5-Second Psychology

5-Second Psychology Consult-Peds Edition: Tantrums

What is the best way to deal with my child’s tantrums?

  • Tantrums (not dangerous)
    • Issue: Contingent parental attention
    • Goal: Catch them being good, ignore them being bad
      • Parents often underperform in the praise department
      • Contrast is everything
  • Tantrums (dangerous)
    • Issue: Sub-optimal time-out
    • Goal: Time-outs need to be boring–Nothing going on and nothing they can do about it. 
      • Consider a walking time-out
      • If they can escape or continue to get attention, it won’t work
      • Duration is dependent on the result–child must be calm at the end, ~2-5 mins; or 1 min per age

These notes were taken from a March 6, 2020 lecture by Dr. Andrew R. Riley, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Pediatrics at OHSU. They represent my interpretation of Dr. Riley’s message on how to deal with various behavioral questions that arise in primary care and pediatrics.

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