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Triumphing Over Tantrums

by Patty Hone

Before you had kids you probably witnessed an out of control child having a temper tantrum at the store. More than likely you thought or said, “If that was my child, I would ______”. Well now here you are with children of your own dealing with these exact situations. Temper tantrums are a normal part of life with toddlers and preschoolers. Almost all young children have tantrums occasionally. If handled appropriately, most children outgrow this stage by four or five.

Some children have severe tantrums and may get so upset that they vomit or hold their breath until they pass out. Although this can be extremely upsetting to the parent, the child will generally recover quickly and completely. If your child is fainting or vomiting from tantrums, you may want to consult your pediatrician to check for any other health concerns.

How you handle tantrums will have a direct impact on the frequency and intensity of the tantrums. Here are some tips on preventing tantrums and how to respond to them.

Make sure your child is not over-tired
If she is cranky or tired put her down for a nap or try doing some quiet time. You can lay down in the bed and read a book or play soothing music to help her relax.

Be consistent with your rules
If she has a tantrum and you give in to her demands, she will try this again. The more consistent you are, the more she will learn that tantrums don’t work.

When you ask your child to do something, try asking nicely first
“Mommy needs some help picking up the toys” usually goes over better than “get in here and pick up this mess!”

Don’t use bribery
Does she really deserve a cookie for going to bed on time or not misbehaving at the grocery store? By doing this you will only encourage her to break the rules to get a treat.

Don’t react to her by yelling at her to be quiet
This will probably only upset her more. Sometimes in the midst of an outburst it is hard for a child to regain composure. Help her to calm down by giving her some quiet time in her room. Offer her a cup of water to help her relax if she is hyperventilating.

Sometimes children have tantrums because they want your attention. Look at the situation. Have you been watching tv, reading a book, or talking on the phone? If your child hasn’t had much “mommy time”, she may be trying to tell you something. Once she has calmed down from her tantrum, try setting some time aside just for her.

If you are in a public place, remove the child from the situation if you can. Go to the car or the restroom until she calms down.

When to call the doctor
If you are concerned that your child’s tantrums are extreme or more frequent than they should be, call your pediatrician for help. If your child injures herself or others, destroys property, has frequent nightmares, regresses in potty training, faints, has stomach aches or anxiety attacks consult your doctor.

About The Author
Patty Hone is a wife and mommy to three kids. She is also co-owner of Justmommies is an online community of moms sharing the joys and struggles of motherhood. Message boards, chats, articles, parenting, pregnancy info and more.

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4 Comments on "Triumphing Over Tantrums"

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Diane Sower
4 years 3 months ago
I disagree with letting a baby cry it out when having a tantrum, or, when it’s bedtime for that matter. Nothing good comes from these responses. The week my daughter in law instructed me to let my grandson, 9 months now, cry it out for his nap, was the week he popped in two new teeth. What he really needed was comfort, and teething medicine, to each mom her own. After he’s been home for a few days and shows up here for some baby sitting time, I can see where he’s scratched his face and head half to pieces,… Read more »
4 years 8 months ago
My son is just over 9 months and has started with the screaming match. It is incredibly frustrating and I just want to scream back at him “SHUUUUTTTT UUUUUPPP!!” I don’t though. He recently had a fit on the changing table and I couldn’t take it anymore. I wrapped his bottom loosely in a cloth diaper, grabbed a clean disposable, wipes, and pjs and marched him out to the living room. I handed him over to his Dada and said “mommy needs a time out” and I went downstairs to the ManCave to try to calm down. It worked for… Read more »
5 years 2 months ago
My son is almost 10monrths now i have read about 4 books to how to deal with children and how to raise them up in the “Best way Possible” however when my son starts screaming at 12 am in the morning my direct reaction is shouting, i know i should never do that but sometimes it’s frustrating especially for a working mum, i always realize my misrtake and i start crying but still i can’t control my temper when he starts crying and I don’t understand what he wants……… you say :” Don’t react to her by yelling at him… Read more »
7 years 1 month ago

My son is 11 months old and so far he has fainted five times when he gets upset…I am really scared…me and my husband dedicate all of our time to him, he seems perfectly healthy, but last time thas happened was just because he didn’d want to sleep, as always.. what should I do?

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