Tantrums are a necessary part of a child’s development and they come in all shapes and sizes. To help you cope with them, you need to understand them, so here is everything you need to know about tantrums and why it’s natural and even important for your little ones to have them.
Why do tantrums happen?
Don’t you feel like venting out or complaining or sometimes even hitting someone, when you are angry or frustrated? It’s exactly the same for toddlers. Now you may reason that your anger is justified while those tantrums are utterly unreasonable.
Well, tantrums are a response to a sudden powerful emotion that your child feels, be it anger, frustration, fear, or sadness. They don’t know how to cope with it so they ‘explode’ by either crying, screaming, falling down, kicking or banging things. This is completely normal behavior, even though it might not seem acceptable or civil from your point of view.
How are tantrums normal?
Tantrums are often most common in toddlers because their social and emotional skills are just starting to develop, because of which they don’t often have the vocabulary to communicate how they are feeling. Sometimes they are unable to manage their emotions because a part of them desires independence and exploration at this age, but they also fear being separated from you. It is important to note that a toddler is still learning to grasp the environment and they are discovering that their actions can change what’s going on around them.
Importance of tantrums
Tantrums are an essential developmental stage for children as they indicate that your child is reacting, responding and interacting more with the world around them, as well as with their own emotions, thoughts and feelings. They are trying to learn how to go about it, and might often not be able to do it in the best of ways – resulting in frustration and tantrums.
This stage is very important as it sets a precedent for how they will manage difficult situations throughout their whole life. This does not mean you need to suppress and dismiss their tantrums as something negative. Take it as a process and teach them how to manage their difficult emotions. This can make a massive difference in their lives as an adult.
Here are some effective tips that can help you handle your child’s tantrums in a way that will be much more peaceful for both you and your kid.
Don’t lose your cool: If you get angry or frustrated with your child every time they throw a tantrum and respond by shouting or threatening punishment, you will only worsen their behavior. Children are often just unable to handle the emotion that they are feeling, so don’t leave them alone and sit with them while they get through it.
Don’t punish: Yes, tantrums are a behavior that parents want to and should discourage, but punishing your child teaches them that they can’t trust you to help them when they feel this way. They might feel that you do not understand their situation and they may feel alone. This can have negative effects on your child as they grow.
Always talk it over later: There is no point in reasoning while your child is in an emotional turmoil. Once the storm has subsided, it is time to talk about what happened, in a comfortable and not confrontational manner. It’s important that they process their emotion and try to understand it, so discuss it in very simple terms.
Tell them you love them: Once your toddler is calm and you’ve discussed why the tantrum happened, end it with a positive note by giving your child a hug and telling them that you love them. This will act as a reward for engaging in healthy communication, setting a good precedence for managing emotions as they grow.
Teach them vocabulary: When you’re talking about the tantrum episode after everything has settled, teach your child to “use their words” – what they need to say the next time they feel this way, instead of acting out.