We've all been there, watching a child throw himself to the floor or scream loud and long enough to wake the dead. If you were lucky, the child was someone else's. If not, you probably wondered what you did to deserve such a terrible child, or what your child did to deserve such a terrible parent. In Taming Your Child's Temper Tantrums, Dr. Victoria McEvoy explains that tantrums are a totally normal-though unfortunate-part of early childhood. Most of the time the behavior is mercifully short-lived. McEvoy helps parents see the tantrum from the child's perspective, offers suggestions for dealing with them, and advice on when to seek professional help. Among her tips:
· Many tantrums can be headed off before they begin, by meeting your child's need for food, sleep, exercise, attention and control.
· Don't over-react to early tantrums. If your child learns that you'll cave at the first scream, you're setting yourself up for many more unpleasant afternoons.
· Be on the lookout for things you may be doing to encourage your child's tantrums. Remember, she is the one throwing the fit, but you've set the stage she's throwing it on.
· If tantrums continue beyond the third year, get worse, or seem to be unprovoked, it's time to redouble your detective work. With the help of family, friends and professionals you can figure out what's going on with your child.