Tantrums-How to Manage an Emotional Child?
Tantrums are a normal developmental phase that every child will go through sometime in their
young lives. Every child has a different threshold for dealing with emotions of anger and
frustration. Tantrums have various degrees on intensity, depending on the child, the situation, the
various tantrum triggers, and of course how the tantrums are managed by the parents.
The number one reason for tantrums is frustration. Young children do not know how to deal with all
these new feelings of anger and frustration. They feel what they feel but do not have the emotional
maturity to handle these emotions in a calm manner.
It is important to understand why your child is having a tantrum, not so much the reason caused by
the situation, but more so understand the frustration that they are feeling. Think of a time when you
have felt frustrated, maybe someone cut you off in traffic, or maybe dinner burnt and remember
those emotions you felt and how you responded to them. Maybe you shouted, maybe you stomped
your feet, or maybe you used some colourful language? Now I am not saying that you should accept
this behaviour from your children, but I am hoping you will have a better understanding of what
they are going through.
With this greater level of understanding comes more patience and empathy towards your child the
next time they throw a tantrum. You may not ever understand why your child is having a tantrum, as
a child’s reason for an emotional performance is not always how an adult would rationalise the
situation. You can however relate to the emotions that your child is feeling.
It is vital for you to stay calm when your child is having a tantrum. Leave them to work through
their emotions. If you think back to yourself, when you are feeling frustrated, does it help if
someone follows you around telling you that you are over reacting, and that you should calm down?
I would think not. The same is true for your child.
You can have a powerful effect on their behaviour by trying your best to remain calm yourself. If
you as a parent also get frustrated and start shouting and screaming, maybe stomping feet or even
smacking, what message are you essentially sending to your child? It is by remaining calm (as calm
as one can in these testing situations) that you can help your child to work through his feelings.
Once your child has calmed down you can talk to them about what has happened, why it happened,
and how they think they could deal with their frustrations better in the future. Remain calm at all
times, and remember empathy and understanding goes a long way.
The most crucial element to adhere to when dealing with a tantrum is to NEVER give into your
child’s demands. By giving him what he wants you are in essence saying that if you behave that
way for long enough you will get what you want in the end. I can almost guarantee you that this
will only bring more tantrums in the future.
When you are out in public, it is probably the most trying time for a parent to deal with a tantrum
child. The fear of judgement and ridicule is always present. I am here to tell you that it should not
be the case. No one else understands your child and the situation as well as you do. You can not
control how your child chooses to behave, but you do have full control over your own behaviour.
Follow though with the situation as you would in the privacy of your own home. Stay calm and in
control, and carry forth your strategy with confidence knowing that your child’s behaviour is in no
way a reflection of your capability as a parent. Do yourself proud; as it is how you handle these
situations as a parent that is most important, along with the lessons you are able to teach your child
despite their choice in behaviour. These lessons may very well have a positive effect on the choices
your child makes in the future.
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