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My 3 year old boy has tantrums, how can I help to diffuse them?

He can have some nasty tantrums (kicking, slapping, but mostly screaming bloody murder). We have used time outs but they are less effective now. I am looking for ideas on helping him chill out or diffusing the tantrum. I would like to stay away from spanking him. I would love some ideas on discipline or different methods or ideas. Thanks!


Asked by juliemoose at 10:33 AM on Jan. 28, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (8 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (3)
  • Tantrums are generally an expression of more emotion than they can handle, and even having words doesn't help because the emotion drowns out the just learned language skills. Teach him to express his frustration appropriately - give him pillows to hit or to stomp his feet or even go to his room or outside to scream. Find the triggers and try to understand what sets him off and how to minimize those - redirection, setting expectations beforehand, preparing for transitions. Catch him when he's calm and praise that, then we he has a tantrum, remind him that he needs to "calm" down - he'll have a behavior to associate with that word and a clear goal to achieve. Sometimes, depending on the cause of my son's tantrum, I just hold him until he calms down - even kicking and scratching - because sometimes what he needs is a great big hug, especially if he's been away from me for a while (like at his dad's). Good luck!

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 11:10 PM on Jan. 28, 2009

  • Does he talk? If not that might be why he's throwing tantrums. If he does talk then he's doing it for attention. Stick with the time outs. I'd say 3 mins standing in the corner and he gets no attention what so ever. When he comes out talk to him about why he was punished. Praise him heavily for the good things he does and i mean go crazy over the good deeds that will teach him that he gets more attention for good things rather than negative behavior. If that doesn't work, try taking something he loves dearly away. At one point I took every single toy out of my sons room and he had to earn toys back. It worked!

    Answer by legalmommy101 at 10:39 AM on Jan. 28, 2009

  • Timeouts sometimes work and other times they are useless and the child becomes immune to them. I walked away from my boys when they freaked out and told them that throwing a fit isn't a way to get what they wanted. Don't put any energy into their tantrums. I did however, tell them I understood they were mad, upset, blah, blah. I explained we could talk after they were done getting crazy and I offered a pillow to hit. NO kidding! It helped.

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 3:40 PM on Jan. 28, 2009