From 18 to 24 Months - Temper, Temper

Pregnancy and Beyond

Those sweet babies turn into independent-minded toddlers. Still loveable, still appealing, and very busy. The "terrible twos" might better be called the "testing twos." Your toddler is learning a lot-about his body's abilities, about expressing his ideas and controlling his impulses, and about what other people expect of him. He learns by testing and trying out, exploring and experimenting. In the process, some unhappy experiences are bound to occur. Failure, frustration and limited language lead to temper tantrums!

Children are quick to discover, however, that tantrums can be used to manipulate parents into giving in to unreasonable demands. Be understanding of your child's unhappiness, but don't be a pushover!

Remember the following:

If you feel your self-control is slipping, be sure your child is in a safe environment. Assure he is in the care of another responsible person, and then get away by yourself until you can get a firm grip on your emotions. Take a walk, take a shower, call a friend-whatever puts things back into perspective for you. If tantrums seem to be happening constantly, or if things seem to be getting worse, don't be reluctant to seek help. If you feel that you might hurt your child, call the 24-hour Parental Stress Helpline at 1-800-367-2543. Tell your child's caregivers to call you if they get frustrated with your baby's crying, etc., and to never shake your baby.