Hey! Is Your Toddler Throwing a Temper Tantrum?
Positive Parenting through Toddler Tantrums
Do you have a toddler who throws temper tantrums? And do you feel a little lost when he does; wishing you knew what to do about it? To be honest, you’re not alone. Toddlers are notorious about throwing tantrums that include legendary bouts of wailing and crying often for the most ridiculous reasons.
However, you might find respite in the knowledge that there are a few things you can do to help prevent tantrums from happening in the first place, or if they do happen anyway, from escalating into an uncontrollable situation.
Let’s Decode Toddler Tantrums first
When kids just do a complete 360 from this sweet cherub to this angry, wailing mess, remember that these tantrums are a toddler’s way of responding to emotional impulses that he does not yet know how to regulate. They are often a result of a child’s verbal or objective frustration; and most common tantrum behavior exasperatingly includes uncontrollable crying and shouting.
Children need attention. They need to feel that sense of belonging which when they are not getting in positive ways, can cause them to subconsciously resort to negative means. Children could also resort to tantrums as a result of power struggle. Like their need for attention, this too is a built-in mechanism. They might want to feel significant and the fact that they are not able to properly express themselves can get them to easily feel frustrated.
So what are the mistakes to Avoid When Handling Tantrums?
Understand that regardless of the nature of the tantrum, it is how you will respond to it that will determine whether it is going to escalate or not. Here are some of the most common mistakes that you need to avoid when dealing with a toddler tantrum.
- Being firm at first and then giving in afterward. The thrashing and the crying and the wailing can get to you sometimes and you might end up giving in despite being firm at first. This will only prove to the toddler that if they persist with the tantrum long enough, they can get what they want.
- Losing temper. It is very easy to get frustrated when you are dealing with a very unreasonable toddler. But rein yourself in even if you use unconventional ways to make this work for you. Reprimanding a child having a tantrum is only likely to escalate things further.
- Reasoning with the child having a tantrum. A tantrum is a state of very high emotion and a child cannot be expected to consider your suggestions in a rational manner. Bet you wouldn’t either if you were in that situation!
Dealing with Toddler Tantrums
Tantrums do push a parent’s button and usually, the wrong ones. Many feel angry, anxious, and even embarrassed. Some parents, frustrated at having a wailing child in tow might resort to such extremes as spanking. This is a big NO. A tantrum is not the right time to be disciplining the toddler, and spanking is never an appropriate method anyway.
Employ some of these positive parenting techniques to handle your toddler’s high strung emotions instead;
Positive Parenting Tips to effectively manage Toddler Tantrums
- Think ahead. Often tantrums are avoidable and erupt when the toddler is tired or hungry. So prepare for some preemptive napping and feeding and avoid dragging a hungry or sleepy toddler around if possible
- Try acknowledging the anger to handle an impending tantrum or prevent it from escalating. Give your child ample love and attention. Needy children are more likely to resort to tantrums.
- When your child throws a tantrum, this is often a defense against feelings that he is not comfortable with such as grief, hurt, fear, and vulnerability. Allowing them to let out these pent-up emotions while making sure that they do not hurt themselves is a positive way of handling it.
- Offer incentives to your toddler to behave well especially in trying situations. This can help form good associations and calmer reactions.
- Stop what you are doing and listen to them the first time they call your attention. You would not want them to form the habit of having to throw a tantrum to get your attention.
- A super important tip is not speaking to your toddler in a loud voice. Whisper instead. Surprisingly, this modelling speaks volumes and is more effective at dissipating emotional build-up than a loud, aggressive tone.
Ultimately, keeping your calm and engaging with a frustrated toddler from an emotional distance is a great tool to navigate a tricky situation. Second best only to never having to be in that situation if possible at all!