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When Should You Give In To Your Child's Tantrums?

4 min read

Every parent experiences moments when their child appears to be completely out of control, much to the chagrin of those around, and of course cutting a sorry picture in public. These moments of lack of emotional control in the child are certainly upsetting, embarrassing, intimidating and saddening, and are true testing times for parents of toddlers and older children. Let us get to know some interesting facts about tantrums. These information pieces will help us arrive at understanding tantrums, and certainly when to give in and when not to, during a tantrum!
Toddler tantrums

  • What Is A Temper Tantrum?
  • Why Do Toddlers Have Tantrums?
  • When Should You Give In To Toddler Tantrums?
  • How Do You Stop Toddler Tantrums?
  • How Not To React To Your Child’s Tantrums?

What Is A Temper Tantrum?

In simple terms, tantrums are how children, in the age group of 2-5 years, react to complicated and difficult emotions. Tantrums are common during the second year of your child’s life as their language skills begin to develop. The crying, screaming, yelling, wailing, sobbing, kicking, falling, throwing themselves to the ground, stiffening up, arching backward, flailing, running about aimlessly, throwing things and so on are reactions to the emotions that they do not comprehend, and hence cannot express how they feel. As your child’s language skills improve, tantrums die down.

Why Do Toddlers Have Tantrums?

You may be surprised to learn that tantrums in toddlers and older children actually follow a pattern and are quite predictable. They come in all shapes and size, and are most likely to happen in the following situations:

  1. When the child is hungry, stressed, tired or over-stimulated: At such occasions, the child does not know to express their feelings, and could launch into a tantrum
  2. When the child cannot fathom strong emotions: Emotions such as fear, shame, worry, and anger are overwhelming for children, making it difficult for them to process, thereby leading to a long tirade
  3. When the child craves your attention: The child might be happy and playful for most of the time while you are near them, and could erupt in screams and howls as soon as you leave to attend to a phone call, the doorbell, or just complete your chores. These tantrums are called attention tantrums
  4. When the child cannot have the things they desire: Such tangibles tantrums typically occur when your child wants candies and ice creams at the shop or wants the very toys that their friends are playing with. Getting past these tantrums is a herculean task for parents
  5. When the child wants to avoid following your instructions or commands: As parents, we wish to imbibe a sense of responsibility in our children. We also wish to discipline them from a young age. Hence, we set rules such as taking a bath, changing into fresh clothes before bedtime, tidying up the play area, brushing teeth, and so on. When the child does not want to follow these rules, they put up a fight in the form of a tantrum. This kind of tantrum can be tackled by allowing your child time to adjust before stopping or starting any new activity

Toddler tugging at mother

When Should You Give In To Toddler Tantrums?

Sometimes, giving in to your toddler’s tantrums might seem the best solution to your tenuous sanity levels, at that moment. As goes the age-old adage, you must be wise enough to pick your battles. Where there’s no chance of winning, there’s no point of putting up a fight. For example, in a situation where your priority is getting to a place on time, and your toddler has launched into a tantrum for something they want; give in – albeit, quickly. Do not deny it first and then hand it over to them. This sends a wrong message, a lasting one at that. They interpret this action as your approval after persistent pestering to get whatever they demand. They will replicate it every time they need something, and you might just have to give in every time. This behavior and reason to throw a tantrum will get hardwired in their brains.
Also, sometimes as a parent we overload our children with too many rules, regulations, dos and don’ts. Young children cannot fathom the importance of these protocols. They feel stifled and when it comes to a point where they cannot understand how to express or vent out their feelings, they throw a fit in the form of a violent tantrum. These are times when we need to loosen up a little, give in to their tantrums. Modeling good behavior can also be done by giving in to your child’s tantrums, once in a while.

How Do You Stop Toddler Tantrums?

There is no ideal response to a tantrum. There are multiple ways of dealing with children’s tantrums.

  • One of the most effective ways is to ignore them. It has been observed that the less you acknowledge their outbursts, the faster they fade away
  • Hold them close or give them a hug when they are done with the screaming and shrieking. This will give them an assurance that you are and will be by their sides, no matter the situation
  • Once they calm down, explain right behavior to them, but keep it short and simple. Do not begin with a long discourse

How Not To React To Your Child’s Tantrums?

  • Reacting negatively, screaming and yelling at the child, and worse still – raising your hand on them – gives out one message loud and clear – it is okay to beat others when emotionally upset. Your child immediately latches on to this behavior and will display it going forward
  • Reasoning with your child, when they are at the peak of their emotional outburst, is absolutely futile. While their brains are already taxed at such moments, explaining and asking further questions will only exacerbate their tantrum, and take it a notch higher

It is our reactions and responses during these heated moments that shape the characters and behaviors of our children. So, keep your calm, preserve your composure, and remember to maintain a positive environment in the house!
Does your child throw tantrums? How do you handle it? Do share your experiences in the comments section below.

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