THE ‘WHAT’ AND ‘WHY’ OF TANTRUMS

Children between the ages of 2 years to 5 years crying their heart out to get their desires fulfilled are a common sight in most shopping malls. They cry and cry till they can no more cry, or till their desired thing is purchased for them. Parents find it difficult to handle such children. They feel offended with the thought that people around would be labeling them as incompetent parents. After a couple of such episodes, many parents resolve never to take along their kiddos during the family’s time out.

Most children throw such wild tantrums. Few quiet ones are rare exceptions. Tantrums are children’s ways of dealing with emotions that are too big for them to handle. At this age, the brain of a child is still developing. The child is learning how to express his/her needs. The concepts of requesting, waiting, delayed gratification have not yet been learnt. This is the phase in which children are gradually learning to wean themselves out of the ‘demand and get’ mode, which they were used to as infants.

When children throw tantrums, they may be feeling several different emotions – out of control, tired, frustrated, hungry, etc. Hence, it is necessary to handle them wisely. Here are some ways to handle your child’s tantrums:

Stay calm

Don’t engage in power struggle with your child

Acknowledge the feeling your child is trying to express

Never leave your child alone thinking that he/she will become quiet with time

Don’t take your child to places which are beyond your means

Arrange your environment to prevent tantrums

Avoid using negative strategies such as criticizing, comparing, discouraging, shaming or physical punishment

Use positive strategies. Affirmative discipline eventually makes way for self-discipline

Patiently explain to the child what is wrong in behaving in a particular way

Reward the child for showing good behaviour till he/she masters it

Model appropriate behaviour

Don’t say NO all the time

Don’t give in to their demands all the time

The principles of behavior that you teach your child during these formative years, will go a long way in shaping their adult behavioural patterns.

 

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