Why Toddler Tantrums are Necessary and How to Survive Them!
Got Toddler Tantrums?
In your single days – you were the woman who glared at the flailing child in the middle of the aisle. You thought, seriously woman – get control of your child.
You had no pity for the family sitting next to you – ruining your quiet meal. And absolutely no understanding for the screaming toddler disrupting your flight. Who flies with kids anyway?! You vowed to never have one of those kids.
When it was your turn to shine you read every parenting book. You got designer bibs and vowed to have the most well behaved child. Toddler tantrums would not be part of your vocabulary!
At first things looked bright. Your little love bug was cute and quiet. You thought some moms just don’t have my mad skills.
And then it happened. It started with an arch of the back as you tried to buckle your child into her car seat. She upped her game at dinner as she flung chicken across the room. And you could no longer be in denial as she lost all muscle control and refused to get up at the grocery store.
Relax. Your future Harvard graduate is doing exactly what she is supposed to do for her age. You can also put back on your cape – because you are still a superstar.
Toddler tantrums are supposed to happen. It is not only a rite of passage for them and for you, but it is a necessary part of development.
Toddlers are learning important skills through toddler tantrums – and you can either help them fine tune those skills or fight the process.
Want to survive the toddler tantrum stage? Learn what your child needs and provide it for them. Here are just a few skills you can teach them during this hellish existence!
HELP THEM EXPRESS EMOTIONS
Toddlerhood can seem like a cruel joke. These little people have not mastered the art of language or self-regulation. They have a need for instant gratification paired with zero patience. With all that said – life is pretty hard for them. In a world full of No and Wait until later’s – toddlers are losing it – pretty much all the time.
So you have two options when dealing with toddler tantrums. You can yell at them and pour some gasoline on that blazing fire. Or you can respond to your child calmly, model self-control and speak for your child.
Say what?! Yes, speak for them. If your child is crying for a cookie. Don’t rattle on about why they can’t have a cookie. They go deaf the minute they start to tantrum. Instead enter their crazy, irrational world.
They’ll hear you briefly when you speak their language. The language of crazy. “You are mad because you want a cookie! Mommy wouldn’t let you have a cookie and that is making you so mad!”
Will it stop the crying? Not really. Maybe just long enough for a quick nod. But, the purpose is to give your child words to match their feelings. If you continually do this – your child will eventually develop those language skills. Better language skills equal less tantrums.
HELP THEM LEARN LIMITS
Think of the toddler stage as a ridiculously long stint in boot camp. You may not be aware, but you are in training. Yes, you. It is your little bundle of joy’s job to push you to the limits. All the while, she is keeping score and collecting data.
Do you cave or do you stick to your guns?
So when you are running on fumes and your child’s head starts to spin because you had the audacity to bring her toast instead of pancakes (which by the way she asked for!) – remember this. She is marking her wins and computing her odds. This is a permanent record my friend. How you perform during this training will impact your parenting for the next ten to fifteen years.
The thing to remember is that toddlers have a very short attention span. So when they scream and you give them what they want – they make that association. This doesn’t mean don’t be flexible. But say something like, “You will never get your way when you scream and cry. Try again and ask calmly.” This will rewards self-regulation, not their tantrum.
HELP THEM TO SELF-REGULATE
Toddlers don’t know how to control their emotions. They aren’t born with that skill. Give them a break, they are new on the job. While our children are learning to control their emotions, it is our job to remain calm and distance ourselves form their chaos.
Tantrums are a necessary part of this learning process – but you don’t have to be. Remove yourself from the drama. When you get in the middle of your child and their tantrum – you don’t give your child the opportunity to learn how to self-regulate.
Stop punishing. Stop putting them in time out for toddler tantrums.
If your child is thrashing around because they didn’t get the red cup tell her, “I know you are sad you didn’t get the red cup. But, the red cup is dirty and you can’t have it. If you need to keep crying you will have to go to your room until you calm down.” If your toddler won’t go to their room (because they won’t) bring them to their room. Let them know that as soon as they are calm they can come out.
Surviving the toddler stage earns you parental street creds. The good news is as soon as your toddler can learn these skills and you pass boot camp – the tantrums will eventually stop.
You want a laugh? Read how a former FBI Chief Negotiator talks down his toddler from having a tantrum. [Click here]
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