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Temper tantrums are as difficult for children to deal with as they are for those around them.
If your child tends to have temper tantrums, you can help him by:
- helping him put away her toys (Make this a fun time by making a game out of it.)
- showing him what he can do (If he can't run, show him he can walk fast.)
- focusing her attention on another activity
- trying to get him to talk about how he's feeling
- teaching him to act out his anger in an appropriate way (such as drawing or screaming into a pillow).
Almost all children have temper tantrums between the ages of 1 and 3. Tantrums usually stop by age 4.
Children may throw temper tantrums to express their feelings, frustrations, hunger, fatigue, illness, discomfort, developmental limits (such as not being able to walk or run without falling), or to simply test the rules and limits.
The best thing to do is to stay calm and ignore it.
If a temper tantrum is too violent to ignore, take your child into another room and stay with him. Remove your child from the scene if he:
- hits or kicks others
- throws things
- has a tantrum in a public place.
Temper tantrums can increase if you and your partner give in to your child or reward your child for stopping the tantrum. Any attention, even "negative" attention (such as scolding or arguing) can make the tantrum last longer. You need to be consistent and clear about the rules.
If your child has a tantrum when you say "no," try to give him choices whenever possible. If you must say "no" when it is important, be ready to deal with a tantrum.
When to call your health care provider
Call your health provider for an appointment if your child:
- cannot talk clearly or express feelings after age 3
- continues tantrums after age 4
- hurts himself or others
- has nightmares often
- loses toilet training skills
- has headaches or stomachaches often
- clings to you or your partner
- is always in a negative mood or has low self-esteem.
Just because your child has a temper tantrum does not mean he is "bad." He needs your help and understanding.
Most important, do not get upset or angry and never hit or spank your child for having a temper tantrum.