise active he is a wonderful, smart and loving boy who adores all people and animals. However, when he is not physically moving, his tantrums, screaming over anything and everything, agressive (throwing things, kicking, lashing out at our animals ) are terrible. Majority of his 2s were spent screaming bloody murder for easily 5 hours a day. Pediatricians, specialists etc – everybody tells me he’s perfectly normal and very smart and vocal for his age. Yet at the same time, I am left with still 10+ tantrums a day and am at my ropes end. We tried everything from drawing what he feels, sticking to routines, using sticker charts, taking away toys as punishment, time outs etc but nothing works. When he has calmed down he does apologize and can tell me what exactly in his behavior was bad or inappropriate but it doesn’t reduce the tantrums or the physical outbursts of throwing objects. Any advice is more than appreciated. Thank you!

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  6. Lia

    My son just turned 3yo. I watch a girl that’s also 3 years old for a year now and my son and her were always best friends. (she spends 9hours a day, 5 days of the week with us). About a month ago I found out my father had stage 4 lung cancer and he lives in a different country, what turned my world up side down, but I tried not to change much their routine, but I believe that I’m not playing with them as much as I was because I’m trying to figure out paper works so I can visit my dad. So about 1 month ago my son started throwing tantrums anywhere for every little reason, he will try to pinch, kick or punch whoever try to stop him (once he bit my bestfriend) and now he says he hates you, or “I don’t like you”. He was always a very active kid but when out in public he always behaved really good. But now I don’t even want to leave my house with him and because of that my husband and I are getting so frustrated and we are arguing a lot too. About a week ago I started watching my nephew that is 5 weeks old also. He was in the NICU for a month, so I have to do breathing treatments (which demands more time/attention). So I don’t know what to do, I try to talk to him and ask what is making him mad or upset, I try kissing him, hugging him, I try ignoring him, I tried to tell him that I loved him anyways, even when he is mad… but nothing works… PLEASE ANY IDEA OF WHAT TO DO? Because I read people saying just ignore, walk away but sometimes you just can’t. Last 2 tantrums he had one I was in NYC around the grand central station, and at the same day I was inside the Brazilian consulate (where everybody is quiet, I can’t really walk in and out like that). Please let me know where to start… Should I take him to see his pediatrician?

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    • Lia,

      What you are going through is so tough. Our hearts go out to you.

      It is very difficult to offer specific, individual direction online. There’s a lot going on in your family, our life, and your son’s world. This all needs to be taken into consideration, but may not be the reason for his change in behavior. In situations like this, it’s very wise to seek help from someone who can do a thorough physical exam to rule out any physical causes. His pediatrician can do this.

      If his pediatrician doesn’t address his behavior issues to your satisfaction, consider seeing a different type of doctor. This could be a child psychologist or a behavioral specialist.

      Again, our heart goes out to you.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  7. Markita

    I have a 9 year old who has tantrums. She turned 9 on August 29th. She doesn’t like the word NO. She falls out in the floor, stomps, growls, cries, yells, and kicks. It’s nerve racking. I have an intolerance for loud noises.

    Isn’t she too old to be having this type of behavior? She’s highly intelligent and very vocal, so to me there shouldn’t be any reason for this type of behavior. Do I need to seek a mental health professional?

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    • Markita,

      That sounds really tough. So sorry you’re going through this.

      When a 9 year old has tantrums, it’s very appropriate to get expert help. The first place to start is with the child’s pediatrician. He or she can refer the child to the right person if more help is needed.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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  8. Emily

    Dear Dr. Greene,
    My daughter is 5 years old and lately she has been throwing huge tantrums everyday for every little reason. Not just because she doesn’t get her way or what she wants right away. She will throw tantrums because she does not want to walk, because she does not want to eat, she does not want to do what I ask, for basically everything. I have tried everything from ignoring her, not giving in, time out, creating a diversion, and even putting myself in timeout. She can throw a fit for hours if she wants to, there is no stopping her. It’s gotten to the point where it is extremely hard to take her anywhere because she throws a full blown tantrum in public where she is screaming a blood curdling scream and laid out on the floor. I have even tried walking away from it when we are in public.. Nothing works. She was not like this until the past year and all of a sudden it’s tantrums every day. She has been in behavior therapy and we have worked on coping skills with her but those didn’t help for long. What are your suggestions and/or advice?

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  9. Nadine

    Hello, my son is 4.5 yrs and have extreme tantrums. Recently he’s been having 1 to 3 tantrums a day where he loses self control and starts shouting, hitting, kicking and saying bad words. He becomes physically very strong when he gets so upset that I am never able to put an end to his tantrum and I get physically worn out just by trying to hold him. Once he calms down he starts repeating the same word over and over like “no mamy no mamy…” and after a while he calms down as if nothing happened where he can be the funniest boy ever. His behavior makes me doubt that he might be “crazy?”
    I have gone to 2 psychologists before and did not find positive results, and next week I am visiting a 3rd. Per the previous psychologist, he is not autistic, nor bi-polar. Could my son be crazy? How do I assess whether the psychologist is a good one who can provide appropriate help?

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    • Kim

      Your child is doing the same thing as my 4 yr old boy but he tells his father and me he don’t love us and he hits both of us there is no abuse in the house so I don’t understand why he is doing this his father thinks the same thing that he has somthing wrong with him but the doctors say everything is normal with him
      Thought I would share hope it puts you a little at piece that other parents are going through the same thing have a blessed day
      If you have any tips for me please let me know thank you

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  10. Alex

    Hello I have a 23 month old and she will scream at me throughout the day and throw herself on the floor. She’s been like this since she was 1. Its a very loud high pitched scream and she does it all the time through the day. She will head butt things or me. I can’t go out on my own without her kicking and screaming. It’s everyday without fail especially when she doesn’t get her own way. I take her to the shop and she just runs off and even out the door. When I stop her she throws herself on the floor, screams kicks pulls things off the shelves. I don’t know what to do. Is this normal?

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    • Kayla

      Did you ever get help? My 2 year old son acts like this and I don’t know what do to!

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  11. Sarah Louise

    Hello, my child has just turned 3 and for a year now has had severe tantrums that can last around 4 hours. He wakes all through the night paddying and paddys throughout the day too. He’s currently on melatonin and has been for a month as prescribed by a pediatrician but it’s only made him worse. They can’t pinpoint whats wrong. I’m at the end of my tether, sleep deprived and 4 months pregnant. What would you recommend and should i be worried?
    Thank you

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    • Hasley

      Hi. My daughter never slept until she was 5.5. Just a little tip. It seemed to work for me. Magnesium. You can get it in liquid form. It’s by wellkid. Combined with calcium and vitamin D. Also omega 3 chew tablets. The magnesium has a kind of calming affect. Same with omega 3 . Since I gave her this combination she has slept pretty much every night. I was at the end of my tether so your not alone.

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  12. SR

    Dr. Greene

    I am a 16 year old girl and I find my self getting angry very easily as of late. Just small things like when my mom asks me to do the dishes, I get angry and start to hit my self in the head and scream. I’m not sure why I do this yet when it’s in the moment I can’t seem to stop myself. I have been working a lot and am tired but I’ve been this way before and nothing like this has happened. I know that if I tell my parents though, they won’t take me to a doctor. Should this be something to be concerned about?
    Thanks.

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    • Dear SR,

      Seeing a doctor is important. At 16, someone can call the doctor themselves. Or you might try calling a teen hotline, such as https://teenlineonline.org/ to get help seeing someone.

      Don’t wait.

      Best,
      @MsGreene

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    • Donna Robb

      Dear SR
      I am no expert but honey you need to really stop and think about why this is happening .
      Does it happen with anyone but your Mom, does it happen at school or at work… something is going on and if you can try to pinpoint any triggers then perhaps you will see a pattern and be able to address it .Is there a friend you could confide in, or a teacher..we have teen hot lines here in my province so maybe calling a centre could help …and I think you should talk to your Dr ..it could just be that you are overwhelmed and need some down time..Good luck sweetie I hope things settle for you soon.
      Donna

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  13. Donna Robb

    I just witnessed my first ever meltdown by my 5 yr old grandson, I am shocked at the behaviour and I found it so distressing. He has never had one while his grandfather or I had cared for him and his 8 year old sister, but this was staged in front of his Mom. The incident occurred when he was taken out of the hot tub for not listening and getting over excited.He started to cry then he just began screaming he ran to the far side of the property threw himself into a chair while the volume increased.Finally his Mom took him indoors where he slammed doors and continued to scream for at least 45 mins.
    The shock came when he was being held by his Mom who has a bad burn on her leg and my grandson took his finger nail and raked it over her burn….so awful to see this transpire.Later when he settled I asked him why he acted so badly…he said because he was upset..when I asked why he would hurt Mommy he said..she was holding him too tightly…I am a retired registered Nurse and am terribly concerned over this aggressive tantrum..I feel this requires further investigation..your thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thankyou, signed an upset Nannie..

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    • Donna

      I see very few responses here, is the idea just to “share” your experience..I think we were all hoping for some direction, some needed respite in the form of answers, or at the very least a suggestion of how to cope.

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      • Moira

        I visited this site for just that reason Donna, some kind of rhyme or reason and what I can do. Right now as I type this, my 1 year old son is crying, no let me change that to screaming and throwing himself to the floor, and slapping himself in the face, and has been doing a variation of the three for a little over an hour, and i cant even remember why because i have no idea what to do. As I continue to watch him he’s come over to me and began to scratch and head butt me. I’m scared beyond belief wth am i supposed to do? Let him finish? Intervene? Should I coddle him? Scold him? He’s beginning to wind down a little, smh he has screamed himself to sleep.

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        • Donna

          Oh Moira I feel for you, it is the most stressful situation ever to watch your lovely little one lose control..I really thought I was going to get some direction here to help me with my grandson but alas I guess there are not going to be responses or direction from Dr Greene nor his wife Cheryl Greene.
          I wish I could privately email you just to offer some support..as a Grandmother I often feel like some children are using the tantrum as a means of obtaining what they want…attention seeking etc..perhaps initially some discipline (like a time out) but when that fails to break the tantrum I turn to soothing as best as I can, speaking softly and giving gentle hugs…I am at a lost as to what else you can do..I think Paediatricians see the worse of the worse so unless your child is breathing fire and their head is spinning they really minimise your childs tantrum and advise “they will grow out of it” and true I have never seen a 40 year old throw a tantrum but the intervening years are draining for the whole family and especially for the Moms watching this happen…so I wish you the best and just know that as Moms we are often too hard on ourselves when we question everything we do and over analyse things…we somehow blame ourselves for everything thier child does wrong…when we should be celebrating what they do right and what a wonderful gift they are….I would suggest trying to get out a bit by yourself to get a break from the situation..best of luck Moira…stay well and take care …Donna

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  14. Lydis

    My 3 year old son has a lot tantrum he throw things hits scream everyday don’t sleep at night often don’t share gets mad quit nd throw a tantrum swing at anyone.when a toy breaks throw his self on floor kicks can’t stay focus on one thing very hyper all the time can this be singn of adhd

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  15. Kathy

    Dear Dr. Greene,
    I’m at a complete loss with how to handle my grandchild. She’s 5 years old and has meltdown tantrums at an epic proportion. It’s just beyond anything imaginable. Tonight’s started when she pointed at the tv, with attitude, but wouldn’t ask me to turn it on. Just pointed. When I told her I would be happy to turn on the tv if she used her words, she wen from grunting at me to screaming, and then screaming so loud, I’m sure everyone could hear her within a 5 mile radius. She threw herself onto the floor, on her back and just flailed, and screamed at the top of her lungs, as though she was possessed.
    These tantrums she has get out of control and once she’s in that place, there’s no turning back until it’s over. 15 minutes tonight.
    Then, once she’s calmed down , she’s like a complety new child. Quiet, and calm. My daughter is a single mom so my husband and I keep her on Wednesday evenings so my daughter can have some down time. We both believe the consistency is very important for this child so trying keep her on a pretty tight schedule .
    She is been a day cares and she was very very young and has done well in till the last few months and just this week is been unenrolled from the school due to these temper tantrums. She never has more than one a day, and like I said once they’re over she’s back to being a very sweet kind child .
    I’m heartbroken to see this, as I can see how distraught she must be to get to this stage, while she’s in the midst of one of these tantrums. I’m at a complete loss. This seems to me that these tantrums occur when she does not get her way or when she’s called out for doing something she should not be doing in other words being corrected .
    Please help. I’m desperate to make this stop, for her sake.

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    • Grandma

      I am a grandma, too.

      Like it or not I think it comes from being in day care.
      My latest granddaughter has the same problem when the two’s came around she has had tantrums and is unbelievable out of control when not getting what she wants or whatever right now or being directed to help her or for whatever reason that does not please her.

      Again, there is something missing in a child care setting.

      I have 6 children and never babysit. I always tried as much as possible to give each child their choices to give them a chance to do things I was the elastic that gave them a chance to exercise their growing need for autonomy. This is just one thing that a day care does not do.

      We as grandparents need to be consistent or the child will grow to run the house a major problem today in our society.

      We can love them there are times we need to draw the line.

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      • Kayla

        I don’t really feel like it is completely and totally a result of childcare. My son is a single child and has never been to daycare yet he is driving me up a wall. He has violent lash outs and communicates by physically hurting kids as well as adults anywhere we come across some.

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        • Louise Pearson

          Hi I really feel your pain my son is 28 months and delayed with speech and has had hearing problems. He’s had grommets fitted but not made much difference. He gets so frustrated and vents with pushing and slapping and has terrible melt downs. It’s more persistent when we’re out in public & out his comfort zone… It’s hard hard work.

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    • WenLee

      Kathy,

      If your granddaughter’s daycare asked that she be withdrawn then the tantrums must be pretty sever. This does not mean your granddaughter is bad or has a severe disorder, there is hope in changing her behavior. Some children simply do not thrive in group care as it can be over stimulating for them or just simply overwhelming. Severe tantrums are definitely something to discuss with an expert and are most often the result of underlying issues. There are changes that can be made at home to help with the tantrums such as limiting electronics, television and computer time to 20 minutes per day. Not 20 minutes each, 20 minutes total for all of them combined. It is not punishing the child, trust me you will see improvement in her mood within the first day. Also pay attention to her diet and try to limit foods that contain a lot of sugar, her pediatrician can help you with this. Have her mom write down a list of simple rules with simple consequences clearly stated and hang them on the refrigerator or a place she can see them. Then her mom should go over the rules and consequences with her so that she understands them and knows what to expect when a rule is broken. She can even keep a copy at your house to see when she’s there, and you can go over them with her as well so she knows they are the same at your house. Negative attention isn’t fun for children even when it seems that is what they are seeking, by making a few simple changes you will help her more than you can imagine.
      Although I understand daycares in general are scrutinized by a lot of people, your granddaughter’s behavior most likely has nothing to do with her daycare. I wish you the best and hope that you find the answers you are searching for.

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  16. CrazyLoveNC

    My daughter had colic from 2 weeks to about 8 weeks for up to 4 hours a night of constant screaming and crying. Since then, she has gone through months of great behavior and calm demeanor to months of terrible tantrums and screaming. She is now 4 years old and my husband and I are having a very hard time. She’s the youngest of our three kids, and the older two will cry and get really upset because of her screaming. She tantrums up to 45 minutes at least once a week, but unfortunately it’s been at least 20 minutes of full-on screaming every single day for the past 5 days. It’s so hard, and her pediatrician knows she difficult (although behaves very well when not with me, her mom). She is bright, healthy, has lots of friends, and when not having a tantrum is a wonderful, caring girl to be around. My husband and I do not give in and we keep our consequences to her, but it’s like she doesn’t care and/or cannot control herself when she’s in the midst of her anger. I appreciate any help and insight you are able to give. I feel so hopeless at this moment.

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    • Grandma

      The child may have an allergy to milk and or wheat, oats or other foods. Is the child ever in day care or a school situation?

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  17. SP

    My son is two (32 months) and his tantrums have gotten worse. I am able to deal with him at home, but he is very aggressive at daycare. The behavior has progressed over the past week (from 0 to 100 in just a week). His tantrums start when he can not do what he wants to do. The tantrums last over an hour, he hits, spits, kicks, and throws objects. He also throws himself to the ground while he screams and kicks (very ear piercing loud). Can a child his age be evaluated this young?

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    • Yes, he can be evaluated. Ask his pediatrician to do a first evaluation and refer you to a specialist if needed. Your son will thank you for taking action quickly.

      So sorry you’re going through this.
      @MsGreene

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    • Grandma

      The child may have an allergy to milk and or wheat, oats or other foods.
      Is the child ever in day care or a school situation?

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  18. Tammy

    Hi Dr.Greene,

    Reading your article was quite interesting as My 7yr old daughter has aggressive behaviour on a regular basis she has no respect for anyone and does not care about the consequences for her actions. She puts my other children aged 5 &3 at risk on a continuous basis will attack both myself her dad, grandparents — it does not matter who you are and shows no fear saying she can fight and win everyone. These tantrums are becoming daily and lasting between 2 hours solid to the whole day from her waking up until bedtime. Now the twist — there are the odd occasions when she breaks down over her homework not been finished and will sit in a corner and cry with no sense of reason when we try to help her.

    This behaviour happens almost everywhere the only place it doesn’t is school and because of that single reason alone I can’t get my gp or school to do a refferal. No where will except a self referral so we are on our own. Please help.

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  19. Heidi

    My five year old daughter has become progressively wise with her tantrums, since age one and a half. She had now turned into rage behavior and hit me a few time, as well as knocking me down in these fits of rage. They almost always start because of something very small, such as eating a piece of peach most recently (it just stopped about ten minutes ago and lasted almost an hour). I’m pregnant and her current violent tendencies scare me. She was like this prior to my pregnancy. I’ve scheduled an appointment with her dr. I’m at my wits end.

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  20. Lindsay

    Hi Dr. Greene, my 3 yr old son had a normal pregnancy, csection with no complications and was a perfectly healthy boy. He started having these out of control trance like “tantrums” at 1.5 and it has not stopped. They last anywhere from 45minutes to 2 hours and a couple times a day. We suspected it was a gastro intestinal issue as he would often have them after nap and before he would poop. We ruled out dairy, gluten and had a colonoscopy and endoscopy and an ultrasound. They came up with nothing. The thing is often their is no trigger ( not a typical tantrum because he isn’t getting his way), he is very very angry, inconsolable and screams he wants up then when I go to pick him up he screams no. This goes back and forth throughout the whole episode. Then just as quickly as it starts its like a light switch turns off and he goes back to being his happy wonderful self. I am at my wits end and don’t know where to turn from here. Please any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Lindsay,

      How hard — on the whole family.

      This sounds like it’s being triggered by something that’s pretty subtle.

      I know it’s tough to do, but a “food, activity, sleep, tantrum diary” could be very helpful. The diary needs to be as detailed as possible. Include the timing of everything. For food, be as detailed as you can be and pay attention to things like food colors, pesticides, and preservatives. You can use a tool like MyFitnessPal.com for tracking food, but it won’t help you with sleep, exercise, and tantrum timing so you may have to resort to a good old fashioned spreadsheet. After a few weeks, I hope a pattern will emerge.

      Hope that helps,
      @MsGreene

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    • Ashley

      OMG! Everything written here is EXACTLY what I’m going thru with my 3 year old son. It’s as if I was the person writing it. I’ve had it. I can’t take it anymore. I’m regretting becoming a mom and I even thought about adoption options. I am over whelmed, exhausted, & do not know what to do.

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      • Ashley,

        As a mom of now adult children, I can tell you this will not go on forever. They do grow up and you will be able to look back on this as a season, but right now, you need relief.

        If your son is like Lindsay’s and the meltdowns seem unprovoked, I highly suggest you do the detailed tracking I suggested for her. It’s a lot of work, but if you can find a trigger, or multiple triggers, it will be worth it.

        One other thing to keep in mind, when kids are having this level of emotional outbreaks, they are experiencing something internally that is overwhelming to them. They need caring adult help to figure out what’s causing them and a solution. When this is the hardest, and you are going to extreme measures, know that you are a huge help to your son.

        My heart goes out to you both.
        @MsGreene

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    • Rachel

      I am at the same point as you. My daughter is the same exact way and she is 2.5. Hers are completely unprovoked but don’t link to anything we’ve noticed (sleep, food, etc.) They are uncontrollable and same thing, go to pick her up she screams no, but will hyperventilate if we walk away. We did the ignoring method for a week, nothing. She’s an angel at school and with other people. It’s extremely frustrating and makes me resent my child.

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  21. Mrs Rogers

    Hi Dr Greene,

    We recently changed daycares as we had hoped my 4.5yr old daughter would stop her temper tantrums at her new daycare. Within 5 days of settling in, I received yet another phone call to tell me my daughter was behaving violently – biting, scratching, punching, kicking, hitting and spitting towards 3 Educators, 1 of them being pregnant. She gets mad when she is asked to share and things are taken from her.

    My daughter does not display this behaviour at home and is mostly well behaved.

    We’ve been told she is highly intelligent by many and this iss common in highly intelligent children?

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  22. Ni

    My son is 2 1/2 years old and having bad tantrums . but his aggression, comes from me telling him what to do, like: NO, Do not do that , Bed-Time, STOP, and how to behave in public. I have tried time out, which he laughs at and fights to not sit there. or when i say NO, he gets mad and{ starts running }in the opposite direction, and starts throwing pillows off the couch , or on the counter’s or dresser.
    I’ve tried to hold him in my arms to console him, it only makes it worst. I’ve told him son that is not how you behavior. He either looks, down or ignores me.
    I’ve have said STOP , multiple of times, into i cannot take it. And yes, i do believe in disciplining him .

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  23. Jen G

    Hi Dr Greene

    I have twin 21 month olds (19mo adjusted) and my one twin throws tantdrums in the am when she first wakes up there are days i let her stay in the crib and she is okay. There are days I take her out and she throws herself on the floor and just cries. Then if we try to change her diaper she will sometimes just cry and kick. If its time for a nap shell push her leg through the crib slats and get stuck. Ill take her leg out and tell her to stop and shell keep doing it and throw tantdrums while doing it.

    Her sister has her moments too when she wants things her way shell yell and drop to the floor. All These tantdrums can last from 2min up to 5. The ones with their way happen only at times when we are playing as a group. I tried to get on their level and explain its okay sometimes it works and sometimes im ignored. Are these normal? How do I change behavior without them getting so upset? We are thinking my one twin will need to see a specialist hence the lack of listening its concerning.

    Thank you much in advance!

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  24. Samantha

    I need help please!!!! I have a 4 year old daughter who has gotten so bad I can no longer control her tantrums. It started around age 2 and has steady gotten worse. I have seeked help between several doctors and we do two different therapies three times a week and nothing is helping just seems to make it worse. The specialist we see is pretty much using her as a lab rat trying different meds on her and can not tell me what the issue could be. Her fits last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. And we have at least 4 of these a day. She will bite, punch, scratch, hit anything she possibly can to hurt either herself or someone else. I no longer know what to do someone please help.

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    • Samantha,

      I can hear the frustration and pain in your voice — even on a message board. I’m so sorry for what you are going through.

      It sounds like you’re pretty far into treatment options and you’ve probably looked at dietary causes, but in case you haven’t the two biggest links in diets to children’s behavior issues are sugar and food dyes. Here is what Dr. Greene says:

      The Relationship between Sugar and Behavior in Children

      It is commonly acknowledged that as blood glucose levels fall, there is a compensatory release of adrenaline. When the blood glucose level falls below normal, the resulting situation is called hypoglycemia. Signs and symptoms that accompany this include shakiness, sweating, and altered thinking and behavior.

      Let’s Put Artificial Dyes on Time Out!

      The British Food Standards Agency (the FSA) decided to fund two careful, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies to see whether artificial dyes in typical amounts consumed by typical kids physically worsen children’s behavior. These studies were on healthy British kids, not those diagnosed with ADHD or suspected of having sensitivity to the dyes. The results prompted the FSA to call for the elimination of the dyes.

      In some children, the impact of sugar and artificial food coloring is not immediate. It can happen hours after consumption. This makes it difficult to track the cause and effect. If you haven’t already tried to cut sugar and artificial food coloring out of your family’s diet, it’s certainly worth a trial. Even if your daughter’s tantrums don’t go completely away, it could make other treatments easier.

      I hope that’s helpful.
      @MsGreene
      Co-founder & Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

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  25. Jenna

    I am the proud parent of a 3 year old who lashes out with angst. I thought maybe it could have been lack of sleep. She refuses to nap against all I do. I get her to bed by 7. She rises at 6 a.m. She doesn’t get her way she bites, kicks, screams. Tonight was pure torture I just wanted her to get dressed for bed. Instead I got 10 minutes of torture screams, as if I was murdering her. In addition to a bite that broke my skin. The scratches…the hits. She threw things. She screamed for someone else in the house to give in to her demands. I live with my siblings. No matter what I do ill never be able to parent. She prefers them, all being spoiled and no rules. I feel like my child hates me

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  26. Samantha Jones

    I have a son (he is a twin) that is 4 years old .
    Yesterday I took him , his brother and baby brother to my oldest sons school to get them pre-registered for school .
    My oldest happened to be in the hallway with his class for a potty break and there were some older students out and about as well .
    Anywho , I had taken Dayven (the twin) to the restroom because he said he had to potty. My oldest son even went in to show him where and how to use the toilet .
    Well , Dayven just stood there .. With his head down .
    The kids that were in there were trying to help him and he didn’t budge .
    Well my oldest brought him out the restroom so we could leave ; Dayven started crying/screaming really loud .
    I was embarrassed.
    I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I am supposed to be on a lifting restriction and bed rest .
    Dayven decides to throw himself down and fight me to get up .
    So I picked him up . He kicked me and hit me .. Screamed he had to go pee.
    We get to the truck and he fights me to get in the truck .
    Doesn’t get in his carseat or buckle up .
    This whole time (10 mins to be exact) he’s still crying like someone’s hurting him .. I even got an ugly look from another parent .
    My other son (Jayven,the other twin) didn’t know hoe to react towards the way his brother was acting .

    This isn’t the first time Dayven has hurt me or anyone for that matter during his out bursts .

    What can I do ?
    He does have ADHD .

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  27. Caitlin

    My daughter is 4 1/2, she’s thrown tantrums for the last 2 1/2 years but it’s worse then what it started with. If I tell her for instants to pick up her toys she will throw a tantrum, if she doesn’t get her own way or the attention isn’t fully on her she has a tantrum.. An these tantrums an throwing things, hitting, and screaming.. She doesn’t listen to anything you say an will have a tantrum if she’s not interested. If she’s showing you something she did or can do an you award her she had a tantrum.. She also gets very emotion when she can’t get something right or can’t do something.. She also can’t play nice with other children or share.. But she can sit on an iPad all day without bouncing around, but gets mad an hits it if something stops.. I really don’t know what is wrong with her or if there is really anything wrong.. I tried taking her to our family doctor but he just said she’s “spoiled” an sent us on our way.. But she is not the only child an therefore is not spoiled.. She does these tantrums Dailey that can last up to an hour were she’s beat red and looks like she’s about to hyperventilate or have a serious health issue happen.. I don’t know what to do.. It bothers me that I can’t help her because I don’t know what is wrong even though I do whatever I am to do.. I just want some answers an find some way to help her..

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    • Veggi25

      My son does EXACTLY the same things your child does. Right down to being able to concentrate on whatever he’s doing but, the minute something doesn’t go just right, boom fit. I’ve been told the same thing. He’s spoiled. He’s also not an only child and both children are given similar amounts of attention, toys, outings, etc.

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  28. Laura

    My daughter is 2 1/2 she throws severe tantrums all day long flipping over chairs throwing toys banging her head hitting she has tried to bite a few times. She screams non stop. I can’t go anywhere with her not to the store not even the doctors office I went for an appointment and was asked to leave because of the nonstop screaming. No one will even babysit her so I can just get a break. She’s not entertained by anything and if she is its max of about 5 minutes. She has a fascination with playing in her poop. Sometimes I’m just besides myself and just cry. I don’t know what to do I’ve never dealt with a child like this. We have some good days but most are bad.

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    • Kelli

      I don’t have advice, just experience, and I sympathize with you. Sorry you’re having to deal with it.

      My church gave me a great resource: “How to really love your child.” It really helped with my reaction and gave me more grace in the moment.

      My girl is super strong willed and high energy. If I don’t get her out of the house to run around, she’s downright destructive. She’s like a puppy… Also, she needs a lot of cuddle and quality time – no phones or electronics. That has helped significantly.

      I hope you find the cause and solution! Again, sorry you are having such difficulties!

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  29. Sarah

    My 3 and half year old daughter if she don’t get something that she wants she throws a fit and that is the same at the store or she say bad mommy or bad daddy we tell her that’s not okay and we feel like she has these tantrums twice a day

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  30. anne marie

    We have been experiencing consistent behavioral problems with our 7 year old. When he doesn’t get his way he hits himself, bites his arm or says statements like “I’m stupid. I’m an idiot. People hate me”. I’m very concerned about him. When he has these fits, I tell him that we love him very much, that no one would ever hate him. Its been a rough year for us. We moved out of state in September, moved back home in December to live with my parents(who helicopter grandparent him) and we moved into our own place in march. These occurrences were few and far between and not as extreme, mostly he would pout and go to his room; this was when we moved away. Now he cries about the littlest things. We have tried a more authoritative approach for when he talks back, such as taking things away. The fix is only temporary though. I need help with this so he can be happier. So we can be a happier family.

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    • Hi Anne Marie,

      As a mom, this must be heartbreaking. You love you son so much. How can he think you hate him?

      Have you considered taking him to a counselor for an evaluation? He or she may be able to determine a root cause and quickly work toward a solution. If it were me, I’d ask his pediatrician who he or she would recommend in your area.

      Heart breaking.

      @MsGreene

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  31. Jenna

    I have a 2 in a half year old who thinks he runs the show. If I don’t do what he wants right then and there he starts yelling at me until I get it. When I tell him to do something he runs up and hits me and tells me no. If I try time out and trying to get him into something else he screams at the top of his lungs for 25-30 minutes and will hit and kick and throw stuff. I am to the point where my patience is running low and I have no idea what to do anymore. Advice is greatly appreciated.

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    • Alexandra

      I totally feel your pain ! My 3 year old daughter , every time I tell her it’s time to do something she throws the toy that she is playing with and tells me know. Every time ! That’s a lot in one day considering she does have a lot of little things that she needs to accomplish ( getting dress , teeth brushed, etc) and she has never hit anyone else , but she will give me a little slap or a hair pull anytime I’ve upset her in some way. Very frustrating ! **also could use advice okease !!**

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  32. Tara

    I have a 2 yr old boy that I watch three days a week. He has severe seperation anxiety. In the beginning he would cry for hours. Now he only cries while his mom is here in the morning. Usually takes her 20 minutes to drop him off. Today my daughter got hurt and cried. He threw himself to the floor and started hysterically crying (he cried more than she did). He never acts this way when his mom is gone, only when she is around. She says he gets upset if other kids are loud or crying. But only when she is with him. What is going on?

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  33. Angie

    I have this 7 year old nephew, he can be sweet sometimes but other times he can be really violent. At school he’s perfectly fine, but at home he acts up and fights a lot, he’s disrespectful when he doesn’t get his way. He’s really aggressive towards his siblings and cousins, he hits, he yells, he cries really loud for hours and he even started choking his brother and his cousins when he’s fighting with them. He hits really hard and I’m scared that one of these days he’s going to end up killing one of them. My sister has already taken him to a doctor and they told her he’s perfectly fine. I feel like he does have a disorder but she refuses to take him to a specialist.

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  34. Jo H

    Help, I have a 3 1/2 year old grand daughter and the fits she throws are horrible. Some days but usually at night when Mom, Dad and brother are trying to sleep. She wakes up and wants the silliest thing or something nothing at all but then world war 3 starts. Biting, crying, screaming, pinching, throwing, hitting, over and over again. It may last one hour or two. Has had a spanking but that means nothing to her. Parents cannot stop these fits and are about to pull out their hair. Daughter had these when she was a toddler but they didn’t continue after 6 – 8 months. Help we are at wits end. I had to be on the receiving end of one of these the other day and she ran for the road, scared me to death almost, Please help!

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    • Jean

      Look at child’s diet. Is she eating foods with food dye additives (yellow #1, yellow #2, Blue #1) check the ingredients of foods. It has been proven that these additives cause tantrums and a week after weaning, the tantrums stop.

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  35. Holly

    The worst punishment from parents is to make their kids who have tantrums starve to death ! 1000 children die from starving !!! You know why because they have tantrums .

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  36. Ashley

    I have a 7yr girl who over the last 3 months has been throwing a tantrum over the smallest things sometimes. It may be because isn’t getting her way to her shirt sleeves move when she puts her jacket on. When she is upset she will claw her face,legs, hit her head with her fist, and cries until she can’t breath. I am lost at this point…We have talked to her several times to see if she is being bullied at school or if someone has been mean to her. She keeps telling us,”No”…. Can you please give me some advice

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    • breezi

      Same problem did anything work for you

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  37. Emily N

    I have a 22 month old nephew that lives with me. He screams, hits, kicks, throws things, just all the time. His mom was never really there for him because she didn’t want any kids. But oh man its so hard dealing with him. I’m only 19 and I don’t know how to deal with the lil psycho. At daycare, they tell me he’s the best behaved toddler there. But as soon as he sees me he screams and cries and I can’t take it anymore. I’m losing my mind. When I get him playing he’s fine, but as soon as I go to make him dinner or walk away from him period, the screaming starts again. He doesn’t want to eat, he pushes his food away, he only wants the cookies and the candy. He screams over everything. We make eye contact he screams at me and says no no no while he hits himself. I don’t understand. He doesn’t sleep through the night, he wakes up constantly and wakes me up with him and I have a full time job, working 10 to 12 hours a day. I’m so stressed out I wanna pull my hair out. All he does it seems is cry and scream. When we visit my mom, that’s where his mom and his older sister live, he’s even worse. It’s like he hates everybody. I honestly think he’s bipolar, his dad is, but he never really sees his dad. He’s in prison and I’ll show him pictures but nothing seems to calm him and I’m very close to just giving him up. The only reason he lives with me is because his mom was going to give him up for adoption when he was about a year because she couldn’t handle him anymore. And I felt bad for the little guy but now I completly understand.

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    • Lydia Shillingburg

      Don’t give up on him! Sounds like he’s had it very hard at such a young age. Go get him evaluated, sounds like he’s severally depressed! There’s help out there n trust me I know how you feel inhave a 15 year old that’s bipolar n last year was very hard on our family! That’s when my 5 year old changed n I’m so scared n concerned for him I’m just praying he’s not going have to go thru all his brother has! Good luck believe it or not your that lil guys hero n he loves you dearly even if he don’t know how to show it! He really don’t everyone who supposed to love him has left but you please don’t leave him to!!!!!!!

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    • Ally

      My daughter is almost two and had some very loud tantrums. She hate me going away from her at daycare or even the toilet or to make dinner. I have started putting a stool next to me so we make dinner together and put her on the potty with me when I go to the toilet so far this has helped and she has even given me 2 days she hasn’t cried when I drop her off at daycare. She just want to do what I am doing and know that I am there for her. She worst when hungry or tired. Hang in there you only get out what you put in as long as you put in love even through the hard times that’s what you will get out. You are his everything. His whole world right now no one else matters to him. He will be alright and you will be so proud when you see him grow into an amazing man

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    • Allison

      You are an amazing person to take this on. Look after yourself. It is hard. Especially on your own.

      Kids tend to act up for the one they love most. He knows you love him & needs to let out his frustrations when he feels safe. It also sounds like he didn’t have a great time with his mum. He wants to be with you & is afraid of you leaving him.

      While you are trying to cook, can he sit on the other side of the bench & eat a few bits of raw veg as you cut them? This way he’s still with you & you know he’s getting some good stuff into him.

      Where are you? In Oz we have free positive parenting courses available. Run on weekends with crèche available. Do you have anything like that available to you?

      This is an amazing thing you are doing. But very hard work. Make sure you get some time for yourself. Get your Mum or sister to look after him for a couple of hours every week or two. Do something nice just for you.

      Good luck!

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    • Anon

      Wow a lot of people troll on here.

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    • Ninetails

      Hi Emily, you are a very courageous 19 y.o. I hope that you are taking care of yourself. I am a single mom with 3 kids, so I get it. If you have a local YMCA or similar, try to get involved there. They can take your nephew for an hour or two while you go for a stress relieving walk and listen to music. I can’t tell you how much of a help they have been to me. Some have parents night out, too, which costs extra but is a light at the end of the week. You matter. I think getting a professional evaluation for your nephew is important. When you describe gaze aversion (he won’t look you in the eye) and self harm (hitting himself), these things are red flags. Talk to his doc and insist on an evaluation referral. Getting him the help he needs will make your home a happier place. Then, if he qualifies for services, apply for a county case manager/social worker. They can help make sure he’s getting everything. For instance, he may qualify to be picked up from daycare for those services, lessening your responsibilities. Hang in there!

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  38. JaneC

    My 4 year-old daughter has always had, and still has, crying/tantrum episodes every single day. it’s humiliating. Bedtime is so stressful EVERY DAY! And this is not the only time she is out of control.

    I have tried it all; routine, stories, positive reinforcement, games, etc, etc., still, nothing works. We can’t figure it out…we would appreciate your input…I’m all ears!!! Thanks!!

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    • Marissa

      This sounds exactly like my four year old daughter, she is throwing a fit on the living room floor as I am typing this. Bedtime is horrible almost every night. She absolutely loses it over everything. She is also super sensitive to clothing and shoes. Only has a few things she wants to wear, refuses to wear jeans cause she doesnt like how they feel. I feel like I have tried those things as well and it hasnt worked.

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      • gena

        To Marissa have you tried getting her evaluated for autism. I know the sensitivity to materials Is a sign of such diagnosis. I hope I haven’t over stepped any boundaries by suggesting such. I know its kind of hard to hear when something may be bothering your child. I too a dealing with issues with my five year old so I totally understand your plight. I hope everything works out or both you. God bless

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      • Ninetails

        I second the autism evaluation, but it should be a complete evaluation as it may be a sensory issue instead, which would still need to be addressed. I have a 16 y.o. daughter with autism and I struggled with the diagnosis for several years, which I regret. The earliest you can determine the cause and get proper treatment, the better the outcome will be. You will be amazed at how much your daughter will improve.

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      • Silke

        Marissa, your daughter might simply be hypersensitive. The clue is “loses it over everything. She is also super sensitive to …” Hypersensitive children need a few adjustments in parenting style, it seems. For example, if you try things (like stricter routines), it will take the hypersensitive child a longer time to adjust than the average sensitive child. Any change will take longer to adjust to. And all transitions will be more problematic. So then we feel that what we are trying isn’t working. And we try something else, just adding to the confusion of the hypersensitive child. Plus those children are even better at picking up any emotion of their parent, and often mirror it or exaggerate it. Hang in there!

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      • Mom2Nine

        Marissa, Your child sounds like my 6 year old son! He has been diagnosed as Sensory Processing Disorder. Talk to your pediatrician about her sensitivities, then they will refer her to an Occupational therapist. Also ask to be referred for a full evaluation by a psychologist. They do this kind of testing and then make referrals who to see for various therapies. My son lives in pull up sweat pants or pull on shorts, always soft material and compression shirts to regulate his sensitivities. He will only wear Crocs. Good luck.

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  39. sam billett

    my son turned 4 last month an he wnt listen to a word i say tells me to go away if i ask him to do some thing its no or if i say its time for a nap all hell breaks loose an its like world war three half the time he for gets why he was fighting me im to worried about him starting school this year because of the bad behavior dinner time is a nightmare he wnt eat if i dont hide the veggies an he spots he chucks a tantrum i fill like im failing as a mum i love my little boy because he can be well behaved a just nee to no what else i can try to help him through this

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  40. Natasha

    My son is 2 years old and throws extreme tantrums through out the day . I mean just telling him no to anything!! Throws him into a downward spiral every time . he screams and cries bloody murder so loud that it sounds like someone is beating him up . it last from anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes and other times I have to pick him up to stop. Also I fear that it is almost like he likes pain!!! He litterally will walk up to the wall and bang his forehead on the wall harder and harder to the point the wall stats shaking the pictures on it and to the point he bruises his forehead and it doesn’t faze him. I literally have to walk up and stop hi. Or Idk if he would stop. He is so destructive and gets into everything and everything he shouldn’t . I have to what it seems run after him to one thing to another say ing no constantly!!! And when I say no he either completely ignores me with me standi g right there and I have to physically stop him and then he freAks out and throws hos temper tantrum or I say no and he listens but immediately throws his temper tantrum. I am lost for words or how to stop this and would like some advice on what is going on with him? And what I can do ?

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    • Cyndi

      I have a 23 month old that does the exact same thing and I’m yet to get any answers it has been this way for months.she is happy and all of a sudden she is pitching a full blown fit. I need help bad on this subject

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  41. Anon

    My brother is four and has thrown awful fits since he was 2. I hoped he’d get out of the terrible two’s phase, but then he entered the terrible three’s. Now he’s on the terrible four’s and I’m scared he’ll enter the terrible fives soon, as his birthday is coming up. I’m pretty sure the “terrible’s” should have stopped by now.
    I babysit him frequently and have for as long as I can remember. My mom spoils him a bit because he’s her little boy, and I think this may be part of why he acts so out of control. If one little thing even slightly distresses him, he’ll freak out. He’ll start whining or sobbing uncontrollably, and if it doesn’t get fixed, he’ll have a full blown tantrum. I’m taking a child development course so I’ve been learning the importance of talking with a child and making them feel understood and loved even when they’re bad, but he doesn’t care. He severely lacks empathy and understanding. When I try to talk to him he just zones out and lets his anger consume him and he screams over and over or cries loudly. Just tonight, when I was putting him in time out, instead of the typical wrestle we go through, he was smacking my arms, and eventually smacked my face. He CONSTANTLY swings at my little sister and claws at her and pulls her hair and even bites her. He does the same to my mom but is VERY attached to her. I’m almost never his target, so this is strange. He tells us stuff like, “I’m gonna kill you!” “I’m gonna cut your head off with a knife!” “This is my house, you need to leave!” “You listen to me!” “I’m gonna kill myself!” It’s all very disturbing.
    Like I said, he’s very very attached to my mom. She has to sneak out to go to work or the store. He has to be with her at all times and loves her to death. His dad isn’t in his life and I know this must contribute to it. He’s such a sweet little boy though, and he says he loves us all so much, but he doesn’t act like it. He acts like an animal more than my little four year old brother and I’m getting sick of it. I don’t know what to do. I want to be a good older sister but I can only handle so much. Any advice is appreciated, but I’ve probably done everything anyone could think of to tell me.

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    • Jo

      Hi there, First of all I am not a Dr or specialist so please only take my advice as just someone who is living with a very similar situation. My son is now 6 and since he was a baby I have always seen “aggression” and “unusual” behaviour and now at 6 violent “meltdowns” over sometimes the most minor of things. For example if I ask him to put shoes on and he can’t find one he will scream punch in own head punch a wall refuse to go out, cry, hurl himself on his bed and it can take atleast 30 mins if not an hour to calm him down even after the shoe has been found or another pair has been offered. he has been expelled from school for biting and hitting other kids and running away. we finally had a meeting with the school 6 months ago and the behavioural pysh team came down and assessed him, we then were referred to a paed and he was diagnosed with ADHD nd Autism. he is what they call “high functioning” but autistic none the less. Having the diagnosis was very daunting at first. The belief that he would grow out of it was now smashed and I assumed the worst, he would always be wiled and scream etc…but in reality it’s been wonderful to actually know why. He isn’t bad, naughty or evil lol he can’t help it, he can’t control his emotions. Sensory overloading is a biggy for him. But he doesn’t have the vocab to say hey mummy i am feeling overwhelmed and I can’t think right now…as a six year old his way of communicating that is by screaming throwing himself etc. It is my job as his mum to pick up on cues and to allow him a safe place to thrash it out or a way for him to reduce the overwhelming feelings and to calm him down. we have OT’s on board now that are teaching him how to “behave” appropriately at home and at school and giving him options for when he feels he can’t cope. Using a weighted blanket, fiddle toys like a little bit of blue tac in his hand to fiddle with calms him alot. It took me 6 years to get someone to listen to my concerns so I do understand your situation but you need to chat with your mum and insist you have him assessed for autism/aspergers. Once you have a diagnosis the whole dynamic of parenting and playing/teaching will change but it will be a positive one. we still get melt downs but my husband and I know now what not to do, and how to help and so does his teachers which is fantastic for our whole family as well as him. Best of luck from Australia xx

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  42. Susan

    My oldest granddaughter is 10 her brother is 8 and she has 4 younger siblings.
    The son pretty much had the rule of the house until a year ago. During that time son would get away with what ever, hitting, teasing, whining, alwyas someone elses fault, and daughter would have to be the good one, the older one, the more mature one. Parents finally enacted a rule of no touching and have pretty much enforced it, but my grand daughter seems to be the one always in her room have a half hour tantrum that parents just keep adding grounded days to. This is insane. What needs to be done. A concerned Maternal Grand Mother!

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    • Susan

      In addition the younger siblings are all girls, age 6, 4, 2 and 4 months old.

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  43. Brittany

    My son is 2 1/2 years old! He only says about 10 words (we have him in speech) I had a speech problem when I was a kid. He gets really frustrated bc he can’t communicate we’ll with us. He is so smart it’s scary he understands everything we say to him! Here lately his tantrums have been getting worse and worse he will be so sweet then all of a sudden he will hit you in the face, bit,kick scream throw things I have tried everything with him time out, spanking him, talking to him, ignoring him everything!!! I figured it was normal terrible twos but my family thinks other wise! I have a 6 month old and I’m so scared he is going to hurt her during one of his episodes he goes to daycare a couple of days of week to get interaction with other kids the teacher says he don’t act like this at school! I’m really to my breaking point I just want my sweet baby boy back! He tries so hard to talk but it don’t come out clear! Me and my family knows what he’s saying or wants 99% of the time but if we ever don’t know what he wants he goes crazy! His tantrums never last long but they are always sever! He also just turns from sweet to mean for no reason all the time I don’t know what to do please any advice would be so greatly appreciated! I’m worn out mentally from trying everything it’s gotten so bad I can’t even take him any where from fear and embarrassment!!! Please help I’m so worried

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    • Julie Frede

      You are not alone! My Son who is now seven shared a lot of the behaviors are describing and some that are even worse. This continued for years until we finally had the diagnosis of ADHD and ODD-oppositional defiant disorder. I noticed something different from the time he was two-he never listened!! I tried time outs ignoring spanking redirecting rewards & punishments. Nothing worked and I constantly felt like a complete failure. He lashed out and hit us when he was upset and was destructive to anything and everything. That being said, it is normal to have tantrums–but not to the point of not being able to go places. We couldn’t go places either!
      Looking back there is a list of behaviors that I noticed right away that were not average and even though doctors won’t diagnose issues like these usually until they’re older –there are signs even when they’re young. The first place to start is the pediatrician but be warned I think a lot of them just write it off as stressed-out mom’s– perhaps you have a different experience but that was mine. If you think there is an issue you are probably right and you should pursue answers until you figure out the best way to help him.

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      • H

        Hi Julie,
        May I ask what the doctors recommended for your son?

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    • Jessie Lynne

      My 2.5 year old daughter is exactly the same. She started self harming tantrums today.

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  44. Lori

    My son is a year and 9months lately he has been throwing trantums like every day when this happens during the day when it is just us and his little brother I ignore him and he stops and I speak to him after and tell him that he can’t get angry like that and needs to use his words and then I tell him to be a big boy shake it off and we go about our day but when his dad gets home if he doesn’t get his way with something he screams for a long time and his dad yells makes him cry more I tell him not to do that because its going to make it worse to just ignore him until he stops he says I’m wrong and then his nana comes in and says really loud “why are you crying??” And makes him cry more and then they give into him and tell me I’m not doing it right. I have spoke to his dr and she told me not to give in just let him cry of course check on him and I do that I lay him on the floor and walk away come back in two mins and if he is still crying I walk away again and he will come talk to me but its like totally different when his dad is home he freaks out now he doesn’t hurt himself or throw anything but his cry is so loud it hurts your ears loud and now his dad says I spoil him but I really dont he does I’m just wondering what else I can do? I’ve tried talking to his dad about the way he handles him but he is so stubborn I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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    • Lavern

      My husband is the same way my son is two years old and cries, kicks and screams when I am trying to dress him he hates wearing anything big or long sleeved and will not wear the sneakers that I purchased him but will agree to wear his crocs. I pick and choose battles with him but when he throws his tantrums my husband yells at him and tells him to shut up, he will pick our son up and put him on the bed away from him which doesn’t help because if he see’s his dad acting aggressively it powers his crying and tantrums even more. Sometimes it’s so hard I feel like I’m carrying the load of raising a child alone when it comes to his emotions, it’s really tough I can’t even put into words how frustrating life is but I find that prayer helps get me through really rough days. We stay in a 2nd floor apartment and have had the courtesy cop called on us due to my son’s tantrums and just overall toddler behavior. Smh.

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  45. Aline

    Hi,
    My son is 5.5. He looks older for his age as he is big and really strong. And since he was around 2, he knew about his strength and he bullied his older brother who is now 10. I always had a problem with his tantrums but now it is getting worse and worse. He hits, screams, kicks, spits, breaks, bites, he says I hate you and I want to hit you with “something” and sometimes throws himself on the floor. He is not afraid off getting hurt during his tantrums. The last tantrum happened few minutes ago when we were at MacDonald and we’re about to leave then he decided to buy a toy and we said “no, you can’t buy a toy today, you have just had one from the kids meal” all the episode occurred in front of people and he was dragging me orchid father with a very aggressive behaviour that we both got hurt from him. He gets angry easily and whenever we say” I don’t have ice-cream, or no you can’t have this, or any negative answer that it may not satisfy him”. He is very loving when he is calm, very intelligent and has a strong personality, but extremely stubborn and decisive. We don’t know what to do anymore, I used all ways with him, from trying to deviate his attention from what he wants, to timeouts that never worked, to punishments like no TV or video games, I even threatened him about calling the police because his behaviour is absolutely unacceptable. By the way, I see that his behaviour gets worse wen he plays on the tablet or the ps2. Usually, my kids are not allowed to play any video games during the week, and I tend to cancel them when they deserve a punishment and for an extended time like 2 weeks and more. His tantrums worsen when he is tired or hungry, but nothing is working with him. Please your help is totally appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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    • Jenn

      Aline,
      Hello. I am amazed by how similar your situation is to mine. It is comforting to know I’m not alone in my concern about my child’s severe tantrums. My son is also 5 with an older brother who is 10. My oldest son has rarely had tantrums, so it has been so upsetting that my youngest has such extreme tantrums. He often hits himself in the head when he gets mad or threatens to hit me. Like your son he can be so sweet, funny and is very intelligent. Yet he can turn so quickly from sweet to angry. Like your son, if we say no to anything he will get furious. Sometimes I chose not to go places with him because he can be so mean to others and have a major meltdown no matter where we go. It can be exhausting and embarrassing. I worry about bringing him to a doctor for this because I do not feel he needs medication and for other concerns as well. If I find anything that helps with my child I will post it in hopes of helping others like yourself.

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      • gena

        WOW!! Both of your stories mirror my experiences with my 5 yr old son. He has been expelled from several schools for his behavior. I have even sent him to a behavior modification program, neurologist, psychiatrist, and therapist still no results. I have recently adopted the help from an organization in my area who helps with children with behavioral and emotional issues. I am so drained I have so much anxiety and depression because I feel like im failing from helping my son. He mainly has his tantrums when he is school. the diagnosis I have been given is anxiety and ADHD. I have tried medications and all and at this point im convinced nothing will ever help. I am now staring the process of getting evaluated by the child study team as he will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I am so worried for him and just hope this situation gets better in the very near future.

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    • April

      My son is 5 and he is just like your son my his older brother turned 7 years old in July my 5 year old will be 6 years old he he is perfect at school but throws horrible fits at home and starting to throw tantrums in public place one day he couldn’t get his way in a restaurant and pushed me I almost fell and I bumped into a lady it was very embarrassing then he’s always fighting with his older brother yelling screaming hitting throwing toys at him kick all the above he use to bite him really bad it makes me feel so defeated frustrated I’ve tried everything time outs he will be very disruptive the whole timeout stomp his feet say bad things no one likes me everyone hates me I’m stupid I tell him no your wrong we love you and just would like you to calm down every dinner time its miserable he throws tantrums even if he likes the food and at anytime I say no to something he yells screams cries or tries to break my things he can also get his 12 year old sister on the grown pulls her hair hits her she has disorders herself so its very hard on her my youngest is 14 months he fans from him and screams because he doesn’t want him to pinch or do something to him and every morning he complains and wont put just any clothes on if he dont like them we’ve tried positive reinforcement star charts rewards spankings nothing works I’m thinking of taking to a behavior health clinic but unsure because it only happens outside of school I don’t even know what to expect is this normal he throws tantrums daily

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    • Mom2Nine

      There is a parenting book called BACK IN CONTROL by Gregory Bodenhammer. It is sold on Amazon.com. The author is a former LAPD officer. The advice is incredible, there is no spanking, no time outs, no grounding. The book seems like it is for teenagers, but really it applies to any child of any age. A psychologist recommended this book for my son when he was 5 years old, and completely out of control. Turned out he had extreme ADHD. That child is now 27 years old and turned out just fine! He is very successful in life and I owe it to this book!

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  46. Elisha

    My son just turned three a couple weeks ago. He was clinically diagnosed with autistic spectrum even though the school board disagreed with the finding as their testing results differ from the medical findings. Something that I was told can happen when the child displays certain behaviors. My son has the vocabulary of a 20-24 month old – speech being his major delay. He does have a bit of delay in understanding right from wrong among a few other odd and ends. My concern lies in his violent tantrums. The tantrums have become more aggressive and last longer each time. They seemed to be aimed at me more than my husband. He hits, kick, throws things, and break things. I can no longer find a way to soothe him. I usually end up escaping his violent tendencies by firmly locking myself behind a child gate that divides my kitchen away from the rest of my apartment. He will then ram the gate and attack it like a wild animal trying to get at me. When he wears himself down on the gate he starts to find things to throw at me, all the while screaming unintelligible words at me. He is my only son/child. I cannot have anymore children so he’s my everything, but his behavior is just breaking my heart. I have asked his therapists about his behavior and I am repeatedly told to take parenting classes to brush up my techniques.

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  47. Elisha

    My son just turned three a few weeks ago. He was clinically diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder medically. The board of education does not agree with the finding as he seems to be a normal little boy with speech delays amongst a few other odds and ends. However, my concern is the tantrums. They have become more aggressive, last longer each time, and seem directed at me more then anyone else. He does not behave half as badly towards my husband or my parents who watch him once a week. With me, he hits, kicks, throws things, break things, and carries on screaming at me. It has come to the point that I cannot smooth him he just continues to hit me or find a way to hurt me. I end up in my kitchen with the child gate firmly closed between us. He will sit and attack the gate like some wild animal trying to get to me or throw things at me while I’m out of reach. I’ve asked his therapists about his behavior and they continue to tell me to take parenting classes so that I can brush up my techniques. I love my son so much, he’s my only child. I cannot have anymore either, so he’s my everything but he’s breaking my heart so badly. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

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  48. ashley

    My daughter is 8 and she has a horrible attitude along with many tantrums a day. She hits her brothers who are 4 n 1. I caught her today choaking herself just because her cousin was in the same room as her. She is always telling everyone how much she hates them and wishes they would die. She doesn’t ever listen from something as simple to hanging her bag up or picking up her mess. She has problems with what clothes she wears and is just angry all the time. I’m to the point ithat I don’t know what todo and she has been to Counceling they say anxiety. I don’t believe that’s all and the meds they put her on made her if more angry

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  49. Sara

    My son who is almost 4 years, has started these terrible tantrums. When ever I ask him to take a nap or pick up his toys he screams at the top of his lungs, starts thrashing on the floor, bangs his head (not all the time but twice today during both tantrums, Once when we had to go home and once when I told him it was time for a nap) and hits things and tries to hit me. After he turned three we had these issues but not as serious and took him to the doctor and she said he was just “spoiled”. I try time outs and taking toys away but it doesn’t seem to work anymore and I’m at my witts end. Any advice would be wonderful!

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    • aNNET

      My daughter is 3 and does that. She will hit her head or say her legs are broken so I can pick her up and she acts it out too where she would fall to the ground. I have no clue what to do about this either im sorry I couldn’t be anymore help

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  50. jay moore

    My 19 month old baby boy bangs his head when he’s pissed off and will bite other kids if he gets super mad at them. He had also tried to bite me when I took the broom away from him, but he dose not act like this with my mother. Any advice???

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  51. Tori

    My toddler is 21 months old. He is extremely defiant, headstrong, whatever you would like to call it. His father and I have never been together but it has never affected my son(Jace) as we get along very well. Just a little background for you. He throws 30 minute to hour long “fits” which include thrashing and crying so hard he almost vomits as well as yelling, kicking, hitting, and almost growling at me. Nothing calms him, except for his grandmother who he usually yells for when he is upset. Nothing can snap him out of his anger fit. I’ve tried everything, including talking to him and telling him i understand he is frustrated and why, I’ve tried spanking him because he got so violent the other day which completely unaffected him. I’m extremely concerned something more serious is going on and his pediatrician seems to not believe me and tells me, “tantrums are normal” which is true when they last no more than 10 minutes but this is just too intense for too long. I’m at my breaking point and could really use some insight.

    -Tori

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    • stella

      My grandson that ive been watching since he was born , gona be 3 in feb. Is same way …do u have any pets well becareful..ive caught him trying to poke my dogs with whatever he has…he almost took my dogs eye out …tries poking them with needles..waiting for him to grow out of it is all I can do…and one other thing is it hard for youto get him to eat ..very difficult for me!!

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    • Della

      My granddaughter had awful tantrums. But her parents and I made a pact, we held strong together and kept with the time outs, prayer helped us stay strong. We made a rule that the only one who could let her out of the timeout was the one who put her in it. We never deviated from that. Two years later her tantrums happen on a monthly basis not a Dailey one. Your case could be entirely different, but I wanted to give you hope. You MUST stay strong though and never ever give in.

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      • Thank you for this wise and empathic reply. Very sound advice from someone who knows.

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  52. Christy

    My son has started having terrible temper tantrums. He gas them at my house at my parents house and at school. His father and I are going through a difficult divorce so I’m not sure if has them at his father’s house. He won’t tall to me about it.

    When my son gets upset he screams at the top of his lungs and throws things. If I try to comfort him he hits and kicks me. He had one the other day that lasted an hour and several items broken. The only way I can describe it is that it’s like a seizure. When it’s done it’s done and he apologizes. I recorded one tantrum and I am going to let his doctor listen to it. Maybe she can help. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

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  53. kat

    My 4 years old boy recently started to scratch himself, mostly his face. When he is getting angry or something goes not his way. I’m trying to understand why is that and how to stop it! He is sweet little boy,very polite and well behaved. But for the last 3 weeks I noticed that , not every day , but he does scratch himself.
    Ps….we never had a tantrum problems, only time he can “kick off” it’s when I’m asking him to eat ( very bad eater )

    Any advice would be great. Thanks

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  54. IPO

    My niece is 4 years old, she spends every other week with my parents and I, while the other week is spent with her mother and mothers family. Her dad my brother has been incarcerated for abut 3 1/2 years now. She is intelligent has a flawless memory and speaks well beyond her years. Within the last year we’ve had issues with her behavior and tantrums when she cant get her way. We’ve tried time outs, removing of items when behavior is no good we reward good behavior but her constant nagging has been the worst lately. She has many cousins at her mothers place and also a brother but here at my home it’s just her and her 1 1/2 year old cousin. She shows affection to her cousin but each time she hugs her it starts out loving and in a split second she’s choking her or pushing her. I know that each house has different parenting styles and discipline techniques maybe the problem lies in co-parenting. Please she some light

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  55. Stockton

    My son is 3 and has some tantrums lately, he had a melt down the other day when he was with his grandmother who never corrects his behavior and he gets rough, he crawled on top of her and tried to choke her, both hands around her neck she said he had a crazy look on his face. He has never been around violence and I don’t know we’re he could have ever seen that act from. He isn’t a hitter when he tantrums he usually yells and will arch his back of you try to move him and he throws stuff but not at people. Our family is torn apart because my mother-in-law called him evil and that he needed help…. Could this event mean he needs help? I’m so lost my husband and I don’t see him as a bad kid he is a normal 3 year old he has a new brother but has taken to him. Any advise would be great.

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  56. Debbie

    My 5 year old little girl is having more and more tantrums over the silliest of things, it’s occurring most days now, its generally if something is not just right, ie her hair, she will say can I have it the same as yesterday ( and if she’s not in the right mood) nothing can be right!!! She will cry and you can see the frustration in her, on occasions she has scratched herself (for a reaction I believe), most of the time I try to ignore it or talk calmly but I find talking can make it worse, on a few occasion where she has scratched herself it’s made me cry and as soon as she sees this she stops and comforts me any advise if this is normal? Many thanks

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    • Anne

      Hi, my granddaughter is the same, she is good at school, she lives with her mum (my daughter) who is a single mum, we have helped as much as we could, she is 6 now and still having outbursts about the slightest thing, her clothes aren’t right, her hairs not right, her socks, knickers aren’t right, doesn’t want to wear certain shoes, even when it’s cold, it’s causing friction between my husband (who is not the father of my daughter) and me, we have been to the docs 3 times but he thinks she is fine, just a phase she will grow out of, don’t know what to do,

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  57. teagan

    I’m 36 weeks pregnant and my son has very bad tantrums. He head bangs and won’t stop till he hurts himself. My husband and I noticed when he was young that he would have a fit when putting on shoes and his jacket, but the last month or so his tantrums are getting beyond dangerous. Please help me …

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    • teagan

      Please if someone could help me out I would be very grateful. I’m a very soft hearted person and I need help.

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      • Italia

        I spoke to my Pediatrician about this. My son started to hit himself in the head when he was frustrated, tired, embarrassed. and the Dr said that because he currently can’t express his feelings, that’s how he does it. Sometimes he also does it to get my attention. This article fails to say that tantrums are part of childhood and usually are not the only SYMPTOM that we should look to diagnose them as ADHD, depressed etc. kids are kids and they have short attention spans, lots of energy etc. Drs are quick to diagnose that there is something wrong with them just because they are being kids. Some have more energy than others, Some are more sensitive than others, some are the opposite but it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them. We should stop expecting kids to behave like adults. Anyway, my only advice I could give you is what I do with my son, I divert his attention to something else when possible, I hold him and kiss him and sometimes I ignore the behaviour up to a point. I usually kneel down to his height and hold him too and talk to him about how it is not nice for him to hit himself. He is a smart boy and I know that when he is able to talk, this tantrums accompanied by hitting himself will subside. One more thing, my son will throw tantrums too when we tried to put his jacket/ shoes/diaper etc. it is the only way they can show some independence. Hang in there and try to make it fun, eventually he will let you on his own and his own terms. Don’t worry momma, your child is normal, he is going through strong emotions that he doesn’t know how to express and handle, nor he is experienced with them. Above all, It shall pass too, that’s for sure.

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        • Tikia

          Thanks for your encouragement, it can be stressful to read about tantrums and the only thing you keep reading is that , something is wrong with your child. I know my child is normal and I will take your advice and make it the best way I can until it passes.

          I thank you again

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    • Lindsay

      Teagan,

      Bless you…I found this website because my almost 5-year-old is having extreme tantrums. I hope you and your new little one are healthy. If it helps at all my daughter’s behavior was worse when I was pregnant with my second and for a bit after the new baby came. All will be ok. It’s good to share our worries. Thinking about you and wishing you well!

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  58. Laura

    I have a six year old daughter, I’m a single mom and she is an only child. She’s such a sweet girl and really smart, but she has so many tantrums in school/day camp that she’s becoming a problem for everyone. They happen constantly. She is not aggressive or violent at all, but if she does not get her way she will scream and cry usually 5 or more times a day. She disrupts the entire class.

    She is ahead of her class a bit academically, but not to the point where she’s bored all the time. When she’s with me this almost never happens. She always wants the teachers attention and gets really upset if she gets interrupted. Her fits usually last only about 10 minutes, but they happen so often it’s becoming more and more of a problem. I know part of it is that she’s an only child, but she’s been in school/pre-k since she was four. This is her third week of day camp and the counselors are doing their best. Obviously I work more than I would like, but other than that I spend my time with her. She definitely has some attention span issues which I am bringing her to counseling and trying the suggestions they give me, but since she’s usually really good with me it’s hard to tell what’s really working.

    I do not spank her and never have. When she’s with me time-outs work fine, but they tried it at school and she ended up spending most of the day in the principals office. When I bring her to and from day camp they ask me if I have any suggestions, but I really am not that much help to them.

    She does have trouble making friends because she always wants the other kids to watch her and do things a certain way. She has a tendency to tell on other kids a lot if they don’t follow the rules. Sorry this is long but I really need some useful advice.

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    • Elizabeth

      Does the school have a mentoring program? Its helpful to have an adult staff member meet with her on a regular basis to give her additional attention. The staff member would meet with her just to give her some additional one on one time to hang out and vent. Sometimes a silent hand signal between teacher/staff members and your daughter helps so she can let the teacher know when she needs a break without disrupting the class. It sometimes helps if kids can bring a comforting item to school with them like a family picture or a small stuffed animal that they can “visit” in their backpack to remind them of home and comforting environments. It can be time consuming for the teacher but there is a method where the teacher does a check in with her every ten minutes the entire day. During that check in, the teacher would give your daughter one minute (or more if necessary) to say whatever is on her mind. This time is undivided attention so she feels she is being heard. Also, there is a level of anxiety that might be present that you should consider. Try to collect information about her triggers, moments of the day in particular that are difficult, other peers around her, etc. Could her diet or blood sugar levels be an issue? Self help/soothing methods might be great to teach her at home (giving herself a hug, counting down from a number until she feels calm, etc.) so she can be an active part in the solution. There are also tons of positive behavior plans that are helpful too to focus on the good points in her day which look like a slip of paper she could bring home on a daily/weekly basis so you can provide her with positive rewards/encouragement at home.

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    • Chris Hall

      I am a single dad and I have the very same issues almost to the letter, she is 5 and problems at preschool is that when nap times roll around she throws tantrums by not going to sleep just scrreaming loud to get her way. I always talk to the staff to follow up but nothing is working. She makes me so furious I have to step back because i feel like spanking her which sometimes I do. I know she knows better but she has a thing for not listening or following orders. I have to work on this quickly and aggressively because I dont want her to get kicked out of kindergarten. My daughter figures she can get her way she will run you over and not listen but she only does it with the nice teachers. I f you figure it out can i borrow your advice….Chris

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      • Cindy

        Why on earth are 5 year olds napping at school? I’m shocked. Im in Canada. My kids stopped napping before 3. Seems very odd. I am not judging you but spanking will backfire. It creates more fear and anxiety in the child and teaches that it is ok for adults to hit kids. The calmer and more gentle you are – and communicate with words not spanking – the more you show your child that that is the way to behave. They are counting on you to be in control. This is the long game and I know it may not even sound practical but hang in there and please don’t spank.

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  59. Joanne

    My son who’s now 16 has had anger issues from the age of two. When I gave birth to his sister he became jealous started to hit out at me for a while, he was only 18 months old at the time…from reaching 2-3 he started to have very bad tantrums when he got tired, he would smack his head full whack against doors, walls, concrete floors, as you can imagine this terrified me and I would react to make him stop, after a good year of watching him do this and seeing the massive bumps on his head I saw the health visiter and she told me to ignore him no matter how hard that would be because he was doing it for attention…so I tried it and wham! It worked he did not get a reaction so he stopped but moved on through the next 7 years crying, kicking doors, screaming and making his self suffer migraines and being sick when he got tired or his sleep pattern altered.

    When he turned 10 I allowed my partner to move in with me and my two children and he began to act badly towards this, his tantrums began getting worse, he started throwing objects and being completely out of character having no respect and rude, as the years went on his tantrums became more and more verbally abusive towards myself and my partner, he has put holes in many of my doors and walls, and the only change I can pin point all this to is his sleep pattern. I could be completely wrong to why he behaves the way he does it can happen every 3 month or 6…I normally can see a few days before him becoming more agitated and ready for a argument over anything and know he will go in to a massive tantrum at some point.

    Today I came home from work to find out he did not like one of our rules and decided to punch my partner and put a hole in his bedroom door. He also punched the kitchen wall when I got home just telling me…his hand was all cut open!

    I really do feel there is something that triggers these attacks…he’s a very polite, respectful and a good person 99% of the time. He’s praised by schools and his work for his personality and manner, how respectful he is, so why does he behave so out of character on these occasions? What should I do?

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    • Rob

      Have you ever talked to your pediatrician about this issue? This could be the sign of a very serious mental health problem. You and your child should be evaluated by a child psychologist as soon as possible. With all due respect, you should have taken these steps many years ago. You should stop reading this website and find a mental health professional to help you with this serious issue right now.

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  60. Interesting

    I am not a young parent nor old but I have noticed a kid will act extreme if their parents are extreme. My dad beat the hell out of me he also called it spanking and he got my scary side back in return. You can’t spank and child out of a tantrum lmao……….next time you are mad let a cop smack you around and see if it changes your thinking or would it make it worse. If I have a worker acting out and I could just walk up to him and smack him around legally, I would have worse worker…period. I can’t go smacking around any adult legally without law enforcement getting involved. What make you people think can smack a defenseless toddler to get them to understand you???????????

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    • michelle

      Couldnt have said it better myself!!!! You cant teach a child not to hit someone, if you go around “spanking” your kid!

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      • michelle

        “TEACH” NOT REACH LOL!

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  61. stephanie

    my 2 and a half year old niece has started to throw major tantrums in the past few weeks. the past few days have been especially bad. she refuses to go to bed, wakes up in the night multiple times (not upset, just wanting to get up and run around and play), will destroy things (toys, books, other objects) when she is in the midst of a tantrum, screams and yells, back talks, hits, kicks, etc. we’ve tried everything from spanking, to time outs, to taking away her toys and nothing is helping. she’s very smart and at first we thought it was out of being bored, but we’ve been doing more activities with her, taking her outside to play, trying to engage her in playing with her toys (as opposed to trying to play with everything in the kitchen, etc that she’s not supposed to be touching), trying to be more one on one with her. she is also prone to putting everything (non edible) in her mouth. from rocks and paper to soaps and shampoos. we’re constantly having to watch where we keep things to make sure she can’t get a hold of them and we’re always telling her to keep stuff out of her mouth. now, I realize it’s normal for toddlers to put things in their mouths, but she’s taking it to a new level. she constantly chews on/sucks on baby wipes if she can get her hands on one. just this morning she decided to dump some sort of cooking oil all over the kitchen floor and then proceed to cover it with every spice she could get her hands on. punishing her for such things has done very little good. she doesn’t listen at all. just screams at you or tells you to leave her alone. and then tries to run from you. any suggestions would be great. her mom is prone to saying “she’s 2” as a default statement about the way she’s been acting. but she’s becoming out of control. I am concerned that there might be a bigger, underlying issue. I moved in with them about a month ago. and she doesn’t act this way with me when I’m babysitting her. she only goes into her melt downs after her mom or dad come home from work. thank you for your help.

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    • alina

      Have you gotten any answers from the specialists? Am going trough something similar, my 2 1/2 year old girl is having very bad screeming tantrums. The problem is she screems and cries hysterical for over 30 or 40min, doesn’t stop with nothin, no talking, time out or punishment works. We’ve try time out in the sofa until she stops and she’s being there for 45min or more. It could haven over anything, some days more than others, she can have very good days, and mostly when her dad is home or leaves. She has always been very, very active, her doctor send her already to a specialist for “very strong actitude” at about 13mth, but he just said that we needed to discipline her and let her cry or whatever until she stopped, but even he admited she was very strong when in his office she tried to get something not allowed and was placed at the stroller to calm down and didn’t during the entire consultation. Am not sure what to do anymore, we’ve tried everything on this sites, but on those days nothing works…

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      • Angela

        Have you considered a food allergy? My kids are usually really well behaved, but if they have had food coloring, they suddenly have crazy tantrums. Just something to consider.

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      • Quanita

        I feel somewhat relieved by reading all these posts I honestly thought I was alone in this battle. It is rather embarrassing and extremely frustrating and I find I have to remove myself from the situation more often lately as I just cant deal anymore. Knowing that I’m not alone helps a bit somewhat, all articles that I have read so far suggests getting help as there could be an underlying problem… Does that not scare the c*** out of you moms?

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  62. Squiggysmom

    My daughter is in a relationship with a wonderful man who has shared custody, with his ex, of his two boys, ages 6 and 4. Over the year that they have been together, the 6-year-old’s behavior has become a sore point in an otherwise almost perfect relationship. He rarely obeys his father, who often gives in to him to prevent his behavior from escalating. He throws tantrums over the slightest attempt to parent him. He screams to watch TV past his bedtime, and his father will finally give in. His school teachers say he is out of control in class, ignoring their attempts to get him to stay in his seat, or participate in class. The latest incident happened at his mother’s home, and was the most alarming. After refusing to settle down to sleep one evening, over an extended period of time, he was jumping on the bed, then purposely urinated on the bed, laughing hyterically when his mother became angry. It seems every day there is a new incident of this kind. He is not violent with others, he just doesn’t seem able to control himself. His parents are beginning to fear there may be underlying mental problems, and are at their wit’s end.

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    • PB

      The answer is in your post. The parents give in to avoid a tantrum. The child knows that if he tantrums, he gets what he wants. The only problem here is the parents, who are weak and ineffective; if they disciplined him properly, there would be no issue.

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  63. Amy

    I don’t know what to do anymore with my Son. He turned 2 December 31st. He’s always been a difficult baby. But now his behavior has become hard to handle, to the point that it puts me in tears of frustration and I feel badly for him because he obviously feels bad.

    He is smart and talks well. But he hits, scratches, pinches and bites me, his Dad, his older siblings and is mean to his 14 month old Brother all the time. He pushes him down every chance he gets, lays on him, bites him, pinches him, takes every thing away from him, throws anything and everything he can get his hands on when he is upset. He has now learned the F word and says it all the time. He says F you to all of us constantly and even very loud and clearly in public places. And is afraid of most new places. Tries to destroy things on purpose at home and in public.

    I’m so tired of the disapproving judgmental things people say and the evil looks that they give him and me. He always wakes up in the night and will cry, talk and even hit me in the face in his sleep. He sleeps with me and will not go to sleep unless I lay next to him. He purposely bites his hands, bangs his head. I need help!

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    • Debbie

      I am going through the same exact issue with my 3 year old daughter. She will be 4 in October. My husband and I have been going through these issues with her since she turned 2. She will scream, bite herself till she bleeds or attack her siblings by scratching, biting or hitting. She will try to damage things nearby or throw items or toys. She will scream so loud till your ears hurt. Spanking her lightly or giving her discipline does not work neither does time out work and she also learned the F word too and screams it. She heard some guy outside say it. She will talk out loud and when I tell her to try and be a little quiet and she will get even louder. It is embarrassing when she has a tantrum in public. People think or tell us why can’t you handle your child. She bounces off the walls, won’t sit still, makes messes and tears up stuff, and wants to eat constantly. I think she may have some traits of ADHD and ODD but have to have her tested. ADHD runs in the family on both sides and I am at my ends wit and don’t know what to do.

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      • Julie Frede

        My son displayed everything you describe and he does not have autism-but he was diagnosed with adhd and odd. He was aggressive with us or other children who challenged him. He’s an only child so he had no one to act out against except us and the house. He was constantly eating bouncing off the walls and had no volume control. Day cares or private preschools could not handle him and eventually I had to stop working to stay home with him. He never ever tired. Speak with your pediatrician who can refer you to a pediatric neurologist or neuropsychologist for testing. Years later with a diagnosis, early intervention preschool medication & some creative parenting-things are a lot better. It will get better. I used to be embarrassed of some of the behaviors in public until my sister told me to stop worrying if everyone else thought I was a good mom and to only worry if my son thought i was a good mom. With that perspective you will be able to ignore the idiots who have the nerve to look or comment!!

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    • Heather

      I know it’s been a few months since you posted this, but that sounds like autism. My son was recently assessed and put on the spectrum. My son has some of these behaviors, and doesn’t qualify as autistic, but those behaviors you described combined would have constituted as autism in that assessment. I don’t know if you have had him assessed, but he would benefit enormously from the resources available from your doctor (even if he doesn’t have autism).

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  64. Lee

    Hello. My son is 2 and 3 months, and his cousin is 2 and 5 months. His cousin hits him. Pushes him, grabs his shirt neck and scratches. If My son has a toy and his cousin wants it, his cousin tries to take, it tries to hit, his mom will stop him and he will scream and rage, throw toys, hit her until he gets the toy. The other day he pushed my son down on the playground, and got ON HIS Back pushing my sons face into the sand. My son was literally chewing sand. He is aggressive in general, hits his mom and grandparents often and has to be ‘eased’ into going home time by being told several times, we are leaving in 10 minutes. We are leaving in 5 etc…but he still melts down. He also tells adults or other kids to go away, pushes – only if they say hello. I feel so bad for my sister in law, but Im also VERY concerned about my son. The grandparents care for the boys together while we work. Is it ‘normal’ toddler aggression or something more. I don’t know what to do. His parents are in complete denial.

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  65. erica

    Hi, I have a 6 year old daughter has been having a lot of fits lately and I just realized there has been a pattern every Thursday she wakes up and starts up with her fit — first it’s not the right clothes or her hair is not done right or she didn’t want her back pack touched then she doesn’t want to go to school. Last week was the hardest for me. We went out to a nice place to eat I asked both of my kids what they would like, I triple checked to make sure I ordered the right food, but when the food came my daughter went off — she started to scream and cry so we packed up the food and went to the car. We get to the car and she started to kick and slap me all the way home. She did this including started hitting her brother when he was trying not to pay attention to her. I don’t understand why she does it. She’s will be fine one second and then poof the switch happens and there’s nothing I have tryed that works any ideas, please? I’m willing to listen and do anything.

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    • jena

      That sounds like something is not right beside her attitude. I knew some one else going through something similar. It wasn’t a disorder. A teacher was doing bad stuff. I would check in to everything.

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    • Anne

      What you are describing are behaviors that some exhibit as a symptom of OCD. I would take her to a doctor and have them rule that out. She may not be able to control or cope with the variations in her environment.

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  66. Mia

    I’m a student care teacher in a primary school. I have a total of 34 children in the class, with a help of an assistant teacher. I have a child who has hearing difficulties which I will named him A , and the other child who always throws tantrum which I will name B. B will always hit himself (punch the chair, hit his head, scratch himself) if I do not come to him. He yearns for my attention and always tells me he loves me. He even tell his parent about getting married to me. I had a talk with the parents, but the dad assumed he was just being silly. I’m afraid it might affect his prolonged life. What should I do?

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    • Rae

      This sounds like something not right may be going on at home. If he is spending everyday with you, it’s not unusual for him to gain an attachment, but this almost seems like it is bordering on an inappropriate attachment. Between that and his tantrum behavior, it may be that he is not getting the proper attention at home, or primarily gets negative attention. Children with inappropriate attachments are sometimes abused or neglected. Combined with the fact that he hurts himself, he may be an unhappy little child and there is probably a reason for it.

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  67. carmon

    Dear Meg, your son may very well be looking for a response. I get the same feeling from my grandson, whom my daughter and son in-law refuse to spank. Its as if he’s saying. “Tell me somehow that what im doing is wrong!” I’ve actually read about some children snd even teens thst are not disciplined in anyway wish that they were.

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    • L

      There are MANY other ways to redirect bad behaviors and teach appropriate ones without spanking. As a behavioral therapist, I can assure you that they are doing a good thing by not hitting their child. Not only does spanking not teach a child to process their feeling and make good choices, but new studies show it actually inhibits specific areas of brain growth and development.

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  68. Randi V

    My son is 2 1/2. He’s always been harder to get to smile or do certain things. The doctors have assured me that other than several physical health issues including: asthma, atopic dermatitis, severe food and environmental allergies, lactose intolerant (biopsy proven), pancreatic enzyme deficiency, bi-lat trigger thumbs (pending surgery), GERD, and failure to thrive, he is developing just fine-lol.

    When he turned about 18 months, he started with tantrums when his sister (4 1/2) did something to set him off. But now, his tantrums last (I’ve timed them) an average of 53 minutes long. And in most cases, there is no known trigger. He takes 10 different medications as well as avoiding allergy foods.

    I’m lost on the tantrums. He will hit or kick me or his big sister, sometimes even his 5 month old brother! He has unintentionally hurt himself and gets more upset. He flails around appt and so I’ve tried to hold him close and tight to avoid him getting hurt. But sometimes I wonder if we’d both be safer if I didnt! These tantrums happen everyday! EVERYDAY!! Usually one in the morning either right when he wakes up or after breakfast & occasionally (today) he had one in the afternoon.

    I don’t know what do. This poor baby has been through so much as it is, I can’t imagine he has ADHD or something else.

    He speaks quite clearly and in full sentences. He says 4 & 5 syllable words. I’m not worried about that. And when his tantrum is over, it’s like a faucet was shut off. And it just is gone. Nothing I did to make it go away. It’s like he was possessed and the demon left his body!

    I have asked his new PCP if he needs an evaluation. She said to wait until he’s 3. I don’t know if that’s what should be done or not. If anyone has a personal experience they’d like to share that similar, I’d love some words of wisdom. Thanks!

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  69. crystal

    My sons temper tantrums started just after he turned two. His temper tantrums mostly consist of him screaming and flailing. If there are people around he will either try to hit you or he will take your items and throw them. But we are also finding that he is having temper tantrums in his sleep. He will starting screaming “no, no way” in his sleep, kicking and hitting. It will last for approximately 15-30 mins, and really he can only calm himself. He won’t wake up if we try to wake him.

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    • rebecca

      The night time thing sounds like night terrors, my little girl has these really badly. Dont think its connected to her daytime tantrums :)

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  70. refilwe

    My daughter is almost three, but her tantrums started from an earlier age — just after she was a year old. I kept hoping that she would improve and tried to exercise as much patience as possible. She hits, bites and spits on us. She hits us with anything from her fists to the nearest object she can get her hands on. She smashes things glasses plates phones remotes whatever she can get her hands on. She throws things out of the closet, pours water on them, snaps my specs in half. She almost broke the car windscreen yesterday throwing my phone at it because I said no to ice cream.

    It’s always difficult to go out in public with her, we want to but end up not only wounded but embarrassed. She is potty trained during the day and yesterday on her best behavior she started creche model toddler at school, but as soon as we picked her up she pees on me twice and while her tantrum was full blown was peeing on everyone pulling hairs.

    I feel like I am pulling at straws here because there is so much that goes on. I don’t know where to start or how to finish. It has gotten so bad that as much as I try to keep my cool I have ended spanking her on one too many occasions and realize that I may have only made matters worse.

    She is my first child and I am failing her somehow. Please help me. It makes me miserable that I can’t calm my own daughter or teach her to be well mannered as she grows. I am well aware that bribery also makes matters worse but sometimes it’s like I don’t have a choice. Imagine at the mall just to keep from breaking off from me and running into a road full of cars. Or dropping things in a shop isle that I can’t afford. I could go on but I cannot go on. How can I want to work late when I think of my daughter’s tantrums, mostly unreasonable and unprovoked, instead of going home!!! Please help me.

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    • Jess

      refilwe
      I have a 5 year old daughter who is a complete brat as soon as she walks thru the door. But at her PTO meetings you would think that I have a different child switching places with her in school. I am told she is polite helpful w others and never not one time even made them think she was anything other than the best behaved in the class. She screams and stomps throws things hits her lil sister and brother that’s not even scratching the surface. If you find anything out could you please let me know by posting back to this. I am at the end of my rope w it.

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  71. Tina

    I have an almost 3 year old boy who was speech delayed, so at 18 months when his head-banging and tantrums were so severe we had him evaluated. They recommended a speech therapist. At 18 months he wasn’t saying much at all.. less than 4 words. Since speech therapy and eventually occupational therapy and later on behavior therapy (we learned SO MUCH from these free services in our county) that now he’s a sweet and great little boy, but he does get jealous a lot ever since his baby brother was born (who is now 8 months ).

    The hardest thing for him now are transitions. Transitions from eating dinner to bath time, to bed time. We’ve learned how to get a visual clock that he will understand and he is much more agreeable but he still does kick a lot, throw things, hit, but thank god the head banging is history. He used to sprint to a wall and bang. Ouch. He needs help with self regulation. When he’s having a tantrum I try to reason with him, if reasoning doesn’t help I ignore. Let him vent it out, it teaches him to regulate.

    I hope this helps other parents. Time will tell if there’s something ‘wrong’ with him, but he is such a spirited child from the day he was born.

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  72. Meg

    My two year old hits everybody out of frustration. My husband and I are starting to get really concerned. I feel as if he knows better but is looking for a response from us. He typically has 20-30 outbreaks in a day. I am not sure if this is related but he was 10 weeks premature and he did have a level 2 bleed on both sides of the brain. The doctors could not tell us if he might have a delay in life and it is just something to watch out for. Could this be the cause of his outbreaks? Does he not know how to process his feelings? I need help!!!!

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    • Tina

      He’s 2 — I really recommend you get him evaluated and get some services for him .. speech therapy does WONDERS. Really saved our little one.

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    • carmon

      Dear Meg, your son may very well be looking for a response. I get the same feeling from my grandson, whom my daughter and son in-law refuse to spank. Its as if he’s saying. “Tell me somehow that what im doing is wrong!” I’ve actually read about some children snd even teens thst are not disciplined in anyway wish that they were.

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      • Dana

        It would seem to me that you have an issue with your daughter and son-in-law refusing to spank your grandson. I say this because this is the second time I’ve seen this response from you.

        You do realize that you don’t have to spank someone to discipline them, don’t you? I’m not even an anti-spanker, but spanking should always be a last response. Otherwise, you’re just beating your children.

        As an aside you’re giving this advice to people who clearly have children with behavioral and neurological issues. My kid has autism. She has meltdowns. She also doesn’t understand emotions. She has no empathy. So, if I was to suscribe to what you’re alluding to, when she has a meltdown, I should spank her? Well, first, she wouldn’t understand why- so then I’m abusing her. Second, she has a high threshold to pain, which is normal with autism- which again, would mean I would have to hit her harder for her to feel it. Does it sound like spanking is appropriate in this situation? I certainly hope you’d say no.

        I’ve looked thru these comments. This lady that you responded to on this? Her child had bleeds on the brain. There was talk of delays. Do you understand that if she were to spank this child, that she’s possibly spanking a child with a disability?

        I hope you are able to read what I say and understand that the conversation you’re trying to have has no bearing on the conversation these people in here are having about their children.

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        • Jennybee

          Dana, I’m so glad you responded. I’m not against spanking in the right situations, but this lady clearly has a problem with the way her grandkids are raised and she’s projecting it on everyone else.

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        • angel

          hello, I have a question for Dana. You spoke of your child being autistic? what were the signs that took you to get a diagnosis? was it obvious? I have read about different types of autism, but have not got a clinical diagnosis. My fiancé and I have lived together for over 3 years now and for the last 2 and a half of those his daughter, which is 7 now, has lived with us. Her bio- mom has had no contact with her for around 11 months, except once by an accidental run in at a family members home. I, we; know that this has been extremely difficult for her, and some days are good, and others are like “a switch” flips and she has terrible screaming throw down tantrums, over something as little as not getting a piece of gum! A meltdown is what the elementary school she attends call it. She is very intelligent, sometimes too smart; she has excelled in her academics, except when she flat out doesn’t want to do something. she was an only child until shortly before she came to live with us. Turns out she was the one getting up with her little brother in the mornings most days to keep him company while mom slept., she was 4 he was 8 months. So, I know that her bio-mom was kind of, without being mean; not being a good mother, but she misses her mom, and I try to be a good step mother to her, not to take her moms place; but to show her love, guidance, respect to herself and others, and her father works a lot but is very involved with her too., I was attending college but had to put that on the back burner for now. some weeks I will get called to come get her from school because she is SCREAMING and crying to the point that all of the other classes are being disrupted. and when throwing these fits she is repetitive. she will say the same thing over and over, even trying to give her a time out, she will say I don’t want a time out and scream and kick doors. almost, again like a switch is flipped and cant get turned off, no matter how much you try to talk to her to calm her. most times, its around 45-60 minutes, then we talk about it, usually its being grounded from toys, cartoons etc… she finishes her time out, and when her time is up; she comes up to her dad or I, apologizes; but she often doesn’t seem to be able to say what she is apologizing for, even after talking things over..? Then, she will be jolly, like it is playtime and she forgets screaming like a banshee and throwing toys down the hall..? I am wondering if it could be more than just angst because of missing her mom? I guess I should note that she has had these fits with her mom also. Sometimes we got calls or texts from her mom at midnight to come get her early for the scheduled weekend visit because she would be throwing these same fits, and she just couldn’t take it anymore. I think that all the times that her mom gave in just made these fits worse, poor lack of judgment in parenting; but trying to break this cycle now is more complicated than it seemed it would be almost 4 years later.. Any insight?… :)

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  73. Nikki

    My 2 year old is a bright and happy boy but he has very strange tantrums. He’s extremely violent towards himself, my husband, myself, and now his older siblings. He hits, bites, and pinches. At night it’s worse. Even if he’s not mad he’ll pinch, hit, and bite us. Just because. We’ve tried everything. When he gets punished he will clench down on his hands and arms with his teeth then rip it out of his mouth. We keep getting told this is normal boy behavior. I’m starting to believe they are all wrong. It’s like he’s getting enjoyment out if hurting others and himself. What do we do?? We’ll take any advice we can get. Thank you.

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  74. Diana

    I have an 8 year old son who is extremely fixated on watching videos and playing games. Any little thing can set him off. If I ask him to come and eat, I would have to ask several times before he finally gets up and goes to the table (with phone or tablet in hand). If I ask him to take a shower he starts swinging his arms and kicking his legs, he does not want to get off the videos.

    He has a lot of trouble going to sleep at night. His doctor recommended I give him some melatonin to help him get to sleep.

    His tantrums range from yelling to pulling his hair to calling his siblings names and that’s only at home. At school, his teachers explain to me that he is a straight A student, very bright, and reading at a grade higher, but his behavior is irrational. If things happen such as getting a question wrong, or not being picked to answer the question, or not being first in line he will throw a fit. He starts pushing furniture around to throwing folders or pencils. He has actually punched students and kicked his coaches.

    I am getting calls from school every day due to his behavior. Honestly I am surprised he has not been expelled. I don’t know what to do.

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    • liz

      Hi Diana, I have an 8 year old girl. We have similar problems. When I am having problems with her attitude and responses to us, I stop her being allowed to use any sort of TV, video game, iPad anything, and after a day or so, there is a very obvious improvement. She is well behaved and nice. I have a few theories on why it happens, but basically try restricting it to maybe one day a week, she is allowed that sort of stuff. It really helps.

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    • Mel

      Im having the same issues with my son. He’s 5 and he’s already been suspended. He has frequent tantrums when he gets reprimanded. He gets destructive, destroys property, hits other students and staff. When he gets angry like this, he xant let it go and shuts completely down. He’s on therapy but i dont think its helping. Im thinking he needs to be on some meds bc i dont know what else to do.

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  75. Tanja

    I have a 6 yr old that throws extreme tantrums. He gets really upset if his 4 yr old cousin doesn’t want to play what he wants or if his 3 yr old sister doesn’t want to play. He starts yelling in her face “well, whose going to play with me!” He gets angry if we turn off video games. Yet, for the past year, we have established game night on friday nights and only for 2 hrs at the most. Now, he knows how to get onto youtube and he goes to watch minecraft parodies and other people playing games and using bad language. So, my husband took away youtube from the upstairs computer.

    He often plays by himself at recess. Yet, he likes school but he says the day is long. He comes home speaking french or singing songs he learned in school or wanting to do Raz kids a reading program. But, his tantrums are extreme and it pushes people away and he wants people to do what he wants them to do. He often does not respond if we talk to him……how worried should I be? Is this normal for this age?

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    • Justin

      Our 5 year old has similar issues although he has friends at school and gets along well at school. home is the problem. He was watching the mind craft videos for a while on YouTube and always played the iPad. Without these he is a better kid but is still having issues with not getting his own way. He gets extremely angry has a fit and tantrum. Usually have to isolate him. He screams how he’s sorry over and over but the behaviour will just repeat itself next time he hears “no” or has to do something that he doesn’t want to.

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    • Vonnie

      I’m dealing with the exact same situation. We just had another child 2 months ago and it seems to have made the situation worse. He constantly complains no one is playing with him even if we had done so for hours and just need a break. He’s always saying “who will play with me?” When we go to family functions where it is obvious everyone is socializing. He has started acting out when we have company not listening,talking back, and acting like a crazed lunatic jumping on people. I’m at my wits end. I ended up homeschooling because he was to far ahead for k and his teacher said him answering questions and helping the other children read and count was a distraction and I needed to slow him down. He’s a very loving affectionate I just don’t know what to do about the tantrums. I ground him, take away toys and electronics once he isn’t grounded anymore he goes right back to being crazy. He also cries over everything. I feel like I’m a horrible parent

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  76. Jackie

    I have a three year old son who started to have problems sleeping about a month ago. After he started to have problems sleeping we stopped giving him naps so that he would sleep at night. Well now he hits and screams and throws things. He has started to hit me and kick me so hard that he is leaving bruises on me. I don’t know what to do with him, I’ve tried to just ignore him and I’ve tried to reason with him. He is so impossible to keep under control. This happens every day and in the middle of the night he wakes up and kicks the walls and screams like someone is killing him. What should I do?

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    • Mark

      I don’t know about the kicking, but about the nights we had the same problems. We noticed that he is really scared of the dark. We added another night light in both corners and he stopped screaming at night. Hopefully this will work on the night screaming for you guys

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  77. Janaeya

    My son is 5 years old in pre-k, his teacher says he’s the best student she has. When he gets home its a whole different story. The tantrums he throws really have me concerned, three to four out of seven days he has one. He will cry like someone is hurting him so bad. Crying and screaming, he will stomp his feet and jump up and down and he also scratches himself sometimes. It really is becoming so hard to deal with.

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  78. Cor

    So my six year old does all five of these things since she was 3. She throws things and hurts me, recently she had one that lasted for more than eight hours. I have tried everything. They start not when she is told no but even when she is told yes, any time they start. I am tired and a single mom with cancer and who has been a victom of abuse my whole life and now my own child is doing it to me. I try to be calm and enforce discipline and it is a failing attempt because she will continue. My other children have healthy ways of dealing with these things so I feel it is not my lack of parenting ability. So what is the cause? Even more important what will it take to make it stop.

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  79. Michelle

    My 3 year old son when he don’t get his way or the ps3 don’t do what he wants or even when he gets in troue he throws anything he gets his hands on and kicks an screams and hits an throws him self on the floor an banging his head off my floor. I do everything I can do I have bypoller an ADD. I feel that my son had ADHD. there are times he can’t stay still but only when he is sitting playing the PS3. I’ve tried to do time out it don’t work I’ve tried to do everything the birth to three has told me to do. He’s getting ready to start preschool an I’m afraid that I’m going to be called to the school cause of my son. Should I bring it to my sins doctor an video tape it to show him so he can see first hand or what? His brother is even doing it now I don’t know what else to do I’m asking for help please feel free to email me at michelleauville2011@gmail.com

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  80. caroline naddour

    My son is 3 years old. He is a very angry boy. When he gets upset, he starts hitting me hard and throws objects and toys at me (his mom). He scream loudly for almost half hour non stop. He repeats that more than 4 times a week. He also hits his 6 year old brother and he wants everything for himself. He also runs outside the home barley feet and screams “go away mommy”, and then he went back inside the house and locked the door and left me outside for half hour until we went and got him oreo cookies. He also pee outside and get undressed to be naked. When he take bath, he stay longtime in the water. His relationship with his dad is okay because he’s scared of him. He fall couple on his back head. I took to the doctor and he said it is okay. Please, I worry about him. I love him to death. Please give me any suggestion. Thank you.

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  81. Gordon Mclean

    Hello,
    I have a soon to be 6 year old boy. He is the kindest nicest boy going,,,,, until he gets to school. This is his 5th suspension since January and its only end of March. He kicks out at teachers and throws things and destroys toys. It was the same last year but he went from July to Christmas without incident, after Christmas its been nearly everyday he has done something, we are at our wits end with him…….

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  82. Patty

    Hello,
    My daughter is 5 years old, she has tantrums only at home and only towards myself and my husband. She growls, hits, screams,lays on the floor and kicks and stomps her feet. She has never done this outside the home. She wakes up in the middle of the night and acts out as well.

    At school, at grandparents and at the sitter she listens and is very polite. She has never acted out towards other children and or in public.

    We tried extra food, holding talking, time outs, taking away toys and activities, telling her we love her and she makes us sad when she yells and hits. Nothing’s helps. These tantrums last a half hour or longer. Sometimes 2-3 times a day. It is causing conflict with our 7 year old daughter and with family time.

    We are stuck and need some healthy advice.

    Thank you for your time!

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    • Andrea

      Any advice??? Sounds like my daughter :(. Im miserable with her behavior. Thank you

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  83. Alana

    My daughter is 5yrs old (turned 5 in Dec) and her temper tantrums have been getting gradually worse. I first noticed it when she was about 2-3yrs old but just chalked it up to “normal” childhood behavior. The last year her tantrums have increasingly gotten more aggressive (both physically and verbally). She throws things, bangs on walls, kicks, slams doors, etc. She also will scream and is extremely defiant at anyone who tells her something she doesn’t want to hear or when she doesn’t get her way. Yesterday, at pre-school, her class was walking down the street and she decided she wanted to step into the street and begin waving at cars. When her teacher told her to get out of the street, she had an extreme tantrum and refused to walk back to the school with her class. I was called and was told I needed to pick her up and take her home immediately. When I brought her home, her tantrum lasted most of the day. A little background on my daughter, she is the youngest of 4 children, significant age difference between her and the next youngest (son is 13), her father and I separated about 3yrs ago due to his drug use, stealing, iratic behavior, etc. Her father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which he doesn’t take care of. He hasn’t seen his daughter in over a year and only calls her on her birthday and Christmas. I’m getting at my wits end, I really don’t know what to do. I really don’t want her all drugged up on medication.

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    • sarah

      Hello I am also having the same problem with my 5 year old daughter. I was just curious as to what advice you have received and if it helped?

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  84. afton

    My 3yr old daughter soon to be 4 in may, goes in to an extreme rage of anger if she is told off, i.e. trashes her room, pulls baby gate off, kicks punches walls, doors etc. has hit me (her mum) a few times! These tantrums can go on for hour’s. The longest has been bout 3+half hour’s. Then she will just pass out in a sleep, which when she wakes she doesn’t remember she’s been asleep!! She is so calm natured at nursery every morning, but soon as we pick her up she is extremely over active, can not keep still. Any suggestions on this???!

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  85. amy

    My 5 year old, soon to be 6, is having tantrums during day and middle of night lasting an hour and more. She has compulsive disorders. Her tantrums are scaring me as she throws things, hits herself and me. Yells at me says she doesn’t like this house, doesn’t like her brain, that I am not helping her. I try everything I can but she yells at me. I took her to er and her primary Dr. They referred me to psychology. It’s the weekend and I don’t know who to take her too. We both haven’t slept well in a week. I am at a loss. Please help us.

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  86. Andrea H

    Hello,
    I have a 5 year old girl that when things do not go her way (too much pepper on her eggs, printer not printing her picture fast enough etc…) she throws a fit. She cries, curls in a ball, and just says “mummy”. If my husband or I ask her why she is upset “mummy”. If we ask if we can help, “mummy”. She refuses to speak to us. I know she is stubborn but we don’t know what to do. If I walk away she screams harder and chases me. She says “I just want mummy!” or “I just want you”. I can hold her, cuddle her, sit by her etc… and she will just keep saying “I want you.” She seems to get angry easy but getting her happy again is hard. She is not like this at school.

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    • Christine

      Hello Andrea,
      Your comment sounds exactly the same as my son who is about to turn 4 years, he has delayed speech (1 year) except he thrashes instead of curling in to a ball.

      I feel for you, it just rips your heart out when you hear them calling “Mummy” and you can’t really help.

      I have tried foods, smacking, shut him in his room and even talking to him (not sure if he even understands me). He’s not like this at early learning either but we had a 3 month separation issue that was mammoth.

      I hope we get some answers soon, good luck.
      Christine

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      • Most kids understand about 100 words more than they can say. It’s like learning a new language, you can recognize words when spoken long before you can use them in conversation. I encourage you to keep talking to your son even if you don’t know if he can understand. In addition, when he is calm, read to him. Read a lot to him. Often for kids with delayed speech, the reason for their frustration is they can’t communicate what they want. As they develop, they are able to communicate, and the frustration dissipates.

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  87. Mommy

    My son turned 3 just a few days ago and has been having extreme aggressive tantrums for the last few weeks. Ever since he’s been old enough to throw them, the occasional tantrum would show up about 2-3 times a month. But tonight makes the 2nd really bad one already this week.

    He will try to punch his dad and myself, he will throw whatever is in sight, he will scream and cry until his cheeks are red and he’s burning up, almost to the point of making himself sick. He will try to mess his toys up and he wants everyone out of the room, he’ll throw himself down on the floor, and it just makes me nervous, I don’t want him hurting himself during these episodes.

    The first few he threw I advised my husband we just let it run its course,l et him get his frustrations out. But they’re to the point now they’re lasting roughly 30 minutes. I don’t know what to do about them other than try to talk to him (which 9 times out of 10 makes it much worse) or holding him down. Praying this is just a phase and nothing major going on!

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    • Laura

      My son just turned 3 as well (end of February). He has been having frequent temper tantrums. They are situational and will come on when he’s upset. But he does suffer from night/nap terrors that aren’t situational. Anyway, he will get flush all over, break out in hives at times (which can be normal), cry uncontrollably, flail around, especially if you try to touch him. He will get more upset when we try to talk to him.

      It seems he cannot be reasoned with. These fits are occurring with normal routines like brushing his teeth (that he used to enjoy very much) or even eating dinner; or earlier today it was him not being able to find his sippy cup or the ipad he plays on, even though I told him exactly where it was.

      Time out used to do great, or even the threat of having to sit, would normally get him to straighten up. But lately, over the past month, he’s been having frequent fits that last 10-30 minutes several times a day. I don’t know what to do just yet. I’ve read several resources say that it is more of a concern at the age of 4 and older, so my plan is to see if time and my approach will help.

      He has become a pickier eater lately, so I thought maybe he has some major molars coming in…or perhaps he becomes emotionally unstable when he’s hungry or not eating right. He just seems grumpy so much of the time. I’m hoping it’s a growth-spurt/hormone thing that he will grow out of very soon. Good luck to us both!

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      • Laura

        Forgot to add…today was the 1st time he just started getting physical with me. He tried to push/hit my leg when he was upset about his cup.

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    • Laura

      Below is a copy of my response to another mom who was concerned about her child’s tantrums, but I wanted to copy/paste it to you, so you could read what I tried doing yesterday with my son. It’s been very successful so far!

      I doubt this will be of much help, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. And I know when you feel helpless, you’re more willing to try anything. I’ve been having problems with my son recently. He is 3, so he is much younger than your daughter. But he was getting out of control and the intensity and duration of his fits were increasing dramatically by the day. I was greatly concerned to the point that I thought he had a psychiatric condition. (Just a side note: both of my brothers were diagnosed and medicated for ADD and ADHD when they were little and both “outgrew” it by the time they were 10-12 years old. Just my opinion, but I think a lot of kids are misdiagnosed and then of course some kids really do need medical intervention). Anyway, yesterday (I know it’s only been one day, so there goes my credibility…) but I decided to try another tactic, because I was determined to get this under control or at least stop it from progressing.

      When my son started going into a fit, I held him on my lap and told him quietly that we’re going to talk about this. His fit went on for probably 10-15 minutes straight, screaming, flailing, trying with all his might to get away. He is strong and I struggled with him. I kept talking to him calmly and holding him to me (not hurting him, but keeping him from getting from me). I told him it’s okay to get mad, get upset, get angry. But then we need to calm down and talk about it. I told him we’re going to stay here until he calms down and we talk about it. I said I love you and care about you, we’re a team, we’re teammates, we take care of each other and we’re going to figure it out together. All of this time, I just felt like I was breaking/taming a wild horse. He ended up having to go potty, so I let him up to go. This was a good distraction to his fit, too. It changed his focus a little. When he was done, I asked if he was calm and ready to talk about it. He said he was calm, but doesn’t want to talk about it. So we kind of began again, this time he was next to me on the couch and I had him looking me in the eyes. I asked him if it was okay to be angry? He nodded, I said yes it is. I asked him if it’s okay to hit? He didn’t respond. I said no, it’s not okay to hit. It’s okay to be angry and mad or sad and have feelings, but then we have to calm down and talk about it. (I know this is repetitive…sorry about that). I asked him over and over, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? He wouldn’t respond. I said we calm down and talk about it. I told him this over and over. (Some critics may call it brain-washing, but I look at is as breaking through for the good of our child(ren).) We made a song…”When you’re crying and upset……..calm down and talk about it….” I sang it a few times. (There is a lot of good in music therapy…kids seem to respond well to it. Adults do too, which is probably why we get songs stuck in our head). I asked him again, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? He was still a bit defiant, so I had him sit in a chair and think about it. I told him he needs to learn this, it’s important and he will sit and think about it until he learns it. He began to start a new fit as soon as he sat in the chair. He did this growling scream thing he does when he’s really upset. I sang the song. Instead of a 5-10 minute screaming fit in time-out, it was greatly reduced to about 45 seconds to a minute.

      PROGRESS!

      I told him how proud I was of how he learned to calm down so fast! I told him great job! Come give me high-fives, kisses and hugs. I asked if he’s ready to talk about it. He said yes. We talked about things. I asked yet again, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? I said do you calm down and talk about it? He said yes. I said you say it now. He repeated after me. I told him I know it’s hard and praised him. I sang the song and asked him to add a part to it. He said play hotwheels. So we added that to the end. Something like “when you’re crying and upset….calm down and talk about it….and when you’re calmed down and we talk about it, you play hotwheels!…”

      When he began to go into another fit when he got upset about something else throughout the day, I reminded him of what to do and sang the song. I had him sit, he was calming down within a few seconds, I praised him for calming down so well and asked if he’s ready to talk about it. He was, we did and I was consistent with this the rest of the day. We also had some one on one play-doh play time.

      For the past few weeks before yesterday, he’d fight me on eating dinner, brushing his teeth and going to bed and various other things. Last night he didn’t fight me at all (meaning he didn’t have fits). I told him, we made a great song and you did so great today. I’m so proud of you. We sang it goofy, moving our heads goofy and he laughed about it. Again, I feel like I was breaking through his rebellion and we needed to have this power struggle to reset our relationship and what’s expected.

      Today has been going great. No problems. 100% difference/improvement!

      It was a long, tearful, but extremely productive day…so well worth it, despite the doubts I had when going through it. I very much encourage you to try something similar with your daughter, although maybe making reference about how it makes you sad to see her hurt herself…or if you’re a Christian like me, you might reference how God loves her so very much, how He put you as her Momma to take care of her and teach her and help her…and how special she is and that He cares about her and doesn’t want her to hurt herself or anyone else, etc.

      You’re her momma, you will know what to say and what may work best for her. I have 3 kids (14, 3 and 1) and I went through power struggles every so often (and still do) with my daughter who is now 14. At every stage of rebellion, I’ve had to reset the tone and expectations…just not to this extreme as with my son. For awhile I was thinking it was something in him, but it was a combination of him AND me. People will say sometimes, “I have this many kids and I’ve been a Mom for this many years”….but they don’t realize that it’s the 1st time they’ve been a mom at that very moment of that child’s life.

      Every moment of every age of each unique child is new and different. Different things work for different kids at different times. We constantly have to change and adapt our parenting techniques. We have to continue to try to teach our kids how to cope and deal with things and new feelings/emotions. We have to do the same thing in our own lives as adults. It’s especially difficult when they’re growing and getting more and more hormonal, too. Plus, just as we get grumpy and don’t feel good some days, get a bit overwhelmed/frustrated, so do they.

      So I try to remember that, too. I can’t expect them to always have it together when I don’t, myself. I was a little indifferent about trying something new, perhaps because I was naturally successful with my 1st born or maybe I had too much pride, or I was burned out on life and gave up trying for a bit, or was stuck in survival mode, or got into a rut of demand and discipline, or a combination of all of those, etc. Whatever the case, I’m glad I didn’t give up. I wish you the very best. Peace to you, as I know we lose our peace when our kids are hurting/struggling.

      Sorry this is so long, repetitive (and filled with run-on sentences), but I hope you find at least a shred of helpfulness in all of my ramblings. :)

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      • Janet

        Thank you for sharing your story. Any child would be happy to have you as their mom.

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      • Sheila.

        WOW. YOU are simply the best and most wonderful mother. So many children deserve a mum like you.

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  88. Jana

    Help!! I have a 6 year old little girl who is my world! However, she is very angry and aggressive. She has really bad tantrums. Recently I was told she had ADHD. So they put her on medicine, but it didn’t work. Now she’s on the extented release.

    I feel like her behavior at home has gotten worse and now she slapps herself in the face repeatedly when she iš mad or doesn’t get her way. She is currently in counseling also. I feel sorry for her and I wanna help her, but I don’t know what else to do.

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  89. Beesmom

    I have a 24 month old who has had tantrums since he was abt 9 to 10 months old. He may have a fall on the floor tantrum at daycare twice a week, where they are concerned he may hit his head. He also does without the paci while at daycare for 10 hours. When picked up he begs for a paci. When he goes home he is set off by us not reacting soon enough to HIS Demands — food snack, toy or who knows what. This occasionally leads to hitting, kicking and or throwing things or just a crying fit. These tantrums can last 1 to 5 minutes, but when he can’t seem to bring himself down from the tantrum he cries for a paci, which we only allow for major moments. We feel he shouldn’t have it at all so he can learn to calm himself down.

    When we are not working and he is with us, he can have one or two tantrums a day. Why does he seem to control himself at daycare…for the most part but not with us? We get to his level to calmly talk to him and even hold/hug him if possible to ease the tantrum. We assumed once he could verbally communicate…things would improve. He can speak in sentence, but can’t verbalize all of his requests to us.

    He is and can be calm and show patience for story time or playing with toys, so I didn’t know if he should be looked at for ADHD.

    Should he be evaluated?

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  90. swiss

    I live upstairs from a 3-year girl. When she was coming up on 2-years-old she would have bouts of crying that would literally last for 5 hours at a time, sometimes several per day. I do not know her parents, but occasionally saw the father in the hallway and asked how things were going. He was blithe, and I asked specifically whether the girl was ok — he said everything is great — I mentioned I hear her crying for prolonged periods of time, something throughout the entire night — he got defensive and said “Babies cry.” This went on for 2 more months and I asked again. Same defensiveness. I asked what their pediatrician said. He told me they do not believe in doctors. I told him I had earaches as a child and it was really painful and made me cry a lot. They eventually did take the girl to the Dr and she had celiac disease.

    Now, she is 3. And she has screaming, shrieking, crying, pounding the floor and wall type tantrums 6-7x/day. Her father often works at home and puts on earphones and puts her in a section of the hall/foyer with a childproof gate up for much of the work day. She runs back and forth and screams and melts down. I don’t blame her. The mother seems to go somewhere else during the day. They are not a poor or uneducated couple, and yet they choose to all live in a tiny 1-BR apartment that the couple lived in as hipsters. They are in their 40s. The second child was, her mother told me, a “mistake.” I hear the girl sometimes mocking her baby brother—making crying noises until he cries too. It is extremely disturbing. The girl is screaming and bellowing right now. I don’t know what to do. I feel like she needs some kind of help, but I don’t want to be blamed for “causing trouble.” I am the only neighbor who would hear this, so they would know it was me.

    ps – I’m a little surprised the author requested comments and feedback, and parents have shared some very serious things, and there has been no response — it seems a little irresponsible. No response needed to my situation. I am just sharing that I think I know a 3-year-old who is having unusual tantrums. Your article was very helpful in confirming that.

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    • greg

      I have a 3 and half year old who screams non-stop for 20 to 30 minutes and does not stop when she does not get her way…(tantrum). These tantrums are new. weekly and daily sometimes 3 times. Or when mom’s not around she starts screaming!

      We had her in daycare for three weeks a month, but she did not want to go at all. Wakes up saying she is not going. We became stressed because she would cry hysterically when we drop her off. Mom is a house wife and little one stayed home with her before we thought it is time to get her into socializing more, thus daycare.

      I think it has to do with the fact that she feels abandoned. We had to take her out of daycare because we felt that her crying could be disturbing to the other kids. This was after a lengthy discussion with the daycare head. SO THE TANTRUMS HAVE NOT STOPPED AT HOME.

      I found that losing my cool does not help and that if she is tired, it triggers a tantrum. We are trying a stricter routine and weaning off mom. She just had a long 30 minutes screaming and kicking one, after waking and not seeing her mom. I first tried to calm her, but soon found it did not help, so I just let her scream…. eventually she stopped. She is now watching Tinkerbell dvd peacefully.

      Reason for my long explanation, is that your neighbour could be in the same boat and also struggling to get their daughter into getting used to mom leaving her with dad or at play school(daycare).

      ADVICE: RATHER ASK YOUR NEIGHBOUR IF THERE IS ANYTHING YOU COULD HELP WITH SINCE THEY COULD BE FEELING LIKE THEY ARE HELPLESS AND A DISTURBANCE TO OTHERS WITH THE SCREAMING… I hope it may help. Also mention that you think they might be feeling like you are disturbed by the noise, but that you understand. That might make them less defensive, because I think they are stressed by the whole situation. I really hope you did not find my input useless.

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    • Ks

      Please contact social services. This is not normal. Ensure the children are not being neglected.

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  91. tina

    I have an 8 year old son he is a gifted student at school. When he has a bad day, something doesn’t go his way, or we tell him he can not do a certain thing; most likely it also depends on his mood as well, but he throws these terrible tantrums. He screams like you’re hurting him and he just cries and I make him go into a time out. Sometimes it helps to seperate him from others in the house. It’s like he just has this rage of anger it gets really frustrating. He’s been throwing these tantrum/anger out bursts since he was about 3 years old. They seem worse. I tried ignoring it and people say kids grow out of it. Is there anything else to do???

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    • Michelle parks

      My son has been getting progressively angry at school. He seemed OK up until 2 months ago when I got a call that he urinated himself in his second grade class. I was alarmed as he had never done this at school before. I volunteer and substitute teach in the school he attends and spoke with his teacher. He has been incontinent twice. His teacher told me he had a huge angry outburst last week and he scared other children because he did not get the animal he wanted. She said it scared the other kids. He does not hit just bangs or hits his heads that recently started. He writes on his peers angry faces and f- but he gets As and is two grades above.

      The teacher said she noticed him rocking at the gym before school. She said he was unaware of his surroundings. I think this teacher might be clashing with him because of personality differences.

      He is mostly happy at home playing. He is very fastidious and sometimes things have to be a certain way. I signed him up for anger management at school. I feel horrible. I get lists of things he does and nothing really positive. One day the teacher told me his bad behavior and I felt like crying and want to put my son out and leave the school. I have children with anger issues in school and would never tell parents all the bad thing their kids. I don’t know what to feel.

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      • serenity

        I’m having a similar situation. My son just turned 7 and in social situation if things don’t go his way he’ll throw a screaming tantrum so load he’s been sent to the principles office on countless occasions. These screaming fits also happen if whatever the class is doing at that time is over and they need to move on to something else. He does not have a real friend, more of the outsider in he class. These tantrums happen about 3 times a week at school and, almost everyday at daycare. To make it worse and more embarrassing he wets his pants during these fits, sometimes he’ll wetshis pants out of the blue just sitting around. He can hardly read, struggles to identify letters after going over the same ones 20 times but seems to excel at math and any building things. He my Lego master

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  92. bell

    I have a 3 year old who is about to be 4 in less then a month. I am really worried about his tantrums. He has been throwing them really bad for about a year and a half now and they just seem to be getting worse. Nothing I do works not even giving in to his demands works sometimes. He has them over 10 times a day and he has been doing something new that startled me. He got so angry he started to almost look like he has a lot of spit in his mouth it almost looks like he is foaming from his mouth and slobbering like crazy and he has become more aggressive toward himself and others. I’m almost worried to send him to preschool next year. He seems to get very angry very fast and easy. He is always hitting me and trying to bite me and if he can’t he will try and hit himself or break things. What should I do? I don’t want to have to put him on medications. Is there any healthy ways to work this through?

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  93. melinda

    My daughter is 9 years old. We have had problems with her since she was 1. Temper tantrums and more — writing on the walls with marker, toothpaste, make-up anything she can find pretty much. Which I’m buying all this stuff once a week because she’s destroying it.

    She makes up crazy stories and she also bites her 7 year old brother.

    I love her very much but it’s hard sometimes to show it. We have tried for years to get her help and doctors want the teachers to say she’s having problems at school before they will do any thing. But she’s so busy at school, but now her grades are slipping because she’s always wanting to wonder the halls and can’t concentrate. Hopefully the doctors and teachers will take it seriously now.

    I have done everything I could — time outs, take away toys or electronics, ground her from pretty much everything, I took it old school and put her in the corner and even spankings, but as soon as that’s all over 2 minutes later she’s back to doing what got her into trouble.

    I say all this to say you’re not alone and keep fighting to know or understand what is wrong.

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  94. Nicolas walters

    My daughter started these tantrums at roughly 18months old, but only once in a blue moon. She is now nearly 4 and they are happening more often and getting more aggressive. They last any where between 1/2 hour up to 1 hour.

    When she is in these rages she is like a totally different child and nothing I do can bring her around other than leaving her to get it out of her symptom. When she stops these rages she is very upset and shattered and she reminds me of some one who has just come around from having a fit.

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  95. Ashley

    My 5 year old daughter matches perfectly with every sign listed reguarding possibly being ADHD. Her strong willed tantrums started at age 4 and she’s now 6 months from turning 6 and they have progressively gotten stronger and several times throughout the day. They last anywhere from 1 hour and have gone a little over 2 hours. Simple request like telling her it’s time to get into the bath or telling her to get her school bag can take 15-20 mins and me repeating myself over and over. She’s in kindergarten and her school work is excellent. She does not get into trouble at school but the teacher has a strict schedule that keeps the kids engaged and no time for goofing off. At home is horrible and most of our plans or activities in the last 3 months get canceled or we’re extremely late. I’m ready to call our family doctor but this is my last resort. Please help if possible. Thanks

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  96. Karen

    I am concerned about my grandson’s tantrums. He kicks, screams bloody murder, gets red in the face, throws things and bites. I pick him up while he is kicking and screaming and hold him and pat him on the back to calm him down. He just started this about a month ago. He wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes now doing the same thing. Any advise?

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    • Marie

      My name is Marie and my grandson has the same as this person Karen. Only that some family problems have come up like divorce, and my daughter has a new boyfriend and things seem to have trigger the tantrums worse. What type Dr. should we see. I plan to take him to Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, asking for help. Where do we start? The 9 year old and 4 year old are all over the place, too.

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    • Didi

      The night time ones could be night terrors, I’d look into to it if I were you.

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  97. ashley

    My four old son is a very smart child but he screams and calls people bitches and have fits and Cries to some Times to get attention what do I do

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  98. Tracy

    My 3 year old niece has thrown temper tantrums for as long as I can remember. Though, this past year they’ve gotten worse. Over 15 tantrums daily all lasting longer than 30 minutes, also screams for more than an hour, constantly whines even in what seems normal conversation, can get violent towards others, and during a tantrum nobody can calm her down. We’ve tried being calm, time outs, nothing seems to working.

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    • Sandy

      I am a 63 yr old grandmother, have 19 nieces & nephews, 4 grandkids, ages 2, 4, 9 & 17 yrs. and I have always asked Jesus to help their parents & myself. Never been disappointed yet. Jesus never fails!!!

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      • Rob

        No such thing as God or Jesus. Go sell crazy somewhere else.

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        • Mommy

          Ohh how it saddens me to see people go so out of their way to criticize someone’s beliefs. I, for one, am a firm believer in God! I thank Him for everything and everyone He has given me, and Sandy..God will never fail us! I’m no where near perfect, but God knows I believe and trust in Him! Prayers for all those who are so close minded and won’t even give our Lord a chance! Bless them and maybe their minds can be changed before it’s too late!

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  99. Christy

    I have a 3 yr old and he is always so mad he throws everything that’s close to him, he hits things, pinches himself, screams so loud, took a chair into the wall, bites and just gets mad over anything and everything. I need help please I don’t know what else to do

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  100. Julie

    Hello I’m very worried about my Grandaughter whom has been separated from her mother when she was 1yr she is now 2yr she Lives with her father..I’m concerned as she seems very unhappy& has bitten her nails down that far that they almost bleed & constantly Scratches her head! She has nothing I. Her hair as checked..father never praises her & when she has spent the day with us she doesn’t want to go back! She goes all quiet! Why is this happening do you think it’s because she is separated from her mother? & Stress? Please help! Grand mother

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    • sheila

      I’m kinda in the same boat. I have a grandson who is about to be three. Ever since his mom got a new boyfriend he’s changed. When he’s here with me he’s great, but when they come to pick him up he cries and holds onto me until he’s digging his nails in me and recently wet himself when she took him out of my arms.

      I feel helpless. They say it’s because I don’t discipline him while he’s with me, but I do. Then they tell him if he keeps crying when they come to pick him up from me that they won’t let him come see his mawmaw any more. His little face is so sad and frightened looking when he leaves. So I don’t know if its just me overreacting or if something is seriously wrong. Please help.

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      • Marcelle

        I would look into it, this panic you are describing sounds like he may have been suffering some kind of abuse at home. My dd sometimes has temper tantrums at her grandma’s, but when I come to pick her up she is always happy. It’s more like defiance than fear, she wants what she wants but looks like your grandson is in fear. I would think you should inform yourself how to proceed by law and just the act cautiously so you can protect him while they have him with them.

        Hope you can do something, my heart sinks when I read this kind of thing, I send my love and my prayers.
        Good luck.

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  101. Judeth

    I have a five year old daughter that I’m starting to get concerned about she’s the only child.
    A few weeks back she got in trouble for boring someone in her class I had her make a sorry letter. Then couple of weeks later I had to get her from school because her teacher said she left the classroom and found her in the boys bathroom(no kids were in there) and she was in the back of the stall barking and making noises I think she was seeking attention because she does get it all at home.
    But a week after that happened I had to get her again because she bit a fourth grader they asked her why and she responded with her head told her to do it. I don’t know is this normal? For a only child am I doing something wrong should I get her in to after school programs ?? Please I need help I don’t want my kid to be looked at wrong she’s a awesome kid that loves and cares for people and animals I just don’t understand what she does when this happens !

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    • Michelle parks

      I would not go to normal or abnormal. And don’t let teachers make you feel that way. They are not trained to determine.

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  102. Emiy

    My daughter is 5 years old and has thrown tantrums for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can remember her throwing a tantrum when she was just old enough to sit up on her own, over my moving her away from the dishwasher she wanted to climb in. I thought that she would grow out of it, but NOTHING has changed. In fact, they have gotten worse. She is not violent, but these tantrums last for 1-3 hours and occur EVERY day, sometimes twice a day. My husband and I have tried everything and it is becoming more and more difficult for me not to raise my voice at her during these episodes. This past week has been especially challenging as we actually had to leave a restaurant and a daycare at which I volunteer due to her atrocious behaviour. I`ve read every article on the matter I can find, and I have asked advice from absolutely everyone who would give it to me. They all tell me the same thing, stay calm, be firm, keep her safe, and validate her feelings. All of which we have done numerous times but with complete failure. It`s become so bad that I have had to leave the house the last two days during these tantrums and have my husband handle them because the screaming has gotten on my last nerve. Please, I am willing to take any advice under consideration, as long as it is safe and not damaging in any way to my child. We need help!

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    • Joe

      My daughter is the sweetest, smartest little thing. She has tried all kinds of activities and does yard work or laundry. but lately (she’s 4) in the evening after dinner, it’s like she becomes another person. her eyes look different, she growls, swings and kicks and tries to bite. she acts truly like a wild caged animal. she’s destructive and violent and we are so afraid she will hurt herself. we tried holding her down and yelling. and nothing. then all of a sudden out of the clear blue, she changes and will throw herself into our arms and say how sorry she is and she cries like crazy. we’re all sad and confused and tired at this point , our daughter returns and she can’t talk about her actions because she’s sad and starts basically hyperventalating. has this happened to anyone else? i mentioned taking her to a doctor and she freaks even more. we’re at a lose. and she seems as confused about her behaviour as we are.

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      • Marie

        These are the problems we are having with my 9 yr old grandson. looking for help. I want to start the Ann Arbor hospital.

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      • Kelly

        Are you giving her anything like Kool Aid with dinner? I had a serious allergy to red dye #40 when I was younger that produced the exact same symptoms. I can remember having these episodes, and being just completely unable to control myself. In fact, my toddler has the same allergy. Since we have cut out anything with artificial red coloring, my daughter’s behavior has markedly improved.

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    • a

      I’m in the same boat!! Hate to go to a specialist if it’s normal, but it doesn’t feel normal. Maybe it’s us, not the kids. I don’t know how to help her soothe herself. Nothing works. 2 hours at least to get mine to bed. She just gets so upset and can’t help herself feel better. I hate seeing it! And hearing it :-X I wonder if mine has a fear of abandonment or if she’s just learned that saying certain heartbreaking things gets me to cave. Hope they grow out of this…

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    • Ashley

      Hi I read your story about your daughter and mine is acting exactly the same way! My husband and I are exhausted most days due to her defiance and 1-2 hour temper tantrums. She’s the sweetest little girl and does not get into trouble at school and has play dates and no problems there but at home is horrible. It breaks my heart to see her do this especially today when she threw one of her little wooden chairs on the floor from her reading table in her room. We have also done the same things you mentioned you and your husband were advised to do but its getting worse and interfering with everything we want to do. Has anything changed for yall since this post or have you gotten any more advice? Thanks

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      • Joe

        She’s the same. I hurt myself recently and she’s TRYING at night to be really good because my husband is doing everything. but she still has her moments and it still hurts us so bad that there is nothing we can do until she falls or hurts us and then she still is sorry. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. (sigh)

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  103. Tiffany Zebaneh

    My 5 year old doesn’t listen to anything I tell him when it comes to cleaning up after himself. He throws a tantrums when he doesn’t get his way he kicks screams an cries longer then a hour. It’s hard to restrain him when he doesn’t listen to put him in a time out. He holds his body really tight he kicks me and scratches me and bites me. I just don’t know what to do anymore I’ve tried every thing. He’s punished through out the whole day. I’m constantly having to yell at him. Also, when he’s throwing tantrums and makes crying noises there are no tears. When he goes to the store and he doesn’t get his way he’ll stop in the middle of the walk way and stay there and completely shut me out. If I try and grab his hand, he screams so loud and holds his body where he’s litteraly dragging himself on the floor.

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  104. clarisa marcote

    My daughter started to act odd yesterday… & before bed her cousins came over for a play date… started fist fighting her cousins punching her tia being aggressive. .. so i put her in time out. Explained why she was in there wouldnt stop crying until 30min later… told her to watch tv she started to got really happy. ..then her nose dripped a drop of blood…. it was so awkward please help…

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  105. Kaitlynne Lopez-Santucci

    me and my brothers are going through a very terrible divorce between my parents. me and my 3 brothers live with my mom. since everything has gone down, my two littlest brothers who are 12 and 9 always fight. the youngest one who is 9, throws outrageous tantrums. he throws things, hes slapped me and my mom, he spits everywhere, and yells really loud in my apartment. my mom will discipline and hell get worse and hell start spitting on her and yell for the cops. hes never acted like this when he would get angry. hell bite himself, hell scratch himself, and hell bite his tongue. sometimes i want to break down and cry because before all this hes gotten worse. i dont know what to do and neither does my mom. we’ve taken him to a psychiatrist and they told he has ODD and tell us to ignore the fits. how can we ignore these outrageous fits ?! we don’t know what to do anymore and it breaks my hearts :(

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    • Sara

      I have a 4 year old son and am a single mom.

      My son hits me all time, grabs my hair, pushes me and screams at me. Does not listen nothing at all. He also breaks things and he tries to push some kids. I feel so bad and don’t know what to do. I do not know what it is. I try to talk to him. I try to give the best out of me nothing.

      He stays up till late hours. Does not sleep. He always runs. Does not sit much and is always doing something. He loves dinosaurs. Sometimes I think this is out of normal.

      Please can someone give me advice? I feel as if I am a terrible mother and I feel sad to see him that way.

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      • Jacqui

        You are not a terrible mom! You have a spirited child at the very least. My son was the same way (30 tantrums a day average) and he kicked and even punched me. He is much better now that he is seven. It is likely your son’s nature, this personality may serve him well later in life but makes for a challenging child.

        I think talking to your Dr. is important. When my son was little he also stayed up late and never wanted to sleep. I realized I had let him dictate his sleep period because I was so used to the all hours baby days. I suspect he was really tired a lot. I started making sure he had a 7:30 bedtime, I suggest you do the same. You can lay with him but just make sure he sleeps. Kids cannot regulate emotion when they’re tired which equals more tantrums.

        I wouldn’t give him sugar, especially juice as this will make him go off the wall because of the high sugar content. The book “raising a spirited child” really helped me.

        Hang in there. Being a single mama is so hard. You obviously care about your little guy! I’ll say a prayer for you!

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    • Laura

      My daughter went through a major rebellious time; not to the extent of your little brother though. But I remember telling her that I love her, I want to be around her. But it is her choice whether she stays around me/us. If she continues to disobey the rules that are in place for her own good (and our family’s), then she may choose to live somewhere else like foster care if she really thinks she has it so bad. I told her that I didn’t want to lose her, but I cannot allow her to continue down this destructive path…and that if she left, it would tear me up, but that it was her choice.

      You could always see if he could be shown another perspective such as foster care, a prison/jail tour (they do those), etc. He is of an impressionable age, that it may hit him hard enough to straighten up. Otherwise, there are troubled youth camps that’s like a kids boot camp. I know of a good one in MI, but I’m sure they have them in every state. He could do an at home research paper that you or your parents have him do. Not as a punishment, but as a way of growing in awareness. Have him research online about out of control kids, foster homes, etc. Have him answer questions about what he thinks of himself, who is he hurting and how (with his actions/words). What makes him happy? What are good things about himself? Who knows, maybe it’ll be helpful. Worth a shot at this point. Good luck and God bless.

      Maybe he could start a journal and write in it every day…get his feelings out on paper when he’s calm, when he’s upset and afterwards.

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  106. slack91

    My son is not even 2 yet and no matter what the tantrum he always smacks, kicks, pulls hair, headbutts (every time) or throws whatever is near to hand. It could be over the slightest little thing! He is also getting more violent toward his older sister, just hitting or hair pulling while she watches tele or plays nicely on her own. He is slow in development and has to put his face to the walls too. I know this all sounds weird but im at the end of my tether now especially as he wakes me up at 5am the latest every morning. Anyone help please

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  107. Sinead Butt

    My 2.5 year old son is delayed in speech and understanding he doesn’t say much words at all he doesn’t get on with any of the kids at playschool, he hits others and screams alot. He likes to play alone in school. At home he also likes to pay alone but also with his brothers and sister but also lashes out on them, he likes to wounder off and has no concept of danger. He loves getting phased and also loves afection. He hates the words NO or WAITING or even getting his face cleaned or nails cut. He loves to play with water. I need help dose anyone know Wat I can do to help him

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    • cheryl

      Hello, that sounds like it could be my son. He is 3.5 years old and hardly says a word, he tries but its hard to understand him. He also has no concept of danger and I find this very worrying especially when getting him out of the car he runs straight into the road. His favorite thing is water, he seems to have a fascination with it, He is a very loving little boy but seems to get very aggressive and lashes out at times (mainly to myself and his dad) We say no but he really doesnt listen to us at all, we have tried to stay calm, screamed at him and also spanked him but this has no affect on him at all, he just laughs and carries on. Lately he has had me in tears, I am at the end of my tether with him, this week he has started waking early at 5.30am and has been constantly on the go until 7pm when he goes to bed. He throws cars at my head, punches the dog, puts water all over the floor, I am completely worn out with it, he hugs me and says he is sorry but within a few mins is back to playing up again. I would also like to know what to do.

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      • missy

        Has your son been tested for autism? I have recently discovered that there are many severities to it and a lot of what you mentioned reminded me of that.

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  108. Natalie

    My son bites scratches himself and bangs his heads on walls …he is really hypper and happy kid but if u sai no to him or say or do something he doesn’t want them the aggression starts he is only 6 he has an appt.on mondai idk what’s wrong with him this lasts up to 1 hour noone or nothing can control him

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  109. Bryanna

    My daughter is now 5, and her fits started awhile back. Probably by the age of 3, they were horrible… Now, she just turned 5, and her fits result in me getting puched accross the face, and her saying she does want to fight with me. I try and put her into a safe place (the bathroom) and try to get a breath of fresh air to chill out, but she does not give in. Also with a 2 and a half year old little boy, who protects mommy, does not help anything. He has got physical with her numerous times because she hurt me. When my daughter hurts me, she does not care at all, and will continue with her fit. She throws things at me, screams, hits, kicks, and will stop until I get her into the bathroom, and wait until she is crying and saying sorry (which can take an hour to 3 hours for it all to end) I do not know what to do, and need the abuse to stop :( I’m a single mom, doing what I can. On top of it all, I have a mother who ‘helps’ by spoiling her, and treating her like she is perfect and giving in to whatever she wants. I don’t know what to do anymore… Someone help me please…

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    • Tzedek_Tzedek

      I don’t have the answer, just well wishes. I landed on this site looking for guidance about my own 5-year-old daughter’s increasingly extreme tantrums. It’s wearing my husband and I down, frightening her younger brother (also 2.5, like your son), and I can’t make heads or tails over why they’ve gotten so much worse (even though they were really bad before). In any case–if it’s wearing us down and there are two of us, I can imagine how challenging it must be for you. I really wish you the best. Hang in there.

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    • carlee

      I definitely know how you feel my 5 year old is my youngest and he scares me and my oldest three all the time with his abuse doing the same things as you have listed and more I am also a single mom doing the best I can and being pushed from one supposed professional to another everytime I turn around its getting very old

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    • George

      Hi, to all parents of with children of Dr. Jackel and Mr. Hyde syndrome
      I have read all of your problems and much of what is going on with little children and my conclusion is varied.

      I will tell you that I an old enough and have seen a lot in my time being as I was a Pastor and I tried to help parents who were having some kind of problem with their children. Most of these parents were at the end of their rope as some of you are.

      Some Grand-Parents are not too grand when they go against the discipline or rules their parents have set up for their child that is being just plain nasty or for lack of a better word unbalanced. As grand-parents sometimes we feel we have to interfere and love up on the kid and say dumb things like “mommy doesn’t really mean what she said dear little Johnny”. If you are one of these and are not content with the ways your Daughter/Son is raising THEIR child, try to understand the parents and don’t get involved. I realize your hurt seeing your little monster crying, screaming, biting, kicking, throwing things, and hitting others etc and their Mother. Because he/she is being punished for some action or words they have done or said. But you have to remember that any Mother that is normal will not kill her child she is trying to teach her child to behave.

      Sometimes little children do not want to hear the word “NO”. But they cannot be let loose to just do what they want to do or say. Also there is the possibility that the child is in a depression. With out our knowledge we all never want to think of our child being in a depression. But it happens, to many children and it gets worse as time goes by unless something is done or treatment is given by someone who is qualified.

      Most times a child does not see himself/herself acting out the way they do so I have found a way to SHOW them how they act and at the same time show if necessary their doctor what is going on because I have heard doctors saying “the child is too young to have a depression” or some kind of mental disorder. In that case get another doctor.

      Now what I will suggest to you all is buy a video camera small enough to hide some where your child is acting out most of the time or get a tiny video camera that you can wear on your person. After a few taped tantrums show your child how he/she acts and guess what, this little trick will mostly work and if it doesn’t, all you have invested is the price of a video camera. A word of advice to parents while you are taping, DO NOT hit, scream or do anything that can be turned against you. Calmly try to talk to “little Johnny/Joan” during the tantrum. After a few tantrums when you show your child the videos you made of him/her, DO NOT SHOW THEM TO ANYONE ELSE its’ not their business. You can show the Doctor if necessary. Always keep the tapes in a safe place that no one can get to them or your child will get hurt big time. Its’ like wetting the bed, the child is so ashamed he would never want anyone to know and I am sure parents would never tell, unless they have no brains or compassion for their child.

      Note: There are some chiropractors who can help children with bed-wetting. You do not have to be a professional to use what ever you can that will benefit the child.

      I pray this will be of some help of you parents.
      God Bless & best of luck

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    • Laura

      Bryanna, I feel for you and yours. I think your daughter needs to know that you are in charge of her and she is in charge of herself…together. I think you should try to take a full day of staying on her/breaking her down so you can build her back up. Below is a copy of my response to another mom who was concerned about her child’s tantrums, but I wanted to copy/paste it to you, so you could read what I tried doing yesterday with my son. It’s been very successful so far!

      I doubt this will be of much help, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. And I know when you feel helpless, you’re more willing to try anything. I’ve been having problems with my son recently. He is 3, so he is much younger than your daughter. But he was getting out of control and the intensity and duration of his fits were increasing dramatically by the day. I was greatly concerned to the point that I thought he had a psychiatric condition. (Just a side note: both of my brothers were diagnosed and medicated for ADD and ADHD when they were little and both “outgrew” it by the time they were 10-12 years old. Just my opinion, but I think a lot of kids are misdiagnosed and then of course some kids really do need medical intervention). Anyway, yesterday (I know it’s only been one day, so there goes my credibility…) but I decided to try another tactic, because I was determined to get this under control or at least stop it from progressing.

      When my son started going into a fit, I held him on my lap and told him quietly that we’re going to talk about this. His fit went on for probably 10-15 minutes straight, screaming, flailing, trying with all his might to get away. He is strong and I struggled with him. I kept talking to him calmly and holding him to me (not hurting him, but keeping him from getting from me). I told him it’s okay to get mad, get upset, get angry. But then we need to calm down and talk about it. I told him we’re going to stay here until he calms down and we talk about it. I said I love you and care about you, we’re a team, we’re teammates, we take care of each other and we’re going to figure it out together. All of this time, I just felt like I was breaking/taming a wild horse. He ended up having to go potty, so I let him up to go. This was a good distraction to his fit, too. It changed his focus a little. When he was done, I asked if he was calm and ready to talk about it. He said he was calm, but doesn’t want to talk about it. So we kind of began again, this time he was next to me on the couch and I had him looking me in the eyes. I asked him if it was okay to be angry? He nodded, I said yes it is. I asked him if it’s okay to hit? He didn’t respond. I said no, it’s not okay to hit. It’s okay to be angry and mad or sad and have feelings, but then we have to calm down and talk about it. (I know this is repetitive…sorry about that). I asked him over and over, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? He wouldn’t respond. I said we calm down and talk about it. I told him this over and over. (Some critics may call it brain-washing, but I look at is as breaking through for the good of our child(ren).) We made a song…”When you’re crying and upset……..calm down and talk about it….” I sang it a few times. (There is a lot of good in music therapy…kids seem to respond well to it. Adults do too, which is probably why we get songs stuck in our head). I asked him again, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? He was still a bit defiant, so I had him sit in a chair and think about it. I told him he needs to learn this, it’s important and he will sit and think about it until he learns it. He began to start a new fit as soon as he sat in the chair. He did this growling scream thing he does when he’s really upset. I sang the song. Instead of a 5-10 minute screaming fit in time-out, it was greatly reduced to about 45 seconds to a minute.

      PROGRESS!

      I told him how proud I was of how he learned to calm down so fast! I told him great job! Come give me high-fives, kisses and hugs. I asked if he’s ready to talk about it. He said yes. We talked about things. I asked yet again, what do you do when you’re crying and upset? I said do you calm down and talk about it? He said yes. I said you say it now. He repeated after me. I told him I know it’s hard and praised him. I sang the song and asked him to add a part to it. He said play hotwheels. So we added that to the end. Something like “when you’re crying and upset….calm down and talk about it….and when you’re calmed down and we talk about it, you play hotwheels!…”

      When he began to go into another fit when he got upset about something else throughout the day, I reminded him of what to do and sang the song. I had him sit, he was calming down within a few seconds, I praised him for calming down so well and asked if he’s ready to talk about it. He was, we did and I was consistent with this the rest of the day. We also had some one on one play-doh play time.

      For the past few weeks before yesterday, he’d fight me on eating dinner, brushing his teeth and going to bed and various other things. Last night he didn’t fight me at all (meaning he didn’t have fits). I told him, we made a great song and you did so great today. I’m so proud of you. We sang it goofy, moving our heads goofy and he laughed about it. Again, I feel like I was breaking through his rebellion and we needed to have this power struggle to reset our relationship and what’s expected.

      Today has been going great. No problems. 100% difference/improvement!

      It was a long, tearful, but extremely productive day…so well worth it, despite the doubts I had when going through it. I very much encourage you to try something similar with your daughter, although maybe making reference about how it makes you sad to see her hurt herself…or if you’re a Christian like me, you might reference how God loves her so very much, how He put you as her Momma to take care of her and teach her and help her…and how special she is and that He cares about her and doesn’t want her to hurt herself or anyone else, etc.

      You’re her momma, you will know what to say and what may work best for her. I have 3 kids (14, 3 and 1) and I went through power struggles every so often (and still do) with my daughter who is now 14. At every stage of rebellion, I’ve had to reset the tone and expectations…just not to this extreme as with my son. For awhile I was thinking it was something in him, but it was a combination of him AND me. People will say sometimes, “I have this many kids and I’ve been a Mom for this many years”….but they don’t realize that it’s the 1st time they’ve been a mom at that very moment of that child’s life.

      Every moment of every age of each unique child is new and different. Different things work for different kids at different times. We constantly have to change and adapt our parenting techniques. We have to continue to try to teach our kids how to cope and deal with things and new feelings/emotions. We have to do the same thing in our own lives as adults. It’s especially difficult when they’re growing and getting more and more hormonal, too. Plus, just as we get grumpy and don’t feel good some days, get a bit overwhelmed/frustrated, so do they.

      So I try to remember that, too. I can’t expect them to always have it together when I don’t, myself. I was a little indifferent about trying something new, perhaps because I was naturally successful with my 1st born or maybe I had too much pride, or I was burned out on life and gave up trying for a bit, or was stuck in survival mode, or got into a rut of demand and discipline, or a combination of all of those, etc. Whatever the case, I’m glad I didn’t give up. I wish you the very best. Peace to you, as I know we lose our peace when our kids are hurting/struggling.

      Sorry this is so long, repetitive (and filled with run-on sentences), but I hope you find at least a shred of helpfulness in all of my ramblings. :)

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  110. Megan Elizabeth Dennis

    My son get into these fits where he screams so loud and so high pitched it makes ME want to just break down and cry..Not only that but he punches himself in the face or slaps himself in the face. He has taken a lot of swings at me and everyone else around him, he throws thing at my face he used to bite me…He sits there and stares at me if I ask him to do something compleatly ignoring me and wont even blink. I am so at the end, I cant handle this and it it pretty much all day long. :(

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  111. Stephanie O

    Okay so what does it mean when my 9 month old daughter is throwing herself backward hitting her head, pulling her hair and biting herself?

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    • Megan Elizabeth Dennis

      I never hear that about a child that small but if you are concernd…take her in and talk to someone about it.

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    • Natalie

      That is normal all babys throw them self back and pull the back of theyr hair as it’s the only thing the do lol no worryes lol

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  112. colette

    my 6 year olds school reckon that although uncommon my sons behaviour is within normal range however i dont. it started at 18 mths and has got worse as he has got older. kicking, hitting, screaming, swearing, spitting, biting, throwing things etc in the last 12 mths school have exluded him 3 times and are currently having to restrain him during these ‘tantrums’ he can take between a few minutes to calm down but the longest it has taken and that school have had to physically restrain him has been a few hours. the smallest thing can be responsible for setting him off such has being asked to come inside at the end of play time. obviously reward charts and time outs have been tried but using such things or distraction techniques when a ‘tantrum’ begins has absolutely no effect and he is ultimately unable to calm him self it is literally a case of sitting him down, restraining and waiting for it to pass. I’m fed up with professsionals passing it off as bad parenting etc especially since he still presents major issue in school I am fed up with being told it iss wihtin normal range especially when he is sent to his room to cool off and replies with fine but i wont wake up in the morning :-( trying to get professionals to sit up and listen is like standing in a room full of people and screaming at the top of your voice but no one turns around to look. If so called professionals dont listen and take it seriously where else is left to turn?

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    • carlee

      I know how you feel my 5 year old son does all of this stuff and it seems like his aim when hes in his moods are to hurt either himself or others but yet the professionals have passed us around hes been hospitalized twice already and children services from DHR is wanting to put him in a residential hospital for 6 months to get him proper treatment for daily function…the current doctor just prescribed him new meds a few weeks ago and of course they have made him more hyper active and a whole lot more aggressive like he doesn’t have enough aggression without the stupid meds but anyway you are not alone just know that and good luck to you. I hope they figure it out for you soon

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    • Laura Elizabeth Isbell-beavers

      I know this is an old post but the school is breaking the law on many levels and could be part of his frustration. Call mpact in kc mo you’ll have to call information and get the number, they can direct you about the laws in your area, they’ll send a mentor to attend conferences with you to make sure the school is not doing anything illegal ect, if u aren’t from mo they can direct you to any advocacy groups in your area. Huge help!

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    • Laura

      My nephew went through something similar. He was finally diagnosed with Aspergers. He’s being treated with meds, but still has fits every now and then and he’s almost 15 years old.

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