Is your child always angry? Here’s what to do

December 10, 2019
  • 1 / 10

    Most people expect toddlers to have tantrums, not the older ones. You probably assumed he would have grown out of these rages by now, and so you are disappointed, surprised and perhaps even shocked when your child comes home from school in a foul mood and a blazing temper.

    He shouts, he hits, he refuses to cooperate, and he creates a dreadful atmosphere at home, all because he had a bad day in preschool or because he can’t get what he wants the minute he comes home. The fury of your kid is terrifying and he can seem very threatening.

    Related: How to manage your 3-year-old’s tantrums and bad behaviour

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  • 2 / 10

    You may be surprised to discover that temper problems with kids are not isolated occurrences – research shows that although the peak age for tantrums is between the ages of one and two years, those who are in preschools and primary schools also have tantrums.

    Tantrums are equally frequent in boys and girls, and can range from whining to screaming, or even kicking and punching. Aggressive behaviour is common in this age group.

    For instance, one study found that at least 48 per cent of four-year-olds hit out at other children in temper or snatched things from them, while 64 per cent thumped their sibling during a tantrum. 

    Related: Nature Playgarden at HortPark: This free outdoor playground is fab for preschoolers

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  • 3 / 10

    The key difference in your approach between managing the tantrums of your child compared to when he was just a toddler is the emphasis on responsibility.

    When your child was a toddler, his lack of experience, maturity and understanding meant that you had to impose control on his temper and his behaviour.

    If you didn’t stand up to his fury, if you didn’t draw the line in the face of his determination, if you didn’t try to calm him, chances are his tantrums would continue at the same intensity and frequency. In other words, the responsibility for controlling your toddler’s temper rested more with you than with him.

    Related: 6 bilingual preschools in Singapore that offer Mandarin immersion programmes

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  • 4 / 10

    The position changes when it comes to tantrums from your preschooler. 

    First, he is more socially aware and he fully understands that there are rules, limits and boundaries – he does not need you to explain this to him every time.

    Related: How to teach patience to your child

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  • 5 / 10

    Second, his moral development has advanced to the point where he now experiences guilt, embarrassment and even shame when he acts in a way that causes distress for those around him.

    Related: This is what happens when celebrity kids throw tantrums

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  • 6 / 10

    Third, he can utilise temper-control strategies that previously were beyond him (for instance, counting to 10 when he feels his temper rising).

    Related: How to use behaviour modification when kid misbehaves

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  • 7 / 10

    In other words, the responsibility for controlling your preschooler’s temper rests more with him than with you. This change due to your child’s maturity, experience and understanding leads to the following suggestions for coping with his rages. 


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  • Prevention
    8 / 10 Prevention

    Discuss with your child the early warning signs of a tantrum, such as increased irritability, more rapid breathing and what he can do to stop this (for instance, relaxing his muscles, walking to a different room). He should be able to recognise these signals on his own and calm himself before he becomes too upset.

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  • Consequences  
    9 / 10 Consequences  

    Talk to your child about the consequences of his behaviour. Explain to him that his tempers make you unhappy, that his rages scare his sister, and so on. Make a direct link between his rage and the impact it has on other people.

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  • Stand firm
    10 / 10 Stand firm

    True, an older child throwing a tantrum is far more threatening than a toddler with one. He’s bigger and stronger than he was when younger. But stand firm anyway. No matter how much he rants and raves, resist any temptation to give in to his demands or irritability.

    Related: How to control your toddler’s tantrum


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