Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Isabel | 2012/06/29


3 year old and tantrums

Hallo dr.

My son turned 3 in April and still throws tantrums about certain things. Our background: he was diagnosed with auditory neuropathy last year in February and got hearing aids for both ears before his 2nd birthday. I think his speech is a bit behind (we are supposed to take him to a speech therapist, but it don''t happen very often - or I suppose often enough). He also got a sister in June last year.

I don''t know if above is all reasons for insecurity and frustration that leads to the tantrums. In the morning I can''t pick him up when he awakes, only his dad can do that. When I came in the bedroom (he sleeps in his own bed in our room) and he sees it''s me, he starts shouting, nee, nee and push me away. Since I was pregnant with our daughter and it got to be to difficult to bath him, my husband took over almost all the duties concerning him - feeding him, bathing him and dressing him. Lately my husband and I leave the same time in the mornings (before this change, my husband left a bit later than we did) and he cries and throw a tantrum every morning because he wants to ride with his dad and not with me. But when I drop him at creche, he is fine and loving towards me and in the afternoon he is always glad to see me.

He throws a tantrum every morning when my husband dresses him. He don''t want to take of his pajamas. And in the evening he don''t want to put it on... My husband is very strict with him and hits him much easier than me. I know I''m a put of a pushover, but because he was 2 month premature (he weighed 890 g and had to stay in the NNICU for 68 days before he could go home - he had to be 2 kg before they would discharge him) I know I''m overprotective and too soft with him.

So my question is, must we take him for play therapy or something like that to understand why he has this tantrums, why he behaves like he does towards me and is so clingy with his dad (my husband almost can''t leave the room, then he is in tears and frantic because I think he thinks my husband is going somewhere and is leaving him behind). It is also a big struggle to get him to eat - especially in the evenings. When I bring him his food he almost always throw a tantrum and in the end I give him a slice of bread with peanutbutter and syrup or something like that.

My husband and I can''t agree on if we must hit him when he throws a tantrum or just leave him. I generally don''t hit him if he throws a tantrum because he doesn''t want to eat (I''m scared I will make his ''not eating'' worse if I hit him). This morning, for example, I tried to dress him and he kept on kicking at me and then I gave him a hiding.

So, must we take him for therapy?
Must we give him a hiding when he throws a tantrum (even when he don''t want to eat)?
Must we worry because its such a struggle to get him to eat? (he weighs about 13,3 kg)
I know we must take him for more speech therapy, but it is really difficult on one hand with our work and to get a appointment with the speech therapist that suits us and our sons schedule at creche.

I don''t know anymore and feel that I might be a reason for some of his problems because I''m not that strict with him. All of this also create a lot of tension between my husband and I (we are not very good at handling conflict).

Expert's Reply



Temper tantrums are common in children of this age. Your son has very reason to feel a bit insecure at this time.Are you certain that he can hear normally and what about the times when his hearing aids are out? He has a sister who is taking up some of your attention. He is very close to his dad, but has separation anxiety when he leaves for work. Then he is dropped off at a creche. Hidings will only aggravate this problem and cause him to feel more insecure and his frustration will increase. It is difficult to be sure where to go from here because the usual recommnedations about ignoring his tantrums and putting him in his room when he starts to perform may aggravate this problem. Also you do need to take him to see the speech therapist soon. It may well be best to take him for play therapy as well.

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