|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Temper Tantrums

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Shari Nethersole, M.D.

Q: My daughter is 8 months old, and is a very happy baby. The only problem I have with her is her temper (which she inherited from me, unfortunately). When she does not get her way, or sometimes when she is playing, she throws a fit. She throws her head and her whole body down. She will roll over and sit up and throw herself again. I'm afraid that she will hurt herself. I also want to let you know that I try to divert her attention to other things or I try to ignore her, although sometimes that is difficult to do. Please give some advice on what to do in this situation. She is not scheduled for another visit to our pediatrician for another month.

A: The problem that you describe is not an uncommon one, and I wouldn't blame yourself too much. Assuming that she is generally a healthy child with no underlying medical problems, it is extremely unlikely that she will do any serious harm to herself from these tantrums. Of course, it is still difficult to tolerate them. You have started on the right path by trying to distract her when something is upsetting her. The other thing to do is to avoid the situations (if possible) that you know tend to provoke the episodes. One of the most important things that you can do is to stay calm. Children are very sensitive to the emotions of those around them and if she sees that you are upset and yelling, it feeds into her tantrum. Talk to her very calmly and in your normal tone of voice. Tell her that you're sorry but she can't have _____. Make sure there are no sharp or heavy objects nearby, and then go about your busines, ignoring the tantrum. This means avoiding eye contact as well as unnecessary conversation, but do not leave her in the room by herself at this age. If you have a playpen available, putting her in it during the tantrum will help make sure she is safe. When the tantrum is finished, pick her up and give her a hug, and go on to another activity, without punishment or a reprimand.

More on: Expert Advice

Shari Nethersole is a physician at Children's Hospital, Boston, and an instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She graduated from Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and did her internship and residency at Children's Hospital, Boston. As a pediatrician, she tries to work with parents to identify and address their concerns.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!