A Strong Temper

Some kids anger easily, but most toddlers lose their temper at one time or another. Often they’re just frustrated; they want their independence but their developing bodies and minds get in the way.

If your child has a bit of a temper, try these strategies:

  • Acknowledge his feelings in a calm and comforting way. “I can see how upset you are that we can't go outside. But it’s dark out now. We can go out tomorrow morning.”
  • Distract her. A change of scenery or a new activity can quash anger and frustration.
  • If a full-on tantrum erupts, don't give your child any attention until he calms down. Remove your toddler to a quiet, safe place. Once the tantrum stops, give your child plenty of positive attention.
  • Early childhood experts recommend that if a child hits another person, parents say, “No hitting,” in a firm voice and remove the child from the situation. A short timeout (1 minute or less), in which the child sits quietly, may help help her learn self-control.

  • Spanking or striking a child in any way is not helpful. No matter what a child’s age, physical punishment only teaches him to act aggressively when he’s upset.
  • Remember the importance of finding opportunities to respond in a positive way to her good behavior.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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