Q: How do you know if your child is throwing too many tantrums? What stages of terrible twos should I be expecting? How to discipline a child?

A: As always these stages are dependent on each child and their personality. But eventually every child will push attempt to push their limits. How long this phase lasts is anybody’s guess. Some children may stop as soon as they find out that they really cannot do anything about it. It often happens when parents are always consistent with the rules/boundaries set out.

If you threaten then you should also be able to carry out that threat if they do misbehave. This way they will see that you are serious and that you mean business. If you threaten that you will not go to a place when you really have to then do not say it though it is the first thing you know your child would not want to let go. If they defy you and you do not carry it out then they know they can try to do it again next time. Sometime when disciplining give them a time to calm down, when you are about to enter into a power struggle, which advisably you do not, take some time. Then gently make another offer. Give them two choices that are both acceptable to you.

If the request is unreasonable then do not give in to it. If they choose to wear a long sleeve top on a hot winter’s day (though it was not one of the choices presented) let them put it on. Put the sleeveless and shorts in the bag so when it gets too hot for them then they may decide to agree with you. A child may constantly try to push their boundaries/limits constantly especially if they are able to in certain circumstances. Always just be stern and firm. It is helping your child’s development learning about the rules of society, though it may be difficult. It is also good to let your child experience the consequence of their action, or the mess they have made.

Ask them to clean it up, help you clean it up, and not just do it yourself though it may be easier. It raises their awareness of what happens and gives them a better understanding of situations or why you did not agree to it. Most children do like to help out in any way. Even when you thought they were about to get over testing the water with the many different adults they get to encounter- mommy, daddy, grandparents, teachers and aunts and uncles- you might see a bout of it again, and again just be stern and firm. It too shall pass (if dealt with properly, if not it may be seen again in the teen years!)

What is your own experience of effectively dealing with temper tantrums?