I wanted to comment on something that seriously posted in another thread:
"If possible, you want to stop the daily melt downs. They become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy after a while - both because of habit and because they are affecting the way his brain works. The more often he rages, the more likely it is that he will rage because that pattern is being reinforced in his developing brain. This is why it's important with young kids to try to intervene effectively and early."
I am making a separate thread as I didn't want to hijack that one. I find this a very interesting point and something I have not considered before. My son does not "rage", exactly, but what he does is gripe, whine and complain a lot, often involving intense crying. I find it hard to understand "why" he does it since he is just making himself unhappy but I think it probable that that too is affecting his developing brain and creating a habit. Does anyone else identify with this phenomenon?
Here's an example from today. We went to town where there was lots of special events and people selling various things in the market square and on the streets to attract the tourists (today is a public holiday - Bastille day - and the local town is very heavily visited by tourists in the summer). J saw a plastic gun that shoots bubbles that he began insisting he have. Before that he had been going on about wanting another particular toy called a toupi (don't ask ) It's a holiday, I had some money with me, so I told him, okay you can have the gun but you cannot have anything else today, no other toys or things bought for you, do you understand? He nods happily, yes he understands. For the next half hour or so he plays ecstatically with the new gun, racing round the market square shooting bubbles in the air and sometimes at people, who all laugh indulgently or with real pleasure at seeing a child in such full enjoyment - the sun is shining and it's a holiday... Then, of course, as all things end, the bubble mixture runs out. No more bubbles, he loses interest. And begins saying he wants a toupi. I tell him that he cannot have one, as he had agreed.
The conversation then runs something like this:
J: (Dramatically twisting his body about and crying intensely): "OH NO!! Oh no, it's not possible. I WANT A TOUPI! You're naughty, you're a bad mummy, you shut up!! A TOUPI, A TOUPI, OH NO!!"
He then throws the gun on the floor (it survives, despite being manufactured in China) and runs off round the corner where he refuses to come, crying for the next five minutes. I go to the car, which is parked nearby and he eventually comes, crying and protesting.
This kind of incident is basically repeated EVERY time J wants something he cannot have, or every time he hears about someone getting something he can't or doesn't have, or even when told about something grown ups are doing but which is not for children... In between, he laughs, plays, encounters the world with intense joie de vivre and energy until... the next complaint and "tantrum" (I call them tantrums but they are perhaps not as extreme as that - I mean bouts of crying or complaining).
What is all this about? Why does he have to make himself so upset for no reason at all, often for things he doesn't actually want or care about in any way...? And the best way to deal with it, I wonder??