Dealing with Tantrums

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How to Handle Your Child’s Temper

Children are often prone to tantrums, especially between the ages of one and three. Parents need to learn how to manage tantrums effectively. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to your child’s tantrums.

Why Toddlers Have Tantrums

Children don’t usually throw tantrums because they feel like it. In fact, tantrums are a result of specific causes. Most often, tantrums are a result of feelings of fear, frustration, or anger that your child cannot verbalise. Children may also have tantrums when they are seeking attention or are uncomfortable, hungry, or tired. Tantrums may include screaming, hitting, whining, stomping, kicking and crying.
How to Deal with Tantrums

When your child throws a tantrum, you should not punish him or her, for example by yelling. On the other hand, neither should you reward such behaviour, for example by caving in to the child’s demands.

Instead, keep your toddler safe by removing him or her from the scene of the tantrum and stay calm.

Some parents say that ignoring tantrums is the best remedy, while others believe that it is better to pick up and sooth the child. Do whatever works for your child. The important thing is to remember at all times that you are the parent and the one in control of the situation.  

If your child is throwing a tantrum at home, pick her up and take her to another room. Leave her alone (but don’t lock the room) and wait for her to calm down. If you don’t want to leave her alone, you can stay nearby, without looking at her or reacting in any way. Once she calms down, talk to her about her behaviour and how it is not an acceptable way for her to communicate.
If your child is throwing a tantrum in public, take him away from the public place so that others don’t get annoyed. Once the tantrum is over, talk to him and explain why tantrums are not good. Make sure to explain to your child that his behaviour was bad, not him. Tell your child that the next time he is angry, he should tell you he is angry instead of throwing things around or crying. Repeat this to your child until he understands. 

If you find yourself stuck in a public place when your child is throwing a tantrum and you can’t leave (e.g. on a flight), you’ll have to tolerate the tantrum until it subsides. Don’t let glares from other people embarrass you.

Tantrums are a part of your child’s normal development and should not be a cause for worry. It is, however, important to manage your child’s tantrums because if you don’t, you’re essentially encouraging unreasonable and manipulative behaviour, which your child may carry with him or her into adulthood.

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