Tantrums – Natural but Unacceptable Behaviour
- There’s the Traditional Tantrum: Throwing themself on the floor whilst screaming, and thrashing arms and legs around wildly.
- There is Toddler Tantrum: Chasing mum or dad around the room with arms raised while wailing inconsolably until somebody picks them up.
- The Toy Shop Tantrum: (Not only to be performed in a toy shop) where there is LOUD screaming and shouting until the small person gets exactly what they want or something else instead (AKA distraction)!
- The Car Seat/Pushchair Tantrum: Lots of thrusting, writhing and grunting in an attempt to twist out of the restraints and escape/be released. This can also involve becoming completely rigid!
- And of course the Bedtime Tantrum: Lying down or standing in the cot or at the stair-gate and SCREAMING as if there really is a monster under the bed that is coming to get you!
But they all have a pretty similar meaning – “I want it! I want it my way! And I’m going to scream until you do it!!!”
When the first “BIG One” erupts, it can take you totally by surprise, as your child, who is usually so happy and quite sweet, turns into a frenzied monster, displaying an array of demonic behaviour that you never thought possible. I’ve observed numerous toddlers howling their way through their first FULL tantrum from beginning to end, whilst their parents sit quietly astounded by the dramatic change in their child.
The thing is, tantrums are totally natural, just like crying when we get upset and jumping around when we get excited. As we grow up we learn to control how we express ourselves based on the responses of those around us. But if our parents do everything they can to stop the tantrums before they really kick off, we learn that by behaving in that particularly unpleasant way, we get rewarded. Children have tantrums because we let them learn that by crying, screaming and shouting, they will invariably get what they want or something else nice instead – even if it is just a cuddle. Distraction may seem like a great way of maintaining a happy child, but it will usually cause more upset in the long run as the child’s expectations for rewards grow.
To put an end to tantrums, children need to learn that behaving in that way, not only won’t get them what they want, but it also won’t get them anything else even vaguely nice instead. Trying to encourage or force a tantruming child to calm down isn’t the long term solution either, as this forces them to bottle up their feelings which ultimately need to be released.
You can put an end to your child’s tantrums with patience and the right responses and by allowing them to release their emotions as they arise.
For more information, please call Dee Booth 07977 462252
I would like to say a big “thank you” to the parents of the beautiful tantrums featured above.