Ask any parent and they will tell you that toddler tantrums are terrible. They can unravel the best laid plans and turn quiet evenings into the sleepless nightmares. Let’s face it. Parenting toddlers with frequent tantrums is no easy feat.
However, the best way to deal with such a problem is not to second guess what your toddler wants or try to bribe them with a bottle, but to understand their mindset. Erik Erikson’s stages of psycho-social development offers a practical framework that helps parents understand toddler tantrums, crying, resistance and other difficult behaviors.
According to the experts, most toddler tantrums are expressions of the desire to be independent or to act some newly developed desire. Basically, they want to exercise their own will and they will demonstrate this desire by turning on the waterworks until they get what they want. So if your child frequently exhibits bad behavior then here are several parenting tips that will help you deal with the issue.
Establishing parental expectations will teach your child the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Moreover, it also helps them to understand that discipline and bad behavior are linked together.
When toddlers cry or engage in bad behavior, most parents will simply tell them to stop. Although there’s nothing wrong with this approach, it’s much better to tell your child what they are allowed to do as opposed to what they shouldn’t do.
Although most parents instinctively want to discipline bad behavior, there is value in giving your child a little leeway. For example, you can let your child play with certain household objects, like a remote or a tablet, but you should draw the line when it comes to pencils or sharp objects.
This is an old trick many parents use, and you might as well use it whenever your toddler gives you trouble. For example, “Do you want to put on your socks or do you want mommy to do it for you?” and “Would like to eat this now or eat it later?” Giving your toddler options will allow him or her to feel like they are not being forced into doing things they don’t like.
Toddlers sometimes cry because they’re surprised by things they consider unpleasant. For example, let’s say that you brought your toddler to the mall. It’s not a big deal, but as far as he or she is concerned, it’s an unfamiliar place filled with unfamiliar people, and there’s only one way to deal with such a situation: Cry.
The best way to prevent such situations is to give your child warnings about what you’re planning to do. For example, if they’re playing then you may want to use a timer to help your child get used to his or her playing schedule. And whenever you go out in public, you should give your toddler some prior warning so that he or she won’t freak out when you arrive at your destination.
Whenever toddlers experience the consequences of their actions, they are able to internalize the moral reasoning behind such actions. For example, if a toddler keeps insisting on touching a cold object then let them experience what that object feels like. Of course, some natural consequences can be risky, and in such situations you will need to protect your child, but if the consequence of a particular action is relatively harmless then let your child have his or her way..
Toddlers crave to be heard and understood, particularly when they’re acting out. Unruly toddler behavior may even result from a child’s frustration at being unable to verbalize his or her feelings. Whenever such behaviors happen, the best thing that you can do for your toddler is to empathize with whatever it is their feeling.
The best way to go about this is to talk to your toddler and to hold them. This will show them that you care about their problems, or at the very least that you’re close by. This leads to two benefits. First, it helps them process their emotions more easily and secondly, it helps them communicate with you.
Hugs! Toddlers love to be hugged even when they’re crying. Most parents already know this of course, but it’s worth repeating nonetheless. Physical contact usually softens toddlers, and helps them to feel okay. If they’re experiencing discomfort, a few hugs can help ease their pain.
However, there are also situations where a hug can’t solve your toddler’s tantrum. In cases like these, it’s best to give them a little space..
Sometimes, toddlers will cry or engage in bad behavior for bad reasons. When this happens, don’t be afraid to give them time out.
When you’ve exhausted all your other options, and your child continues behaving badly then a little discipline may be in order. Put your toddler in his or her time out place and see what happens.
One word of advice though. You don’t actually need to leave your child during time out. Recent research shows that keeping children company during time out can be good for them.
So far, we’ve discussed how to deal with toddler tantrums and bad behavior, but what about the parents? Well, here’s some advice for you: Don’t be afraid to relax and have some alone time, especially when your kid is sleeping.
If your toddler’s behavior is pushing you to the edge, go outside and count to ten. You’re not abandoning your child. You’re just refocusing your mind. Remember, you can’t take care of your child if you can’t take care of yourself.
Managing toddler tantrums is never easy, but parents all over the world deal with it daily. Be patient, it will get better over time as your child grows up. We hope these tips help when your child has their next meltdown.