Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What causes kids to throw tantrums?

I have posted about handling tantrums, but I guess not about the ABC on what causes kids to throw tantrums…

Knowing the causes why kids throw tantrums is essential as it is a big help in understanding the nature of this misbehavior and at the same time parents would be able to know how to respond to their children’s tantrums.

So, what causes tantrums?


Kids are no different from adults, they also get frustrated. Is it not that when adults get frustrated, we become angry, the emotional surge is sometimes overwhelming and draining, and we resort to crying and all sorts of unpleasant emotions flood us. As kids are no different from adults in getting frustrated, their responses to frustrations are no different from us too. The difference is in handling themselves as they respond to frustrations. With not self-control yet, lack of knowledge on the proprieties of life, tantrums is thus expected.

Most of the frustration among kids is caused by not being permitted to do and have the things they want. Some examples are the following:

- Watch TV programs that are not appropriate for them.
- Watch TV while it’s already bed time, study time, and/or meal time.
- Play when it’s bed time, study time, and/or meal time…
- Eat candy or junk foods…
- Buy the toys they want.

Since when parents say no, it means they can’t have or do what they want. And when kids are held back from the things they want, they get frustrated.

Frustrations among kids may also be elicited by inattention of parents to their children. Inattention of parents could make their children feel rejected, neglected, or simply not loved. Adults, us parents alone, if we start to feel unloved by our partners, and even our kids, feeling of frustrations flood our emotions right? How much more our children?

Frustration among our children can and may also be caused by our own frustrations. I don’t know if you notice, but when I get frustrated my kids also get frustrated. They seem to imbibe my emotions. And it’s not just me; my friends also notice it that their kids imbibe their emotions. I have read somewhere that our children read us, and they will most likely absorb what they see in us…

To get what they want.

There are some kids who throw tantrums so that they could get what they want, actually not just some, but a lot of kids. Many parents today make the mistake of giving in when their children would start to throw a fit just so the tantrums would stop. This may indeed stop a tantrum, but only for that time being. The next time a child was denied with the thing that he wants, he will surely throw a fit again, because he knows that when he does, even if Mommy and Daddy said no, he’ll eventually get what he wants.

To get their parents attention.

Some children would throw a fit for no apparent reason at all. This is not so, some children when they throw tantrums for no apparent reason are actually seeking their parents’ attention. They know that when they throw a fit their parents will notice them, and give them the attention they desperately seeking.

The atmosphere of your home, or simply how you treat your child.

Yes, how you treat your child, the atmosphere of your home could definitely elicit tantrum responses among your children. When the atmosphere of your house is generally hostile, expect a hostile kid. Not to mention hostility at home causes frustration among children.

When you seem to be frustrated with your child every now and then, expect a frustrated kid- frustration causes tantrums.

When in his every behavior, regardless if it is a misbehavior or just simply mistakes because of ignorance inherent to childhood, you yell, what do you expect your kid learned in communicating disapproval and frustration?

Tantrums are normal among children. When we were kids, we had tantrums too! And thus this shall pass; just don’t make the mistake of responding to it in a manner that will reinforce it. Read my previous post on Handling Tantrums.

TIP: If your kids are throwing tantrums think of this: “If I am on my child’s shoes how would I want to be taught that tantrums is not an acceptable behavior?

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Angry Child/ Violent Child: What Causes children to be angry and violent?

No child is inherently bad, parents always remember that.

Many kids of today are becoming angry. I hear kids yell at their parents. I hear stories from parents about their kids being violent. What makes a child angry and violent in the first place?

Yes, we could be the reasons, the ones who are making our children angry and violent. How? Children learn what they live. How are you treating your children? Do you yell at them every time they do something you do not want, and/or irk you? Do you punish them every time they misbehave or every time they do not meet you expectations? What is the atmosphere of your home? Is it of hostility? Our children grow angry and become violent simply because we are teaching them to be angry and violent.

Parents who are always angry, always yelling, always lashing at their children in every single inconvenience and discomfort that they cause, are teaching their children anger. If a child is shaped and/or lived with hostility, definitely, a child will also become hostile.

Improper punishment causes children to be violent. If in every mistake of a child, if in every time he causes frustrations and disappointments to his parent he gets beaten and whacked, expect that when this child gets frustrated and disappointed, he will likely to become violent. Improper punishment also stirs a child to be angry. Why does he get beaten every now and then? Why do his parents hurt him? Remember children do not know yet most of the demarcation line of what is proper and acceptable from not, especially very young children. So if they get violent and painful punishments in their every mistake instead of informing them that what they have done is improper, they will not learn that what they did is wrong. With the pain inflicted to them, they will instead learn to be angry and defiant.

Parents’ inattention or lack of time for the children also causes them to be angry. Our children need our attention and time. Attention and time equates love for them. Spending time with our children makes them feel loved, important and secured. It also makes them feel they are cared for. The lack of attention and time to the children robs them off of the opportunity to learn these things. And thus they will tend to learn the opposite of these which are insecurity and rejection. Which would then lead to demanding and aggressive attitudes of children. Which would consequently cause frustrations and thus harboring feelings of anger.

TV programs that portray violence
Children are impressionable. What they see, even for just once sometimes, leave a mark in their young minds, especially very young children. The things that they see, that they live as they are growing up are the things that they learn and shape their minds. So if they get access to violent TV shows and movies, violence tends to get impressed on their minds. Consequently, as evident today, they learn violence. Their minds are set to the notion that violence is a way of life, a norm. Permissiveness of parents becomes and issue here. Make sure your children do not have access to violent movies and TV shows. Children will only have access if parents permit or are lax with the TV and the movies they see.

Children of today are increasingly becoming violent and angry. And raising kids is becoming increasingly frustrating and disappointing. But parents should realize that there is always something that we could do. As I have said in the beginning of this post, no children are inherently bad. No children are born bad or evil for that matter. They are born empty, and with the promise of opportunity for parents to raise them up well. It’s up to us; basically it’s mainly of our responsibility that our children are angry and violent.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Childhood Pressures of Today


Every one in this world passes through but once. And this includes of course, our children. But today, it seems that more and more parents are forgetting this. They forget that their child is a child, going through childhood! Parents forget that their kids are kids, they make their kids child-adult, pressure them with so much in this life! Their reason is that it is for their children, buy actually more for them. That they may feel good, happy and proud. What are these pressures that I am saying?

Academic pressures. Childhood is supposed to be learning; it is supposed to be discoveries and observations. It should be free of comparisons and competitions. But nowadays, how many parents would pressure their children just so they could achieve excellence and them be proud?

Pressure to take care of themselves. Both parents nowadays are working to earn more money and buy more comfort, but it also mean lesser time for their children. Children should be taken cared of while they are still young. They are to be taken cared of not only because they are still small and basically incapable of taking care of themselves, but also that they may learn what is care (which equates love) and so they will know how to care someday. Don’t be surprised if more and more kids of today are growing apathetic and non-caring.

Pressure to fit in or acceptance. Kids are kids; they are supposed to be enjoying life and learning love and acceptance! But what is happening now? More and more kids, and younger and younger are going through the pressure of fitting in. Why? Because our society demands it. Because as individuals who are members of this society, we, parents demand it! And falls into this area academic pressures, the pressure of submission (this is a broad and quite sensitive subject, for all to know, submission are different from that of obedient. One kid could be submissive but not obedient, and kids are obedient but not submissive). This pressure results basically to bullying and rebellion at an early age.

The pressure of being a family. As the incidents of divorce and separation among parents are growing, the pressure of being in a family is also growing among our kids. When parents separate, it is always because of their differences, their mistakes, because they no longer happy. But what about the kids? What about the human beings hay have brought into this world? Shouldn’t they be considered? Families are not just about parents, it is not just the two of them. It includes the children, the human beings they have brought into this world. Shouldn’t they be asked their say with the issue of divorce or separation? Shouldn’t they be asked if they are happy? What if there is also a divorce of kids from parents, what if kids could choose and demand to have a change of parents?

The above pressures are robbing off our children of their childhood. Their childhood, the very essence of their life at their particular age bracket- kids. And then we wake up everyday asking each other what happened to our kids of today, why have they become so different 10, 20 years before. Why kids could now kill? I guess we need not ask no more.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Handling Tantrums - How to Handle Yourself When your Kids Throw Tantrums

Tantrums are a misbehavior most parents dread. So what to do if it arises?


When children throw tantrums, they cry, they shriek, they yell, they throw things, even try to hurt you, and sometimes they even try to hurt themselves too. Talking to them at this point is useless. They would only cry more, yell and shriek louder. Attention reinforces this misbehavior. But if you ignore it, eventually the child will stop.

My son used to bang his head on the wall when there’s something that he wants and he was not allowed to have. At first I would try to cover his head because of fear he might hurt himself, but the more he would do it. I would end up giving in to his wants just so he would not bang his head. I knew it was not right. I knew this teaches him to threat so that he could get what he wants. So I asked the occupational therapist (OT, he was undergoing therapy at that time because of speech delay) what to do. She suggested ignoring my son when this attitude arises and be firm. And so I did. Though anxious that he might hurt himself, I tried my very best to ignore him. The first time, it took a while before he finally stopped. I did not try to cover his head, and acted as if I did not see him, and so after a while, probably when his head starts to hurt, he stopped. And so from that time on, in every time he throws a tantrum, whatever he does, whether he cries, shriek, yell, and even throw things I ignore him. Now, he does not throw tantrums anymore.

My friend also proved that ignoring your child when he throws a tantrum is effective. Her daughter, probably because of the arrival of the new baby, would cry for several hours for no apparent reason at all. My friend and her husband would be so worried, and would do so many things trying to pacify her and stop her from crying. Their daughter instead of stopping from crying would cry even more. They tried to give her everything she wants and she asks for but she would still cry for no apparent reason at all. From several hours, her crying got worse to almost 13 hours a day! There was even a time when she cried the whole night until the next day till almost lunch! Exasperated, my friend called me up and asked what to do, and so I suggested what the therapist said, IGNORE and try asking her to help take care of the baby. After several days she called me up and said ignoring her daughter worked, she no longer cries and have started to act as a big sister.

So the next time your child throws a tantrum, ignore.


One reason why children throw tantrums is that because they want something you do not allow. The tendency, they would throw a tantrum in hope to press you to give in.

An example, maybe they want to watch more TV while it’s already bedtime. My son used to throw tantrums because of this. And what I do is that I turn off the TV, unplug it and order him to get inside the room. I ignore his tantrums, and after sometime, when he get tired and would go quiet, I go to his room and explain why they need to go to sleep at that specific time. He would be ready to listen by then, and would apologize and would go to sleep.

Not only did you stop the tantrums at that specific moment when you stay firm in saying no, but also you are teaching your child that there are things that he can’t just have, or are not allowed to. This would teach him discipline and self-control.


When your child throws tantrums, it is because he is frustrated. As I have mentioned on my previous post, to be able to teach him that tantrums is not an acceptable way to express frustrations, you should set the example. Communicate, express to him your disappointment with his misbehavior calmly. Because if you respond negatively with his negative behavior, you taught him by action, violence and anger. Remember, children learn what they live.

I hope these tips have been helpful. I am not an expert parent; I am actually yet at the beginning of this job, still learning and needing to learn more.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Handling Tantrums

Yesterday my son threw a tantrum during his study time. Apparently he had decided not to study and would just watch TV instead. So the whole time while we were studying he was crying, shrieking, and stamping his feet. He threw his face towel several times and when this had no effect on me he threatened to throw his pencil and book.

Tantrums among children are inherent to growing up. This is their way of expressing their frustrations which, causes frustrations too among parents. Tantrums when handled properly will eventually go away. But if not, it will cause more and bigger behavioral problems among kids. How to properly handle tantrums then?

First and foremost there is something that parents should always, always remember even in their midst of frustrations with their kids’ behavior. THERE IS NO INHERENTLY BAD CHILD. A child can be likened to an empty cup; he doesn’t know what is wrong and what is right yet. You, the parents are responsible in teaching your children of this. And tantrum is one very good opportunity to teach your child the demarcation line between what is acceptable behavior and not.

Therefore the first thing that parents should be aware of is that never label or call the child to be misbehaving and bad. Sometimes parents, in their frustrations and in hope of making the child feel that what he has done is unacceptable, they tend to call their child names, bad names that is. They tend to label their child to be misbehaving and bad. The danger with this is that, children seeing that what they did gained their parents’ attention, they may live up the names and labels parents gave.

Another thing to remember is that parents should determine first what caused the child to throw tantrums. Ask the child what is wrong, or what is it that he wants, this will help parents know how to handle the situation. Just as the case of my son’s tantrum yesterday, since I know the cause, I talked to him that he should study first, and after he could go back to watching TV. I explained that studying is important. I compared it to eating; I told him studying is like feeding his brain so that he will not grow up knowing nothing.

The whole time that he was having his tantrum, I was calm and tried not to display any hint of frustration and anger. Even though he threatened to throw away his pencil and book, I just looked at him. Seeing that this action would not stir me to get mad, he eventually laid down his pencil and book. He again threw his face towel on me; I just picked it up and laid down on the table. I did it as calmly as possibly as I could.

Being calm when children throw tantrums is very important. Remember, tantrums are ways for children to express their frustration, likes, and dislikes. So as parents, we ought to teach them that there are other and better ways of expressing and communicating their frustrations, likes and dislikes. Parents ought to teach them that throwing tantrums is not an acceptable behavior, and that it does not make people around them understand what they want. Definitely, parents could not explain these things to children properly if they are angry. At the same time, kids seeing their parents getting angry and mad only add up to their frustrations. Also it causes them to be confused because their parents are reacting in the same manner as they do. Thus they tend to learn that their actions are acceptable and therefore their throwing of tantrums reinforced.

In situations where tantrums demand punishment, parents should never punish if they are angry. This does not apply only to tantrums but in every time a child misbehaves and punishment is necessary. Anger causes parents to punish their children unreasonably. At the same time, children seeing their parents’ anger as the reason for being punished learn violence. The real reason of the punishment, which is to teach children that unacceptable behavior comes with consequences is then clouded, and thus the opportunity for the child to learn which is right and proper from wrong and improper is lost.

Tantrums again are ways for children for communication and expression first and foremost of their frustrations. For parents to be able to teach them that this is an unacceptable behavior and means of communication and self-expression, should not react in the same manner, that is with frustration and anger, to their children in this instances. How parents handle their kids’ tantrums is what they teach them as proper and acceptable behavior.

There are two things I always keep in mind in dealing with my children, which I wish to share, CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE, and PARENTS REAP WHAT THEY SOW.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why and when do you punish your kids?


When was the last time you got angry with your kid?

Admit it; we parents get mad with our kids mostly for the reason that they disturb us and their behavior makes us more disappointed with ourselves. They have done something that made us feel more inadequate and of short to a lot of things. They made us look like someone incapable of so many things. And of course when we are fuming mad with disappointment, we tend to release it, not to ourselves but to our kids. The ones who are responsible in making us feel this disappointment, in making us see more how inadequate and incapable we are. Hence we tend to not only lash and yell to our kids, but punish them.

Thus, we parents punish our kids mostly not for the reason that they have misbehaved but because they are getting on our way, they disturb the stressful moment we are wallowing in, their noises add up with the noise that is in our heads, or simply they disturb us. We punish our kids mostly for the reason that their behavior embarrass us, makes us more disappointed with ourselves, and makes us see more our inadequacies, our shortcomings.

I must admit when I was a first time mom, especially when my kid was still incapable of communicating verbally, I was a parent who punish my kid not because of his behavior but mainly because of my disappointment with myself. And I have learned that when we do this thing to our kids, we are hurting them emotionally and spiritually. We are crushing their lives with our hands; we are unmaking them as a person. As I am always saying to my friend, punishing our kids because of the wrong reasons is like raising them up to be delinquent and future criminals.

As I have asked, when was the last time you got angry and punished your kid? Why? Was it because he has done something that is bad, or harmful to him, or because his actions caused you to feel more inadequate?

The lives of our children are in our hands. We, parents should always remember this. We have the power to make or unmake them as a person. Although, when they grow up they will be as whom they chose to be, BUT the knowing that you made a mistake in bringing them up, the knowing that you were not able to show love when they most need it, I just can’t imagine how tormenting and how miserable this could be. Remember, the times and chances to show love to our kids will only pass once and brief. Should we lose this chance, we’d never be able to bring it back again. As we live each day to the fullest, we should love our kids, show them how much we love them every minute, every moment that they are still by our side believing everything we say and do, because they grow up fast. And what we teach them now, what we show them now, will play a big role in the determining of what kind of a person they will be in the future. It is also the SOLE DETERMINANT of whether we will be happy and contented at the near sunset of our lives.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Discipline and Punishment

Discipline is often thought to be punishment. When people say to discipline a child, it connotes to punish a child. And this should not be so.

Discipline is a teaching/learning process. It is establishing the boundary which the child is allowed to do and have and which is not. It is reprimanding, explaining and teaching why there are things that a child are not allowed to do and to have. Punishment on the other hand is a negative consequence for misbehavior. It is used to reduce, if not eliminate misbehavior. And it is seldom used (should be!).

Misbehavior, this is something that we, parents, and everybody who are in the childcare profession or line of work, should expect. Again, as I have mentioned in my past posts, children are inherent to misbehave simply because they don’t know yet which is right from wrong, proper from not, safe from harmful. Another reason why children misbehave is also for the lack of time, and attention of the parents. Children yearn for approval and acceptance. Like adults, it is something that they have to feel to be happy. And the parents’ inattention and lack of time could mean otherwise. This would then prompt the kids to do things that will catch the parents’ attention, and often it means misbehaving, when this happens, most often than not, parents resort to punishment.

My friend’s adopted son learned about punishment at such an early age. Barely two years old, he experienced being locked up in a dark room alone, for several minutes. When his adoptive grandfather was not able to make him behave the way he wants him to, the child was beaten. The beating was severe because the stick left a swelling mark on the child’s butt which lasted for several days. The reason, the child would not stop crying because at that time my friend was not home (she is in my house actually) and he just wanted to be held by his adoptive grandmother. When I heard about this I was so infuriated. To beat a child, to punish a child for the reason of crying, it is absurd! It is infuriating, especially that the child is only 1 year old, almost 2. And since he was locked up and beaten, he cried the more!

Punishment is not something we do to a child when he behaves the way we would not want him to. Actually punishment, when used as the every resort to discipline will only make a child behave worse. Punishment should and only be used when talking and explanation of consequences to a child does not work. And again, when we say we talk to a child and explain why things are not to be, it does not mean also once. We have to consider the age, or level of understanding of a child. For ages 1-4, expect that you have to explain things with love and patience several times before you could expect the child to obey. For older children, when thoroughly explained the situation to them, most often they obey at once, especially if explanation comes with a hug and a kiss.

Discipline is not all punishment. It is just a part discipline. And most often, in disciplining our kids, punishment is rarely needed. For our kids to behave, we only need to discipline them, rarely to punish them.

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