How to Handle Tantrums

Dear Sara,
My first child is a boy and he has just turned two. He is talking some and his favorite word is “no.” He is having temper tantrums and throws himself on the floor and screams. I don’t know where he learned this. His tantrums have gotten longer and louder and I don’t know what to do except give him what he wants. How do I get him to stop?

Dear Barb,
This is not unusual behavior for a two year old. They are learning how other people react to what they do. Look at it from his point of view. He wants something and you won’t give it to him so he gets mad at you, this doesn’t work so he cries and screams. When he escalates this to a full blown tantrum you give in and give him what he wants. Now if he wants his way he knows how to get it.
If you want his behavior to stop, the best thing you can do is ignore it. He won’t give in right away but if his behavior isn’t rewarded, he will eventually learn that he won’t get his way by acting like this. If he learns he can manipulate you he will be more difficult as he gets older. Hang in there, this won’t last forever.

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