When your child has to struggle to master a task or makes a demand that you refuse to meet, he feels frustrated by his helplessness. Sometimes his frustration and anger well us suddenly and uncontrollably, and he erupts in a spontaneous display of emotion that alarms him as much as it does you. In the classic temper tantrum, familiar to generation after generation of parents but nonetheless disturbing to any grownup who is confronted with one, the child screams, kicks and flails widely about. He may fling toys or other objects. Some children hold their breath until they turn blue in the face, in an effort to frighten their parents. Usually within a few minutes, the outburst ends and the child’s sunny disposition returns.
Temper tantrums occur most frequently between the ages of one and three. More than half of all two year olds have tantrums once or twice a week. If your toddler is active, energetic and determined, he may be particularly prone to tantrums. The ignition points for each child are different, but most children will explode into a tantrum when frustrated, hungry, overtired or over excited. Tantrum behavior decreases as children mature psychologically and are able to express their protests verbally.