Temper Tantrums (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Most children learn other ways to deal with their anger and other strong emotions as they grow older and do not need medical treatment for temper tantrums. Ignoring the tantrum behavior and helping a young child learn how to handle his or her feelings is most often all that is needed.
Parenting workshops can be helpful for parents of a child who has temper tantrums. These types of programs often help parents become familiar with growth and developmental stages and provide strategies on how to handle difficult behavior.
Medical treatment for temper tantrums may be recommended for children who:
Talk with a doctor if:
Expect your 1- or 2-year-old to have temper tantrums. In this age group tantrums are a normal part of learning independence and mastery. If your young child has temper tantrums, try the following:
During a tantrum, you can help your child by:
Do not be alarmed if the child holds his or her breath. Children often hold their breath during a temper tantrum. They will breathe again automatically, even if they pass out. For more information, see the topic Breath-Holding Spells.
There are some things you can do to help prevent some temper tantrums. You may be able to:
In general, parents who know what to expect from their child at different ages are better able to help their child grow and develop in a healthy way. Talk with your doctor about how to help your child gain a sense of independence, boost his or her self-confidence, and handle frustration and anger.
If your child harms himself or herself or others during temper tantrums, talk with your doctor about ways to stop these behaviors. Your doctor may suggest that your child be evaluated for a behavior problem.
If your child continues to have temper tantrums, you may want to use time-outs. Time-out works best for children who understand why it is being used. A time-out removes the child from the situation, allows him or her time to calm down, and teaches the child that having a temper tantrum is not acceptable behavior.
If you need to use time-out, it will be important for you to also take time to be with your child (time-in). Time-in may help reduce your child's frustration and lead to fewer temper tantrums. Time-in is making frequent, brief contact with your child when he or she is behaving as expected. For example, you can pat your child on the head while he or she is playing quietly. This physical touch shows the child that you approve of his or her behavior. Or you can make a comment such as, "I like it when you sit quietly and look at your books when I am on the phone."
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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