Understanding Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums range from whining, crying, screaming to breath holding to the point of passing out, kicking, hitting, or seemingly self harmful behavior. Contrary to what has been said, spanking, yelling, arguing, begging, and reasoning do not work. There are a few basic causes that are familiar: the child is tired, hungry, bored, angry, uncomfortable, is seeking attention or even over stimulated. Deal confidently with your child’s temper tantrums, restore peace and teach good child behavior using Destiny’s guidance and advice.

A temper tantrum is an immature way of expressing anger and frustration, but it is a normal part of a child’s development. The child’s self control is still in the beginning processes so when they can not accomplish a task, the child uses one of the only tools they have to vent anger- a tantrum. We need to teach them that anger is normal but, must be channeled appropriately. A child wants a sense of independence, this can create a power struggle. “No, I can do it myself, I need it, I want it, give it to me.” Giving them choices at the store and in activities in the home will help them feel independent.

Children need to be taught that good behavior gets attention and bad behavior gets ignored. Your responses to the tantrum will determine how many there are in the future and how difficult they will be. To a child negative attention often is better than no attention, so make sure the child is not pitching the tantrum to simply get attention because they are not getting enough.

Most people will give in to the tantrum rather than listen to the outburst. Don’t give in. I know it’s hard but, it’s a much better idea not to, because the child sees that the tantrum works to get what he/she wants and they will do it all the time. But, people are watching? Let them, those with children will understand and sympathize, those without children, who cares! What do they know.

The best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and remain calm. Children feed off your emotions. The more stressed out and upset you are, the more you fuel the tantrum. Some children will calm down if you hold them. Others will kick and hit you and with these children try walking away for a minute or two. At first it will get worse, the child will increase the tantrum to get your attention but, when it does not work they will settle down. The child may be scared of their uncontrollable anger and frustration. You can help by putting into words what they are going through.

Unfortunately, tantrums are a natural part of the growing process children go through. Usually temper tantrums occur in children 2 to 4 years of age. If the tantrums persist beyond four years of age or the child really hurts himself or others you should seek advice from your children’s health care provider.