Temper Tantrum

What are temper tantrums?

Temper tantrums are the expression of a child’s frustration or stress which he can’t cope with. It is usually an expression of the child’s anger and at times may be mixed with another emotion e.g. fear. It occurs more often in children aged 2-4 years and occurs both equally in boys and girls. Some children have tantrums frequently while others have them rarely, dependant on the child’s temperament

What are the signs and symptoms of temper tantrums?

Manifestations are:

  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Kicking
  • Hitting
  • Breath holding
  • Throwing objects

What are the causes of temper tantrums?

Tantrums are shown usually when a child

  • Feels tired, hungry or uncomfortable.
  • Is unable to get what he wants.
  • Seeks attention

How can temper tantrums be dealt with?

Points that may be helpful are:

  • Avoid situations leading to tantrums if possible e.g. place off-limits objects out of your child’s reach. Try to distract your child if he spots the object.
  • Remember, to a child , negative attention (e.g. getting scolded by a parent) is better than no attention.
  • So, reward good behavior instead of only paying attention when the child has a tantrum.
  • Keep calm. Your child’s tantrums will get worse if you get upset.
  • Be firm and consistent.
  • Find out the cause of the tantrum and handle it accordingly.
  • If the child is having a tantrum because he wants something he can’t have, ignore your child and don’t pay attention to him while keeping an eye to make sure he is safe
  • Time out

If the tantrums are getting worse time out can be used for children above 3 years. Remove the child from the situation and get him to sit somewhere boring e.g. on a chair in the corner. Keep him there for a set length of time: usually 1 minute for each year of life starting from when he calms down. Tell him why he has to go to time out. Once he has completed time out don’t nag or scold him all over again. Praise him for calming down and being able to control himself.

Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer : Dr. Eni Rahaiza binti Muhd Ramli
Reviewer : Dr. Nor ‘Izam Bt. Md Alias
  : Dr. Nurulwafa binti Hussain