The whining. The crying. The screaming. Ugh! And don’t forget kicking, hitting, biting, and holding your breath until they turn redder than a vine-ripe tomato. Ah, welcome, Mama. Welcome to the 14-month-old temper tantrum!
Typically, a 14-month-old tantrum involves crying. There are also 14-month-old screaming tantrums. And 14-month-old biting problems. Basically, if your 14-month-old is throwing tantrums, you’re in the right place to figure it out.
So, Leslie, tell us why this is happening!
First, you’re probably wondering why this curse has come upon your house. I’m here to tell you that this is very common for girls and boys. Temper tantrums come up around the ages of 1 to 3. It can linger later than that too.
You may have a kid that rarely throws a tantrum. Or you may have one like my friend Denise who sees this EVERY day. She told me she’s so grateful for hair dye because her hair is starting to gray from all this.
As frustrating as it is, temper tantrums at 14 months and 15 month old tantrums, too, are normal for development. Our little ones lack the brain development they need to make rational decisions. Tantrums are their way of expressing frustration.
Watch out, though!
Certain things may set off a tantrum. If your child is hungry, tired, or uncomfortable, they may be more prone to tantrum behavior. As their language skills aren’t quite there yet, they can’t really say what they feel, tell you what they want or need, and just basically lose their marbles over it.
Can you imagine if you were trying to tell someone what you needed, but the words wouldn’t come out? Exactly!
They just want control and the ability to communicate, but it all gets jumbled until it turns into a full-on tantrum, complete with screaming, crying, kicking, biting, and the work. But that’s ok because this phase will pass. In the meantime, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about 14-month-old temper tantrums.
Why is my 14-month-old screaming at night?
Is it a 14-month-old tantrum at bedtime? Well, that depends. You may want to look more closely.
You may have some detective work ahead if all seems well until nighttime. Your toddler may not want to be alone. It could be teething or even sleep regression. The latter may be true if your child has been sleeping well and suddenly waking at night.
Sleep regression tends to happen around the 12 to 15-month mark, mainly because your child is transitioning from naps. They’re just outgrowing that sleep pattern and forming a new one.
Yup. That’s right. So after handling the 4-month sleep regression and the one at 8 to 10 months, here’s another one. But the good news is that you can help by weening the nap time and changing to a new one. No rush here…it will resolve itself but helping with the naps and transitioning there will make things run more smoothly.
Is it sleep regression or bratty tantrum behavior?
Well, the odds are good; it’s sleep regression at bedtime. If you find your child wakes in the night and stays awake for a really long time, is fussy, can’t get themselves settled back down when they used to have no trouble doing so, won’t nap, or they cry just before they are put down for a nap or bedtime, it’s likely the sleep regression.
However, if the behavior seems odd, even for your child, check for other symptoms. It could be a cold, ear infection, or teething. Take your child’s temperature to see if all is well. And think about their behavior…are they acting like themselves with a hearty appetite? Do they seem stuffed up? All these things are worth considering.
But really, when you’re tired, how do you feel? Remember how your child acted like a baby if they missed a nap? Yeah. It’s that. So you’ll have to pull out your soothing powers to help your little one through this nighttime tantrum.
How to discipline a 14-month-old?
What can you do for 14-month-old temper tantrums? Disciplining 15-month-old and 14-month-old children can be challenging. You shouldn’t be harsh, though, you also can’t tolerate bad behavior. If your child is biting you, tell them firmly but without shouting, “No, biting hurts.”
Experts say spanking and corporal punishment to discipline your child don’t work. I wrote a whole post on that, so check it out.
You don’t have to just take it when your child throws a tantrum. Keep reading to find out what to do.
How to stop toddler tantrums and whining
The best way to stop toddler tantrums is to avoid them. Of course, you can’t avoid them altogether. Anyone that says their kid never threw a tantrum is a liar.
That reminds me of an expat I never really got along with when we lived in China. Let’s call her “Becky.” Becky would always smile smugly at the rest of us moms when we were tired and haggard from poor sleep. “My ‘Bentley’ sleeps through the night. He sleeps at 8 pm and wakes up at 7 am.”
Unfortunately, that’s not a good sign. Bentley was slow to develop.
But his mom claimed he was “perfect” because he never threw tantrums. It was a lie!
I know because I witnessed it first-hand. A few days after the expat mom group met, I was with my husband and daughters. We were shopping when we saw Becky with her husband and son across the way.
We’d actually heard them first. We’d turned to see the commotion. It was fascinating, for there was Becky, her usually prim look demolished and disheveled as she and her husband struggled with Bentley, who was kicking, screaming, and shrieking away.
My husband started laughing first, and I jabbed him in the ribs. I couldn’t help but smile too. She was not a nice person.
In any event, every parent goes through toddler tantrums at some point. It will pass, but these tips will help you survive the madness.
- Nip it in the bud with positive attention
Children do things to get our attention. When you see good behavior, make a big deal about it. “Oh, you picked up your toys! Thank you! You’re such a good helper!” Kids always thrive on our attention, good or bad, so make a fuss about good behavior. You’ll always get an encore for the behavior you acknowledge, even if it’s terrible, so make sure to reinforce the good stuff.
- Let them have some control
As toddlers are emerging people, they get upset when everyone decides everything for them. How would you feel if everyone controlled everything in your life? While you can’t let your child decide the household finances, you can let them have little choices to pick from to give the illusion of control. “Would you like to wear your sneakers or boots to Grandma’s house?” See how that gives them a choice? When it’s a choice, you avoid the favorite toddler response of “No.”
- Make your house safe
Hopefully, you baby-proofed the house ages ago. But with toddlers, they can see more. So those knives on the counter? Perhaps move them to a location where they are out of sight. Your child may be curious and ask if they see them and whine when you won’t let them touch them. They don’t make that connection yet between safety. They just feel like you’re not letting them do anything.
- Be a magician
Not literally. Well, not entirely. When you use the art of distraction, you can get them away from harping on something they can’t do or can’t have. Simply saying, “Hey, let’s go for a walk,” may be all it takes to shift gears in that toddler’s mind.
- Get to know your child’s cues
I remember my eldest threw a tantrum in the mall too. We knew why. She was exhausted. She had just been at a playgroup, and then we went to lunch and were browsing the shops when we realized the time. But it was too late. She was cranky and threw a fit. We could’ve avoided that drama if we’d just paid better attention. Live and learn!
How to act during a toddler tantrum
No matter what, no matter where you are when the tantrum happens, be like Fonzie. Stay cool.
I know it’s super-frustrating and embarrassing. You’re at Target, your toddler sees something, and you’re not getting it for them, so they scream and cry, and the entire population inside Target turns to see what’s happening.
Remember, half the people in there are mamas just like you!
And don’t forget, your little one cannot express themselves properly. So keep your anger and frustration out of it. By all means, vent later to your bestie but hold it in here. Your calmness will help your child calm down too.
Now, you have to figure out why your child is upset. If she’s hungry or tired, you need to meet those needs. However, you can either ignore it or distract yourself if it’s an outburst. At home, I’d say ignore them unless they’re unsafe. This is especially true if your child is trying to get your attention.
However, if you have refused to buy another toy for your child at the store, keep your cool and don’t explain too much. Just distract them with something else, perhaps helping you put the things you’re purchasing on the conveyor belt.
But Leslie, what do I do if my child could hurt themselves or be hurt where they are during a tantrum?
Excellent question! Safety is paramount, so grab your little darling and move them to a quiet and safe place. You’re at a restaurant, and your toddler throws a fit. Pick her up calmly and take her out of there, staying calm the whole way. You may find she’s tired and ready for bed or uncomfortable. You can deal with those things.
But if your toddler tries hurting themselves with something, you can use a time-out or hold her for several minutes to keep her from acting out. Keep up consistency here, as safety is the most important thing.
When toddlers learn that tantrums get them what they want, they’ll use them more. It’s your chance to stop this behavior. If your child continues using tantrums after 15 months, you will have to keep working to quash them. Older children that are in school can throw tantrums too. My youngest sometimes does, and we send her to her room to calm down first.
Once calm, she’s ready to talk and more receptive to the conversation. It’s definitely helpful.
Last piece of toddler tantrum advice…
Never reward a child’s tantrum. You do NOT give in. Ever. Giving in teaches your child this behavior can work on you.
And if you’ve already given in before, you can still correct the behavior. You just have to be firm and expect a bit more resistance than before. Best of luck, Mamas!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.