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What to Do when Your Child Throws a Temper Tantrum


A temper tantrum is a child's means of expressing frustration and anger. This is most common to kids below two years who are experimenting on ways to get their message straight. However, dealt with incorrectly, the child could end up using temper tantrums to manipulate the people surrounding them. Sometimes, it can even be carried through adulthood (e.g. the idiom "throwing a fit").

For parents with children prone to throwing temper tantrums, here are some ways to do.

Remain Calm

The worst thing a parent can do is to be over reactive to a child's temper tantrum; especially when you are in a public place (it is as if the parent is throwing another tantrum into the mix).  Handling a tantrum properly requires parents to stay calm and not meet the child's anger. Take a deep breath and try to compose yourself before deciding how to respond.

Identify the Cause

A child does not necessarily throw a tantrum just to get things his way. Sometimes they just want to tell you that something is wrong. As parents, it is your job to find out what triggered your child's outburst. They could be having digestive problems or are experiencing pain. Check their temperature too.

Do not Give In

Giving in to your child's demands being made with a tantrum is tantamount to allowing yourself to be held hostage by them. As a result, the child will be encouraged to use it again and again. If there is nothing wrong with your child and your child simply wants something, ignore their behavior or leave them in their rooms.  Let them get the message that yelling and wailing will not give them what they want.

Do not Punish

Punishing the child, by spanking them for example, will not calm them down. Instead, it will just worsen the situation; it may cost your relationship with the child. Be gentle but firm as you speak to them.

Be Diplomatic

Let the child understand that you will speak to him/her only when his/her tantrum is over. This way, your child knows that you are firm on not giving in to his/her demands but at the same time is reassured that you are going to listen afterwards. When the child has calmed down, keep your word and discuss your child's concerns.

Be Proactive

If your child usually throws tantrums in supermarkets, malls or other public places, you must be prepared before going to these places. Orient the child to the things you expect when inside the premises and remind them when you are there.

To effectively handle a child's tantrum will mean a lot of patience and understanding. As this is very common to every child, the challenge now is for the parents to get through it calmly without compromising the child's growth and development. Diligent adherence to these methods will help achieve this while strengthening the relationship of the parent and child.

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