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Taming temper tantrums

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There are two words that make any parent cringe.

Those words, temper and tantrum.

They always seem to happen at the worst times, while you're grocery shopping or while you're on the phone.

And yes, all kids throw temper tantrums, but that doesn't seem to make it any easier when you're standing at the check out line with a screaming child.

So, we turned to a preschool teacher and a doctor for more on taming the terrible tantrums.

All was pretty calm in this preschool class we visited today, but teacher Diane Jasper knows a tantrum can happen at any moment.

Tantrums can be caused by a lot of things.

Kids they don't get their way, they don't know how to communicate, they're tired, they're frustrated.

Sometimes you see them coming, sometimes not.

But for kids, especially between the ages of one and four, tantrums are just part of growing up.

"It's a normal part of their brain development, and it's a stage they are going to go through.", says Dr. Heather Rainwater of St. Mary's hospital.

Dr. Rainwater says there are often simple ways to prevent a tantrum from happening.

First, she says try to avoid things that you know are going to set off a tantrum.

For example, "If you know your child desperately wants to play with something breakable, and you know you're not going to let them.. Put it away where they can't get it, instead of arguing about it.", Rainwater says.

Second, know your child's limits.

Avoid running errands when when they're tired or hungry.

Also, Dr. Rainwater encourages you to help your child identify his feelings: Kids who feel understood, are less likely to tantrum.

At home, Dr. Rainwater says a lot of times a tantrum is the result of your child simply wanting your attention.

She says, "Your child wants your attention 24 hours a day." "Kids are experts at how to get their parents attention, so they're going to tantrum in a way that pushes your buttons, and gets your attention."

The best way to handle it, according to Rainwater?

Ignore it.

"If you respond to tantrums consistantly by getting down on the floor, looking at your child, and trying to reason with them, they're getting tons and tons of reinforcement that if i drop to the floor and throw a tantrum, mom will drop everything and come over and spend lots of time with me, and the tantrums will escalate."

Tantrums are not always easy to ignore, and it's impossible to reason with a child during a full blown tantrum.

So, make sure they're in a safe place, let it run its course, then assure your child everything is okay.

"Once they calm down we get together with them and we talk. I see you are angry, I see you were sad.", says Preschool Teacher Diane Jasper.

And again, as a parent, remember, every child tantrums.

 You're not alone..

Jasper says, "People get embarressed and they feel like it's a reflection on their parenting and it's not, it has nothing to do with that."

Tantrums usually start to fade out around the age of four.

If your child is 5 or 6 and is still throwing a tantrum, it may be time to talk with your doctor.

You may also want to talk with your doctor if your child's tantrums are so extreme that they really limit your ability as a family to do something.

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