Tantrums in primary school children
Yes, tantrums are meant to be a feature of the terrible twos but not children at primary school, right? Maybe not. Some older children still suffer tantrums
Why do tantrums happen?
Tantrums usually occur when your child is frustrated, stressed or tired, and with limited means to communicate how he's feeling, he vents all his strong emotions in one long tirade that is a tantrum.
As your child matures, he will develop better ways of communicating how he feels - mainly through language - and so tantrums naturally tend to decrease with age.
If, however, your child is still tearing into a tantrum on a regular basis, you should consider whether he has developed the right vocabulary to express how he's feeling.
- Ensure that she understands that she can talk to you about how she feels. Perhaps ask her questions that may open the door to this type of self-expression.
- Don't reward his behaviour. Your pre-schooler may view throwing a tantrum as a tool to getting what he wants, so be sure that you don't give in to his demands while he's displaying out of control behaviour.
- She may be using tantrums as a way of getting your attention. If you suspect this to be true, you're best off ignoring the tantrum while it goes on. Stay close by and keep an eye on her to make sure she won't hurt herself, but try not to respond to the tantrum itself. Once it's over, engage with her normally again.
- Try putting a reward system in place that may encourage calm and appropriate behaviour in situations that would ordinarily result in a tantrum.
- Often kids react strongly to situations that they don't feel prepared for, so give timed warnings when you are about to do something that might result in a tantrum - 'In five minutes I want you to turn off the TV' - and make sure that he's not only looking at you but he's listening as well!
School-aged kids tend to take themselves very seriously and while there are those parents who find tantrums very upsetting, there are others who find them funny - here's this little person flinging himself around in a blind fury. Don't laugh at him or even look vaguely amused because he'll find it even more upsetting that you're not taking him seriously.
Read more about behaviour:
- Stop sibling rivalry
- Lying and how to stop it
- What to do when kids swear
- Fighting in the car
- Why kids swear
- Dealing with kids swearing
- Discipline dos and don'ts
- Practical parenting advice from Betsy Brown Braun
- Parents who yell
- Yelling at the kids
- Tantrums in primary school children
- Common fears in school children
Ready Set Learn
This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot, New Zealand's parenting resource for school age children.