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What should you do when your child has a temper?

Kids can be very emotional, but what can you do if they really have a temper? How do you deal with calming them down?

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26  Answers

51 18

If my 2 1/2 year old daughter reacts with a temper, but isn't actually throwing a tantrum, I will sometimes try to teach her what would be an appropriate way to respond. That only works if she's still somewhat calm and listening. If she is listening I'll tell her what she could say or remind her to say things nicely or use her words instead of screaming. If she's throwing an all out tantrum I will make sure she's safe and let her scream for a few minutes and then invite her to come talk to me and we'll calmly talk about what happened. I'll tell her when she's ready I'm here for a hug and to talk. I do my best to never, ever give in to the tantrum or temper or give her extra attention because of it. I've also noticed that it really is generally true that she will throw more tantrums if she is hungry, thirsty, bored or tired, so I do my best to prevent those things from happening. Oh and I used to work in a day care and the kids wouldn't listen to me at all because I let them push my daughter pushes my husband more than me because she knows she gets on his nerves and gets a reactions from him. It's really hard, but the calmer you can remain without letting them rile you up at all, the calmer things remain in general - at least in my experience. We'll see if this continues to work when my second one arrives in a few months. ;)

13 7

OMG - the hunger one drives me insane. There is this random freak out and when I finally figure out that he is apparently is all better. I don't get it! He has this huge vocabulary and speaks in sentences. Yet for some reason, he won't just tell me he is hungry. He has to become possessed!!!

21 27

my daughter is the same way. She will not tell me when she is hungry she just gets so whiny! she has been able to speak in sentences since she was 18 months and is now 2 1/2

0 16

When my son waS younger...he was a door slammer. We talked about how feeling angry is he is reacting is not...continue to slam the door , we will take it off...we DID. I also told him more appropriate reactions, like punching his pillow or pounding on his bed...something that wouldn't cause damage. He eventually grew out of it:)

0 19

Yeah seriously! Mine is now 6 and still has to throw fits. It takes him awhile of being pissy before he says he is hungry

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0 21

I have struggled since my twin 5 year old boys started school with their terrible tantrums. I get worked up and they do to and we don't get anything resolved,threats (empty ones that I need to follow through with) and time outs not working. Then I got a handy tool called the ladder of doom which works brilliantly in our house. It's a diagram of a ladder starting at the bottom with the time they get home from school going up in incriments of 15mins till bedtime. When they are naughty they get 15mins taken off their bedtime and so on if they continue to misbehave - they dont like going to bed early or if one has more time taken off than the other they go to bed early and on their own. They can earn back time by doing agreed tasks for you such as vacuuming, cleaning their room etc - its a win win situation and one they are so far responding very well to. If they go a pre-determined number of days without getting on the ladder at all then you do something fun that was agreed on at the beginning. This format was thought up by the rather funny Nigel Latta and works very well because the kids are either in bed early or I have a very tidy house - win/win in my book.

0 8

I think this is a wonderful idea. Especially with boys. Why do they seem to NEED a visual? (Mom? Will you REALLY do it? LOL)

4 68

Michelle, I think your idea is brilliant!! I'm going to give it a go with my 6 and 7 year old kids. Thanks for sharing!!

0 20

This sounds awesome, it's a shame you can't post a picture so could get an idea on how to replicate it! I really want to try this with my 6 & 7 year old boys.

2 18

this is awesome il give it a try with my 7year old,thank you.

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30 15

When my three year throws a tantrum and they are rare thankfully, I take her to her room and tell her that she needs to stay in her room until she can calm down and we can talk about the problem. If we are out in public I let her know that its inappropriate and i take her to the bathroom, doing the same thing. When you are calm, and we can talk, then I'll give you attention, untill then, you need to calm down and stop throwing a fit. It usually works and she tends to calm down. I have started telling her to take a deep breath and I do it with her, and that helps most the time to calm her down and we then can discuss what caused her tantrum. I find if i'm going to the store i let her know in advance what we are getting.."We are getting groceries today, and that means no toys. But you can help me pick out the ceral if you are behaving." that usually helps her to stay calm in the store and not throw fits about wanting this or that.. and she gets to pick out the ceral she wants last right before we leave. When i went to register for my second child (who is due in 5 weeks) I told her she could help mommy pick out baby things and that I would get her one thing if she is good. If she isn't good then I tell her, you did this and this and so you do not get anything today. I think she is just a more mellow person, but I try not to yell or get upset.. and when I am upset or angry i tell her, I am angry because of x, y, z. I show her that I am calming myself down with deep breaths and show her how to react when she is angry.

I think that feeling angry is alright and feeling sad is alright, its what they do when they are feeling that way that determines a good or bad outcome. I strongly urge my daughter to not react while she is mad, to calm down first and think things through, because as she gets older she will have to deal with anger and I don't want her lashing out just because she is angry. But I also don't want her to feel that anger is wrong.. its what we do with anger that is wrong. Feeling that way isn't wrong per say, but once you reason things out without the emotions things seem to fix themselves.

4 18

Perfectly stated :)

0 10

This is where I stand with my children as well; couldn't have put it in better words.

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41 11

Hi there,

Here's my experience with my 30-month old, Aidan. He has displayed his temper as early as 15 months old. When he was younger, I would let him get it out of his system by (1) acknowledging that he's angry about something (2) walking away (after informing him that I was doing it to let him calm down). If this occurs with kicks and hand-swipes or lashing out, then I would repeat step (1) above but in a firm tone I would add that this is not right because it hurts and then repeat step (2). If he does this again later, I will add a warning that he'll have to visit the Time Out Corner. And he will stay there till he's ready (calm). Today, after many warnings and a few Time Outs, he doesn't scream anymore. He covers his face and kneels/sits on the floor which is a sign for me to leave him be to manage his anger. And after a few minutes, he'll tell me "I'm ready, Mama". It has taken me a year to come to this stage so consider that with consistency and with growing maturity, they eventually get it. The point is not to punish them for being angry it is a healthy emotion. The point is about correcting the way they manage/handle it and teaching them to have control over it. t's also a good idea to reward them for being able to calm down and to acknowledge how hard it must have been. Even adults find it hard :)

1 35

When my oldest was five she was having tantrums all the time. One night I got so tired of it I got down on the floor next to her and threw my own tantrum... It worked, she stopped, looked at me and started laughing at me...

3 24

I video taped my son having a temper tantrum adn showed it to him once he calmed down. The appalled look of his face was amazing, I don't think he realized how terrible he was behaving. Your post reminded me of this.

1 35

That's funny Sandy. I wish I would of thought of that.

46 50

My sister did that once to her daughter! She said that her daughter looked at her like she grew another head!!!!

0 60

This definitely works... start as soon as they flail around and their voice tone escalates from whine, to cry/scream or yell. When a parent flings themselves down like that, its called mirroring - very effective and SOOOO funny to see the childs expression!! LOL - Doing this, I broke my 3 yr old son of tantrums right away. LOL

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7 11

To get my 2 yr. Old girl twin to stop her temper tantrum I get on her level look her in the eyes and then ask her to sit on my lap so she can calm down and talk about it. I think her temper is her way of reacting if she thinks I don't notice her or give her enough attention. I get the sense she just wants to know she matter and I often for get that such a busy-body little girl needs the same affection as her twin brother, even though he is the more outwardly affectionate one

0 25

My son is almost 3 1/2yrs old and used to get angry and throw mega tantrums on a daily basis, I tried everything from ignoring them, to talking to him, to the naughty step and trying to understand what made him angry then I read a post on one of these websites and my sons mood changed for one simple reason....... cutting out artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives and sweetners! He'd always had good home cooked food but you'd be suprised what food like childrens fromage frais which contains colourings but his main trigger..... sugar free squash!!!
Since this revelation I have had several friends with 'angry' children just change their childs juice and the change is huge!
I'm not saying this is the absolute answer for all children we still have the occasional tantrum but please if you have a child with a temper and you have had to deal with tantrum after tantrum just try this simple thing and see if it helps, my son is much happier for it and so am I! :-)

10 18

I've noticed with my two-year-old girl that she does this when she's wanting attention, so I'm not sure if that's the case with all kids but here's what I do to make it stop:

1) Sit her on my lap (even if she's kicking and flailing, which is often the case).
2) Have her count to ten with me on our fingers. This helps her to calm down and focuses her attention away from the fact that she might be in trouble or that I might be annoyed (both of which make her more frantic 9 times out of 10).
3) I have her look me in the eyes (usually takes a while) and ask her why she's screaming. She usually doesn't say anything, but I will typically just hug her tight then and tell her that she doesn't need to scream to get mama's attention. I'll try to show her other ways to get my attention like tapping me on the leg or calmly saying, "Mama, I need you."
4) I'll then either let her just sit on my lap for a while and make sure I'm being warm/affectionate with her, or I'll ask if she wants to do something and spend some time playing with her.

I know this sounds a little time-intensive, but it really isn't that bad and it works almost every time. I think at this age, kids don't know how to use normal methods of gaining your attention, so they kind of revert back to their baby days and just scream (but they have a much bigger set of lungs now). Letting her know that she actually can get your attention in other ways will allow her to slowly start changing those habits though, so then you won't have a crazy 4-year-old on your hands--just be patient with it and consistent.

10 18

PS Everyone gets moody sometimes. I know I'm not fun to be around when I'm in a funk, so sometimes I just can't blame my little lady for the times she gets in one. Just an afterthought.

0 10

My 1.6 yr old just would not stop yelling so; I looked at him and puckered that lip for the whine up started a whimpering and started a sniffle...0_o...He looked at me feeling so awful and hugged me. I'm taking his reaction as: maybe that's what he wants when he has his fit. This is still being researched in the house, it works most of the time but when his father is home he just runs to him, wanting Daddy to fix whatever just went wrong.

0 7

I have them do a 10 count for my older kids then I talk to them what is bother them. Then we pray about the problem.

14 6

We have benefited greatly from some mirroring methods in communication. When my son, now 3.5 yo, is lashing out...I TRY to keep the focus off the behavior and direct energy on his emotions and how he can better express them.
If he starts to hit or kick in frustration for example, i'll say:
I don't like to be hit or kicked, that is not acceptable. You seem frustrated, is it because I wouldn't let you watch TV? (he nods or says "yes")
I will then give him a "do over" to leave and come back acting appropriately, be it asking with manners or whatever. I'll then move it into a dialogue or redirect him toward what he CAN do with the time.

I have witnessed that calming him down, talking him through relaxing and changing his behavior is the best route. I have found it pointless and counter-productive to punish especially in these cases. Punishing a child's natural lack of impulse control is just ignorant of child development IMO, so I would avoid "time-out' for example over something like this. THey need direction to learn the appropriate way to get what they need and express themselves.

0 3

I went to vote for your comment & it detracted it. But I just wanted to let you know that I liked what you said about child development. That makes so much sense & I totally agree with that.

3 24

My daughter just turned 3 this week and has had fierce tantrums for about a year. Her scream is loud and of a pitch that when I am holding her, I often feel a litte lightheaded. They usually happen when she doesn't get her way.....and often happen when we are out and about. I have found that I certainly don't like the spotlight that her public temper tantrums place on me and my parenting skills and I found it is less stressful for ME to just take her out to the car and buckle her up in the car seat and let her scream it out. Once she has started, I can't get a word in edgewise so it is pointless for me to even talk to her. I am sure for some, this might create a dislike of their car seat all together, but for me....a lot of times I just have to say, "do you want to go out to the car?" and that is enough to get her to stop. Now that she is a little older and saavy, I realized she figured out how to use her temper to her advantage when we were at church.....we always kept her with us until she started to get fussy and then we went to the nursery. Now I discovered her doing this on purpose....she starts fussing and starting to make threatiening cries during our service because she thinks we will take her to go play.....a trip to the car is working well in helping to curb her use of her temper.

3 0

My daughter (3yrs old) just lashed out this past weekend in the grocery store, I was so embarrassed because lately she's been having lots of tantrums. I usually take the route to become calm and approachable but sometimes that doesn't work as well. I went to her school today and ask the teacher does she usually have these episodes at school and she told me yes (my cheeks got red). But she told me that what she does is ignore the wailing and crying and then she starts talking to another child in the class; usually after my daughter sees that she is being ignored she will wipe her tears and calm down - this being that she isn't been given attention. I'm trying to work with her on her tantrums lately but I know this will take time and a lot of effort from me. I think I will utilize your method of taking a trip to the car if she starts a tantrum in the store, I'd rather do that than try to talk to her in public and she's not listening.

3 24

My daughter had one in preschool last week, too! Glad I'm not the only mom with the red cheeks!

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7 19

Wow, how do I answer this question? My 2 year old daughter throws tantrums at least a dozen or mote times a day. She will do it any and every where the feeling hits her. However, I think that she knows that the tantrums get on my nerves so no matter what I do she continues. My best bet is ignoring her. That works wonders.

1 46

I'm like you! but I feel so guilty ignoring her. I think I'm going to start doing some of the ones posted here such as talking to her more and asking her, well, I can't really ask her what's wrong bc she's only 18months..but I do talk to her and look at her body language, but at times only ignoring works.:(

13 7

That is what I have always heard. Don't give into it. I just tell my son - "I can't help you when you act like this. Tell me what is wrong and I will help. Otherwise, you can sit here." I find that is the key - I can't help him when he freaks out. I don't know what is wrong. So until he finds a way to compose himself, I am useless to him. So i make sure he is safe and wont' hurt himself....and let the whailing continue. The good news is that usually, it takes just a few moments before he realizes that until he uses his words, he won't get what he wants.

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0 0

going thru the same thing

8 0

When my 1 year and 11 month old son is having a bad temper, I am trying to know what causes his frustration. Sometimes, he wants to get a toy or he cannot figure out how a particular toy works. so either he throws it or he cries. offers some helpful tips on how to deal with tantrums like:

1. Help kids to put their tantrum into words
2. Listen to their tantrums and respond to it.
3. Create clear ground rules and stick to them.

0 52

By talking to them how they feel and why they are feeling upset and suggest a solution on how to overcome.Sometimes it takes a lot of time for a child to open up and recognize about his feelings, so patience is truly a vitue!

5 0

It's different with each kid, If you're talking throwing a full on temper tantrum: Ignore it. The child is only acting out to get your attention, when you stop giving it to him/her they will stop seeking it in that fashion. You can remind your child that "using words, tell mommy what's wrong" is always a good reassurance that you still care, but not enough to pander to that kind of obnoxious behavior.
I had to find a way to teach my own mom to NOT pander to a was kinda eye opening to see your technique working. My mom would hold on to my son (while he was kicking and screaming) and tell him it's all right....I was shocked! It's definitely not alright with me that he acts that way!! Let him kick and scream on the floor until he gets how obnoxious he's acting!

1 16

depending on where u r ignore them and walk away and make sure the child is unable to hurt themselves if ur at home. and learn a thing call block the noise where ur actually not paying attention read a good book and evatually a child will either a go to sleep or b find something else that takes times for that method to work so not a quick fix but good fix u cant give up

80 10

Treat them the same as us, give them space to calm down and for yourself to calm down so you can talk to them. I send my daughter to her room or she takes herself there or another place, if I hear her claming down I would walk in, sit down with her and we chat. If she is getting worse I would go in and see if she will calm down, if not I tell her I will come back when she has calm down. Note - I don't leave her screaming her lungs out no longer than 5 - 10mins. Must alwasy use a calm voice, they need to know that someone has control, if I yell at her more she will get more upset. Mine is 3yrs and communication has been my greatest weapon against her moods lol the more you explain the better they feel they are in control, obviously explain in short sentences and use their language. We also follow thru our disaplines, if she doesn't do such and such this will be removed, again explaining the whole thing has worked great with us.

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5 33

I've found this thread so very helpful. I've got a 23 month old and a four year old. The eldest is normally quite sweet and incredibly patient. The youngest has always been energetic and quite difficult. At nursery there has been a problem with biting and my son has bought it home and has bitten my daughter. We have tried the naughty spot because he kept sitting on it when we'd ask our daughter to sit on it after she'd done something wrong (figured he knew what it meant). We've taken him aside. At each time we get down to level make sure he looks at us and we tell him biting hurts, teeth are not for biting. Sometimes he giggles like he finds it funny, or just doesn't understand. But now, if he's not biting, he's kicking out when I'm changing him (it hurts - he's strong), we caught him yesterday hitting our daughter with a wooden toy. It's awful. And now he's learnt to spit. We just don't know what to do. We always make sure our daughter is okay and reassure her that what her brother is doing is not okay, that he loves her very much and that he just doesn't yet know how to communicate. We take him to his room (if we are at home) and let him calm down. He also has these terrible tantrums if he can't do something himself. He seems so agitated and frustrated although I see he is desperate to be independent (which I guess is a good thing). I find it very hard not to get upset when I see him be nasty, especially to his sister whom normally he hugs and kisses. I'm not sure what else we can do and how to do it. If it were just the one child then it wouldn't be so bad, but being on your own and dealing with the behavior whilst giving affection to the other, hurt, child I personally find a very difficult balancing act. Any help???

9 11

I agree with most of these suggestions for a normal, healthy child but what do you do for a child who has a communication disorder and can't verbalize their needs? My third child is 2.5 yrs old and his toddler temper is further exacerbated by his lack of ability to tell me what he wants or how he feels. It seems cruel to walk away from him and i can't say come back later when you can tell me calmly what you want but i'm fearing i'm reinforcing his crying when i try to resolve the issue and get what he wants because that's all he can do to express himself right now.

46 50

That is a great question!! My son will be 19 months old next week and he can't talk. He says Mama and the occasional Dada, Nana and Pop Pop but, he can't tell me what the problem is. He had to have tubes put in his ears back in July so his speech is delayed due to not being able to hear the words correctly. He doesn't scream when he has his tantrum and they really aren't that bad. (yet) He "throws" himself down on the floor onto his belly and does an "aaahhh" to let you know that he isn't happy. I'll pick him up and say "temper, temper" and distract him with something else. Sometimes it works and other times he'll turn his back to me and make the same noise. I say fine, then play by yourself and he either does that or comes back over to me calmer and gives me a big hug or brings a toy over to play with. I don't know if I'm helping it or hurting it. Sometime he has an all out cry though and it is VERY hard to calm him down!!

0 17

My son had eartubes too and was speech/hearing delayed. We always talked things out as if he could understand and we started sign language as a family (baby signing times videos). I found he when he couldn't express himself he needed to be calmed (with a hug) to deal with his frustration. First I would say to him "I see your upset/sad/angry, can I give you a hug or do you need a hug?" He always said yes or shook his head yes. I would then just hold him and love him until he was calm and then I would ask him why or if he couldn't answer or didn't know the sign for the answer I would guess and if we still didn't get it I would try to distract him with something fun or that he liked. It's frustrating when they can't communicate. Try your best, tune into them as best you can. Find a system that works for you and your child. Pictures cut out of things they like that they can piont to, etc. He is now hearing and talking well and we still use the hug method when he gets frustrated.

9 11

We usually know exactly what he wants and why he's throwing a fit. He usually is acting out because we've said no to something and at that point he really doesn't want a hug. He actually will become combative if we come near him so we've been told to walk away otherwise we're reinforcing bad behavior. The hard part comes later when we're trying to communicate during the calm and he can't communicate whatever he feels he needs to get out and it starts all over.

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13 7

My 5 year old does the same. He has his good days or bad days. And sometimes I don't understand why he is upset and starts yelling? I even try to ask him and he would never tell us. It got out of hand that my husband and I took him to a therapist to see what we can do. All he told us was its a usually 5 year old that does this, through tempers and in stores. When he gets out of hand at home we place him in time out chair and he hates it but it does calm him down and realize he done wrong. Now in stores he bug and bug for toys and if we say one toy he says 2 or 3 and throws a fit. There we don't know what to do because I will pick him up and he will start kicking me and screaming. The therapist said to walk away and he will start to come. But it is sure difficult to deal with temper boys!

75 31

Honestly as long as my boys aren't hurting themselves or each other I just let them get all of their screams out and calm themselves down. My oldest who is 5 used to do this screeching-squawking thing when he was angry which my 2 year old now does. I just ignore them until they calm down enough to speak and tell me why they're angry. If they don't calm down after 15 minutes then I sit them in a time out type thing and tell them they can get up after they calm down. A lot of the stuff kids do is to get a rise out of the parents including tantrums so if you are at home just ignore them, if it's out in public you pick your kid up and leave wherever you are at and they will learn not to throw tantrums.

46 50

What do you do when they throw the tantrum because they WANT to leave?! My 5 1/2 year old has done that MANY times!!

0 34

What if they are throwing tantrums in school?

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52 19

My 20-mo old has a little temper, he will throw things when he gets mad or else throw a little tantrum, putting his head on the ground and having a little whimper or a cry. Like another mum posted above my post, my LO usually does this when he's not getting enough attention. The quick fix for this is that I sit on the floor next to him (when I'm able to!) and ask if he's upset because he wants me to play with him. He seems to understand and will say 'yes' and calm down, then hand me a toy or show me one he's playing with. I do tell him not to throw things, if that's what he's doing, and tell him he needs to tell mummy what's wrong and I will try to help. I think he's still too young for all that but I'm trying to teach him early - the more he hears it the more I hope he will learn to understand this. I like the other ideas posted here, and will try in future to give him a few suggestions on how he could react better in that situation or what he could say to be understood better. I think that's a problem I have even as an adult, I never learned how to express my emotions properly.

15 11

Very interested to hear what other parents do I have b/g twins who both have tempers and some days I just have no idea what I should be doing with them.

227 34

my 29 month old's in check (watch now that I said that she'll uncheck) what I normally do when it starts is threaten her with nite nite, time outs, going home, or nap time, then I count to three and start to walk towards her, that normally stops it before it starts. She once tried to hit me but I made such a big deal about it gasping and grabbing at my chest, that she just holds in her rage now by growling with fists clenched, face red and then we laugh about it because it looks funny, normally after we laugh we share a hug and I udd you's, its not always perfect but she's a trooper. sometimes its about picking your battles, what will I shrug off and laugh about and what will I get mad about? It can be hard figuring out what to do on the spot so if your consistent with yourself in how you handle it, it creates a common ground for you both. The good thing about losing their temper is that its an opportunity to teach them how to manage it now, so when they become older, managing their emotions is childsplay :-D

5 25

I also have boy & girl twins. They turned 3 a couple of months ago. My daughter is very high maintenence, dramatic and has quite the temper. I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with her, but we're learning that the best thing to do is stay calm myself. If I can ignore her for a couple of minutes, she'll calm down enough to talk. Then we'll talk about what's bothering her, and try to make it better. Then we talk about why she shouldn't act the way she did. If she hasn't thrown a "fit" in a while, I leave it there. But if we've been having a lot of "fits", I do some sort of discipline. Standing in the corner for about 5 minutes, losing a toy, not getting to watch a cartoon with her brother, etc. She's a very smart girl and understands more than I give her credit for. And usually (especially if I stay calm) she'll be crawling in my lap telling me she loves me soon. Hope this helps! :)

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21 7

I put my kids in bed untill they calm down, They are not allowed to come out untill they are calm. I only do this when I have tried to calm them down and nothing else works


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