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Author Bill Bounds
Submitted 20-12-2010

No matter what words of wisdom come from me or anyone else you receive advice from, two-year-olds will sometimes scream despite our best efforts to stop it. This is a fact. As parents, we simply have to figure out how to deal with it.

In our case, I’m finding my daughter’s most significant impossible-to-control melt-downs seem to be due not so much to her wanting something we won’t allow her to have or us forcing something on her she doesn’t want, but more to do with her not truly knowing what she wants or being torn between wanting one thing and needing another (For example, when she’s tired and needing to go to sleep but wanting to stay up or when she’s aware she needs her diaper changed but doesn’t want it done.) This clash of wants and needs or her just being in a mood where she doesn’t want or like absolutely anything, so everything annoys her, causes temper tantrums that can be measured on the Richter Scale. 

What’s worse; these tantrums escalate quickly when we try to fix whatever is wrong. It’s as though she recognizes we’re just trying to quiet her and that offends her, which infuriates her. 

Recently, I’ve discovered that simply switching the scenery a bit can be a big help. If I’m the one trying to get our girl ready for bed and it’s escalating out of control, sometimes just tagging out with my wife and having her take over (or the reverse if my wife is the one struggling initially) seems to be just enough of a change to cause our girl take a breath and start to calm. I’ll leave her in her room and then send the wife in after a moment. She’ll hold our girl for a bit to start the depressurization and then proceed to work through what was causing the escalation in the first place. 

It certainly doesn’t work all the time. Most definitely, there are some melt-downs that just can’t be quieted, but it does help on some of these. If nothing else, it splits the tantrums up so one of us doesn’t always have to take them on solo.