Temper tantrums. What are they and how to help parents to overcome them
Reference of this article: Díaz Pernas P, Bonet de Luna C. Temper tantrums. What are they and how to help parents to overcome them. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2005;7:67-74.
Published in Internet: 31-03-2005
Temper tantrums are opposition or obstinacy behaviors that are normal in the developing
child, between 18 months and 4 years old. A temper tantrum shows with anger,
screams, crying or insults; it?s possible that the child tries to damage anything, even himself.
Temper tantrums have their origin in the conflict between child?s independent wishes and
caretakers limits. In the other hand, it?s very important language limits and the strong egocentric
feeling in 2-3 years old children are also present.
When a child starts a temper tantrum, the most important thing to do is not to give him
what he or she expects just because he´s angry. It?s necessary to keep calm and to be ignorant of
the child. This is called extinction, what means withdrawal of reinforcements following target
behavior. The time out technique is an extinction variant. In order that extinction works, it´s necessary
to reinforce appropriate behaviors; in this way, the child learns the right way to ask for
what he wants. There are several kinds of reinforcements that are discussed in the article.
Keywords● Behaviour disorder ● Tantrum