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Old 04-28-2020, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
10,147 posts, read 13,976,058 times
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We have a daughter who's a little over 3 and a half. She's generally been a pretty good kid - she's a little naughty by nature, but smart, creative, funny, and usually full of hugs and sweet words.

Over the last few weeks, she's gone from fussy to throwing out-and-out tantrums before bed. She started out getting really sad about two pets we have who passed away over the last year - "daddy, I miss our doggie," or "mommy, I miss our bird!" Then, she started crying about it. Finally, starting about a week ago, she's thrown screaming tantrums when it comes time to shower and go to bed... hitting us, throwing things, etc. They usually last ten minutes or so but tonight's was over half an hour, and now she's insisting that she wants to play before she goes to bed (it's 10.20pm here).

I have tinnitus and it's gotten worse because she's literally taking a breath in and screaming it out at the top of her lungs and repeating (my left ear is now ringing loudly, constantly). If I try to leave the room to save my ears, my wife starts throwing her own tantrum, thinking I'm abandoning her or shirking my fatherly duties.

The only thing I can think of that's really changed is that she has had a handful of playdates with a friend's kids; my friend and his wife are mellow to a fault but their children are pretty poorly-behaved, throwing frequent tantrums, shouting at you and pulling on your clothes to get what they want, etc. The younger one (5 years old) in particular has hourly outbursts where he throws things and threatens you - after seeing it two times, my daughter has done the same. We've managed to mellow her back out somewhat during the daytime, but nightimes are getting to be unbearable.

Any advice as to what we can do to reign in the screaming and shouting?
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:11 AM
 
3,650 posts, read 3,552,036 times
Reputation: 4164
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
We have a daughter who's a little over 3 and a half. She's generally been a pretty good kid - she's a little naughty by nature, but smart, creative, funny, and usually full of hugs and sweet words.

Over the last few weeks, she's gone from fussy to throwing out-and-out tantrums before bed. She started out getting really sad about two pets we have who passed away over the last year - "daddy, I miss our doggie," or "mommy, I miss our bird!" Then, she started crying about it. Finally, starting about a week ago, she's thrown screaming tantrums when it comes time to shower and go to bed... hitting us, throwing things, etc. They usually last ten minutes or so but tonight's was over half an hour, and now she's insisting that she wants to play before she goes to bed (it's 10.20pm here).

I have tinnitus and it's gotten worse because she's literally taking a breath in and screaming it out at the top of her lungs and repeating (my left ear is now ringing loudly, constantly). If I try to leave the room to save my ears, my wife starts throwing her own tantrum, thinking I'm abandoning her or shirking my fatherly duties.

The only thing I can think of that's really changed is that she has had a handful of playdates with a friend's kids; my friend and his wife are mellow to a fault but their children are pretty poorly-behaved, throwing frequent tantrums, shouting at you and pulling on your clothes to get what they want, etc. The younger one (5 years old) in particular has hourly outbursts where he throws things and threatens you - after seeing it two times, my daughter has done the same. We've managed to mellow her back out somewhat during the daytime, but nightimes are getting to be unbearable.

Any advice as to what we can do to reign in the screaming and shouting?
A. Stop the playdates. B. I would walk out of the room (don't go far) and let her scream and cry and chances are she'll stop when she doesn't have an audience.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,392 posts, read 46,677,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley09swb View Post
A. Stop the playdates. B. I would walk out of the room (don't go far) and let her scream and cry and chances are she'll stop when she doesn't have an audience.
Yep, no reason to continue to expose her to a bad influence.

And rethink your bedtime routine.

Give her some active playtime after dinner, where she can do something physical to expend some energy. Then some calm playtime or TV time with parents, then a nice warm bath, clean PJs, read a book to her, then put her to bed.

If she continues to talk about the pets that have passed on, you could start a new reassuring bedtime ritual where you say a prayer or light a candle or do something appropriate to your culture and/or religion to give her a place to "put" her feelings. Tell her that this process is to take care of [insert pet names here] while they have gone on.


But don't linger on it. Make it short and sweet. Tell her something like, "We know you miss [pets], so we wanted to take a minute before bedtime to bless them so they know we love them." If you think it will start her down a line of sadness and crying, then move it to after dinner so she has time to recover BEFORE bedtime. If she brings them up at bedtime, say, "No, we already blessed them, and that's over. Now is time to think about sleeping and dreaming."

If you aren't already doing it, set the stage for the bedtime process to be calm and reliable, something she can count on and she knows what's coming next.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:37 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
83,999 posts, read 77,061,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
Yep, no reason to continue to expose her to a bad influence.

And rethink your bedtime routine.

Give her some active playtime after dinner, where she can do something physical to expend some energy. Then some calm playtime or TV time with parents, then a nice warm bath, clean PJs, read a book to her, then put her to bed.

If she continues to talk about the pets that have passed on, you could start a new reassuring bedtime ritual where you say a prayer or light a candle or do something appropriate to your culture and/or religion to give her a place to "put" her feelings. Tell her that this process is to take care of [insert pet names here] while they have gone on.


But don't linger on it. Make it short and sweet. Tell her something like, "We know you miss [pets], so we wanted to take a minute before bedtime to bless them so they know we love them." If you think it will start her down a line of sadness and crying, then move it to after dinner so she has time to recover BEFORE bedtime. If she brings them up at bedtime, say, "No, we already blessed them, and that's over. Now is time to think about sleeping and dreaming."

If you aren't already doing it, set the stage for the bedtime process to be calm and reliable, something she can count on and she knows what's coming next.
Thats sounds like a good idea. As a bedtime ritual, it could be an enticement (or reward) for her getting into bed.

Leaving the room during a tantrum works in some situations, but not in others. If you leave the room, she may see it as her "winning", and may settle down to playing, which is what she wanted in the first place; to postpone bedtime to play some more. I've also seen a child the same age as the OP's continue screaming and pounding the floor even when a parent leaves the room. The child went on for at least 20 minutes nonstop until the parent returned, at which point she stopped and became a little angel. My interpretation of it was that she thought she''d "won" because daddy came back and gave in to the tantrum. IDK.

It's worth trying as a strategy, to see what happens, though.

I completely agree with no more playdates with kids who are a bad influence.
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Old 04-28-2020, 04:28 PM
 
1,957 posts, read 567,322 times
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How have you been able to have play dates given the pandemic situation?
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Old 04-28-2020, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
48,392 posts, read 46,677,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridge781 View Post
How have you been able to have play dates given the pandemic situation?
I was wondering about that too.
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Old 04-28-2020, 09:01 PM
 
1,168 posts, read 1,599,118 times
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My child had her worst tantrums from 3-4 as well. The few times it’s come up in conversation with friends they also said 3’s were the roughest period. There are no right answers and the marital tension regarding how to deal with stressful situations like this is also normal.

Here is my perspective. Tantrums are largely done for attention, to express frustration, or to get one’s way. There is no easy fix for stopping tantrums, they must be starved and eventually, over a period of months, they wither and die. Hopefully, this happens by age 4.

Once your kid is all out screaming and not responding, that’s when no attention must be given to them. Don't just walk out at the first sign of trouble. The best way to not give attention to a tantrum is by walking away. I've seen this recommendation in many parenting books and it worked for our daughter. It’s best to wait just out of sight and return as soon as the screaming has stopped. You are absolutely correct in walking away, however, don’t plop on the couch and watch Netflix either.

When the screaming has stopped, and you’ve returned, then state your requested behavior. A little negotiation at this age I think is fine. In fact, I always had an incentive with tasks like this...if we get ready for bed quickly, maybe you can have 10 minutes of play time. If the screaming starts up again, then walk away again. You must starve a tantrum. You feed it by trying to actively stop it. Your daughter will not think she's won unless you give in or give her attention for the tantrum.

Two other suggestions, maybe move shower time earlier, like right after dinner and then start the bed time routine earlier with an incentive built in if everything goes smoothly. Try to reason with her...since we got ready so quickly you have a little play time ...since it took so long to get ready for bed, we don't have time to play

This takes time and can get a little worse before it gets better. Once she doesn't get attention, she will try harder to get it. A newly sprouted plant stretches out taller when not given enough sunlight, then it plops over and dies. Stick with it and by 4 years old hopefully the tantrums are mostly gone.

There are older kids who throw tantrums and typically this is when parents have engaged with the tantrum on a regular basis, such as yelling, arguing, bribery, giving the kid what they want, or even throwing their own little tantrums in an attempt to outdo the child.

Last edited by TXRunner; 04-28-2020 at 09:17 PM..
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
10,551 posts, read 3,707,804 times
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When I buy a piece of electronic equipment, I always get a 5-year, no-fault, replacement warranty. But I don't think you can do that with kids. In the situation described, if there were some older brothers or sisters in the family, the peer-pressure they would exert on a misbehaving junior sibling, would take care of a lot of such trouble. There's a lot to be said for having several children, for that reason. But an only child may have more problems. Often, an only child may feel outnumbered by the parents and also take the brunt of their discipline, with no others to absorb their share.

Is the early bedtime the OP and wife are imposing on their daughter and which she is resisting, set for her benefit or for theirs? I was an only child, with hardcore authoritarian parents, who forced me to unreasonable early bedtimes, all through my growing years. I resented it bitterly, but never protested. Maybe they want to get her to bed early, so they will have some free time to themselves, with a break from parental duties? I suggest allowing a later bedtime on weekends, as a break from the routine for the daughter. I never got that, as it was the same time for me, 365 days a year. If I'd been given a break on weekend, holiday and vacation evenings, I wouldn't have had such a difficult time with it.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:54 AM
 
8,822 posts, read 4,574,445 times
Reputation: 18080
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley09swb View Post
A. Stop the playdates. B. I would walk out of the room (don't go far) and let her scream and cry and chances are she'll stop when she doesn't have an audience.
This definitely.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Canada
6,306 posts, read 4,742,082 times
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Quote:
Re: playdates during the pandemic
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
I was wondering about that too.
Me three!!
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