Toddler Tantrums: Do Distraction Tactics Work?

One of the first significant behavior-related challenges of parenting is the much-dreaded Temper Tantrum. Being confronted with a screaming match at bedtime or flailing limbs and red-faced crying at dinner, well, that's no fun for anyone. But how does a parent handle these outbursts? Unfortunately, as with hiccups, there's no one-size-fits-all solution for the temper tantrum; what works differs from household to household. So what do you do to you to keep the peace in your home?

ParentSoup, a leading parenting site on the Web and America Online, wanted to learn about the various strategies parents employ to handle their toddler's tantrums. Of those polled, 47 percent said they try to redirect their child's attention so as to dissolve any oncoming fits. The rest of the respondents were split: about 28 percent said they ignore the tantrum in hopes it'll stop, and 24 percent give their screaming child a timeout. Here's what a few Soupers had to say.

Mygriffin refuses to appease her son's tantrums. "I've been known to try all three tactics, and then some. It sort of depends on the kind of mood my son's in. Just last night, actually, he hurled a whole bin of toys onto the floor and proceeded to have a tantrum when we asked him to clean them up. I finally told him to go to bed and when he was ready to pick up his toys, he could come out. Five minutes later, out he came. My little angel said 'Sorry, mommy' and picked up all his toys while humming a tune. I never give in to tantrums. Doing so would create a monster."

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