Temper Tantrums

A Solvable Problem

It is not uncommon for children to throw tantrums. When we were all newly born, we cred and screamed for food, comfort, and attention. We learnt that crying and screaming would help us get what we want. As we grow up, we continue to employ the same strategy. However we do grow past beyond the age of new-borns are as such are expected to behave our age. Although some toddlers and children gradually realize is that this tactic no longer works, a fair number do not.

As such it is good to explore methods in order to help children behaving better. If parents recognize that their child is throwing tantrums so that you would attend to them, i.e. seeking your attention, it could be best to ignore their child. This is so that their child does not learn to seek attention by throwing tantrums in future. However, this could indicate that your child is not feeling emotionally supported. Parents need to be aware, and perhaps spend more time with them. At the same time if their child is throwing tantrums for other reasons, it may be best to explain your rationale for not acceding to their requests, before ignoring them.

Children and adults alike learn to behave socially in part by observing and imitating others. Parents should avoid yelling and shouting at their children. Although a parent may successfully stop a child from throwing tantrums by yelling at him or her, it is more than likely that children will adopt this strategy in future in an attempt to stop others (including their parents) from doing what displeases them. Instead, to quickly resolve a tantrum, parents may choose to distract their children or to make a deal such as rewarding good behavior knowing that deals are always on the parent’s term, to establish control over the situation.

In such cases, punishments may be necessary. However, parents need to be clear with their child what exactly they are punishing them for. As with all relationships, clear communication is important, so that the child recognizes which behaviors are not acceptable, and which are. Parents may exercise this by explaining and reasoning to their children why things do not always go their way, guiding them and helping them reflect on situations in a more helpful perspective. After all, temper tantrums are not necessarily a sign of future difficult personalities, but something that can be worked on.

Should a child’s behavior turn destructive, may parents then want to find out the reason for their child’s destructive behavior. Could he or she be bored, or frustrated, and is looking for an outlet? A more appropriate measure can then be taken accordingly. For example, if the child is bored, he or she needs to learn constructive ways of directing his or her excess energy. The child could help to do chores that he or she can manage, or be guided to cultivate a habit, such as reading or drawing. The same goes for a child who is frustrated

Written by Dr. Joel Yang