Tantrums in Children Laguna Beach

Tantrums in Children Laguna Beach

Tantrums in children can run the gamut in sound and volume.  At the heart of the action is a display of anger, often accompanied by swinging arms and legs. Toddler and temper tantrums, just like children and temper tantrums have no select age group.  Tantrums and their associated behavior can also happen to adults.   But temper tantrums in children occur most often within the ages of 1 and 4.  For some parents it can be a daily occurrence.  As Orange County pediatricians, we’ve seen equally frustrated parents who just want their feelings validated and reassurance that their child is normal. It may seem as if their children went from pre-school to grammar school without a break from the terrible twos.

Why do children have temper tantrums?

As adults it’s perfectly normal to experience frustration and anger in stressful situations.  Unfortunately, children don’t always have the verbal language skills to express their feelings, or the skills to vent their anger appropriately.   For children, temper tantrums can erupt because of frustration in their ability to complete a simple task like tying their sneakers or when their told to put their toys away.  Without these skills, expressions of anger can result in child temper tantrums.

Some children are more prone to temper tantrums than others.  Kids with temper tantrums are more likely to use tantrums as a form of expression if their tired, or because as toddlers, they’re still learning how to verbally communicate their feelings.  Consider a 2-year-old who is hungry or thirsty.  A toddler’s threshold for common annoyances, like their immediate desire for a snack, may be low in these situations.  Other considerations include how well a child handles stress, which may also be an indication of a propensity towards temper tantrums.   And, of course, limited physical movement, and emotional or mental issues can increase the chances of a toddler’s temper tantrum.

What to do about temper tantrums?

Your Irvine pediatricians have spoken with many parents, educators and care givers who are concerned about how well they handle temper tantrums in children.  A parent’s behavior can also be a guide or model for young children.  Responding anxiously or strongly or giving in to these outbursts too quickly can potentially set a precedence that’s difficult to reverse.  Here is a little guidance on what to do for temper tantrums should they occur in your child or toddler:

  • Ignoring a child’s temper tantrum may seem cruel on the surface, but this may give a child an opportunity to learn how to deal with the anger they’re feeling in a more constructive way.
  • Pay close attention to triggers that may spark a toddler’s temper tantrum.  Do they occur around mid-afternoon?  If so, is it an indication your child may need a nap?  Or do these episodes occur only when they’re frustrated at their inability to complete a task on their own? Pinpointing temper tantrums in children isn’t always easy in a distracted and busy day, but it may help you to understand why they’re occurring even if your child may not.
  • In some children, temper tantrums may be easily handled with time-outs.  At Irving Pediatricians, we know this can help a parent establish boundaries for unacceptable behavior.  This is especially effective for children 2-years of age or older.  Taking a toddler or child out of the moment or a particular situation gives them time to calm down.
  • Use distraction.  Thankfully children have short attention spans.  Try offering a replacement toy or suggesting a new activity to replace their frustration at accomplishing a particular task or their desire to continue with a forbidden one.
  • Give control in small doses. By giving your child or toddler control in small decisions, you may be able to avoid temper tantrums, and yet satisfy their need to have independence.  For example, you can offer them a choice of time when it comes to putting away their toys as in “Do you want to put away your toys before dinner or after dinner?”  Simply asking if they want to put away their toys now may lead to a quick “no” as a response.

In the Irvine and Orange Counties, Newport Children’s Medical Group as a long-standing reputation.  We understand that every child or toddler is different and we can help address issues when things feel out of control.  Understanding the root cause of a child’s temper tantrums can alleviate that helpless feeling parents experience when they think they’re alone.  After forty years in the area, we understand exactly what our southern Californian patients and their parents are looking for in professionalism and pediatric care.  We love children, and it shows.