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Dealing with Toddler Temper Tantrums

Toddlers and babies want independence and control over their environment; more than they can actually handle. This can and does lead to power struggles as the child thinks “I can do it myself” or “I want it, give it to me”. And, when kids discover that they can’t do it, and can’t have everything they want, they may have a tantrum.

Dealing with your child’s temper tantrums can have you questioning your parenting skills and technique, but these temper tantrums are merely a regular part of toddlerhood. When your child is in the middle of one of their temper tantrums, it can be difficult maintaining your composure and preventing yourself from having an outburst too. Meltdowns and temper tantrums are simply a part of toddler and childhood. Kids between the age of 1-4 usually have not developed a defined coping mechanism; instead they lose their cool, and burst into a tantrum.

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In order to deal with temper tantrums, parents need to understand the root cause of it; what is it that’s causing your child to throw temper tantrums. According to experts, every temper tantrum takes place for one simple reason – from children not getting what they want. Children between the ages of 1 & 2 years often use temper tantrums as a method of communicating. For example, a diaper change or more milk, maybe a toy that they want. So, they use temper tantrums as a means of communication, due to their lack of language and speaking skills. They tend to get easily frustrated when we don’t understand what they’re trying to say, and throw a fit. But in the case of older toddlers, primarily aged between 3 to 4 years, a temper tantrum is a power struggle for them. They possess a higher level of awareness of what their needs and wants are, and if parents don’t comply with them, they throw tantrums in an attempt to get what they want.

Once your child reaches pre-school, they are able to use their words to communicate with and tell you what they need and want. But this does not mean that their temper tantrums are no more. Your children are still learning to handle and understand their emotions. This means that even the smallest and most insignificant of arguments can turn into a full-blown fit. Your children value their independence; not getting what they want and relying on their parents can get frustrating.

So, how do you go about handling one of your child’s temper tantrums? While there is no single right way or cheat code to deal with a child’s temper tantrum, most experts can unanimously agree on a few absolute ‘do not’s’; some of these being, yelling and hitting. On the other hand, short-term solutions such as bribing, and giving in are poor strategies too. If you give in, you are rewarding their tantrums, letting them know that throwing a temper tantrum will get them what they want and thus ensuring that it will happen again and again, repeatedly.

On the other hand, if parents react in a calm, composed and rational manner, letting their children know and understand that ‘no’ means ‘no’ when their child begins to act out, throw temper tantrums in an attempt to get what they want – everyone is happier and more in control of the situation. The key is to focus on your child’s behavior rather than attacking your child on an emotional level when disciplining your child. A lot of people will say that’s unrealistic. But do you yell at the people around you; your colleagues, relatives, partner? So, why do we yell at our children? We have to treat our children in a similar manner.

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Here are some tips on how to handle your child’s temper tantrums:

  1. Try ignoring the situation: If your child is in the middle of throwing a tantrum, try ignoring them and the fit they are throwing, unless they are harming and hurting themselves or others around them. By not giving them and taking away the attention entirely, you are letting them know that their behavior and the fit that they are throwing is undesirable
  2. Handle aggressive behavior with urgency: Is your child acting out in an unusually and in an unhealthily aggressive manner, is your child acting out in rage, kicking, biting, hitting, or throwing things around in their temper tantrum or fit that they’re throwing? If so, you must stop them and remove them from the situation immediately. Make it clear and known to them that hitting or harming others and things around them is absolutely unacceptable.
  3. Avoid yelling: You are your child’s role model. Therefore, how you deal, cope with, and handle yourself and your anger is very important to how they will eventually handle and deal with their anger. If you yell, your child too will copy & imitate you, at the same volume; because ultimately, they have the deep-rooted desire to engage with you.
  4. Allow your child to feel anger: There are times when your child simply needs to let their anger out. So, let them! All you should be careful of is that in the wake of their anger and temper tantrum, they do not put themselves or others in harm’s way. This allows them to get all their pent-up anger out; thus clearing their mind and getting themselves together, and regain self-control, without getting into a yelling competition with you.
  5. On occasions, give in to the tantrum: Sometimes, the smarter tactic is to give into their temper tantrums, within reason of course.
  6. Don’t take the tantrums personally: Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty or that you’re not in control if your child has a momentary lapse. Your child’s frustration is not directed at you, as much as they are directed at themselves, a release and show of their own frustrations.
  7. Distract your child: Take advantage of your little one’s short attention span by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. Start a new activity in place of the forbidden one. Keep some children’s story books or baby activity books around. Engage your little one with some children’s math activities, read aloud some children’s storybooks that have good moral values and attitude building stories.
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Temper tantrums can be frustrating for any parent. But instead of looking at them as disasters, treat tantrums as opportunities for education. The Learning Time A+ Program has some fascinating stuff to get kids started on their early childhood education journey.  Knowledge books, story books, activity books, apps, videos can hold and captivate your child’s attention for hours..

Visit the website www.learningtime.co. Ask for a free presentation. Explore for yourself.

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