27 May 2024 Overcoming Tantrums in Children

What is parenting?

Parenting is a process of raising children and providing them with protection, care and also support. Supporting children physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually ensures their healthy development and smooth transition into adulthood. The right parenting style such as positive parenting will develop a disciplined child. Positive parenting emphasizes positive discipline rather than harsh discipline and punishment for misbehavior. When a child misbehaves, parents should strive to concentrate on teaching the desired behavior rather than penalizing the child. 

Our child learns to show tantrums or also known as the terrible twos when language skills are starting to develop at an early age. As toddlers cannot communicate their feelings or needs, a frustrating experience leads to tantrums. However, tantrums tend to lessen as language abilities increase. For most toddlers, tantrum is a way to express frustration but for older children, tantrums might be a learned behavior. Tantrums are more likely to worsen if parents follow their children’s wants and needs too much, or allow their children to get something by having a tantrum. 


What are the strategies to overcome the terrible twos?

There are many practices parents can do to encourage good behavior in their children. For example: 

  • Be consistent. Being consistent in your schedule, routines, discipline patterns, and rules helps you connect with your child emotionally. Stability provides clear boundaries and structure for your child, helping them become organised and understand how the world works. Consistency allows your child to know what to expect, strengthening their sense of stability and understanding. 

  • Allow your child to make choices. Instead of saying no to everything, give your child a sense of control by letting them make their own decisions. Teach your child to choose between orange juice and chocolate drinks or lego blocks and hotwheels cars, and so on. This will instill in him a sense of control and the ability to choose between two equally good options.

  • Praise good behavior. Positive behavior includes when your child is playing nicely with other kids such as sharing and taking turns, or when they speak kindly to others, or simply when they are cleaning up toys after play and tidying their bedroom. Give your child a hug or tell your child how proud you are when they are behaving well. When parents praise and give this kind of acknowledgment, their child will learn a sense of security. Your child wants the attention and if you only give them the attention when they act out, they will learn to throw tantrums but if you give attention when they behave well, they will do more of that. 

  • Avoid situations which can trigger tantrums. If your child begs for toys or treats when you shop, steer clear of areas with these temptations. If your toddler acts up in restaurants, choose places that offer quick service.


What is the best way to respond to a tantrum?

Remaining calm is always the best response to a tantrum. Your child may imitate your behavior if you react with loud and angry outbursts. Trying to get a child to stay calm by yelling at them is only going to worsen the situation. Instead, being responsive to your child is another way to respond to tantrum. For example, if you have gotten your child to do something against their will, offer to assist. If your child refuses to follow your instructions, clarify why it is unacceptable. If your child starts kicking, striking, or throwing things during a tantrum, keep them in your arms to prevent them from continuing. Take your child to a safer place and calmly acknowledge the emotion they are showing by talking slowly and softly. By acknowledging your child's feelings and allowing them to communicate reasonably, you are allowing them to understand and deal with their emotions contextually, as well as a deep sense of being heard and understood. If they seek for touch or hugs, do offer it and do give them spaces or remain silent for a moment if they ever need it. However, parents must not give in to tantrums regarding unnecessary requests. This will teach them that tantrums do not help them to get what they want and they will learn from it.

The terrible twos are a normal part of your child’s development, especially between the ages of 1 and 4 years old as they are learning how to express frustration and rage, parents must not disregard this behavior as this will influence your child’s emotional development. With a proper nurturing, it will establish positive relationships that are essential in promoting healthy social and emotional development. 

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