How to Deal with Temper Tantrums

No one enjoys the sight of a toddler having a temper tantrum, especially a parent. It can be especially difficult if the toddler chooses an inopportune time or place to have the tantrum, and this seems to happen very often. So how do you deal when your two-year-old is screaming the walls down at the local mall? Try the following steps to stay sane.

Understand that this is normal

There is nothing wrong with your child. In fact, it is extremely common for children to have temper tantrums starting at age 12-18 months, peaking between the ages of 2 and 3 and usually decreasing and disappearing at age 4, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. You are not to blame for your child’s tantrums, and it does not mean that our child is not good. It is simply a way that children gain attention and try to get what they want. If you try to take the emotional aspect out of it – the blame, the frustration, the anger – then you might feel better. You are not a bad parent because your child is having a tantrum, and do not let anyone make you think that you are.

Distance yourself as much as possible

Of course you cannot leave your child in the middle of a crowded mall; however, there are times you can distance yourself to stay sane. For instance, if your child is having a tantrum next to you, then maybe you can move a little away to where you can still safely supervise him or her. Of course you can try to emotionally distance yourself. Think about what you are having for dinner or other happy things. Do not react. Try to look at it in a different way and not let your anger and frustration get the best of you. If there is another parent or caregiver who can watch your child for a little bit, then this may help you refocus.

Try relaxation techniques

Counting to ten and breathing deeply may seen cliche, but it can really help. Keep your muscles relaxed. Do not “reward” the tantrum by getting worked up and yelling back. Imagine a nice warm beach. Meditate. Of course, do all these things while still supervising your child.

It is vital to stay calm when your child has a temper tantrum. Think about how wonderful your child is and how grateful you are to have a healthy child who can throw a tantrum. Then remember that this is typically a very temporary situation; in a few years it should pass. With the right perspective you can successfully deal with temper tantrums.