Thursday, February 7, 2013

Definition: Tantrum

It occurs to me that many people mean different things when they use the word "tantrum". For some children, it's high pitched screaming and flailing on the ground. For other children, it's a pouty face and whining. There's a huge range on the "tantrum" spectrum.

Will has been testing his limits lately, and I use the word "tantrum" often to describe his behavior. For Will, a "tantrum" is generally tears, crying and whining. It may also involve squirming and an arched back if I'm following through (i.e. forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do). Will's "tantrums" are relatively short-lived, lasting just a few minutes, typically subsiding as soon as the consequence or follow-through is completed. We also often "talk about it" when he's upset, helping him find words for his emotions and snuggling until he feels better.

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