Tantrums: What To Do

Here’s the thing: no one told us the difficulties that we as mothers would have to face. Our beloved babies bite our nipples, steal our bed, and keep us up all night. Oh yeah, and by the way, get ready for temper tantrums!

What is a Tantrum?

Essentially, a tantrum is when your baby or toddler just cannot deal with what they don’t like, throw themselves on the ground, and scream bloody murder.

However, let’s be clear about something. Tantrums are normal. They happen usually because they are unable to express their needs and frustrations. 

It’s similar to when two people are having a conversation and one of the people cannot understand the other. When there is a lack of understanding, it makes anyone frustrated.  Who can blame toddlers? They are just wanting to express themselves.

Why Do Tantrums Happen?

Tantrums can happen for a multitude of reasons. Some reasons are:

  • Overstimulation of their environment.
  • Tired.
  • Hungry.
  • Frustrated at not being able to express their needs and wants clearly.
  • Bored.
  • Wants your attention.
  • Wants to learn themselves.

Note: There can be other reasons as to why they are throwing tantrums. If it is concerning, I recommend following through with the advice from a medical professional.

I have felt the beginning of these infamous temper tantrums with my daughter. While these episodes are definitely not what I want to deal with, I have found some simple but effective ways of dealing with tantrums without losing your sh*t.

Remove Them From The Situation

If you have to carry a child over your shoulder in order for them to be in a safe environment where you know they won’t hurt themselves: by all means, I suggest doing so.

I’d rather do that than risk the possible chance of my daughter possibly falling hard by flinging herself on the floor or her passing out from holding her breath.

Have you ever just been so busy during the day that by the time it’s time for bed you feel over-stimulated and burnt out? That also happens to babies and toddlers too. Sometimes, they want a change of environment as it is too much for them to process mentally.

 

 Redirecting

This somewhat goes along with removing your child from the situation however, it is a bit different. Let me explain.

As stated above, a lot of the times, your baby is just overstimulated. Heck, they can even get “hangry” or tired. Let’s not pretend that you don’t get hangry or cranky when you’re tired. In all honesty, it’s a normal behavior. Therefore, why would we shut down behaviors that are seen as normal and done by the parents?

The concept redirecting is similar to changing their environment, however, it is also distracting them. Essentially, you could say redirecting is making them forget they were having a breakdown.

An example of redirecting behavior is to engage in activities with them. No, it is not buying them a toy and “rewarding” them for their behavior. Sometimes, it can be a cry for attention. Some activities that I do with my daughter are giving her piggy-back rides and bath time. Like adults, children just need to wind down.

Acknowledge Their Feelings

I know, you probably just muttered “duh” and rolled your eyes as you read the title. However, let’s be serious right now.

When your child is throwing a tantrum, the majority of the time you aren’t thinking about their feelings or the reasoning behind the outburst. In all honesty, you maybe even thinking “Really? Of course, this happens in public! This is so embarrassing”. You probably even emit a sigh of annoyance.

It’s okay, we all do it. Adults have bad days as well. Everyone does. It is what makes us human. Why would we lash out at the ones we love for expressing their frustrations as we do it on a day-to-day basis? That is a bit hypocritical, don’t you think? Instead of getting mad, gently but firmly talk with your little one. Assure them that it is okay to have bad days.

It’s okay to be mad or sad. Heck, it’s even okay if you want to scream in a pillow or throw a book. We all have our moments. Denying these moments that we do have as adults to children is simply telling them we are denying them the right to express these feelings.

Why Yelling, Hitting, and Humiliating Them Makes Things Worst

Disclaimer: I am not telling anyone how to raise their child or how to do things with their child. This article is meant to educate those looking for gentler and effective ways to calm their children down when they are having a tantrum.

I will briefly touch on this subject with the main concept being, “If you do something out of negativity, expect negativity in return”.

All of the things that I mentioned, stem from negative emotions and feelings. Anything that is negative logically will affect the output negatively.

If an adult hits another adult, you’re not going to expect a positive response from them. You aren’t going to expect them to kiss up to you and be all happy and cheery. They are going to be ticked. Whenever I get yelled at, I don’t feel positivity or that I “learned my lesson”. I feel irritated and want to remove myself from the situation before I get really mad. Why is it that we as adults expect different from our children but react the same way that they do to situations?

Be the example that you want your child to be. You want your child to be calm? Be calm. You want them to not touch anything in the store? Don’t touch anything in the store. You want your child to maintain a calming state their whole lives and never express their negative emotions? I expect you to do the same then.

Alternatives to Negative Things Parents Say To Children Throwing Tantrums

What not to say: “Stop crying”

What to say instead:

“I understand that you are tired, do you want to take a bath to calm down?”

“I hear your frustrations, let’s do something else”.

 

What not to say: “Do you want me to take you to the bathroom?”

What to say instead: “You are definitely wanting to go home. Let’s go home and put a movie in.”

 

What not to say: “Why can’t you be more like your brother and behave in public?”

What to say: “You must not feel too good. What can I do to make you feel better?”

 

What do you do whenever your child is fussy? Have you tried any of these methods? What are some gentle alternatives you use with your children? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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