If you are a teacher of young children between the ages of 1-4 you will, at some point during those precious years of childhood growth, experience something you never thought possible by your little angel, a temper tantrum.  It doesn’t matter if your child is a boy or a girl.  Tantrums are equally common among both.  And more than half of young children will present a tantrum one or more times each week.

Can you prevent the tantrums?  Honestly the answer has to be no.  So many situations can trigger a temper tantrum that it is virtually impossible to avoid all of them.  Some of the “triggers” for this behavior can be as simple as bedtime, suppertime, having to get up earlier than thy wanted and then having to get dressed in something that doesn’t suit their mood for the day.  Perhaps it is the choice of television programs you have offered.  It could also be something as simple as a ride in the car to a relative’s home where there is absolutely nothing for the child to do but get hugs from “old people.”  Of course there is the old standby while riding with a sibling with the required complaint of “Mom, she’s touching me!”  Yes, that one is a classic trigger than can soon develop into world war three.  Of course there are more serious triggers such as anxiety over having to leave the home and go to school, a strange and scary environment which holds the source of much stress.  And finally, meeting new people for the first time is always a problem which can generate more stress and attention seeking to avoid the problem all together.

Every child will, at one time or another, begin to whine, complain, resist, cling, argue, hit, shout and/or defy authority figures such as teachers or parents.  It’s normal and generally not a huge problem unless the issue isn’t dealt with firmly and fairly.  To ignore this behavior only causes more problems as the child grows older.  He or she believes that it is acceptable to exhibit tantrums as it, they believe, will get them what they want; attention.

Getting attention is the goal of a child exhibiting a temper tantrum.  To a child it doesn’t matter if the attention is positive or negative.  It is still attention.  For a teacher or parent to give in to this type of behavior is unwise. If it goes unchecked it can develop into problems for everyone as the child grows older such as lack of respect for authority figures in and out of the home.  Eventually the child begins to believe that they are in control when in fact they are not.  This creates, or can create, serious sociological and psychological problems for the child.  They need to be in control but only know how to be in control by negative behavior which never has a positive outcome.