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How to Handle Toddler Tantrums

Question:

My 3-year-old son has suddenly started throwing fits and having a bad attitude. I am 20 weeks pregnant and not sure if maybe this has something to do with it. I know that this is normal to an extent for a toddler, but he is generally a pretty good kid. Also, his daddy has been working long hours for a few months now and only gets to see him for maybe 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. I have tried spanking and timeouts, but spanking only makes him even madder, and it breaks my heart to have to do it. The entire time he sits in a timeout, he’s yelling still and throwing a fit!

Answer:

You were able to state several factors that are most likely contributing to the situation -- your pregnancy, his father’s schedule and your son’s age. Your energy and hormone level, his jealously and concerns about having another sibling and both of you spending an extended amount of time together without your husband may all be affecting his behavior.

Knowing these factors can help you to stay calm when he is upset. At this age, his behavior is motivated by getting a response. If that is a positive or negative response is of little concern. That is why it’s vital you focus on staying calm in all interactions with him. If he’s yelling, kicking walls or saying he’s going to wet his pants, remain calm. You’ll not only be taking away some of the fuel for his fire but teaching him self-control as he watches you take deep breaths and think before you speak.

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