One of the most feared rites of passage for any parent is the dreaded temper tantrum. Tantrums usually start sometime after the child turns two and can last well into the school years. Now that you’ve yelled “No!” at your computer, relax. Most children grow out of the tantrum phase within a year and often, within a few weeks or months. The key to surviving the tantrum period is keeping your cool and sanity. If you are a single parent, the tantrum stage can make you wish like never before that you were married or had a significant other. At least then you could stick the screaming kid with the other parent, close the door and let him deal with it.
But when there is no significant other, it’s all up to you. When your child is screaming, holding his/her breath, possibly kicking or hitting you, it can be difficult to handle. While this is a stressful time for you, keep in mind it is equally (if not more) stressful for the child. That is why she/he is acting out. The child is looking for attention and since he or she is new to this whole living life thing, she’s not sure how to go about it. Just like when she was a tiny bundle of joy and would cry for a bottle or a clean diaper, she’s now crying to say, “Hey, Mom. I need something.”
However, it is vital that you don’t just give in. This will encourage her to keep throwing tantrums to get whatever she wants. The first key to handling a tantrum is to calm down. Count to ten. Take deep breaths. Whatever works best for you. The second thing is possibly the hardest: if she doesn’t also calm down and still screams or yells, the best thing to do is walk away. Tell her you won’t talk to her when she is like this, but to come find you when she can speak and not yell or scream. And then walk away. While this can be hard on you, ultimately it will work out best for both of you.
Nine times out of ten, she will still scream for a while (hopefully only minutes and not hours), but she’ll come to you and together, you can figure out what it was she was so upset about and rectify the situation. It won’t be easy to get through, but you will both get through it and as a result, that mother/child bond will strengthen. For more great advice on handling temper tantrums, check out this article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tantrum/HQ01622