Handling a temper tantrum kid is one of the greatest challenges of parenthood. Most parents struggle to manage this emotional turmoil and at times, it gets difficult to control the situation.
These issues are common in the developmental stages of childhood. However, these can be managed well by preempting and preventing their occurrence.
As per ‘Medline Plus’ – The US National Library of Medicine, these tantrums are more
frequent and worse than when the child is hungry, tired, or ill.
Temper tantrums management can be easy by knowing the reasons behind these emotional outbursts. As parents/guardians or teachers, we must understand how to manage/avoid these and ensure the child’s safety during these phases.
These tantrums are usually seen in kids between the age group of 12 to 18 months. They often go down or rarely occur after 4 years of age.
Before we discuss the temper tantrum causes in detail, let’s take a look at the common signs of this issue.
Hitting, punching, screaming, whining, biting are clear signs of this emotional turmoil. At this time, the child is often out of control. There is a possibility of harming himself/herself or others in anger because these outbursts can lead to destructive behavior.
Temper Tantrum Causes–
Mostly these reactions are because of the inability to communicate feelings clearly as a child’s language development takes place in these stages. This ongoing development makes the child incapable of expressing himself/herself that takes the form of an emotional outburst at times.
Besides, this behavior can also be a reaction to a particular action or even to display an urgent need. It is also noticed that some children react in these ways to seek the adult’s attention.
Let’s take an example. Children often display strong reactions when you ask them to stop an activity that they enjoy. You must have seen kids crying aloud in the park when they are taken back home. These signs of non-cooperation are also visible when you deny permission to play more, or when you take the toys away and ask the child to study.
UNICEF shares relevant input in this regard and adds to the list of possible causes. It states that this frustration can also be due to regressive behavior among children. This is caused because of the stress experienced by a child while learning new things/skills. At times when the child finds himself/herself incapable to match up with adults, this sense of frustration leads to tantrum issues.
It is also important to note that these outbursts get worse with hunger, fatigue, and health issues. So, we must look for these reasons before implementing strategies to manage the temper tantrum kid.
7 coping strategies and preventive measures to manage these outbursts-
- Mood shifting with an interesting distraction:
While the child displays these signs, try to distract him/her with something that is more interesting. It can be an activity or simply your sense of humor.
It is better to distract the child with some fun games like sound identification, guessing games, freeze and clue games, etc. If the tantrum is because of a certain commodity, try to place it away from the sight of the child.
- Do not give in unreasonably:
As most children try to grab attention through these outbursts, make sure you do not feed this part of ‘attention seeking’ negatively. Apparently, these tantrums last longer if you pay a lot of attention to them. So, try to stay calm and do not show any signs of ‘direct control’ over the child.
Temper Tantrums Management should be about teaching the child the art of self-
regulating and it should be made clear that you are not giving in to anything
Some parents feed the child’s tantrum with harmful rewards like a mobile game to pacify the state of anger. It is a blunder as it trains the mind in the same pattern and makes the child more accustomed to this behavior. Try other methods with the but refrain from settling for things that set a wrong example.
There can be times when the question, how to deal with temper tantrums, takes a toll on you as a parent. But despite all highs and lows, you need to be consistent with the child. Remember, just like adults, children also need a level of trust.
So always make realistic promises and stick to your words. If you deceive the child at
any point in time, he/she might become even more unmanageable.
Try to be straight and genuine with your promises, if at all you make any. Authoritative practices like time-out techniques should be avoided as much as possible as these can harm the child’s self-esteem and make the issue even worse.
A temper tantrum kid can also be pacified through music. This is another effective mood-altering technique to release stress from the child’s mind. Try using jingles, rhymes or any form of instrumental music that can uplift the mood.
Sing along and encourage the child to sing as well. You can also smile to lighten the mood. But make sure it doesn’t appear like laughing at the child’s behavior.
- Set clear expectations regarding desirable behavior:
While dealing with temper issues, prevention is better than cure. Set clear expectations with the child. Ensure that there is no lag from your side regarding meals, fun and resting time.
As an adult, you should also display desirable behavior, failing which the child might
just take all your words for granted!
For instance, if you are addicted to the use of a mobile phone, it will be difficult to explain the child about adverse effects of its overuse.
Chalk out some clear-cut rules and try to keep the child engaged. Teach the child about importance of hygienic surroundings. Also discuss health issues related to excessive screaming, hitting or crying. Play your part well to avoid temper tantrum causes and appreciate the child enough for playing his/her part well.
- Reinforcement techniques:
Reinforcement techniques have been tried and tested for ages and go very well with kids in early childhood and elementary school stages.
Trained educators in digital schooling platforms and top traditional institutions make use of these strategies in everyday teaching, because these are some of the best ways to attract a child’s positive attention.
Temper tantrum situations can be handled better with love and kindness, instead of
corrective measures and reprimanding actions.
Simple yet attractive ways of rewarding children are the best to do away with
Positive reinforcement techniques, like appreciation for good behavior (for keeping the room tidy or staying well behaved for a certain duration) work wonders for these age groups.
Another way of doing it is to use simple props. Introduce a decorated jar or basket to the child. You can also use a star chart and each time the child does something good, a unit can be awarded. Once the child reaches the upper limit of the game (the decided number of units), you can reward him/her with a treat or present These exciting activities go very well with young kids!
- Mindful and positive parenting
Dealing with a temper tantrum kid is easier with the right parenting skills. So try to be reasonable, logical and patient with the child.
Try to avoid such situations in the first go by planning ahead. Trust me, it is the best resolution to pacify the needs of the child without inviting chaotic situations
So if you are running late with food preparation or get stuck somewhere, your pre-planning saves you and your child from any unpleasant turmoil. Ensure that you arrange for the child’s toys, meal and snack well in advance, because it will help you to stay calm and take over the situation easily.
Remember that nurturing tantrums at an early age can lead to poor adaptability
skills later in life.
Instead of handling an out-of-control situation, while struggling to keep calm, it is always better to take charge and plan in advance.
Another way of handling tantrums mindfully is to encourage the child to bring down his/her voice. You can simply say that you will listen only once the child’s tone and volume matches yours.
This will bring down the chaos of screaming and shouting in public places, where children often start yelling for toys or food items.
Dealing with temper issues might not be easy every time. But with positive parenting and strategizing we can certainly make things better.
Try these tips and ways to manage your child’s meltdowns and most importantly stay proactive to avoid these as much as you can!