Tantrums: Should you hold your toddler?

I have a toddler and when she throws a tantrum, she is truly out of control. She becomes a different person, biting, screaming, yelling, throwing things at me and the walls. This usually happens at bedtime. I have tried spanking (doesn't work), I have tried locking her in her room (she throws everything at the door and gets out) and I have tried just holding her. This seems to work and gets her calmed down. Is this an acceptable way of handling this sort of behavior?


Older toddlers can often be prone to long, loud and difficult tantrums, especially if they are very sensitive or very active children.

You are quite right: Spanking never helps. It only teaches children that you can hit when you're bigger than someone else. That's certainly not the message parents should be sending. More than likely, your child will be bigger than you are some day. Only a "talking" kind of discipline will work when that day comes!

Keeping that in mind, it is perfectly fine to hold your daughter if it helps her calm down. It is probably exactly what she needs. When you feel that she is calm, or almost calm, as she rests in your arms, that's a good time to talk about what happened. Find out what made her so upset. Explain another way of handling the situation rather than throwing a tantrum. (Example: If you wanted to play with clay and I said you couldn't, you didn't have to throw a tantrum. You just had to use your words and ask, "Mommy, what would be a good time for me to play with clay? )

The more your daughter understands that words work better than tantrums in getting what she wants, the better it will be for her. She may not stop throwing tantrums until she's five, but if you keep talking to her, she will have absorbed the lesson that talking works better than crying and throwing things.

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