Violent Tantrums in Children

Most parents will undoubtedly have to deal with a child that throws a temper tantrum. These tantrums can occur at any age, but most commonly will appear between ages 1 and 4. Violent temper tantrums take the form of biting, hitting, punching or even banging the head against a wall or other hard surface. Temper tantrums in preschool children can begin behavior patterns that are increasingly disobedient, rebellious and aggressive as they mature.

  1. How Common

    • Temper tantrums in young children are fairly common and can occur about once a day. Tantrums can last 90 seconds to 5 minutes in children 18 to 24 months old. Some parents may not understand the difference between a normal temper tantrums and a more severe tantrum, which can become a danger to the child as well as to the parent or caregiver. If your infant suddenly becomes destructive when just moments before he was merely trying to gain attention, the child may have negative psychiatric issues.

    Calm Yourself and Child

    • If your child is having a violent temper tantrum, try to calm him. When a child reacts by throwing objects, biting and scratching or banging his head against a hard surface, consider he may be tired, overstimulated or frustrated and does not have the ability to tell you what he needs or wants. Be calm and do not yell or overreact. The more emotional you become, the more emotional the child becomes. Regard these episodes as teachable moments to help your child learn to manage difficult emotional feelings in a healthy way. Be clear, firm, and remain patient and consistent.

    Possible Psychiatric Problems

    • If you child shows aggression that results in injury to the child or others, the behavior may indicate a psychiatric disorder. There are several telltale signs. If your child displays violent behavior toward you or a caregiver at least half of the time during last 10 to 20 tantrums, this behavior represent problems. If the tantrums last 25 minutes or longer and happen more than five times a day on multiple days and the child is unable to calm himself down, seek professional psychiatric assistance.

    Possible Causes

    • The causes for temper tantrums are varied, but many can be indicative of family problems. Infants and children are affected when parents are neglectful, inconsistent in disciplining or fail to give love and attention. If your child is displaying consistent temper tantrums then he may be displaying other problems, like bed wetting, sucking his thumb, problems sleeping or head banging.

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  • Photo Credit children image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com

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