Some children grow up never having had a tantrum, while other children can have tantrums on a daily basis through out their stage of development. Tantrums can start as young as twelve months and go on well into the pre-school phase.
The predisposition of one child to be prone to difficult tantrums compared with another is more to do with the individual make-up of the child rather than anything the parent may have done. However, there is much that parents can do to help their child through their tantrums, and to modify and even avoid some of them. The propensity of children to have tantrums can vary within families, where the parenting of each child is similar.
Tantrums are the way that toddlers express the frustration that builds up inside them, as they are unable to communicate their strong and overwhelming feelings. It is as if there is an internal anger or rage that boils over and has to find an outlet. Tantrums can vary from a short outburst that lasts for a few minutes to a full-blown explosion that seem to continue indefinitely. During a tantrum the child loses all control and can’t be reasoned. Typical behaviour during a tantrum can include shouting and screaming, stamping the feet, kicking, biting, pinching, head banging, throwing themselves on the floor. Tantrums can be very upsetting for both parent and child, but it is important to remember that children are not in control of their powerful emotions.
– It is important not to punish, tell off or reject your child for having a tantrum. Negative attention can prolong the tantrum. After a tantrum give the child the comfort he needs and allow him time to readjust.
– If you know, that your child is more liable to have a tantrum under certain circumstances, do your best to avoid these. For example, many children have tantrums when they are hungry or tired, or when dragged round the supermarket and see tempting items for sale.
– Do your best not to scream back or get angry with your child, because it can prolong the tantrum. If you find yourself getting angry with tantrums, it is important to seek an appropriate outlet. Talk to your partner, family, friends or consider seeing a counsellor.
– Do not try to bribe the child during a tantrum, because they are incapable of communication at this point. You may be able to discuss what happened afterwards with a child.