Posted by: carmie | 2004/01/29


18mth old - temper tantrums

I have an 18th mth old who recently started going to creche. He crys when he is dropped off, but is fine during the day. When he gets home, he crys constantly, has tantrums for not getting his way. Sometimes wakes in the middle of the night and crys, or has a tantrum - sometimes it takes us about 15-20 minutes to calm him down. He has also gotten his MMR injection two weeks ago. I'm not sure if he is being naughty if so, how do you discipline an 18 mth old or his he just insecure.
Also his only words are Mama & daddy at this stage. Could it be that he is just frustrated at not being able to express himself? Please help

Expert's Reply



Language development varies a lot and if there is no concern about his hearing, I will not be too concerned about his vocabulary at this age. The unsettlement that accompanied all the recent changes may easily cause all everything that you describe. It is important not to give attention to the temper tantrums, but to be firm and remain loving. There is no need to discipline him in any other way, because he is not naughty. The book Toddler Taming by dr. Christopher Greene may be of value.

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user comments


Posted by: Belle | 2004/01/29

Hi Carmie

My son is 15 months and acts up in the same way. He does not scream anymore in the morning when we drop him off but when he gets home he does not stop crying to be picked up until he goes to bed. His latest is holding his breath while screaming until he turns purple, (passed out once) we just turn around and walk off. If you keep picking them up and trying to placate them they learn very quickly that they can wrap you around their finger and the performance will go on for longer. They need to learn to deal with things that they dont like from an early age. It teaches them independance, and ignoring them when they act up does not mean that you dont love or care for them.

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Posted by: Wendy | 2004/01/29

I know exactly what you are going through. My little one did the same thing I started going back to work and he eventually started school. I think he might be a bit insecure (its a new environment - he is not used to it - he doesn't have you around the whole day etc) and being naughty is the only way to get you to pay attention to him. My little one refused to eat unless the maid fed him and he wouldn't look in my direction for at least an hour after we got home (but they do get over it). Granted you can't just let this carry on but I used to only discipline when it was absolutely necessary. He just needs to realise again that you still love and care for him etc. Regarding the talking - my little one only started talking at about 20 - 21 months (but don't worry they do understand what you are saying to them). Some kids are just slower than others. These things generally run in the family. If he doesn't start in the next few months, then maby consider a speech therapist. I do however think that he is a bit frustrated at no being able to communicate. What I did was to partially ignore my son (he knew what everything was and what he wanted , he just went to the cupboard and fetched it and brought it to you) but I would then not give him anything until he said the word of the object that he wanted. He was just being a bit lazy (why talk when you can do it yourself?). And now he is 3 and he doesn't stop talking. So hang in there.

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