QUESTION: I have a one-year-old daughter and she’s my only child. Lately she has been behaving badly. When she wants something and I dont give it to her she gets mad and throw herself on the floor really hard. Most of all, she will cry for every little thing. She does this a lot in public places and I get so embarrassed. I don’t like hitting my daughter because it hurts me when she cries but she is really taking it to the next level. Is this a regular tantrum that all kids go through? What should I do?
DR. LOPEZ’ ADVICE: Your child is completely normal. Temper tantrums occur from 1-3 years of age. They are a normal part of development. Having said that, if your child throws a temper tantrum because she wants something that she can’t get, just let her throw it. Leave the room if you can. Once she sees that you are not paying attention to her it will stop. Never give into her because she will learn that temper tantrums allow her get to her way. You are right in not hitting her. This will only give her permission to hit you back. If she throws herself on the floor and bangs her head then you must pick her up, sit on a chair with the child on your lap and, facing forwards, hold on to her and let the tantrum pass. Don’t talk to her while she is throwing the tantrum. Don’t be afraid to do this in public, if you must –pick her up and leave.
To avoid temper tantrums don’t take her out during her nap time, or if she is sick, hungry or tired. Keep the outings short.
I hope this is helpful.
Wanda Lopez, M.D.
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