Babies have tantrums too
What if the tantrums start before the terrible twos have even struck? A reader asks if spanking is the answer.
Dear expert

My little one is 13 months old and her tantrums are very bad. She can throw atleast 5 a day! What do I do because shouting and giving her a hiding does not help? I do not want to smack her bum all the time. Please could you assist me as I am a first time single mum. It's getting to the point where it stresses me out completely.
Please help!

Parenting expert, Anne Cawood responds:

At 13 months old, she is still a baby. There is no way that a baby this age should be shouted or smacked. They do not do these things on purpose. She is developing a little will of her own and has the need to exert her own control. However, she cannot yet verbalise what she feels and needs. You need to be very calm and gentle with her - and firm at the same time.

Tantrums in a child this age, are only her way to vent her frustrations - shouting and smacking will only make things worse - she will never learn to control herself if the adults in her life cannot control themselves. It is very challenging to be a parent - and especially a single parent. It is so important to get appropriate help. No-one teaches us how to be parents - we have to learn as we go along. But there are important management skills to learn - so that children learn that they are allowed to have their feelings - but that they may not behave badly with these feelings. Hitting and shouting will never teach them these skills.

My book "Toddlers Need Boundaries" may help you with some of these problems.

Very good luck

Blogger's thoughts

New mummy, Yellowrose, comments wonders about tantrums on her blog.

'According to a book I once read tantrums are a child’s way of communicating his feelings. He could be saying he’s bored, tired, wants to do something else, wants my attention, wants his own way, is not getting what he wants or can’t tell you what he wants.'

What is your opinion on the matter? See what other parents have to say on this forum.

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