What is a Tantrum?
Tantrum is an uncontrollable outburst of anger and frustration, which is extremely common and normal in young children. It is identified with actions such as crying, screaming, sobbing, breaking things, harming themselves, yelling in public, hitting others and shrieking with rage.
Tantrum of a young and older kid is different. Younger children have not developed the proper mechanism to cope with stress and rejection; as a result, they express their frustration in the most primal way possible. However in case of older children, ‘control’ over the environment is the goal. Mostly, if children at young age learn that their needs are met after throwing a ‘tantrum’, they indiscriminately use it get their desires satisfied, that is how they are conditioned. It is necessary to understand the difference for effective outcome between both age groups.
Causes of Tantrum
They are Hungry
One of the most common reason is that your kid is starving. This one is easy to recognize as our first instinct to calm a child is by offering food.
The feeling of wet and heavy diaper is repulsive to everyone, including your toddler. Make sure they are clean and dry always. Do not cost cut in this area.
Children love their toys, they are their first friends. So they feel safe to assume that their relationship with toys is equal to friendship we have with others. Do not push it, give them their toys and wait. They will start leaving them gradually once they start making friends with other kids.
Rejection hurts always, even as an adult, so imagine how intense it must be for your child. Young children have not developed their thought processes completely so they do not have any alternative way to soothe themselves or to cope with rejection of their desires.S
Some kids are more sensitive in nature than others. Their outburst of emotions comes quickly. This is something you can observe even in their infancy. Such kids get easily upset and requires more attention and assurance than other children.
Young childhood is the period when kids are exploring new emotions and variety of feelings. It is their first experience and they have no idea what to do with them or how to control them. In cases like this, if they are exposed to complex emotions, they feel overstimulated and crash with a tantrum. This is why shielding children from sexual and violence material is highly practiced as it leaves an impact on the kid that their delicate minds are not prepared to understand.
How to Manage Tantrums?
Take it Easy
You might not like everything your child wants to do but remember he/she is just a kid now, go easy on them. Let them do things they want to as long as they are harmless. They want to explore things, let them, the more you put restrain on them the more desperate and rebellious they become.
Before attending to your kid amidst a tantrum, make sure you are in control of yourself. Never approach a disturbed kid with a bad temper; it will just worsen the situation. You might have noticed how kids cry more when they are scolded. The logic is simple, fire ignites fire, and only water can calm it down. Likewise, ask what is bothering them, how you can help and wait for them to respond. Use your words; do not beat the kid. Some people may advocate that beating as punishment helps in disciplining but all it does is induce fear. They will behave in desirable way only around you but completely opposite in your absence. Be patient, they are learning the same.
Offer a Deal
There are things that children want but you cannot permit. In such cases, acknowledge their wish but tell them how and why it is not possible. Give them an example of something you want but cannot get and yet you made your peace with it. Give them hope and put a condition so they can understand that at times they have to do something, to get something in return.
Help and Show Faith
When we cannot get anything done, we get irritable; it goes same with children. Guide them step-by-step. Listen to their complications and offer solutions in simple sentences. Once they are calm, tell them about their behavior and why it is wrong. Tell them that it is unacceptable and that you believe they will behave better from next time.
Researches have proven that reward works better than punishment. Keep a good eye on your child’s activities and reward them time to time for it. Use your words; tell them how happy it makes you and how good it is for them. Talk to your kid as much as you can, they want the same.
Tantrum in Public Places
Parents give in very easily on the demands of children when they are outside in order to avoid unwanted attention but the child only understands the “action-reaction” relation and will definitely repeat the pattern in future to get what they want. Whenever you observe such public tantrum, sternly tell them what consequences they are is going to face for this behavior. Warn them that their privileges (e.g., Television, gaming etc.) will be restricted and then stay calm despite of what they do. They may try the same tactic next time but will soon learn that it is ineffective and it only reduces their privileges. This may be hard for a parent to do but it is better to endure twice than always being manipulated by them.
It’s not about You
Your child is a kid. Don’t treat them like adult. Do not expect things you generally would from an adult. Children have the power to hurt parents with their words but it is not about you. They will always resist change as a kid but eventually learn what you did was best for them. Raising kids is not easy, it will drain you but all you can do is be prepared for the possibilities.