My 20 month old son has really been a challenge lately, and I’m looking for advice and also to see if I should look into professional help.
80% of the time he is happy and so sweet. He’s a total mamas boy, and is totally on track developmentally.
20% of the time he is out of control, HUGE tantrums, hitting/scratching/throwing, etc. if something doesn’t go his way, it’s the end of the world, he will scream and bang his head/kick his feet for a long time. I’ve been told to ignore the behavior, and I mostly do, but the head banging is not something I can ignore. If he’s doing that, I try to move him somewhere softer like his crib or grass or something.
I know tantrums are normal, but his behavior is definitely worse than most. It’s also worth noting that his behavior is worse when he’s with me (most of the time), so I’m confident that a lot of it is for attention (which he gets a lot of).
Any suggestions? I thought about looking into behavior therapy, but not sure if that’s even the right thing?
He is seriously so happy and sweet most of the time, it’s hard to see him in his rages.
blogger / pear / 1509 posts
Have you looked into sensory issues? As frustrating as it is, at this age I wouldn't tend to think of tantrums as behavioral problems. More that he's dysregulated and needs help regulating. Kids with sensory issues tend to get dysregulated easier.
I've had good luck with the Daniel Tiger emotions songs. There's even an app where you can scroll through various big emotions. The mad song is a good one. He's a little young but might start catching on soon if his receptive language is strong.
grape / 92 posts
This sounds like my son. He's 25 months now and still acts like this when something doesn't go his way (the car he's playing with hits a wall, he can't open something, etc.). He has good and bad days. It's usually worse when he's out of his comfort zone or his routine is disrupted. I suspect sensory issues, as he also has trouble eating and sleeping. But I also think a factor is his speech, he was a bit behind and I believe frustration in not being able to communicate made his outbursts worse. He's gone through a speech explosion over the last few weeks (finally putting two words together) and I've noticed a decrease in the tantrums since he can express himself better now.
We do a mixture of ignoring him when we can, and talking to him soothingly at other times. So no real ideas but commiseration.
pomegranate / 3904 posts
@Mrs. Turtle: you are right, I just didn’t know what to call it aside from behavior issues. I’ll definitely look into the Daniel tiger songs, my daughter always loved those and as far as sensory issues, I don’t really think he has more sensory issues than than an average toddler, but I can further explore that
pomegranate / 3904 posts
@superkate: it’s tough, thanks for the commiseration! Hope you’re getting to an easier stage!
pear / 1548 posts
How verbal is he? Could he be showing such big emotions through his tantrums because he has a difficult time expressing himself? I know 20 months is still young for verbal skills. Could you teach him single words or signs to express himself when he needs help? My son wasn’t very verbal at that age and daycare had to teach him how to ask for help when he was mad or frustrated.
squash / 13199 posts
@LAZB: for tantrums i walk away from my son and ignore out completely. They realize quickly that no one is watching and stop it. If you can't walk out of the room there are other things thou can do. My son is 22 months and knows we will turn his high chair around so he can't see us if he has a tantrum during dinner and so when he starts i will ask him if he wants me to turn him around and he says no and fizzles down. We also keep reminding him to use his words to express his frustration.