Monday, March 8, 2010

Temper Tantrums in Children: Parental Guide to Managing Tantrums

In a study conducted in Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, New Delhi, Temper Tantrums are common in children between the age of 3-12 years, with a mean age of 4.7 years. The general prevalence of temper tantrums is more frequent in younger children and tends to reduce in prevalence as the age advances. The study also pointed towards the fact that temper tantrums were more frequently observed in boys compared to girls. Also a direct relationship was observed between post natal trauma and childhood seizures with temper tantrums in children. Here are some simple tips to handle temper tantrums in children

Temper Tantrum in Children: Causes of Temper Tantrums

The manifestation of temper tantrums can range from whining to crying and can comprise of other features like hitting, breath holding, kicking and screaming. The fact of occurrence of temper tantrums is attributed to variation in the temperament of the kids. Unlike adults, kids don’t have any inhibitions and hence can’t control a burst of emotion.
Some of the common causes associated with temper tantrum in children include,
  • Temper tantrums are common in children who desire to seek the attention of their parents
  • Hunger, tiredness and uncomfortable situations can also trigger temper tantrums
  • Frustration can also result in temper tantrums
  • Not getting something they desire can also result in an episode of temper tantrum
Managing Temper Tantrums: Parents Role in Managing Temper Tantrums in Children

Through a temper tantrum, your child conveys to you his feelings of annoyance, disturbance, anger or frustration.

Temper tantrums usually come on when the child is hungry, sleepy, exhausted, in a stressful environment, bored, or ill, and it is imperative that you try to help him cope with these situations effectively.

Temper Tantrums are common in
Younger Children
It is important to bear in mind that tantrums are just as stressful and taxing for your child, as they are for you.

Parents ought to read and study about the various issues and aspects related to children, and learn how to tackle each one. But, don't feel, that you are a dreadful parent if you do not have a solution to every situation that arises. Remember, that parenting is a life-long journey of learning and understanding your child.

Parent's Guide to Managing Temper Tantrums: Temper Tantrum Management in Children
Here are some simple guideline tips that can help parents manage temper tantrums in children,
  • The foremost guideline, while dealing with a temper tantrum, is that you stay absolutely calm. If you fly in to a rage, it shows your child that you are out of control. This will only aggravate the situation.
  • As a caring parent, it is your responsibility to ascertain and understand the different triggers of irritability and grumpiness in your child. Jot down whatever you observe. This will enable you to find a solution, to avert a tantrum before it escalates or even starts.
  • Praising and rewarding your child when he demonstrates good behavior is essential. Only giving him attention for his bad behavior will cause him to throw more tantrums in the future, since, he feels that peevishness is the only way of getting attention from you.
  • Feeling Comforted is
    important to manage
    Temper Tantrums
  • Get your child involved in lots of hobbies and activities. This will keep him busy and prevent boredom from setting in (a significant cause for tantrums).
  • Let your child know when the play-time is going to end, by telling him, “We are leaving the playground in 15 minutes.” This ensures that there is no surprise or annoyance, when you tell your child that play-time is over.
  • Make sure that you know your child’s eating cycle. Hunger is a huge trigger, and feeding him at optimum time intervals will stave off an emotional outburst.Also involve him in the planning his/her own diet. This helps inclucate good eating habits in children
  • Parents must devise different means of distracting the child, when he starts demanding unreasonable things.
  • If the temper tantrum causes a safety issue, like, the child runs out on to the street in a fit of rage, immediately put him in ‘time-out’ or sit him down, and calmly and patiently tell him of the dangers of his actions.
  • Never give-in to all your child's demands. This makes him believe that tantrums are the best way to get what he wants. A little bit of indulgence, every now and then is justifiable.
  • Train your child, about the right way to get what he wants, without throwing a fit. Tell him, - “Ask me to please give you the toy off the shelf, and I shall get it for you”.
  • Teach your child that annoyance / rage / anger are feelings that all people have, but one must learn to control them.
Every parent ought to know that tantrums are a normal and integral part of the growing-up phase of the child, and they can not be completely avoided. Nevertheless, with a little bit of effort and thought, you can greatly curtail them, so that you and your child can lead a happy and stress-free life.