I thought the tantrum twos would end by age three. I have a four year old that seems to have tantrums daily over not getting his way. What do you suggest? Time-Out, ignoring, threatening not to go to the park? I do all of these and nothing really seems to be working. Thanks in advance. KG, Mundinburra
Tantrums can be a huge a problem and often it becomes very confusing at to which strategy you need to choose. I tend to talk to parents in terms of your ‘Toolkit of Strategies’. By this I mean you have a few different strategies and then need to know when you use what. Sometimes it takes a bit of experience too know which is best but you can have general rules so it’s not a guessing games.
Certainly daily tantrums no matter what the age can certainly be improved and you shouldn’t have to expect or put up with daily tantrums. So my first question is ‘how much sleep is your 4 yr old getting? And is it enough?’ as this alone can result in daily or 10 x daily tantrums. If it is less than 11-12 hours I would look at fixing this problem first.
Second, forget the ‘threatening’ it doesn’t work! As a general rule for minor annoying behaviour just ignore it – step over and walk away. Don’t look back, sigh or roll your eyes!! If it is more major, by this I mean it is hurting someone else, or you just can’t ignore it then you need another strategy, which by age of 4years a counting strategy is perfect but you need to learn to do it properly or again it won’t work. This is where you use the counts of 1, 2 and 3 to help your child stop and think and make a different/better choice.
Above all you need to be consistent with the strategies you choose. Or else it is too confusing for your child and what works one day is different the next. So be consistent. If the tantrums continue or you need some assistance with strategies and learning them and working out what to use where, be sure to seek out some professional help, results will be quick and your family will be so much peaceful for it.