6 doctors weighed in:

My child clenches his teeth and holds his breath when he gets angry. Is this normal?

6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: Ignore It

The purpose of a tantrum, even involuntary, is to obtain a goal.
Ignoring it teaches the child that this action gains no reward. Even if they turn blue!! The brain will naturally protect the child from damage. When done, give them a hug, reinforcing the "good " behavior. Over a period of 2-3 weeks, if consistent, the tantrums will lessen in frequency and severity.

In brief: Ignore It

The purpose of a tantrum, even involuntary, is to obtain a goal.
Ignoring it teaches the child that this action gains no reward. Even if they turn blue!! The brain will naturally protect the child from damage. When done, give them a hug, reinforcing the "good " behavior. Over a period of 2-3 weeks, if consistent, the tantrums will lessen in frequency and severity.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Dr. Mark Diamond
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1 comment
Dr. H E Henry
Well said

In brief: The point of anger..

...Is to get you to change what you are about to do.
Children will often repeat behaviors that have successfully got your attention in the past - which, i would guess, included a fairly significant reaction to clenching teeth. Breath-holding may actually be natural, as a consequence of hyperventilation while screaming.

In brief: The point of anger..

...Is to get you to change what you are about to do.
Children will often repeat behaviors that have successfully got your attention in the past - which, i would guess, included a fairly significant reaction to clenching teeth. Breath-holding may actually be natural, as a consequence of hyperventilation while screaming.
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
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Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics

In brief: Tantrum varient

You are describing a tantrum varient of childhood loosly called "breathholding spells".
Rare but occasional in infants it peaks around 2 & fades by school age in most.Often triggered by a scolding or your refusal to comply with their requests, they can turn blue, pass out & twitch.It is not a seizure & they self recover.Avoid locking eyes but monitor them.Don't reinforce the behavior by cuddeling.

In brief: Tantrum varient

You are describing a tantrum varient of childhood loosly called "breathholding spells".
Rare but occasional in infants it peaks around 2 & fades by school age in most.Often triggered by a scolding or your refusal to comply with their requests, they can turn blue, pass out & twitch.It is not a seizure & they self recover.Avoid locking eyes but monitor them.Don't reinforce the behavior by cuddeling.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
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