You are in a supermarket with your two-year-old and suddenly he/she throws a tantrum,kicking and screaming uncontrollably.
What do you do as a parent?
First it is good to know why kids throw tantrums.
Kids temperaments vary dramatically, so some kids may experience regular tantrums whereas others have them rarely. Tantrums are a normal part of development and do not have to be seen as something negative or embarrassing for a parent. Unlike adults, kids do not have the same inhibitions or control.
Some of the basic causes of tantrums are:-
A child is seeking attention, is tired, hungry or uncomfortable. It can also be out of frustration with the world when they cannot get something they want or they are not able to express themselves and the parent does not seem to understand. Kids also need autonomy a sense of independence and control over the environment more than they may be capable of handling.
STRATEGIES OF AVOIDING TANTRUMS IN KIDS
The best way to deal with temper tantrums is to avoid them in the first place whenever possible. First try to understand what’s going on. Tantrums should be handled differently depending on the cause.
Below are some strategies that may help.
“Keep cool” The most important thing to keep in mind when you are faced with a tantrum is to keep cool. Do not complicate the problem with your own frustration. Kids can sense the parent becoming frustrated and this escalates the drama.
Avoid Hitting and spanking. Your child relies on you to be the example. By you using physical tactics you send the message that “fire should be fought with fire” and using force and physical punishment is OK. This may result in an increase of negative behaviour over the long run and can also result in your child being an abuser as an adult, instead warn the child and pay no attention to what they are doing but keep them in sight.
Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good. This means rewarding your child with attention for positive behaviour. Most children act up because they have realized that parents only pay attention to them when they are behaving badly.
Try to give toddlers some control over some things. Offer minor choices such as “do you want an orange or an apple?” or “do you want to brush your teeth before or after the bath”? This gives the kid a kind of independence and authority that she/he has a choice. When going for shopping give them advance warning that you are not buying anything for them on that day.
“Surprise gift” give your kid a gift he/she has been wanting when they least expect and avoid buying it when they demand. This will help the child to know that you are in control and you give gifts when it is appropriate.
Know your child’s limits. If you know your kid is tired, avoid taking them for shopping or squeezing one more errand.
Do not reward your child’s tantrum by giving in. this will only prove to your little one that the tantrum was effective. Wait until your child is calm and verbally praise him for regaining control and hug and reassure them that you love them no matter what.
Make sure your kid gets enough sleep. Sleep is very important to kids’ well-being and can dramatically reduce tantrums. The link isn’t always obvious. But when adults are tired they are grumpy or have low energy but kids can become hyper, disagreeable, and have extremes in behaviour.
Know when to call for professional help.
a.i) When the tantrums increase in frequency, intensity or duration
a.ii) Your child frequently hurts himself or herself or others
a.iii) Your child is destructive
a.iv) Your child displays mood disorders such as negativity, low esteem, or extreme dependence
a.v) You keep giving in
Remember, tantrums usually are not a cause for concern and generally stop on their own. As kids mature they have less frustrations and more control resulting in less tantrums and more happy parents.