Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/One year old gone mad

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Question
So my one year old son has recently become..a monster to say the least, he is home with me all day (not with other children) so his behaviors are all his own. Basically he's very sassy and demanding, he does not actually talk but will scream at you. If he see's something he wants he screams, if you take something away he screams and now pinches and pulls hair. If I try and grab his hand to show him how to be gentle he pulls it away and screams at me. He has no issues, dr says he's perfect. It's just embarrassing when we are out in public and someone near us has a cell phone or food and he decides he wants it. He will turn bright red, scream, turn into a wet noodle and do anything he can to get to what he wants. He is never given that item if he throws a fit so I don't know how else to stop it, if you talk to him he yells over you even louder. He also hates being told he can not have or do something. He loves playing with our gas stove knobs and will turn them while I'm cooking. I bend down and calmly explain we can not touch these and I give him another toy. He pushes me away and again screams like someone just hurt him....how can we get him to stop throwing fits when he does not get his way. He is our first and we are basically on our own and although I have read things to do, none of them seem to work..infact the few suggestions of getting down to his level and explaining why he can not do something and the other of just ignoring him, seem to all back fire and even make it worse. I do not want this to get to far out of hand. But I don't know how to fix it

Answer
Hello Amber,
By temperament, your son may be a very challenging child. That is, he may be a very strong-willed and demanding child. He obviously gets frustrated and angry easily and responds with temper outbursts.
If he is a more challenging child, as he certainly seems to be, then nothing you try will likely have immediate results. In fact, with few toddlers, between the ages of one and three, will most parents achieve instant success. Raising a toddler is a process.
It is a process of being a constantly on-duty parent, constantly teaching, constantly correcting, and constantly encouraging. You must repeat and try things over and over again. It will likely be exhausting and frustrating for you. But there is no other way.
To be a good parent with a child like your son, you must be patient and calm. You must keep doing the many good things you are already doing -- such as getting down on his level and explaining things; redirecting him; substituting other objects; and so on.
Two additional things that I would suggest are to make sure he can not hit you or pinch you when he is mad. And maybe you should learn about massage and use massages with him daily. This helps many young children to learn to be somewhat more relaxed.
But by you modeling calm, controlled, and patient behavior you will be teaching him how to be more calm and more patient.
My best advice is to just hang in there and keep doing the things that good parents do and you should see some results in time -- say a year or two. I know that must sound like a long time to wait for positive results, but you are setting the stage for the rest of his life. Help him to become more calm and patient before age four and life can be easier for both of you after that.
Any questions?
James Windell

Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers

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James Windell

Expertise

I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.

Experience

I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

Organizations
American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

Publications
I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at Jimwindell.com includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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