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You are here : home > Raising Children > Behavioral Problems > Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums are a type of behavioural disorders. Tantrums in children are due to unhealthy upbringing. Parental negligence or their attitude are main cause of tantrums. Children throwing tantrums feel insecure and crave for attention. If an initial stages only this issue is looked into then it will not blow out to a larger proportion.

Rahul's Story

Rahul was a little boy of five years. He was the first child to be born in the Rathod family after 10 years and so was loved and doted over by all - his parents, grandparents and even his uncle and aunt who had had no children of their own. His wish was everyone's command and he was always given whatever he desired. Then his parents decided that it was time to have another child. Soon after his mother gave birth to a baby girl and the whole family rejoiced once again. All, except Rahul.

Suddenly, there was a marked change in his behaviour. He would cry, scream and throw a fit for no apparent reason. His mother could not pay much attention to him in the first few months because she was busy feeding and changing the little one. And the rest of the time she was so exhausted that all she could do was sleep. His father was in the office most of the time and would come home very tired. If he found Rahul crying or screaming he would just give him some money and send him with the servant to go and buy himself a chocolate. His grandparents were too old to be able to run after him and would give in to his silly demands just to keep him quiet. Rahul realised that there was no one to control him and he could always get his way by simply throwing a tantrum.
 

Someone more important than him

But no one in the family seemed to realize the cause for this change in behaviour. All except his aunt. It was not that Rahul was not given whatever he wanted before his sister was born, so why the temper tantrums to get his way? His aunt was the only one to realize that he was missing all the attention that was coming his way when he was the only child. Now suddenly he seemed to feel that he had lost his mother altogether and the attention of the rest of the family was diverted elsewhere. So she tried her best to spend long hours with him, making him feel needed, loved and wanted. And whenever he threw another tantrum, she would not allow the others to give in to his demands, but hugged him and made him feel more secure instead. 
 

Over-pampering and Spoiling

Temper tantrums also fall in the category of behavioral disorders. To be even more specific, it is a personality disorder that is learnt by the child due to wrong parental attitudes and unhealthy upbringing. It is not due to any physical or genetic cause but generally occurs in those children who are over pampered or spoilt. Sometimes the parents might not have enough time to spend with the child and tend to over compensate with toys or clothes and gifts. Or sometimes when they have an only child they simply dote on, they automatically give in to his demands. It is quite easy to give in to or tolerate the selfish and egoistic behaviour of your only child. A typical case of 'spare the rod and spoil the child'. But the real trouble starts when the second child is born. 
 

Don't give in - be firm

In most cases, by this time, a pattern of wrong learning has already set in and the child knows exactly how to get his way. He knows that if he screams or shouts or throws things around he can make his parents dance to his tune. The trick is not to give in and to hold your ground until he settles down and learns to behave himself. Adequate punishment at this point would probably help to correct this wrong learning pattern and help establish appropriate responses from the child.

Another equally valid cause for temper tantrums is irritability. A child would get irritable if he were not allowed to do whatever he wants to do. This normally starts when he is still an infant and is probably in inexperienced hands. The mother might try to force him to eat when he is not hungry or try to put him to sleep when he is wide awake.  Or someone might insist on carrying him or playing with him when he just wants to be left alone and rest. Then again as he grows older, his parents might insist that he rest when his friends are down playing or basically never allow him to do things according to his wish. This would irritate almost any human being and most specially a child. Especially as he is too young to understand reason and just can not fathom why he can not have his own way for a change. He them manifests his feelings by shouting, screaming, kicking, throwing things and rolling on the floor. It is no use explaining things to him in this condition as he is not open to logic and can only see the situation from his point of view. It is also not advisable to give in and encourage this behaviour pattern. You must show him that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

I once read about a six-year old girl whose outbursts took the form of raging anger where she would bite her little brother who was just an infant and throw things at her parents. Investigations revealed that she had been left to the care of an old maid who insisted that she sleep in the afternoon and curbed her at every step. She was too old to play with her and was therefore unnecessarily strict. Her mother had no time for her with the little baby on her hands. So the suppressed girl grew very irritable by the day and flew into a rage at the drop of a hat. Her parents panicked and rushed her to a child guidance centre where she went through intense therapy with a psychiatrist who was able to pinpoint the cause of her tantrums.

It is not necessary for every child to be taken for counseling if the parents can understand what the child is going through and rectify the problem by themselves, through love and compassion. But if the case intensifies, it is best to get proper guidance and counseling.
 

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Riya.2 years ago
I think it is very bad or worse when a baby is not given proper attention in a house. They might feel insecure and make it even worse to throw tantrums and shout. So, giving proper attention and lending ears for their demands might make the kid to understand the things and behave properly.
 
 
 
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Trupti.2 years ago
My child is four years old now a days he started crying in school and does not want to go to school.He tells me to sit with him in school. He also now a days wants to purchase chocolates or something whenever we go out in shops. He at times screams loudly back and gives back answers and tries to beat us. He never responds to when he is called. Should i consult a child psychologist.

if yes guide me for one in Ahmadabad.
 
 
 
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joanna.5 years ago
My daughter used to be terribly defiant. she would have tantrums and was always seeking attention. Once she even threw herself down the stairs for attention. I tried the gentle approach, the strict approach, the friendly approach but she always seemed to be smarter than me and nothing worked! I think that you need to be democratic and talk lots. It worked with my daughter. I understand that you cannot completely treat them as adults, but communicating with respect definitely helps.
Now my daughter is older and we have an absolutely wonderful relationship.
It is possible to get help without seeing a counsellor. I used help via tantrums-in-toddlers.com for example.
Good luck and peace to all parents.
 
 
 
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joanna.5 years ago
My daughter used to be terribly defiant. she would have tantrums and was always seeking attention. Once she even threw herself down the stairs for attention. I tried the gentle approach, the strict approach, the friendly approach but she always seemed to be smarter than me and nothing worked! I think that you need to be democratic and talk lots. It worked with my daughter. I understand that you cannot completely treat them as adults, but communicating with respect definitely helps.
Now my daughter is older and we have an absolutely wonderful relationship.
It is possible to get help without seeing a counsellor. I used this.
Good luck and peace to all parents.
 
 
 
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karina.7 years ago
i feel that this story is so true. a child needs to feel loved and needs attention, especially when a baby is born into the family.
 
 
 
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Dr. Cauffman.7 years ago
i believe that the spoiled child thory is correct. also, the family could have gone along with the childs tantrums, giving in etc. because the child was already spoilt. this could have continued quite happily and the boy would have grown up spoilt, as he would have if his sister had never been born.
 
 
 
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Licia.7 years ago
i am a ssigned to care for a 6 year old boy with behavioral problems in a school setting. he throws temper tantrums and often refuses to do what is required of the others in his class.he does seem to have some neurological difficulties( such as not having a dominant hand and some clumsiness with his feet and poor impulse control, but i believe these to be minor. he is the only boy in the family and has a twin sister and an older sister. i think he may have been given whatever he wanted to keep him quiet and he really is very charming when he is good.i am working at school at not giving in to him, but spending time with him ( doing a favorite puzzle etc. when he folls a directive or controls himself for short periods of time. the school wants to mainstream him and i think it is possible, but the teacher seems resentful of the burden he poses and it seems that she may be tryin to have him removed from the class and put in with mentally handicapped kids. he is very intelligent and catches the work more quickly than the others. any suggestions?
 
 
 
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Uma.7 years ago
many parents confuse anger with being firm. as long as a child realises that his tantrums wil not be tolerated because it is wrong, he/she can be corrected. but if anger is the dominant parental emotion, he learns to mimic that behaviour.
 
 
 
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Neeta.7 years ago
now a days working parents are busy in their everyday routine, so they have less time to spend on the child. so the child expects some attention of the parents which is difficult, then the child starts getting irritated. we have no time to answer their questions too. so to keep them quite normally, parents give them whatever the child likes. by doing so, the child gets an idea, of tantrums so they starts shouting, screaming etc. i think there is no way than giving them time, play with them for some time atleast and go to their level and understand their problems. this will help the parents to get rid of tantrums though the child is lonely..
 
 
 
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mom.7 years ago
my first child is 18 years older than her sister and has no reason as does her sister to be jealous. nor do us, her parents, have reason to pick and choose making her feel insecure. my first child whom i have raised exactly as i am the second, was very different indeed. therefore maybe there needs to be more investigation to the genetic vs environmental factors.
 
 
 
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