Many parents experience bad behavior from toddlers and often try to seek ways to solve it. About twenty-three to 80 percent of toddlers have temper tantrums occasionally. Temper tantrums are emotional or physical ‘meltdowns’ seen in children ranging from the ages of two to four-years-old. The child can often be violent toward himself or others around him. Certain precautions are to be taken into consideration when a child is in this state. These behaviors may be a sign of mental or physical health problems such as seizures, learning disabilities or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Temper tantrums are often caused by tiredness, frustration, hunger or just a way of gaining attention or control of his environment. This problem can be solved by ignoring these behaviors or letting the child know of alternative ways to get rid of his anger and frustration.
Toddlers tend to be violent during tantrums. With the kicking, screaming, hitting, breath holding, or banging of the head on hard surfaces the child needs to be constantly monitored. Tantrums should be handled based on its cause. If trying to make a child stop his tantrums by hitting or spanking, this sends a message that physical punishment or using force is acceptable. Telling the child that is behavior is not acceptable or removing him from the environment is a more effective way to deal with the problem. Ignoring the tantrum can also be effective because by not giving in gives the child time to calm down.
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Dr. David Kingsley, a consultant psychiatrist, speaks of ways to handle tantrums and how effective it is. In a recent interview with Dr. Mandy Fry for Pulse Clinical on Childhood Behavioral Problems, Dr. Kingsley explains:
Parents need to give the child enough space and time to calm down, but also to
comfort them. Holding a child who is angry and scared can help them feel safe and ‘contained’. If the tantrum is extreme and is in a public place, the parent may want to move the child out of the way before trying to deal with the situation. (22)
Kingsley confirmed that lack of sleep does influence bad behaviors in children. One study found that two- and three-year-old children sleeping less than 10 hours in a 24-hour period were at greatest risk for behavioral problems such as oppositional or non-compliant behavior, ‘acting out’ and aggression (Kingsley 22).
Joshua Sparrow, M.D., is the director of special initiatives at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital in Boston. His article, Just a Touch advised, “You can help your child learn to understand herself and to avoid situations that are too much to handle, while occupational therapy can offer strategies to help with the too bright, too noisy, or too scratchy times she must face” (Sparrow 54).
He also mentioned that if the child shows signs of nonstop crying, feeding and sleeping, speaking to a pediatrician will help determine the cause of such behavior. Martin Drell, in his article A Multimodal Treatment Strategy for Behavior Problems in Toddlers explained:
Epidemiological studies performed in different nations have shown
similarities in the prevalence of moderate to severe behavior problems, indicating
rates between 7-14% in 2- and 3-year-olds. These same studies indicate that these
behaviors may cause significant distress and disruption to family life and that some
... behavior. “A child’s behavior is a product of his temperament. A child with a strong temperament is more likely to have behavior problems than a child ... any situation. Child and parent connection play a very important role in discipline. My Rebuttal: Troublesome behavior in children has increased ... or questions about my claim: There is more single parents in this generation than there was a decade ago. ...
(especially temper tantrums) may persist over extended periods. Although no one has been able to predict which children with behavior problems will persist in their difficulties, the following variables have been implicated as contributory: male gender, maternal stress, maternal depression, stressful life; speech and language delays; and low social class and corporal punishment (232).
This shows that in some cases temper tantrums can be a cultural issue and can be determined by the level of stress brought by the mother. The income of the family also influences behavior; if the child has less he learns that it takes hard work and plenty of patience in order for needs to be met.
The problem of temper tantrums in toddlers will always be an issue in many parent’s lives and help is giving to those that are in great need. Many think that the best way to deal with a child with these problems is to act aggressively but this only makes him even more upset. The best way to confront the issue is to be prompt and brief with discipline, ignoring the tantrums and helping the child seek other ways to deal with anger and frustration. Tantrums are severe and can cause a great amount of problem in family life. It is up to the parent to find effective ways that will work for both and providing a stable environment so everyone can be comfortable.