Tantrums – Toddlers

Almost all parents undergo the frustration of the temper tantrum, especially in the toddler years; thus the familiar term, “the terrible twos”. Understanding the reason for the temper tantrums and knowing whether this is appropriate although unwanted behavior for your child in his age bracket will help you tolerate and hopefully decrease the frequency or eliminate entirely the dreaded temper tantrums.

In the toddler years (around the age of two, the child is becoming more and more his own person. He is expressing anger and frustration when his needs are not met, much as he did as an infant, with a hungry tummy or a wet diaper. The difference is that he is maturing and is able to react to what he does not want. This is very normal behavior. The question arises as to whether he is reacting to a real discomfort or something soothing that he does not need or is not good for the child.

As the child becomes more independent, he learns what he wants and when he wants it. This does not mean the child knows what is best for him at any given time. There are a number of methods parents have learned that are tried and true methods to resolve the tantrum in the toddler tantrum age.

The frustrations which ignite a tantrum are often unfulfilled “wants” of the moment; He must do this or he can’t do that, or have that. When the authoritative parent or teacher says “no”, the tantrum develops.

It can help early on in the young childhood years to eliminate the tantrum by distracting the child from his distress; try offering to hold his hand and go read a book, to pick out a pretty red shirt, or to eat a bite of fruit. Many times, this interesting (but positive) distraction will quell the tantrum.

Tantrums can also be prevented by proper rest and feeding. We all know the cranky feeling we ourselves can get when we try to keep going and going. If nap or lunch time for your little one is imminent, delay that trip to the supermarket. Have meals on a regular basis followed by a rest time, nap, or time out. Delay longer outings for when the child is well fed and rested. Your child will be more cooperative and take more interest in his surroundings and of course, be less irritable and less subject to tantrums.

Should the temper tantrum be unavoidable and occur, ignoring the behavior may be your best solution. Do not give in to the child’s whims and thus reinforce the intolerable behavior. If possible, isolate the child as soon as possible but keep a close eye on him. He will wear himself out and soon tire of the behavior. He is not able to reason with at this early age but he is old enough to not reinforce negative behavior. In your child’s best interest, train him early that unreasonable behavior will not result in rewards.

To sum up the temper tantrum; try to avoid the tantrum by having your child fed well on a regular schedule and followed by a rest period. Do not tire the child. When the temper tantrum does present itself, allow the emotions to cry themselves out but not by giving in to the child’s desire.
With patience and keeping a regular schedule, these “terrible two’s” tantrums can become a positive learning experience for both parent and child.

Should one feel that one’s own parenting procedures are not producing results consult with your physician for reassurance about the child’s behavior. Reading a professional’s advice on handling temper tantrums in toddlers will give you ideas and methods for handling the tantrum and living through this period in your youngster’s life.

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