How To Handle Temper Tantrums – Tips On When It Is Normal or Needs Diagnosis and Treatment

temper tantrumsNot all temper tantrums are attempts by children to manipulate you.  Some children have temper tantrums because their is an imbalance somewhere. This is the reason when discipline isn’t always the best way to help some children with their tantrums. Trandrums usually develop when children are making spurts in development that our out pacing their ability to cope or have self control. 

Some Temper Tantrum Statistics

  • 87% of 18 to 24-month old children have tantrums right at the time they acquire a bit of autonomy language but can’t express feelings well yet.
  • 91% of 30 to 36-month olds have tantrums because they have the ability to imagine large things but are only capable or allowed to have some ones.
  • 50%+ of 42 to 48 months olds have tantrums because they are stressed and/or tired.

Life is frustrating for kids because their development is rapidly evolving. One day they are climbing, opening things, or scribbling to their parents delight and the next day their parents are trying to stop them from hurting themselves climbing,  to stop opening and breaking things, and to stop scribbling and ruining the walls!

Is It Normal or Is There and Imbalance?

Is your child hungry? Tired? Stressed? Uncomfortable? In pain? or is there something larger going on that needs to be diagnosed and treated?

  • Children with sensory integration disorder have trouble with extreme sounds, feelings, or motions
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder bring on tantrums at stress levels other children could tolerate.

Knowing When Tantrums Too Extreme and Too Frequent

  • When the frequency is greater than one a day
  • When the duration is more than about 5 minutes
  • When they persistence after the child is 6 years old.

How to Avoid Temper Tantrums

Knowing your child’s temperament, needs, and avoiding their anger triggers can prevent a lot of tantrums. Start to look for what triggered the tantrum. Is it because they were tired, frustrated, or jealous? Or are they having skill deficits that are putting them into a rage. Diagnose and treat any developmental problems with the help of your doctor. So try to avoid the triggers or distract your children when they are about to get angry by making them laugh or feel more calm. Sometimes the tantrum will happen anyway. Once they are off and in the throes of anger, your attempts at talking to them or scolding them are useless. So save your breath and patience for when they come out of their tantrum. Some children calm down quicker when held but don’t give in to what caused the tantrum as you hold them. Parents who go too far out of their way to overprotect their child are also not helping the situation so its important to find the right balance.  One of the larges mistakes parents can do is to reinforce the tantrums by giving in to what the child wants.

Model the Behavior You Want

Show your child how to handle a stressful situation correctly.  Losing control will start to erode your child’s confidence in adult kindness, flexibility and self-control.

Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions about temper tantrums!

Pediatrics of About Pediatrics of Florence

We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.
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