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Explosive tantrums & stuttering


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#1 Mel B

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:00 PM

My Mum has been commenting for a while that she was concerned about my niece, who is 3.5. After reading the thread here about threenagers I reassured her that it was all normal. However, having seen her for myself on the weekend, now I'm not so sure.

We were there for a couple of hours and twice she exploded into tantrums at very small things - like my daughter sitting on the swing that she wanted or seeing her holding a particular toy. She didn't stop to ask if she could have what she wanted, she just immediately launched into my daughter or her Mum screaming and hitting.

The other issue is she is stuttering. It started about 6 months ago. It is the type of stuttering where she can't get the word started. She will have her mouth wide open struggling to get the word out and it just won't come sad.gif

So, are these kinds of tantrums typical in a 3 year old? They weren't for my 3 year old but she is a very different kind of child and a sample of 1 isn't much to go on. It would be comforting to know that it's normal and she is likely to come out of it.

Would also love to hear any info about stuttering and whether this needs intervention. Could the stuttering be making her behaviour worse because she is so frustrated?
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#2 mango

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:33 PM

My experince isn't with a 3yo, but with a child where things weren't right. Since 10months Ri was having very explosive tantrums. Small things set him off, and it was major melt down. The only way I could deal with them was to put him on a bean bag and let it rip. If I interfered it would be worse, if I was holding him I got hurt (busted nose, headbutted, thumped). I asked about it and got the normal it what toddlers do ect. don't worry. Well I tried not to but really knew things weren't right. We had been to drs/specialists with regards to his reflux and still had no answers so put it down to frustration from that.

I ended up seeing a naturopath with him just after easter. He has told me to take him of gluten and dairy. He doesn't think Ri can actually tolerate gluten but wasn't coming up on medical tests because hes a fraction off registering, and that dairy is a 2nd tolerance that will hopefully pass once his stomach has healed.

I don't know if what your niece is doing i normal or not. But I mentioned this is because since being gluten and dairy free Ri has improved so much. I can not tell you in words how much of a diffence it has made to him. I all I can say is wub.gif I now finially have my little boy (a normal toddler with normal tantrums). And now all the people that said he was normal are actually saying wow, hes improved so much, and he looks so much better.

The other thing to look at is salicylates and the FAILSAFE diet. We did try this but it didn't help our problem much at all, but its amazing how many children actually react to fruits (through Salicylates) and the parents don't realise because sometimes its a built up reaction or just because they think they are being healthy.


#3 **** Sarah and Adam ****

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:01 PM

It actually doesnt sound that bad to me. It is so hard at 3, they dont understand so many complex situations like sharing a toy and getting it back. If the child doesnt go to childcare or a plygroup or something it may be even more pronounced as she might not be getting the opportunity to learn that you share your toy and get it back. Perhaps I have a child with issues or perhaps I dont but at 3 I think it is a bit difficult to tell.

#4 RosiePosie

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:07 PM

Could be just the 'trying three's' but might also be something to check out.. it's so hard to know at this age!

I know all the girls in my MG have been commenting over the past few weeks that their little angels have turned into demons! Lots of tantrums and quite aggressive behaviour. There's also one boy that stutters and has difficulty when another child has something he wants ~ ends in a total meltdown. He has just begun seeing a speechie. His mum took him a few months ago and was given some strategies to follow and they've been working well but of late, the stuttering and behaviours have worsened so she's resumed sessions.

I agree with Heather about lack of opportunities to mix with other kids. The young boy I mention is an only child (so far) and only really mixes with cousins who all pander to him according to his mum. I think that has an impact on his behaviour (not the stuttering).

It is really hard to make an opinion though based on what you've said. Was she tired at the time? That, of course, changes everything! laugh.gif Is she an only child? Are her parents concerned?
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#5 Mel B

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:06 PM

QUOTE(RosiePosie @ Jun 28 2010, 08:07 PM) View Post

I agree with Heather about lack of opportunities to mix with other kids. The young boy I mention is an only child (so far) and only really mixes with cousins who all pander to him according to his mum. I think that has an impact on his behaviour (not the stuttering).

It is really hard to make an opinion though based on what you've said. Was she tired at the time? That, of course, changes everything! laugh.gif Is she an only child? Are her parents concerned?


She goes to daycare 3 days a week and has 3 siblings (2 older, 1 younger, although the older ones are only there part-time). Until recently she saw my 2 kids weekly. So I don't think lack of opportunities for sharing explains it.

She sleeps pretty poorly so I think she is often tired. But speaking to Mum, who spends a lot of time there, the behaviour I saw was pretty typical.

Her parents are concerned about her behaviour, but tend to classify it as naughty and use discipline, whereas I feel there is something underlying it.

My daughter has started having speech therapy for a different issue, so I dropped that fact into conversation on the weekend snd I'm hoping they will ask me about it. I don't see them as much these days as my SIL has returned to work but I will just be alert to any opportunities to discuss their concerns and hopefully guide them towards getting a professional assessment. It's not easy to raise these things as I'm sure everyone understands!

Thanks all for your input.
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#6 shelly1170

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 08:53 AM

We used to experience similar things with Penny just before she was 2. I had so many well meaning people tell me it was normal and not to worry.

Anyway, I went to the local ECHC and had Penny formally assessed. It all started with an ASQ (Ages and Stages) questionnaire.

Basically, she had very little receptive and spoken language skills. Anything remotely different would result in a tantrum as would stopping her doing something. She also saw a child psychologist and psychiatrist as part of her assessment.

As it turned out, all she needed was speech therapy. She's nearly 3 1/2 and is usually a pleasure to be around with very few real tantrums. We have learned how best to manage her behaviour which is usually as simple as telling her BEFORE we do something so she feels like she has some control and isn't being "blind sided".

Penny also goes to daycare 2 days per week. Up until last week she was also going to preschool but we have recently removed her. One of the reasons is that they let Penny basically do whatever she wanted - pushing in, not finishing tasks etc. These are very important things that we worked on at home and that daycare also enforces. As a result, Penny was behind the kids at preschool but keeping up at daycare. Continuity of discipline is a very important thing so perhaps suggest your SIL talks to daycare about the issues at home.

I can't recommend a visit to the ECHC for a formal assessment highly enough. I think that some daycare will also help organise this (our centre is a privately run commercial centre and they do). Speech issues can have such a profound effect on a child's behaviour... not being able to communicate is so disempowering.
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#7 chelley

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 10:29 AM

I would say that her difficulty expressing herself combined with her natural temperament is resulting in her lashing out.

Most children have tantrums at her age - their systems are being overloaded and they are trying to make sense of relationships, interactions and their environment around them.

A lot of children who have speech problems display outward signs of frustration.

Combine the two and her behaviour would be explainable.

I would suggest to her speech therapy. She has nothing to lose and her daughter has everything to gain
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#8 Mel B

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 03:21 PM

Well it is timely that I asked for your input as my SIL was visiting today and she raised the issue of my niece's behaviour. She described it as walking over a field of landmines, because you never know when she is going to explode, or exactly what it is that has set her off.

I asked about the stuttering but she brushed it aside and said it is rare and only happens when she is unhappy or tired. That wasn't my experience as I saw her first thing in the morning when she was very happy and it was very noticeable.

I think I will recommend a visit to the ECHN and suggest that she mention the stuttering to them too. Hopefully they will point her in the right direction. It is so rare for my SIL to reach out for help, I really want her to follow through. Unfortunately I don't think her daycare is that great, so I don't think they'll be able to help her much.

She says my brother is putting it down to their lifestyle, because the older siblings only come every 2nd weekend, so there are a lot of changes. Apparently her behaviour is often worse towards the end of one of their visits - but that could just be from sharing the attention I suppose. But she does go from being the oldest child 12 days a fortnight, to one of the babies the other 2 days, so that could have an impact I suppose?

Sigh, my SIL is really struggling, and she has a pretty challenging 15 mth old to deal with as well. We don't see eye to eye on a lot of things but when she is looking for advice I really wish I had something worthwhile to contribute!

Thanks everyone for your help.
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#9 chelley

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 07:16 PM

It sounds like you are doing the best you can to support her. I hope she takes your advice
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