Preventing Children from Having Tantrums

When disciplining your child, you have a significant advantage over them. You know that conflicts between you and your child are inevitable (you can even predict what triggers these conflicts), so you can think ahead and plan your responses. You can use the following guidelines to control the frequency and intensity of your child's tantrums. When asking your child to do something, use a friendly tone and wording that makes it sound like an invitation rather than a command. Words like "please" or "thank you" can be very helpful. When your child says "no," avoid overreacting. In many cases, their refusal of your request or guidance is just instinctual. Their real meaning is "I'm saying 'no' because I want to have control until I'm sure or confirm that you are serious." In response to this potential provocation, you should calmly and clearly restate your request instead of losing your temper. Don't punish your child for saying "no." If possible, give your child limited choices.

Let them decide what pajamas to wear, what story to read, and what toys to play with. Encouraging autonomy in these areas makes it more likely for them to comply with your advice when needed. Predict situations that might trigger conflicts between you and your child and try to avoid them as much as possible. If they always throw tantrums in public places, consider leaving them at home with family members when going shopping. If one of their playmates constantly excites or angers them, separate the two children for a while and see if the situation improves as they grow older. Give enough praise and attention for their good behavior. Even just sitting next to them while they read can make them feel recognized for their actions. Maintain your sense of humor. While it's not a good idea to mock your child when they are yelling (it's just their way of expressing themselves), talking about their antics with friends or family when they are not around can help you relax. When your child has a tantrum, remember these points:

Our Position: The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes hitting children for any reason. Hitting children should never be encouraged. If you can't resist hitting your child, parents should calmly explain to the child why they did so, which specific behavior of the child angered them, and how angry they felt. Parents might consider apologizing to their child for their actions. These actions often help the child understand and accept the parents' hitting behavior, setting an example of making amends for mistakes. Hitting children can damage the trust relationship between parents and children that is crucial for healthy development. If your child frequently frustrates you, here are some alternative measures besides hitting them. First, put your child in bed or another safe place, where you can try to control your emotions. Second, call a friend, relative, or partner for support and advice. If your child throws tantrums outside, especially in public places, it can be harder to stay calm, and you might not be able to leave the child to go somewhere else. You might also be more likely to scold or hit them because of your anger and embarrassment. However, scolding or hitting won't accomplish anything and will make you look worse than the child. Calmly take the child to a private place like the bathroom or car, where there are no outsiders, and the child might stop their tantrum. Additionally, sometimes giving the child a hug or speaking calmly to them in public can also help calm them down. After the tantrum or "quiet timeout" ends, don't dwell on it. If your initial request triggered the tantrum, calmly reiterate the request. Stay calm and firm so that the child realizes their tantrum is just wasting both your and their own time.

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