Written By: Brenda Davis
Even the best behaved toddler has an occasional temper tantrums. A tantrum can range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, biting, and hitting. They’re equally common in boys and girls. Some children may experience regular tantrums, whereas for other children, tantrums may be rare.
Toddlers are trying to master the world and when they aren’t able to accomplish a task, they often use one of the only tools at their disposal for venting frustration – a tantrum. There are several basic causes of tantrums that are familiar to parents everywhere: The child is seeking attention or is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. In addition, tantrums are often the result of children’s frustration with the world. Frustration is an unavoidable part of child’s’ life as he/she is learning how people, objects, and their own bodies work.
Tantrums are common during the second year of life, a time when children are acquiring language. Toddlers generally understand more than they can express. As language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease.
- Safeguard your child. Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach which will make struggles less likely to develop over them.
- Distract your child. Take advantage of your little one’s short attention span by offering a replacement for the coveted object or beginning a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one.
- Choose your battles. Consider the request carefully when your child wants something. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Accommodate when possible to avoid an outburst.
- Assess motivation of behavior. Make sure your child isn’t acting up simply because he or she isn’t getting enough attention. To a child, negative attention (a parent’s response to a tantrum) is better than no attention at all.
- Acknowledge the good your child does. Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good (“time in”), which means rewarding your little one with attention and praise for positive behavior. This will teach them that acting appropriately makes mommy and daddy happy and proud, and they’ll be anxious to do it again and again.
This article was produced by The Family Life Education Committee a department of The Family Life Project . Visit our website for more articles and free email subscription. Our website is http://www.familylifeproject.us