Temper Tantrums - Where Do They Come From?

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Temper Tantrums (TTs) are a toddler's way of expressing anger and frustration.
They may range from whining, complaining, yelling, pounding, or other violent displays.
About 50-80% of 2-3 year old children have TTs at least once a week, and about 20% have them daily.
Over 50% of 2 year old children will continue to have TTs at age of 3.
Tantrums result from a child's inability to express his/her feelings, wants, and dislikes.
When the frustration builds up, an emotional outburst is born.
In older children, TTs might be a learned behavior that is reinforced by parents.
Your child's temperament plays an important role in the frequency and intensity of TTs.
For example, intense children have a tendency to express their feelings dramatically, and persistent children are more likely to have prolonged TTs.
In addition, children who have irregular sleeping/feeding patterns might be more prone to frustration and thus TTs.
The environment in which your child lives might attribute to his/her frustrations.
Children living in crowded conditions with limited access to the outside might be more stressed out, thus frustrated, less tolerant, and more demanding than usual.
The best approach to TT management is to ignore them.
Do not let your child get her way after a tantrum because that will reinforce the behavior.
You can prevent TTs by using consistent discipline and common sense demands and restrictions.
If you are concerned about your child's TTs, your child is older than four or younger than one, TTs occur three times a day or more, last for longer than 15 minutes, are accompanied by aggressive behaviors towards people and animals, or result in property damage, talk to your health care provider.

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