Being a parent to a toddler is no easy task. One of the most difficult aspects of having a toddler is dealing with the many temper tantrums they’ll throw at you. While all toddlers will have the occasional temper tantrum, and most tantrums are nothing to worry over, extreme temper tantrums can often be a sign of a deeper issue.
It can be difficult to distinguish between an average fit, and one that should raise concern for underlying problems, especially for new parents.
To help you recognize if your child’s temper is telling you that something more serious is going on, we’ve put together this guide on toddler temper tantrums: when to worry & what to do.
When to Worry
All toddlers throw temper tantrums at some point, for various reasons. If your child is tired, hungry, or feeling sick, there is probably no need to concern yourself over the nature of the temper. Additionally, if your child rarely throws tantrums, the odd one also should not raise any red flags.
However, as a parent, you should start to take notice if your toddler tantrums are an unusually common occurrence. Once you’ve started to observe your child’s temper, there a few key themes to look for in their tantrums that could be the result of more serious issues.
- Aggression: If your toddler is showing signs of aggression towards you, other caregivers, other children, or objects during their tantrum, do not overlook it. Excessive aggression can be caused by a variety of behavioral disorders, including ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and others.
- Self-Harm: If your child attempts to hurt themselves purposely during their tantrums, it could be a sign of depression, or other psychiatric issues. This can include: scratching or biting themselves, hitting themselves, or banging their heads on things, to name a few.
- Increased Frequency & Length: The length of a temper and how often your child has them can also indicate a problem with your child’s wellbeing. If you are unable to subside your child’s tantrum, and they last longer than half and hour majority of the time, you may want to seek advice.
What to Do
The first step if you are noticing your child’s tempers are falling into these categories is to remain calm. Reacting to aggression and defiance with yelling can just make the situation worse. Try to mediate the temper as best as you can. Begin writing down every time your child throws a temper.
Keep a log of how often they occur, how long they last, why they started, and what they were like/how your child acted. This is all very useful information to have for the next step, which is to seek an evaluation for your child from a psychiatrist, who can help identify any behavioral disorders or issues with your child’s mental wellbeing.
Just because all toddlers throw temper tantrums, it does not mean that every tantrum is normal. This information regarding toddler temper tantrums: when to worry & what to do, is for parents that are concerned about the nature of their child’s temper and what it may mean.
If you child demonstrates any of the previously mentioned traits, their tempers could be the result of a variety of deeper problems, and you should look into getting professional advice.