Have a tantrum

Temper Tantrums (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth

Temper tantrums can be frustrating for any parent. But instead of looking at them as disasters, treat tantrums as opportunities for education.

Why Do Kids Have Tantrums?

Temper tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath-holding spells. They're equally common in boys and girls and usually happen between the ages of 1 to 3.

Some kids may have tantrums often, and others have them rarely. Tantrums are a normal part of child development. They're how young children show that they're upset or frustrated.

Tantrums may happen when kids are tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. They can have a meltdown because they can't have something they want (like a toy or candy) or can’t get someone to do what they want (like getting a parent to pay attention to them immediately or getting a sibling to give up the tablet). Learning to deal with frustration is a skill that children gain over time.

Tantrums are common during the second year of life, when language skills are developing. Because toddlers can't always say what they want or need, and because words describing feelings are more complicated and develop later, a frustrating experience may cause a tantrum. As language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease.

Toddlers want independence and control over their environment — more than they can actually handle. This can lead to power struggles as a child thinks "I can do it myself" or "I want it, give it to me." When kids discover that they can't do it and can't have everything they want, they may have a tantrum.

How Can We Avoid Tantrums?

Try to prevent tantrums from happening in the first place, whenever possible. Here are some ideas that may help:

  • Give plenty of positive attention. Get in the habit of catching your child being good. Reward your little one with praise and attention for positive behavior. Be specific about praising behaviors you want to see happen more often (such as, “I like the way you said please and waited for your milk” or “Thank you for sharing the blocks with your sister. ”)
  • Try to give toddlers some control over little things. Offer minor choices such as "Do you want orange juice or apple juice?" or "Do you want to brush your teeth before or after taking a bath?" This way, you aren't asking "Do you want to brush your teeth now?" — which of course will be answered "no." Allow control when it doesn’t really matter. Instead of struggling over an outfit your child puts on that doesn’t match, for example, consider whether this may be an opportunity to allow self-expression and independence and if it really makes a difference given the day's schedule.
  • Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach. This makes struggles less likely. Obviously, this isn't always possible, especially outside of the home where the environment can't be controlled.
  • Distract your child. Try offering something else in place of what they can't have. Start a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one (for example, if your child is jumping on the couch, ask them to come help you “cook” by offering a plastic container and wooden spoon. Then you can praise them for helping or following directions, rather than having them start a tantrum or refuse to get down). Or simply change the environment. Take your toddler outside or inside or move to a different room.
  • Help kids learn new skills and succeed. Help kids learn to do things. Praise them to help them feel proud of what they can do. Also, start with something simple before moving on to more challenging tasks.
  • Consider the request carefully when your child wants something. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn't. Choose your battles. It's even OK to change your mind if you originally said no — but find a way to allow the desired treat as a reward for good behavior.
  • Know your child's limits. If you know your toddler is tired, it's not the best time to go grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand. Hungry kids are more likely to demand food in the store than children who have just had a meal (just like adults!).

What Should I Do During a Tantrum?

Keep your cool when responding to a tantrum. Don't complicate the problem with your own frustration or anger. Remind yourself that your job is helping your child learn to calm down. So you need to be calm too.

Tantrums should be handled differently depending on why your child is upset. Sometimes, you may need to provide comfort. If your child is tired or hungry, it's time for a nap or a snack. Other times, its best to ignore an outburst or distract your child with a new activity.

If a tantrum is happening to get attention from parents, one of the best ways to reduce this behavior is to ignore it. If a tantrum happens after your child is refused something, stay calm and don't give a lot of explanations for why your child can't have what they want. Move on to another activity with your child.

If a tantrum happens after your child is told to do something they don't want to do, it's best to ignore the tantrum. But be sure that you follow through on having your child complete the task after they're calm.

Kids who are in danger of hurting themselves or others during a tantrum should be taken to a quiet, safe place to calm down. This also applies to tantrums in public places.

If a safety issue is involved and a toddler repeats the forbidden behavior after being told to stop, use a time-out by sitting the child on a designated chair or in the corner for just a few minutes. Be nearby so that you can supervise, but do not interact until they are calm. Be consistent. Don't give in on safety issues.

Preschoolers and older kids are more likely to use tantrums to get their way if they've learned that this behavior works. For school-age kids, it's appropriate to send them to their rooms to cool off while paying little attention to the behavior.

Let your child know that you will tell them when the time-out is over and that the sooner they are calm and quiet, the sooner it will end. This is empowering — kids can affect the outcome by their own actions, and thus gain a sense of control that was lost during the tantrum.

Do not reward your child's tantrum by giving in. This will only prove to your little one that the tantrum was effective.

Consider making a “chill out” or “calm down” spot in your home (some teachers use this in preschool, as well). Use a soft cushion and provide books, a stuffed animal, some soft music, and other calming activities in a place where others won’t disturb the child. Encourage your child to go to the spot when angry or upset — not as a punishment, but as a choice and an opportunity to learn to calm down and control frustration.

What Should I Do After a Tantrum?

Praise your child for regaining control — for example, "I like how you calmed down."

Kids may be especially vulnerable after a tantrum when they know they've been less than adorable. Now (when your child is calm) is the time for a hug and reassurance that your child is loved, no matter what. If your child is old enough to discuss the problem, help them come up with some other ways they might have expressed their frustration.

Make sure your child gets enough sleep. With too little sleep, kids can become hyper, disagreeable, and have extremes in behavior. Getting enough sleep can greatly reduce tantrums. Find out how much sleep is needed at your child’s age. Most kids' sleep needs fall within a set range of hours based on their age, but each child is unique.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Talk to your doctor if:

  • You often feel angry or out of control when you respond to tantrums.
  • You keep giving in to try to avoid your child acting out.
  • The tantrums cause a lot of bad feelings between you and your child or you and your partner.
  • The tantrums happen more often, are more intense, or last longer.
  • Your child often self-harms or hurts others.
  • Your child seems very disagreeable, argues a lot, and hardly ever cooperates.

Your doctor also can check for any health problems that may add to the tantrums, although this is not common. Sometimes, hearing or vision problems, a chronic illness, language delays, or a learning disability can make kids more likely to have tantrums.

Remember, tantrums usually aren't cause for concern and generally stop on their own. As kids mature, they gain self-control. They learn to cooperate, communicate, and cope with frustration. Less frustration and more control will mean fewer tantrums — and happier parents.

Temper tantrums - NHS

Temper tantrums usually start at around 18 months and are very common in toddlers. Hitting and biting are common, too.

One reason for this is toddlers want to express themselves, but find it difficult. They feel frustrated, and the frustration comes out as a tantrum.

Once a child can talk more, they're less likely to have tantrums. By the age of 4, tantrums are far less common.

These ideas may help you cope with tantrums when they happen.

Toddler tantrum tips

Find out why the tantrum is happening

Your child may have a tantrum because they're tired or hungry, in which case the solution could be simple.

They could be feeling frustrated or jealous, maybe of another child. They may need time, attention and love, even though they're not being very loveable.

Understand and accept your child's anger

You probably feel angry yourself at times, but unlike your child, you can express it in other ways.

Find a distraction

If you think your child is starting a tantrum, find something to distract them with straight away. This could be something you can see out of the window.

For example, you could say, "Look! A cat". Make yourself sound as surprised and interested as you can.

Wait for it to stop

Losing your temper or shouting back will not end the tantrum. Ignore the looks you get from people around you and concentrate on staying calm.

Do not change your mind

Giving in will not help in the long term. If you've said no, do not change your mind and say yes just to end the tantrum.

Otherwise, your child will start to think tantrums can get them what they want. For the same reason, it does not help to bribe them with sweets or treats.

If you're at home, try going into another room for a while. Make sure your child cannot hurt themselves first.

Be prepared when you're out shopping

Tantrums often happen in shops. This can be embarrassing, and embarrassment makes it harder to stay calm.

Keep shopping trips as short as possible.  Involve your child in the shopping by talking about what you need and letting them help you.

Try holding your child firmly until the tantrum passes

Some parents find firmly holding their child while they're having a tantrum helpful, but it can be hard to hold a struggling child.

It usually works when your child is more upset than angry, and when you're feeling calm enough to talk to them gently and reassure them.

Video: what's the best way to deal with tantrums? (18 to 30 months)

This video looks at the best ways of dealing with tantrums.

Media last reviewed: 2 March 2021
Media review due: 2 March 2024

Hitting, biting, kicking and fighting

Most young children occasionally bite, hit or push another child. Toddlers are curious and may not understand that biting or pulling hair hurts.

This does not mean your child will grow up to be aggressive. Here are ways to teach your child that this behaviour is unacceptable.

Do not hit, bite or kick back

This could make your child think it's acceptable to do this. Instead, make it clear that what they're doing hurts and you will not allow it.

Talk to them

Children often go through phases of being upset or insecure and express their feelings by being aggressive. Finding out what's worrying them is the first step to being able to help.

Show them you love them, but not their behaviour

Children may be behaving badly because they need more attention. Show them you love them by praising good behaviour and giving them plenty of cuddles when they're not behaving badly.

Help them let their feelings out in another way

Find a big space, such as a park, and encourage your child to run and shout.

Letting your child know that you recognise their feelings will make it easier for them to express themselves without hurting anyone else.

You could try saying things like: "I know you're feeling angry about… ". As well as showing you recognise their frustration, it will help them be able to name their own feelings and think about them.

For more help

If you're seriously concerned about your child's behaviour, talk to your health visitor or GP.

The Family Lives website has more information and advice about dealing with tantrums

You could also phone its free helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to a trained family support worker.

Page last reviewed: 7 November 2022
Next review due: 7 November 2025

How to throw tantrums correctly! - Nadezhda Zamolodskaya - LiveJournal

Sometimes it happens. Oooh! And always like a bolt from the blue. Ba-baaah! And you are already on the battlefield. Whack whack! Poor, unhappy, weeping. Shmyk-shmyk! Hysterics!!!

Today a friend called and bellowed into the phone: “How much can you!? Tired of everything. I can't do this anymore!" I know for myself WHAT this tone means and what will happen next. Throw a tantrum at her husband. He will get it right away for everything: both for coming late, and for the fact that the food in the refrigerator is over, and that she has not seen flowers for a whole month, for what she wants to go to the sea, to the cinema, to the forest and a new hat. Wholesale! nine0003

And here each of us has our own style. Someone presses, and someone presses on pity. Personally, my pressure is enough for 5 minutes, and then the wet story begins.

Men are somehow lost in these moments, although they could have gotten used to it! I remember in childhood, when our mother cried, we clung to her, hugged and howled: “Well, mother, well, don’t, well, calm down . ..”. All children do this. Smart men do the same.

Why do we cry? nine0018

Our tears are our last hope to pay attention to what has accumulated inside. Tears - from impotence. The arguments are over, the words too, but there is still no result! So we resort from such hopelessness to heavy artillery, or, as someone loudly put it, to a nerve agent. No wonder, apparently, the song sings: “Our wives-cannons are loaded!”

And yet, no matter how delightful the process itself is, we need a RESULT!

Rules for managing a successful tantrum

1. Tantrum is a mutually beneficial process. For you - a discharge of emotions. For him, it is an educational process. And this is very useful, even if he does not think so. But we know what we are doing!

2. Do not suppress the desire to explode. Don't think about the reaction of your family. When you splash out in small portions, then for them this is a preventive dose, like a vaccination. And you, in comparison with them, have almost a real illness. nine0003

3.Before you explode, determine the goal that you want to achieve (more attention, joint rest, buying a new sofa or shoes). This will help you not go too far. What if he proposes a divorce?

4. In the course of the “discussion” , you should not compare your man with others : “And my husband gave Lyusya a Merc for her birthday, and I’m all on a Mazda!”. He can easily answer something like: "Well, go and look for this one!". And he will be right. nine0003

5. Watch the words! A word is a formed thought, and thoughts attract events. It will not be superfluous to follow both the thought flow and the words. They are remembered for a long time. Therefore, say that you love him, that he is good, but you can’t do this anymore, because ... and here specifically: 1, 2 and 3 of what you got.

6. We women are weak. For most of our daily lives, we try to be strong, but at some point we can no longer stand it. And here tantrum is the lifeline of our true femininity . Think about it!

7. You know, sometimes it seems to me that a man subconsciously may even like that we sometimes cry. A medieval knight suddenly wakes up in them, ready to protect his Lady of the Heart from troubles and hardships. And who does not dream of becoming a hero!?

8. Don't throw tantrums too often. You can lose the freshness of perception. If we do this more than once or twice a month, then our husbands, men will begin to think that everything has become very bad, and where they feel bad, they don’t want to live! nine0003

9. Don't fight your fortune! Life is a sinusoid, and you just have to accept it.

10. To the bottom! Imagine that you are quickly plunging into the water. To emerge to the surface, you need to dive to the very bottom and push off. Hysteria is the very bottom. Let yourself sink gently. Stay in apathy, depression for a day or two. Allow yourself to do nothing and think of nothing. You look, and the hysteria will pass by. nine0003

11. Don't flirt! When we throw out all our accusations, we unwittingly or intentionally want to make a man feel guilty. At the same time, we ourselves play the role of the Executioner, and we impute the role of the Victim to the opposite side. Here lies the danger! In our dual world, this couple can very easily change places, and you already play the role of the Victim.

“During a quarrel with my husband, I always go too far. I scold him, weep, I blame him. He endures, he endures. Then suddenly he gets up and walks away. Without words. And here I’m already starting to scold myself for scolding him…”. Typical role reversal Victim-Executioner. nine0017 Here it is better to under- than over-!

And from personal experience

What movie is complete without a good female tantrum! Here it is - the climax, the intensity of passions! Honestly, I hate watching these scenes! Especially with my husband! I feel that my individuality with exclusivity somehow suffers a lot . .. And this should not be allowed in any case! And together we will watch an action movie.

Related joke:
2 x 2 will be = 5 if you throw a tantrum and cry a little!

A good example of a successful hysteria!

And what is the right way to behave when HE throws a tantrum?
Share your experience!!!

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