leewalle asks:

How do I stop my toddler from throwing horrible temper tantrums?

my son is 17 months old and has the most worsest tantrums but his tantrums are to hold his breath till he practically passes out he turns blue and his body becomes so stiff.
he is my firrst child and i dont know what to do or how to deal with it!
once he almost passed out his eyes rolled all the way back and he became weak right after he caught his breath and then wants to fall asleep...
what should i do??
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 10, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

All parents of young children have experienced frustration when their child throws a tantrum.  Some whine, cry, hit, stomp their feet or throw things.  Your child happens to hold his breath even to the point of fainting.  He is not the only child who does this when he is angry or upset.

Many parents don't understand why their children sometimes go out of control.  Almost anything can trigger a child's loss of self-control.  Young children usually act out because they can't tell their parents what is wrong and this frustration boils over into negative behavior.  The only thing they can control is their behavior like holding their breath.  If your child is able to verbally express his anger or frustration, then perhaps he continues to hold his breath because he has learned that these tantrums or defiant acts can get him something he wants or they allow him to avoid something he doesn't like.  When he holds his breath, if he receives what he wants, then he will continue to do it.

Now, what to do about it.  First check with your child's pediatrician to assess the danger he is in during these episodes.  Then focus on teaching him an alternative to the holding his breath.   Pay close attention to the events that lead up to the tantrums.  If it is when he gets told "no" or when it is bed time or when he is hungry.  Once you are able to identify the events you can begin to teach him an alternative behavior to the holding his breath.  

Let's say when he is told "no" that he holds his breath.  At a neutral time when you are not having to tell him "no", teach him what to say and do when Mommy says "no".  The conversation might sound something like this, "when Mommy tells you "no" and you get really mad, take a deep breath and say, "I'm MAD" then, go get your stuffed puppy and pet him."

Then practice. "Let's practice, Mommy is going to tell you that you can't play with your toys right now and it makes you really mad, let's take a big breath,( do it with him) then say "I'm MAD"( have him actually say the words), great, then run get your puppy and pet him."  Awesome!  That is just what you should do.

Do this pretending and practicing frequently throughout the day.  It will increase the likelihood that he will actually do it when he gets angry instead of holding his breath.  Also when you see or hear him beginning to get upset, prompt him to use his "I'm MAD" words and to go get his puppy.  Make sure to praise him during practice and if he does it instead of holding his breath.

It will take some time to change the habit he has formed of holding his breath.  Don't give up, with teaching and practicing alternatives, the change will come.

Boys Town National Hotline an Education.com partner
€“ 1-800-448-3000 / www.boystown.org

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Additional Answers (1)

curtlynanbr... writes:
My son started doing this right about the same age. At first it really freaked me out now its just kinda like "ok here he goes again. I dont really worry much about it anymore i just pickhim up and try to calm him down and make him breath, or if he is doing it to be picked up i justlet him lay there until he is done. i know i it sounds horrible but what do you do?
> 60 days ago

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