In parenting, we can find dealing with a toddler’s tantrum and all the situations that go with it very difficult. This could be especially hard when we don’t know precisely what is happening within our child. We should realize first that we don’t have to solve the child’s tantrum, but we should understand and accept it.
It is a scientific fact that temper tantrums are principal in our child’s development. Having tantrums are crucial for our child’s emotional and social development. It is a time in their lives when their feelings are enormous.
What are tantrums?
Tantrums are very frequent in children aged 1-3 years and could be in different shapes and sizes. You might experience a spectacular outburst of anger, frustration, crying, screaming, kicking, disorganised behaviour, falling, and flailing. In specific cases, children can break things or become aggressive with a tantrum. My little girl often sends her toys flying around the room when something doesn’t happen the way she wants.
Why do tantrums happen?
A child’s tantrum might seem illogical and unnecessary from an adult’s perspective. However, children often don’t have the words to communicate their big emotions and will. Their social and emotional skills are only starting to evolve at this age. They would like to affect other people in this way. Maturity doesn’t occur overnight and doesn’t enlarge because of time-outs, authoritarian parenting, and strict control. That comes with time, tolerance, emotionally present parents, and experience in cause and effect.
Temperament can influence the child’s tantrum as well. It determines how quickly and strongly the child reacts to frustrating things. Stress, hunger, tiredness, overstimulation, and situations they can’t manage can overwhelm them. Our Mira becomes very frustrated and impatient when she is hungry. Even when she was a baby, she was furious when the breastmilk didn’t come immediately. She patted my breasts and is infuriated in the same way now when she is sitting in her highchair, demanding food by shouting, crying, and wiggling. She is also very irritated when she is tired. She is 22-month-old now, but I can’t imagine her without her afternoon nap. She would be so grumpy, snakey, and overstimulated by the end of the day that we would be unable to make her sleep.
Why is it so hard to welcome our child’s tears?
Many parents were stopped from crying when they were young children. They find it difficult to empathize with their crying child and ask them to stop their crying. Their misinformed parents asked them not to cry kindly: “Don’t cry, please.” or in a less kindly way: “If you don’t stop crying, I will….” These parents were communicated that crying was inappropriate. They had to learn to suppress their tears and feelings.
Crying is less tolerable for boys than girls. “Boys don’t cry.” “Real men don’t cry.” You can hear these sentences frequently. It is thought that if boys and men show their emotions, that is a sign of weakness and unmasculine. Men are prone to stress-related illnesses and die earlier than women. This repression of emotions could be regarded as responsible for these. Moreover, men commit more violent acts than women.
Most parents want their children to be happy. Crying is the procedure of becoming unhurt. A child’s crying doesn’t mean that you are an inadequate parent. Conversely, it means your child feels safe to bring forward hurting feelings and isn’t afraid of rejection.
How to manage toddler tantrums
- There are certain things you can do to avoid tantrums:
- Reduce stress. Tired, hungry, and overstimulated children tend to run into tantrums.
- Distract your child. Children can pay attention to something for a short time. Offer something else they can’t have or start a new activity. You can create a game, sing a song, or discover something cheer together. You can also take them inside or outside a room or look out the window to see something they like.
- Tune in to your child’s feelings. If we understand what our child is going through, we can stay more well-balanced, confident, and mitigating. The problem won’t be solved this way, but these situations become more understandable and predictable for the children. They will feel we attend to them and accept them. They will be able to express their feelings over time.
- Talk about emotions with your child. Helping them understand what they are feeling and what they are going through is an affirmation that we can see, hear, and understand them. Moreover, the parents’ acceptance is pacificatory in itself, and it can reduce the duration and intensity of the tantrums. “I can see you are disappointed and angry because you haven’t got that chocolate.” “You expected mummy will play with you, and you are not glad that granny is with you.”
- Stay calm: Remind yourself that this is normal, and you’ll handle it as other parents do. If you panic, your toddler will also pick up on it, so keep in control, and you will be able to reassure them. You show them an example. Even in public places, don’t worry about other people’s thoughts. People who have children will know what is happening.
- Hug and touch them: Hold your child through her tantrums. A hug, a cuddle, or a squeeze could be enough to calm a frantic child. As long as they aren’t hurting themselves, it is okay to let them work it out.
- Stop the hurtful behaviour: If the child hits or bites, it is essential to stop the violent act. We can tell them they must not hit another person. We need to control the violence, but we need to inspire a healing release of feelings like crying loudly and freely.
How can you support yourself during a tantrum?
- Observe what feelings within yourself arise during a tantrum. See those feelings without judgement.
- Please stay calm; you can use the emotional maturity you have. You are aware of these intense feelings; they can’t harm you.
- Allow your child to explore their emotions and accept them for their authentic selves.
- Children need parents most when they act their worst.
Coming to an end, crying and tantrums are built-in healing mechanisms that help children to overbear the consequences of stress and trauma. Unconditional love and healthy attachment are crucial in accepting their intense emotions. Children, taken and listened to by their parents, can grow up to be cooperative, kind-hearted, and nonviolent. They do not need alcohol and drugs.
How do you help your toddler through difficult emotions? What do you think? Please leave me a note in the comments below and share your story!