Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Temper tantrums in INFANTS

My 5 month old granddaughter has a temper I have never seen in this age child. She arches her back and screams uncontrollably - she makes herself hoarse. We've tried walking with her, talking, rocking even singing. Sometimes we can calm her by blowing softly on her face and head but it frequently exhausts her, her parents and me. Why would a child this young be so angry and what can we do to prevent it?
Answer: Dear Sue:

At five months it maybe temperament. Different children have different temperaments. She sounds strong willed and although this may seem like a challenge, strong willed children grow up to be very interesting people.

I strongly suggest you stop doing all of the things you mention here. The reason is all this attention maybe reinforcing her behavior. She has way too much direct one on one attention when she throws a tantrum.

Make sure she cannot hurt herself and otherwise IGNORE her tantrums.

Now when she is not having a tantrum is she being reinforced for good behavior? Sometimes children act out because their environment is too structured (schedules) or they are being denied too much (no, no, no, no....). Schedules are often to blame as babies and small children do not have a concept of TIME. They take their cues about life from their routines.

They need consistent routines to tell them what is coming next in their lives. Over scheduling or chaos can often produce emotional acting out in children.

She is only 5 months old and it is a great time to practice baby massage with her as well. Most little ones who receive daily massages are very happy with their lives. Wouldn't you be too?

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

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