Children have a kindred way of communicating their needs. They scream, bite, throw themselves on the floor with little to no concern of self -injuring. I have a three year old and I have moments where I do not know how to handle her tantrum throwing ways, simply because she refuses to accept that things will not go her way.
Tantrums are a way for children to communicate their needs, however we may also view them as an attack to us as mothers, because power struggles!
A tantrum is defined as an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child. We all know how terrible the ages between 1-4 are, especially from age 2 – hence the “terrible two’s” term. My daughter is incredibly stubborn. She has moments where we know that we have to expect the worst, we always says she’s in the “zone” .
I will admit that I used to judge parents who were unable to control their children when they were throwing tantrums all because of little to no understanding of what causes tantrums. Now I empathise and look the other way because the last thing a parent needs is to be judged for something that is beyond her control. I have come up with ways to help handle tantrums. Hope they help.
My 3 year old has a tendency not saying what she wants especially when she’s with me. She will start crying and screaming sometimes even scratch. I’m talking about someone who you can have a full on conversation with. So I have started paying attention to how she throws her tantrums. I can now tell the difference between seeking my attention and wanting to sleep or being hungry. The thing about paying attention to how she reacts helps me manage my frustration so I am able to cater to her immediate needs. I stop asking her what she wants and give her what she needs, that way it’s easier to manage the tantrum and acquire peace.
Create a diversion
We all know that a child’s attention span is short. When they do not get what they want, they scream however when you take their attention away from that meltdown (as soon as you realise there is one on the way) they forget what they were about to scream for. Offer a sweet or a favourite toy they haven’t seen in a while. Show them a bird or tell them how pretty they look.
Do not scream
We all like being heard. A child is no different from you. When they scream, it is to be heard. So do not scream back. I have been guilty of screaming when my daughter was screaming because I could not maintain control of the situation, it makes matters worse. What does one then do? Take a deep breath, count to 5, go down to their level and speak soothingly soft. Do not scream or shout.
A little touch never hurts. A hug comforts. Offer a big bear hug. When a child feels safe, they are able to calm down and understand that things will not go their way. The most important thing is that they feel secure and that they are cared for. You do not have to say anything when giving the hug, this will give them time to calm down.
Sometimes you just have to ignore your child. Let them let whatever they feel inside out without you interfering however make sure they are in a safe space where they will not self harm. At times you need to let them figure out that what they are doing is wrong and pointless so they might as well accept that they won’t get what they want.
Spanking is a no no.
Ever tried negotiating with a folder by promising to spank them? Has it ever worked? My daughter becomes more stubborn. Screams and bites. So I have learned to give her time out. I will leave her in her room for a little while (5 minutes or so) while I stand outside the door. As soon as I hear her calm down, I open the door and give her a hug. And life goes on.
Written by Miss J