• Happiest Infant on the block
  • Happient Toddler on the block
  • 1-2-3 Magic


Want tantrums:

Parents are most often challenged with these tantrums. They happen more frequently than need tantrums, especially if kids are kept on a routine allowing for their needs to be met more easily.

They can occur over the smallest and simplest of matters, at least to parents. For the kids it is the entire world.

There are several things that parents can do to help limit the frequency of these tantrums.

  • Use Toddlerese (From Happiest Toddler on the Block); this means matching the child's emotional state. e.g., "You want to go outside (use upset tone)." This validates the child and helps them to feel understood. It is important to keep in mind that young kids have limited language skills and understanding of the world, so they get easily overwhelmed. Feeling understood helps.
  • Use positive redirection. Instead of say "No!" to EVERYTHING, find alternatives to telling them 'no' to something. For example, "running feet"-instead of "don't run," "that's not safe," "only food goes in our mouths," etc. Hearing "No!" all the time can lead to parents sounding like 'white noise' and again, can overwhelm kids because they can feel like they can't do ANYTHING.
  • When you do say "No," especially to the things that really matter, e.g., bedtime stuff, safety stuff, basic house rules, etc. BE CONSISTENT, FIRM, AND DON'T NEGOTIATE. Keep rules simple (based on age) and the same. If rules change based on YOUR mood, kids are never going to know whats what AND will learn to manipluate you. Be strong (firm, but not angry) kids respond well to confidence. This includes not "begging" them to cooperate (see 1-2-3 Magic). Say "No," and then leave it at that. Having clear and consistent expectations make it easier for both parents and kids.
  • Not all tantrums can be prevented. In the end, if they are not hurting themselves or others, just being obnoxious---IGNORE the tantrum. That means, don't talk to them or about them. Go about your business. When the tantrum is over, go to your child. Review the rules and do some "repair," this means moving on and forgiving your kid for being a kid. They got overwhelmed, expressed it, they didn't get what they wanted, and now it is over.
  • If they do hurt someone or break something, a time-out or consequence could be appropriate. Keep in mind that children "do well if they can." If your child seems 'to never learn' and continues to have consistent challenges. Consider professional help. That may include a referral from their doctor for services, i.e., family therapy (ME!), assessment (behavioral, developmental, or psychiatric), occupational therapy, etc. Help doesn't hurt, if your child doesn't need it they [professionals] won't consider them "eligible."
    • Children that are challenged with being aggressive and/or violent often benefit from 'wrap-around' services. These may include an altenative school, inpatient or outpatient services, community outreach services, in-home services, school interventions (IEP, 504s,etc) and multiple therapy services. The Portland area has several programs in the area, including Albertina Kerr, Morrison Center, and Trillium. As well as, a simple Google search will find local adolescent outdoor programs.

In sessions we would identify the specific skills your child is challenged with, and create a plan to build up those skills. This may include making appropriate accomodations for your child, especially as they are establshing these skills. They will need support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. As they see themselves having small accomplishments, their confidence and skills will improve. Additionally, we would need to address their coping skill (often a common missing skill) and self-esteem. Lastly, we would address how to best meet the needs and support the parents/caregivers of the child(ren). Your care and health matters too!

In this section you will find common discipline topcis address and/or additional resources listed at the bottom.





There are two types; need vs want.

Need tantrums:

Usually occurs when a "need" isn't being met, i.e., child is tired, hungry, overstimulated, etc.

Prior to these tantrums the child likely will show "signs" or cues of the impending doom.

For example, whining, using their words less, being more exciteable or have slowed down, etc. This aspect will be specific to your child, their temperment, personality, age and development.

During these tantrums you may not give your child what they want, but can give them what they NEED. The best way to end these tantrums is to identify their needs, keep them on a routine, keep their needs met, and have a flexible plan for contingencies. Such as, coming back late from an event and having extra snacks because you know your child gets cranky when hungry.

Keeping a child from becoming overwhelmed in this manner will cut down on tantrums