Magazine article Working Mother

Ask Dr. Sears

Magazine article Working Mother

Ask Dr. Sears

Article excerpt

My 2-year-old has been having temper tantrums lately-screaming, crying and even holding his breath. How do I manage this behavior?

A: Unfortunately, tantrums are a typical part of the toddler years. To understand your child's behavior better, try seeing things from his point of view: At this age, his cognitive and motor skills have developed more quickly than his ability to communicate what he wants to do, and his intense desire to experience and explore is constantly being thwarted. Since he hasn't yet developed the verbal skills to express his frustration, he resorts to what he has-the tantrum.

If your child gets upset out of frustration-if he wants a sippy cup sitting tantalizingly on the counter but can't reach it, for example-offer a helping hand. Ask him, "May I help you?" to help him feel more in control, since tantrums can be caused in part because he wants to do things for himself. If his tantrum was caused by his not getting his way-a second lollipop after you told him he could have just one, for instance-try to respond as little as possible and tell him in a firm voice, "I will listen when you use your nice voice, not when you're yelling and crying. …

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