Helpful Approaches to Deal with the Tantrums of a Child

September 18, 2019

When a child throws a tantrum it can be a very irritating as well embarrassing situation, especially so when the child creates a scene in public. It is assumed that these tantrums are unavoidable or disciplining a child by spanking or threatening, can curb such behavior. However, both of these assumptions can’t be further from the truth. There are tried and tested ways to handle a child’s tantrums effectively. However, in order to understand these methods and to apply them, it is imperative to understand what a tantrum is and what causes such behavior in toddlers. These two important questions are vital in understanding the methods to deal with child tantrums.

What are Tantrums?

Tantrums can be classified into two categories: Emotional Tantrums and Manipulative Tantrums. Emotional tantrums are most common with children aged between 1-2 years, due to their inability to make their needs known to their parents, as they are unable to communicate. The second kind of tantrum is a manipulative tantrum, which is most common with children aged between 3-5 years. The reasons for their tantrums are mostly because they seek far greater autonomy then available to them, or if their wishes are not met. It is a power struggle of sorts between children and parents, where the child uses a tantrum as a means to manipulate parents to achieve a certain objective.

The following is a list of things that can increase the likelihood of a tantrum to happen:

Strong Emotions:

A child who is swept with strong emotions of any sort is highly likely to throw a tantrum. The emotions may range from anger, disappointment, fear, worry, shame, etc.

The Child’s Temperament:

Temperament is the child’s attitude towards unfavorable situations. It explains the likeliness of a child to throw tantrum when faced with frustrations.

Daunting Situations:

A Daunting situation, where a child is unable to have their way or is unable to complete a task, such as tying shoelaces on their own or retrieving an item from somewhere or someone, such as a toy, can result in a frustrated child throwing a tantrum.But a majority of times, in case of toddlers, the cause of the tantrum is very simply, the non-fulfillment of basic needs such as food, sleep, change of diapers, etc.

How to Effectively Deal with Child Tantrums?

Now that we understand the cause of child tantrums, we can look into certain tried and tested methods that can be employed to handle a tantrum effectively, so that a tantrum turns out to be a great learning experience for the child as well as the parent.

Mentioned below, are some of the most basic and yet, the most effective methods of handling a toddler tantrum effectively.

  • Try and Understand the Reason for the Tantrum
    This is true for any problem in life. Understanding the “Why” of things is very important. The “Why” gives us clarity of the situation and shows us the path to be taken. Try and understand the reason behind the tantrum. It is essential to understand whether the child requires something and is trying to convey something, which the child would otherwise not be able to say, or if it is just a manipulation tactic, to compel parents to do or not to do something. This knowledge is paramount for you so that you are able to handle a situation accordingly.
  • Ensure the fulfillment of Basic Needs
    When it comes to children aged between 1 and 3, who are mostly incapable of expressing themselves properly, it is essential for the parents to take care of their needs, on a timely basis. Feeding the child regularly, at fixed intervals, cleaning the child, and helping the child to get sufficient rest, can help parents avoid a lot of tantrums. A great way to achieve this is by feeding the child at specific times and repeating the routine. This sets up a time table and the child’s body adjusts to the time table set for food. Also, it is necessary that the parents keep an eye on the child so that they can change diapers immediately if needed. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the child gets ample rest. Keeping these basic things in mind will help in avoiding tantrums from infants to the minimum.
  • Be Patient and Ignore the Tantrum
    Once you have reached the bottom of the tantrum, and the reason behind the tantrum is the child’s attempt to manipulate you or because the child is frustrated because you did not bend to their will, then the best option to handle this tantrum is to ignore the child’s antics. This is, of course, subject to certain precautions, which include, ensuring that the child is not causing any physical harm to himself or any other damage to household effects. Once that has been ensured, it is best to wait out the tantrum. It is necessary to ensure that you are in close proximity to the child so that the child feels that you are available. But the message, that you will not be manipulated by such tactics, will also be put across. It is worth remembering that during such times when a child is high on emotions and is throwing a tantrum, trying to reason with them is pointless because the child is unable to understand the reasoning at that time.
  • You need to Stay Calm
    A very important point that you must remember while taking care of a tantrum, is that you must stay calm. When the child is already high on emotions, the parent letting into their emotions as well will only worsen the situation. How can you expect your child to control their emotions and not throw a tantrum when you cannot control your emotions yourself? Toddlers look up to their parents and try and imitate them. When a child is throwing a tantrum, you being calm will help balance the emotional turmoil out. And the child will be more receptive to what you have to say, once the child calms down.
  • Distract by Giving Options before a Tantrum starts
    When you see that a tantrum is about to start, try and understand the situation, before it gets out of hand, and then give the child an option which both will lead to what you require the child to do, but it will give the child an option to choose. This will give the child the illusion of choice and make him feel autonomous. Distract the child with an alternative which is acceptable to you.
  • Tantrums can be difficult to handle, especially for new parents. However, if parents are ready to be patient and grind through this difficult time, then they can have a great and healthy relationship with their kids. All you need to do is not to give in to your emotions and deal with a child’s tantrums tactfully.

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