Causes of Temper Tantrums ~ Health Guide

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Causes of Temper Tantrums

Written by Mystic on Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When your toddler's scream becomes a supersonic, ear-shattering, teeth-jarring scream, and it shows no signs of stopping; Your first instinct is to run away and join the circus, but of course this isn't a real option. There must be a better way.

Temper tantrums range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and holding one's breath. They are equally common in boys and girls and usually occur from age one to age three.

Children's temperaments vary dramatically. Children come into the world unsocialized with their own temperaments, and some are more prone to tantrums than others.

MY Angel? Never

Don't believe it. Even the most good-natured toddler has an occasional temper tantrum. Tantrums are a normal part of development and don't have to be seen as something negative. Children don't have the same inhibitions or control that adults have, and the fact that they feel negative emotions is normal. Tantrums should be seen as opportunities for education, not as catastrophes.

There are several very basic causes of tantrums that are familiar to parents everywhere: the child is seeking attention, tired, hungry, or uncomfortable.

In addition, tantrums are often the result of a child's frustration with the world: she can't get something (an object, a parent) to do what she wants. Frustration is an unavoidable part of a child's life as she learns how people, objects, and her own body work. Imagine not being able to communicate your needs to someone. Imagine being determined to program your VCR and being unable to do it, no matter how hard you try, because you can't understand how. Pretty frustrating. Time to swear, throw the manual, walk away, and slam the door on your way out? That's the adult version of a tantrum. Children use the only tools at their disposal for venting frustration.

Before age two, a child begins to develop a strong sense of self. She wants a great deal of independence to express that self and a great deal of control over her environment - more than she is actually capable of handling. The conditions are right for power struggles: "I can do it myself" or "I want it, give it to me." When a toddler discovers that she can't do it herself and that she can't have everything she wants, the stage is set for a tantrum.

(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 month old Temper Tantrums)

Temper Tantrums: Guidelines for Parents

Pediatric Advisor 2006.2: Temper Tantrums

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