3 year old tantrums

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Post  Sun, Nov 10 2019, 2:27 pm
My 3 year old is mostly sweet and helpful. She is emotionally articulate. She can tell me if she's feeling frustrated, disappointed or overwhelmed. Most of the time if I tell her no she handles it really sweetly and just say "ok mommy" and moves on. People who meet her think she's a dream child and she really is.

The problem is when she isn't ok with a no. She will tantrum for up to an hour, sometimes more. Kicking, screaming, throwing herself, hitting me. I never know when the switch is going to get flipped and I find myself avoiding nos when I don't have the time for a tantrum which I'm really not ok with.

So far the way I handle it is by being loving and firm. I never change my answer because of a tantrum but I give her a lot of empathy and love. I try to stay with her to help her work through it but if she starts hitting me or her sister we leave the room and give her another chance a few minutes later. I don't always do this perfectly but I would say 80% of the time this is how I handle it.

I guess I have two questions.

1. Is this normal? I know tantrums are normal but it seems pretty extreme for a kid who is usually so communicative about the things that bother her.
2. What else can I do? Do I just wait for her to grow out of this or is there any other way to help her?
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Post  Sun, Nov 10 2019, 2:36 pm
So normal! The terrible tantrum stage can start anywhere between 2 and 5 years old. Some kids get it out of the way early, others are "dream kids" until they hit a later stage and then the tantrums can be earth shaking.

The good news, is that with your help, your child will most likely be more able to regulate herself by the time she starts preK or kindergarten. She'll see the other kids getting along and getting rewards for waiting and being polite, and she'll want those rewards too.

Three is a tough age, because they are smart and articulate enough to argue with you (and make some good points!), but in a lot of other ways they are still toddlers and easily frustrated.

All I can is that it seems like you are on the right track. Stay consistent! She needs you to not give in, no matter what. It lets her know that she is safe, and that there is a grownup in charge. When she feels out of control it is scary, and seeing you act in a calm way will help her settle down faster.

Just think of it as "B'H, my little girl is growing up, becoming more independent, and learning how to express herself." (Repeat to yourself as often as necessary.)

This too shall pass.

ETA: Do NOT compare your kids. Each kid has their own personality, and goes through stages at different ages. Your easy 3 year old could become your most difficult 4 year old.
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