A temper tantrum is a common problem in childhood. It is something that your polite child turns into a monster, shouting and crying to meet his demands. These tantrums can be frustrating for parents, causing them to yell and punishing kids to stop their temper. But a little calm effort towards your children can head off many tantrums before they start. React calmly and positively to handle the situation before it gets even worse.
A child cannot handle his emotion in a grown-up way instead they just throw temper tantrums. That does not mean tantrums are intentional or even voluntary. But it means that your child is learning to respond to their feelings. So, teach your children how they can learn to respond more maturely, like compromising things, and if they behave well, they will get positive rewards.
What are Temper Tantrums?
A temper tantrum is a sudden burst of emotion, anger, annoyance, disappointment, and frustration. These emotional tantrums can be crying, kicking, hitting, whining, punching, shouting, holding breath, throwing things, etc. Tantrums are a common thing for children that ages to one to four. They learn to do everything, and they learn to be more independent.
A tantrum usually lasts between 15 to 20 minutes. If your child has a tantrum longer than 20 minutes, then it might be a sign of a critical problem, and you should discuss the problem with the pediatrician.
Explain Two Sort of Toddler Tantrum
There are two sorts of toddler tantrums that can happen: emotional meltdown and non-emotional meltdown. Tantrums do not always happen for trying to take over to something or manipulating parents. An emotional meltdown happens when the brain’s emotional part gets triggered and takes over the thinking part of the brain.
Children of 2 to 3 years are incapable of thinking or manipulating. They just become upset when they do not understand things or not getting done, and then the emotional meltdown happens. For kids up to 4 years, they also have trouble in emotional control then can have an emotional breakdown.
Sometimes when parents always fill up kid’s demands in the past because of throwing tantrums. Then the kid will throw non-emotional tantrums to get what they want. Even if the kid starts with a non-emotional tantrum can end up having an emotional meltdown when things get out of control.
What Goes Inside Toddler’s Head?
When a child is controlled by emotional stress, then the amygdala inside his emotional part of the brain (lower brain) gets hyper. When the hormone inside his brain is released, then emotions become severe. These emotional storms can cause an extreme amount of physical pain.
To stop these emotional storms, your kid needs to develop their thinking part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) and then connect that with the emotional brain. However, the emotional part of the brain takes a long time to develop, so even older children can face problems controlling their emotions. So, parents should teach properly to take control of emotional regulation skills.
The Stages of a Temper Tantrum
Exactly, what happens when your kid loses and starts tantrum? Experts have given their advice and insights about that so that you can understand and help your child to stop.
- Trigger attack: Your child’s toy broke, and he wants it the way it was right now. Or the chocolate he wants at the shop. Refuse to go to bed or leave the playground, etc.
- Anger and Sadness: There is some theory about your kids having temper tantrums (crying, whining, and whimpering) that turns their anger into sadness. This crying and whining go all the way to the end if it starts.
- A helpful Hand Makes It Worse: When your kid starts to throw a tantrum the agitator dives in of grandparents, your partner, you. Your positive attempt makes the child explode in emotions. When they are mad your optimistic attempt gets rejected, and their anger is like fuming. The give do-not-touch-me reaction when you try to hug.
- A Wrestling Match: It is a next-level tantrum where kids Flailing their arms and legs, kicking, biting, pinching, holding breaths, and full-body thrashing on the floor.
- You Pretend Not to Notice: Terrified adults sometimes ignore the drama in the public place as a result. your child starts to feel more upset.
- Your Kids Come to You: Kids feel bad when they are out of control and afterward then need love and attention. Simply hug and kiss because it explains that it happened, it is sad, and now everything is okay. As long as you are present with them, words do not matter.
When Your Toddler Throws Tantrum in Public
Whenever your toddler starts tantrums in front of the public, therefore we feel extra embarrassment and ashamed for our child’s behavior. It is natural to feel embarrassment like that. Because we often think good parents have well-behaved children, and we judge other parents. So, we also imagine what people will think when your kids start an epic tantrum. Avoid thinking about what others think you are not a mind reader. You will always come up with negative thinking.
The child’s tantrum is not really about us. It is up to your kid. Instead of thinking too much try to figure out what is the most important thing in this circumstance. If you are with others, then explain to them that your child is having a rough time and excuse yourself from the public. Go to a room, go to the car, or go home and do what you can do to calm your kid. Remember, do not give the tantrum reaction, either positively or negatively.
Parents Should Handle Toddler Tantrums with Care
At birth, babies have lots of brain cells, but many of them are not connected. Brain cell network connections are made through life experiences. Temper tantrums are the most critical life experience to sculpture the brain. Temper tantrum allows emotion brain cells to form proper connections. These neurotic paths are important for the child to manage his emotions in the future.
So, never treat emotional tantrums with anger and punishment because it will only affect them to handle their stress correctly. Your child will go through with internal problems like anxiety, depression, or external problems like aggression, drugs or alcohol, etc. It will also affect their academic performance and social engagement.
But, if handled with care and make them feel safe when kids have emotional distress. Dealing with temper tantrums is not about stopping it, but it is about helping your kid to calm. So, it is the most important job for parents to help their kids to regulate their emotion during tantrums.
Do Not Reason Because They Cannot Hear
Once the tantrum has started, you cannot throw reasons or explanations to stop that epic storm. Your child’s emotional brain has taken control, and the logical brain will not work at this time. So, when your child is whining, crying, shouting, you cannot ask about that feeling. It will be a total waste of time. You may end up upsetting her or give frustration if you ask her anything unusual. Instead, divert your kid’s mind into other unusual things to make them feel distracted.
Use Simple Choices and Distraction
When a temper tantrum starts to occur, parents need to relive the emotion by taking control of it. For example, if your kid is at the grocery with you and wants to get something they want and starts to cry for that. Instead of forcing them, give them choices between the chocolate or the toy. Or, before you take kids into the grocery store, give them choices to pick one or two things. Also, you can distract them to make a list of their choices that make him feel included. Make a promise that if he behaves well, you will reward him.
These choices and distractions will help your kids to think about the situation. When you can access your child’s thinking part of the brain, then the emotional brain will not take over. Distraction is another way to get access to the logical brain. If you successfully distract your child before emotion takes over, then your child will feel good. It will release good hormones (dopamine) from the brain. This hormone will help to reduce the frustration and make him happier.
Ignore the Tantrum
It does not mean that you completely ignore your child. You should stay in insight with your children and remain physically and mentally available. Do not engage with your child’s crying and whining instead of focus on how you can help your child with unreleased things. For example, your kid is crying and shouting because they cannot have ice cream before dinner. You cannot ignore what they are saying instead of trying to take part in other ways by saying you can have your favorite chicken legs in dinner.
If they calm down slightly, then praise that action positively. For example, your child is crying but stopped flailing their arms and legs, then praising him for that.
Do Not Punish
Let’s say that you are feeling terrible pain, and you drop to the ground and start whining. Do you want to have punishment from your loved ones for that, or do you want to see them walk away or just lock you in a room by yourself? It feels terrible, isn’t it?
These temper tantrums start as when your child needs or wants something. If you ignore that, then it can lead to strong hormonal sense, which your child can not deal with. When it happens, if you scold, punish, time-out, or isolate your child for that, it can add more pain. It will not heal the pain because isolation activates the same neural area as physical pain.
For this, your child will think that he cannot trust you to help him and his frustration arises when he needs you. If a child understands that their expressing emotion results in punishment. Therefore, he may resist being defiant. Your child will have no chance to develop a proper brain connection to handle strong emotions. In later life, he will not be able to control his emotion, he may struggle to be positive, and temper outbursts can happen.
Sometimes, if a child’s emotional distress is handle with negative or lack of response, then he may stop crying. But that does not mean he is okay. Young children can still have stress hormones in them despite showing them. These problems can be problematic for mental health in the future such as they become school bullies.
Restore Emotional Balance and Learn to Self-Control
Parents can restore a child’s emotions and hormonal balance by holding or hugging and showing affection towards them. It can activate the body’s positive calming system and good chemicals (oxytocin) on his body that can control emotion.
Before you calm your children, make sure you are calm yourself. Otherwise, it will make your child more frustrated if you are not cool yourself. Sometimes your positive engagement with your child for instance “I understand what you feel” or “I am sorry that you are upset” or “I know, it should not go like this” is good enough to calm your child and feel them safe.
Why It Seems Difficult to Handle My Child?
Sometimes, your toddler has more temperament issues than other kids. They are born with such epic temperaments that they cannot solve easily like others. Simple choices or explanations may not work with them. You need to spend more time and handle calmly to teach them how they can express feelings with words.
When to Consult with a Doctor about Child’s Tantrum?
If your child goes out of control, you should consult with a pediatrician about your child’s temper tantrum.
- The temper tantrum gets worse after age four.
- When a tantrum starts your toddler injures themselves, or someone, or the property.
- When your kid starts crying that, leads to holding their breath, and that results in faint during a tantrum.
- When your kid gets frustration, headache, stomach ache, anxiety, etc.
- When you feel worried to handle your child’s tantrum safely.