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Coping With Anger


Till what age will my child throw tantrums? 

Babies throw tantrums often, but as they grow up, these tantrum lessen in intensity and frequency and gradually fade out. But for some children, instead of these tantrums fading out, they increase in intensity and frequency and peak between the ages of three to five. After the age of five, your child's tantrums will mellow down on their own. 

So why, you ask yourself, should you pay so much attention to a tantrum when you know your child will outgrow it within a few years? Because these first few years build the foundation of a child's character. Do you want your child to grow up to be a secure, self-reliant, mature and responsible individual? If the answer is yes, then don't just walk out every time your child throws a tantrum. Be there for her.

What should I do when she is throwing a tantrum? 

Understand that she has reached a highly strung stage, and she doesn't really have control on her emotions as yet. She will find it difficult calming down on her own. If you yell at her when she's throwing a tantrum, you will only worsen the situation. It's best to ignore it initially, and then try and comfort her. 

Don't give to her demands. This will psychologically trigger more tantrums so she can get her way. 

Listen carefully when your child is throwing a tantrum. While her initial cries will be those of pure fury, the latter cries will be almost like a plea for help. And this is a genuine plea; your child does indeed need help to calm down. The cries may be just as loud, but there will be a barely imperceptible change in the tone. She's crying for your help. 


What are breath-holding spells?

Around 20% of children suffer from breath holding spells when they are angry or upset. These spells are often thought to be seizures but in reality they are nothing more than a lack of oxygen to the brain because of crying. The child cries and cries without pausing for breath, inhales sharply and continues as before. After a while the crying escalates to such a point that the child is unable to take a breath and she passes out. 

Needless to say, such an episode can frighten a parent immensely. The child turns slightly blue, and she may twitch a little. However, there is nothing to get unduly upset about. Such a breath holding spell has no effect on her health whatsoever in the short or long term. When the child faints, her natural breathing mechanisms kick in and she starts breathing again. Oxygen rushes to her brain, and after a few moments she comes around. 

Is it a seizure or breath-holding spell?

So how do you know if your child is suffering from a seizure or from a simple breath-holing spell? The distinction is quite easy. A breath holding spell is always preceded by crying. In addition, when a child is suffering from a breath holding spell, she will twitch a little and will be fully active and back to normal after around a minute, but in a seizure she will be rhythmically jerking, and will feel tired and sleepy for around ten to fifteen minutes after recovery. 

As your child grows up, don't give these breath-holding spells much attention, or she may use them to gain her way. It's best to ignore her, but to be around and make sure she doesn't pass out on the stairs on any unsafe place. 

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