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These only last a short time and the child’s feelings are not totally out of control. Young children do not always have the words to say what they need or want. Their world is full of bigger people telling them what to do and what not to do. Young children do not have many inner strengths to cope with stress and frustration.

Sometimes children learn that busy parents are likely to give in to what they want if they ‘carry on’ long enough. This may mean constant asking, ‘whining’ or having little tantrums. The child is not out of control at this stage. She has learnt that tantrums work, e.g. gets something if she pesters long enough. Sometimes little tantrums can grow into big ‘boil over’ tantrums.

What parents can do?

What is happening in your child’s life if little tantrums happen often? It may seem as if the tantrum comes from something very small.

However usually the ‘something small’ has come on top of a lot of other stresses or frustration in your child’s life, so it becomes the thing that tips him over into a tantrum.

  • Is it frustration from not being able to have or do something?
  • Is it attention he needs, or is he tired, hungry or unwell?
  • Are there any other stresses that could be affecting him – starting childcare, a new baby, parents arguing or parents feeling stressed or upset themselves?
  • Is your life so busy that it is easier to give in to everything your child asks for?
  • Are there too many ‘No’s’ in your child’s life?

Try to:

  • Spend regular relaxed time with your child.
  • Give him lots of room to move and explore.
  • Notice all the good things about him and let him know that you do.

Think about your child’s life.

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