How To Manage A Child’s Tantrums

I managed to catch up with an old friend who is a Montessori trainer who is now back in Ireland. I was chatting with her and having exchanges about DS going thru the terrible twos and now in terrifying three stage. We of course touch on the topic of throwing tantrums leading to hysterical fits and she shared something interesting with me, here I liked to share.

Sometimes when a child doesn’t calm down when in tantrums despite you trying all ways and means. It’s not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. This group of children is known as an intense or spirited child.  When less spirited child cry or get upset, their bodies produce the hormone serotonin (Nature’s Prozac), which helps calm them down.  This doesn’t happens with intense/spirited children.

Studies of kids prone to tantrums leading to fits of crying and even hysteria show that the best way is to gently calm and soothe them with hugs and kisses at the first sign of distress, before they becomes inconsolable.

So, when your child is about to go into a tantrum, don’t even let him get started. Once he does, stress hormones will flood his blood stream, body system and there won’t be sufficient serotonin to balance out the stress level, helping him cope. You can help by calming him with a gentle hug and quicky distract him with something.

To build up your child’s serotonin level, vigorous play like skipping, jumping, running, hopping helps. When he is going into a tantrum, he will have a reserve of serotonin in his system to help him cope.

My friend’s advice on young children, especially those in the early years of age 1 to 4, is not to compare your child with others. Allow children to develope at their own pace, without undue pressure.  Childhood should be a time of happiness, not training.  A time to be fussed over, not a time for carrying out chores. Whatever may be, one thing is for sure, your child needs your encouragement, praise, patience, love, etc.

Easier said than done right?  Especially when DS tried to wash his stuffed "pet dinosaur" because he brought it to after dinner fruit time and smear papaya on it.  So, its my own doing, cos I thought that I can leave it to him to finish his fruit while I do his laundry.  Next thing I heard him calling mommy cos pet dinosaur and bed is wet. Mad He did his own laundry in his bed Fainted with his hand soap bottle and his pail filled with water !!Rant Bang Head

Don't frequently rely on

Don’t frequently rely on providing a distraction to get a young child out of a tantrum. Teach the child not to throw tantrums, and he or she will more quickly develop other coping mechanisms. Thanks a lot for your valuable time. Regards,

Tantrums can be triggered by

Tantrums can be triggered by a number of things, and the cause of the tantrum should help determine your response to it. If a tantrum is caused by hungriness or sleepiness, you should feed the child or allow him or her to take a nap as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for sharing...I do

Thanks for sharing…I do have a spirited boy at home:-)

No, it's not my dd :)  

No, it’s not my dd 🙂   So far, if my dd creates a tantrum, I just leave her be, then when she calms down, I’ll explain to her why I didn’t give in to her (not sure if she understands though).  I just feel bad during the time she spends crying that’s all 😛

As for this "he", he’s actually a friend’s ds.  He’s a first-born and only kid, about 3yo.  I find the triggers to his tantrums really mild e.g. both he and my dd snatching toys from each other and then he throws a tantrum if his mommy keeps the toy.  During his tantrum, he just basically yells and shouts and has no regards as to who he is kicking etc.  Usually his mommy will try to hold him down and talk reason to him… I see that she usually holds him down and talks to him in a raised voice till he eventually calms down and apologises… sometimes with the help of a cane being waved in his face (he doesn’t really get beatened).

I would like to think this is just how boys behave compared to girls who are more docile?

Need a little more details

Hiya 2blurcats,  since u mentioned ‘he’ I guess its not your DD u are referring to.  Need a little more details like age, 1st/2nd/3rd born, possible triggers, etc.  So that I can offer suggestions on how to deal with his tantrums.

Also, its better to prevent the tantrum from onsetting rather than to soothe it.  Hving said that, it doesn’t mean you give in to him everytime he threatens a tantrum.  Whenever DS tantrum goes full blown, we will leave him alone in a corner/room to blow it out b4 trying to tackle him.  Often enough, when its over, he would offer his apologies to us.  Of course we give hugs and kisses and praised him for his apologies.  Also would take opportunity to tell him that that was unacceptable behaviour, not that he would remember all the time, just to reinforce tantrum=bad.

Also, theres quite a few discussions on tantrums in the following thread


This is a great article...

This is a great article… very insightful!  Thanks for sharing!

If a child already does a lot of physical activities, but is still prone to throwing tantrums and things, and would not calm down (in fact, just kicks and uses his arms to hit anything and anybody) no matter how I try to calm him down by hugging him, is there any other method I can try?

Thks for this article. I

Thks for this article. I always thought that my son’s crying is due to his bad temper and constant tantrum throwing. Never know that there is this thing called "intense" and "spirited" child. Next time at least I will know how to handle him when he keeps crying non stop.

DS bath time

Since young, DS bathe with a series of different bath toys.  Initially was rubber ducky and a turtle.  Then came jellyfish, crab, seahorse, penguin, a whole lot of fishes, seal, shark, crocodile,…. altmost an aquarium liao.  The recently he add on hippo, elephant, tiger and giraffe after watching Animal Planet and saw these animals at water holes.  Hopefully he wouldn’t request to bathe with all his animals, cos he got a collection of about 70 to 80 pieces.

sound so much like my son

sound so much like my son too. (4.5 years old). Bathing his "Ben 1o – four arms"  and if i do not let him do so…throw tantrum. I think sometimes the soft approach works well but really not sure if in that way I kind of spolit him or not 

Related Articles