Temper Tantrums (cont.)
Do children grow out of having temper tantrums?
By 4 years of age, most children have developed both self-control and
language skills that will lessen the frequency and intensity of temper tantrums.
If a younger child is having more than two to three major temper tantrums per
week, if tantrums (at any age) seem excessively severe, last longer than five
minutes, involve violence (especially directed at younger siblings or other
children) or have pushed you beyond your own self-control, you should discuss
the situation with your child's pediatrician. Any feelings of a need to use
physical or verbal threats against a child are a red flag and must be addressed
immediately. Support groups to help with parenting skills as well as addressing
potentially underlying sources of frustration (such as the loss of job) are very
- Temper tantrums are a common behavior in children 2 to 4 years of
age. While exasperating to parents, they reflect the toddler's normal desire for
independence coupled with the neurological immaturity (such as expressive
language skills) found in this age range.
- Parents can effectively manage
temper tantrums by remaining calm and objective and not rewarding the child's
behavior. Walking away from the child during the temper tantrum teaches the
child that their approach is unsuccessful. Timeout is also an effective tool
parents can successfully utilize.
- Strategies exist to help prevent temper
tantrums. Realistic behavioral expectations, letting the child make some choices
in day-to-day activities, and searching out and rewarding good behavior choices
are all effective techniques.
- Extremely frequent and excessively long-lasting
(greater than five minutes) tantrums involving violence (especially directed at
younger siblings or other children) or parental sense of "loss of control"
warrant an appointment with the child's pediatrician.
REFERENCES:Last Editorial Review: 2/18/2010 10:46:52 AM
Fetsch, R.J., and B. Jacobson. "Children's Anger and Tantrums." Colorado State
University. Apr. 2007 <http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/CONSUMER/10248.html>.
Gallagher, Richard. "Temper Tantrums: How to Deal With a Meltdown." NYU Child Study Center. June 2, 2006. <http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/temper_tantrums_how_deal_meltdown>.
Kliegman, Robert M., Richard E. Behrman, Hal B. Jenson, and Bonita M.D. Stanton. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2007.