Toddler Tantrums: Triggers and Taming Tactics


No doubt motherhood and parenting in general is a very precise job, in order to maintain a psychologically stable environment, with clearly defined morals and ethics, for raising healthy and happy children. Dealing with various children behaviors in different ages is definitely challenging for parents. One of the most common hardships in dealing with toddlers aged 1–4 years old is to control their grumpy mood and frequent spells of anger known as “tantrums”.

Tantrums are defined as an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration. Children might shout, scream, throw things, lay on the floor. It could get worse as they may start to hit their head or pound the ground, or they might even vomit or hold their breath as a pressure tool on parents.

The causes of tantrums vary from younger to older toddlers. Children aged 1–2 years old usually get upset because their linguistic skills are still developing and they are not able to express what they want clearly. Older toddlers aged 3–4 years old, usually throw tantrums as a forceful method on parents to get things they want and believe it is going to be refused by their parents, such as one more toy, extra candy, more television time, delayed sleep time, and so on.

Tips to handle emotional meltdowns and temper tantrums

First, we as parents need to stay calm as much as we can, in order to think more wisely and be able to deal with the situation. Second, most parenting consultants agree on ignoring the meltdown, as attention might reward the tantrum and make the child repeat that negative behavior later. Of course, parents should make sure the child is safe, any aggressive behavior needs intervention, but try to save time out for really nasty ones.

Third, if the episode prolongs, try to name their need and make them know that they are well understood, which might help calm them down and reset their feelings. Fourth, during public tantrums try to do some distraction, such as changing the subject or moving to a different location, which might help cease the anger as children tend to get caught up in new activities quickly. Fifth, try avoiding tantrum inducing circumstances, such as missing a child’s nap or not feeding him/her.

Although some techniques might stop tantrums immediately such as the bribery techniques, it is inadvisable to use as it falsely rewards the fit of rage. Avoid also yelling or threatening your toddler; always remember that we as parents are trying to direct or channel our children negative feelings only, definitely not attacking their whole spectrum of feelings, emotions, and expressions.

Children tantrums or negative behaviors in general should not make us as parents feel guilty or embarrassed as it is a normal part of their growing process. We should always remember that we are doing our best to help them express themselves in a right way. Finally, never forget that parenting is a journey and we are all learning through it.




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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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