“Oh Nooooo”-screaming toddler –mine!!! In the grocery store-everyone is looking at me as if I did
something horrible to my sweet little child.
Why kids have temper tantrums:
Temper tantrums are a normal part of child development and are equally common in both girls and
boys. Some children have temper tantrums often and some have them rarely. Temper tantrums range
from whining, crying, kicking, screaming, hitting, and breath holding.
Temper tantrums may happen when a child is tired, hungry or uncomfortable; or because they cannot
get something that they want (ie in the grocery store, cell phone, tv clicker , etc).
Most important, keep your cool when responding to a tantrum. Try not to complicate the problem with
your own frustration or anger. Your job is helping your child to learn how to calm down so you need to
be calm also. Hitting and spanking do not help and they send a message that physical punishment and
force are OK.
If your child is in danger of hurting himself or others should be taken to a quiet, safe place to calm down.
This also applies to public tantrums.
Preschoolers and older children having a temper tantrum should be sent to their room to calm down,
and should choose their own time limit. This is empowering-kids can affect the outcome of their own
actions and therefore gain a sense of control that was lost having the tantrum. Although, if the time-out
is for negative behavior (such as hitting) while having the tantrum, a time limit should be set.
Do children have temper tantrums on purpose?
For older children it may be a learned tactic to get what they want due to a parent rewarding a child for
not crying. When a toddler, if the parent says, “ Stop crying, kicking etc. and I will give you a toy” This
type of response to a temper tantrum will encourage future temper tantrums (even into adulthood).
For most, toddler’s, temper tantrums are a way to express frustration.
Tantrums should be handled differently depending on why your child is upset. At times you may have to
provide a little comfort. Other times, its best to ignore an outburst and distract your child with a new
activity. If a tantrum happens after your child is refused something, stay calm and don’t give a lot of
explanations for why your child can’t have what he wants. Try to find something he can have or move
onto another activity with your child.
After the storm, do not reward your child by giving in. This just proves to your little one that the tantrum
was effective. Instead, verbally praise your child for regaining control.
Moms, Dads and grandparents, This is a hard job- raising a child.
I was at my daughter’s home and her nine year old son (sweet angel of a child in my opinion) responded
to a punishment by saying, “Mommie, why are you so mean?” She responded, cool as a cucumber, “I am
your mother and that is my job.” He said “Oh”.
Good job, my child!!!!
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