Handling Temper Tantrums in your Child

Very few things can be compared to watching your child grow, and every parent wants to bear witness to each of their child’s milestones. While most are moments to behold, some are not. As your child develops, you may begin to notice a few changes in their behaviour. Temper tantrums is one of them.

What Are Temper Tantrums?

Temper tantrums are described as emotional outbursts of anger and frustration. They usually first present themselves at the age of 12-18months, and can last till they’re 4 years old. They are characterized by:

  • Fits of rage
  • Stomping
  • Screaming
  • Throwing themselves on the floor
  • Biting

What Exactly Causes Temper Tantrums?

As your child develops their language skills, they may get frustrated at times, at their inability to express themselves. This often causes a tantrum

Other reasons include:

  • If your child feels stressed
  • If they are tired or hungry
  • If they have something taken away from them
  • If they are worried
  • If they are trying to test the rules
  • If they are moving from daycare to home.

Avoiding Temper Tantrums

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few ways you can adopt to prevent tantrums from occurring

  • Positive reinforcement-encourage your child to learn new skills and offer praise at their accomplishments.
  • Give your toddler freedom over small harmless tasks
  • Forbidden objects should be kept out of sight and reach
  • Giving your toddler enough rest before commencing on the next activity

What to Do when Faced with A Full Blown Temper Tantrum

This can be disconcerting to parents especially when it happens in a public place. Here are a few steps to take when your child starts acting up:

  • Stay calm
  • Ignore your child until they are calmer
  • Remove any hazardous objects in their path
  • Do not try to bargain with them, like bribing them with candy.
  • Do also spank or cane your child
  • Most importantly do not give in to their tantrums.

When your child has calmed down these actions may salvage the situation.

  • Children who feel like they have especially been bad during a tantrum will need assurance that everything will be ok. Unlike the African mindset to discipline them by caning, a warm hug should do.
  • You can also praise your child on how well they managed to control their emotions and managed to calm down.

When to Seek Help

A few scenarios necessitate intervention: These include

  • You get very angry and very stressed during a tantrum
  • The tantrums causes enmity between you and your child
  • You keep giving in
  • Your child hurts himself or others
  • Tantrums are more frequent and intense.

A health care provider will be able offer insights in such situation.

Although tantrums may seem disruptive, they are considered a key development stage where your child has the opportunity to master their emotions.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: kidshealth, healthline, stanfordchildrens

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