Children’s tantrums (or temper tantrums) – are extremely nervous, excited states leading to the loss of self-control and are expressed in unmotivated actions, mood swings, loud crying, and sharp movements of the limbs.
What do Children’s Tantrums Look Like?
In any family with small children, the parents often face a situation of their children’s tantrums. Frequent examples of children’s tantrums can be seen in stores when parents refuse to buy a toy, and in the beginning, the child stays motionless and then bursts into loud crying and weeping.
Children’s hysteria may manifest in completely different forms. It may be nagging, moaning, or screaming, when a child loses self-control. Parents often don’t know how to react to such behavior of their baby. In order to know what to do with the children’s tantrums, you first need to understand the roots of this hysteria.
The most common reasons for temper tantrums:
- The baby has her own temper that starts to manifest by 2 – 2,5, years. Normally before that age children’s tantrums are not so common, because the “I” is not yet separate from that of the parents
- The tantrum – is a habit of communication in order to get the desired
- The parents have not set the “real NO” for the child and the tantrum is the only way to break that fragile “NO”
- A tantrum may also be a way to drive attention, which is one of the basic needs of any child. Attention means that the baby will get all the necessary skills from the parents, who share them ATTENTIVELY
If the temper tantrums become regular, the parents need to build up their own strategy of coping. Firstly, never pay attention to such disgraceful child behavior. Secondly, pay attention to the child, approving its positive character traits. And it shouldn’t be snatches of conversation: “Well done.” Attention to the child – means questions, answers, interest in the child’s success, patience with the details.
And remember: the wolf pack leads the pups, not the pups lead the wolf pack. Tantrums in most cases are nothing else, but manipulation may lead to disastrous effects. In case your baby doesn’t take your minor prohibition seriously – none of your prohibitions will be taken seriously, even in concern of the hazards. There’s nothing worse than the fragile “no”. In case you’ve decided to put an end to the tantrums of the baby – start right now and don’t give up.
5 Simple Rules to Tame the Temper Tantrums
Learn to tell the needs from the whims. In case your baby is crying because of an unsatisfied need – she will not stop crying when you leave or disappear from her sight. Most probably, if it’s a whim, the baby tantrum will be triggered by your refusal to satisfy the whim (not letting the baby play with the matches, not giving her chocolate before lunchtime, not buying a toy), while the tantrum because of the need may occur spontaneously.
For example – the baby, who is already potty trained, even wearing a diaper, may need to go to the toilet to satisfy their own need. In the other case – when the baby gets sleepy and doesn’t have an opportunity to lay down and fall asleep – it is also one of the basic needs.
NO should never turn into YES. The tantrum is the best tool for manipulation. Have you noticed, that your baby doesn’t do it to everyone? For instance – the baby goes into a tantrum with the mother but behaves well with the father. The reason is evident – with one of the parents the tantrums work well enough. If the tantrum has started, don’t ever change your NO to YES. If the tantrum lasts long enough to make you give up – the baby wins and the tantrum will become the baby’s best friend in any case.
Talk to the baby. By saying your NO you shouldn’t be angry or irritated. The reasons for the refusal should be spoken out and explained. Make the explanation short and clear. If the baby is not satisfied – go into details, still using simple words. The baby is yet to learn communication. By communicating you will show the right way to cope with dissatisfaction. You may also whisper your explanations in the ear – this will make the communication more intimate and the baby will like the non-standard approach. Kisses and hugs are more than appropriate.
Don’t pay attention to public opinion. Sure, the crying baby may look pitiful and your total not-participation may look like cruel treatment. But don’t buy it – you have the right to perform your parental duties correctly by treating the temper tantrum the way it should ignoring it after the patient’s explanations and the other means are exhausted.
If the situation becomes too disturbing – take the baby out of the place (if it’s possible) and let the baby cry the desperation out – the baby should know, you won’t change your mind. In case you are in the queue and feel bad about the other people – feel free to tell everyone you are sorry for the inconvenience but it is the only way to correct the bad behavior of the child, so the child doesn’t disturb the other people in the future. The baby will hear your apology and will also learn the bit of the lesson.
Always praise your child, if you’ve managed to win the temper tantrum. The baby should know, that her good behavior makes you happy. Don’t wait and do it immediately – the behavior is the set of conditioned reflexes, the result of taming by the means of praise. Knowing you appreciate your baby for understanding you and behaving well – the baby would want to repeat it over and over. The temper tantrums will become more seldom and fade away like a bad memory.
Children’s Tantrums: When Your Toddler is Angry
For example, if you want to encourage the pupil, it is not enough to ask about his school marks. We need to talk to the child, how exactly the child answer: was it his own will, or he was summoned to the blackboard by the teacher, was the child worried, was he asked additional questions. All this talk should take place in a good mood. The second cause of hysterics – is education. Children can make hysterics, not for everyone, but only for those who are amenable to it. For example, the mother will react to the tears and cries of the child and the father may behave quite differently.
You should get informed on how to treat your child right: How to Love Your Child?
Children’s Tantrums and the Pressure of the Adults
Only persistence, perseverance, and willingness to withstand a child’s “pressure” help to cope with this type of hysteria. If one analyzes the example of the situation in a shop with the toy. If you don’t mind buying a child’s desired toy, it is better to buy it at once. But if you believe that he doesn’t need the toy, say “no” clearly. The worst situation is if the child is crying and screaming, and then you surrender the emotional pressure, “I’ll buy it, just keep quiet!”. Thus, the child gets the idea that he can have anything from the parents by simply shouting and crying a bit longer if needed.
Another reason for children’s tantrums lies in the physiology
Sometimes the child after the prolonged wakefulness feels the necessity to “shout it out” to spend the energy and then sleep in peace.
Some children relieve stress this way. While the child is quite small, it is necessary. But if it happens to the child after the age of 3 years, it may signal overexertion and fatigue in the child.
If you ignore the signs of a child’s fatigue for too long it may result in a children’s tantrum, just like a short circuit occurs. In such cases, your child needs help: pick him up, shake him playfully, soothe him. The cause of hysteria may be related to age. The famous three-years-crisis and similar. The child doesn’t listen, he wants to do everything his own way, which means, he wants to assert himself, to show his “I”. In this period, it is necessary that the parents show rigid patience and firmness.
When it’s possible, it’s necessary to give the baby the possibility to demonstrate his independence!
For example, let him decide what to wear. But at the very beginning parents should define the boundaries of what is allowed and what is not. This applies even to the safety of their baby in his relations with others. The most important thing is that parents should never be indifferent to the child’s problems, even to the most trifling. To connect and establish a good relationship – it’s one of the main of parents’ goals in the upbringing of the child.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.