Dealing with Tantrums
Young children sometimes throw themselves on the floor, shake, yell, and scream! Temper tantrums usually occur when a child is frustrated and loses self-control. It is a good idea to prevent tantrums, when possible. Be alert to signs of your child's growing frustration.
When a child does become angry and a temper tantrum occurs, the most important thing you can do is to avoid physical punishment. Hitting or spanking a child for acting aggressively or doing something wrong is guaranteed to backfire. Don't demonstrate behavior you don't want your child to imitate.
Instead, accept your child's anger. Let your child know his feelings are appropriate. But if the anger is being expressed in inappropriate ways, suggest other ways the child can express her feelings. For example, talking is a good way to get rid of feelings of anger and frustration. When your child becomes worked up, encourage her to use her words, rather than hitting, grabbing, or some other physical action.
When a child resorts to a tantrum to express his needs, your response is critical. This is the time your child needs you the most. He needs you to remain calm. He needs to be comforted, and he needs your help to regain control. Try ignoring the tantrum if you can. Take your own time out if you need to. If the tantrum cannot be ignored, try giving your child a time out, a chance to cool down. Or remove your child from the situation. Hold your child closely, and talk softly to your child. Try to figure out what your child's wants and needs are.
Anger is a feeling we all have. It is normal to feel angry. And it can be frightening. Parents need to help children learn how to manage their anger and how to channel it into positive action. Tantrums are powerful tools for children to use to get their needs met. If you give into tantrums, whining, and other negative methods of expressing anger, your child will find it hard to understand other points of view, to develop assertive ways of dealing with anger, and to relate well to other people.