Believe It, Tantrums Are Temporary

Morinaga Platinum ♦ 1 May 2017

Believe It, Tantrums Are Temporary

Most parents have experienced the tantrum phase of the Little One. Or, they have at least witnessed an incidence of tantrum in public areas. This usually happens in shopping centres when passing through the toy section, where the Little One may see a certain toy and ask to buy it. If the parents refuse, they will break into tears. Seeing that their tears do not cause their wish to be fulfilled, the intensity of their cry will increase, leading to more wailing and even rolling on the floor. At this time, parents will certainly experience embarrassment and feel as though all eyes are on them.

Tantrum is a common behaviour that occurs in children aged one to four years old. This is usually based on the limitations of the Little One to communicate and convey their wants. They will then feel frustrated due to their difficulty in conveying their intent or feeling, as well as the fact that parents do not understand and fulfil their wishes. Their unexplainable emotions will then explode in the form of a tantrum. According to the Paediatrics of Florence website, 87 percent of children aged 18-24 months experience tantrum following communication limitations that inhibit their desire to convey something. Furthermore, 50 percent of children aged 42-48 months experience tantrum due to feeling pressured or being in a state of exhaustion.

What is considered as a tantrum? Tantrums can take many different forms, beginning with loud crying, screaming, hitting, kicking, rolling on the floor, and so on. Tantrums are still considered acceptable if they occur rarely. The results of a study led by Andy C. Belden, PhD from Washington University demonstrated that preschool-aged children who throw tantrums more than 5 times a day for several days in a month are at risk of psychiatric illnesses in the future. So, if the Little One often throws tantrums, even making it into a habit, parents should identify the cause to be able to stop this bad habit.

Causes of Tantrums

Tantrums are not only caused by the wishes of the Little One not being fulfilled, and there are various other factors, such as being exhausted, hungry, or purely due to communication limitations in conveying their wants. Nevertheless, there are some children who are more prone to tantrum, which includes those who are more hyperactive, those with fluctuations in mood and feelings, and those who find it difficult to adapt to the environment.

Managing Tantrums

The simplest and fastest way to stop tantrum is to give what the Little One wants. However, this does not have a good impact in the long run. The Little One will learn that by throwing tantrums, they can control their parents to do anything they want.

The first thing that parents should do when the Little One is experiencing a tantrum is to maintain their composure and remain calm. Do not get carried away with emotions and then scold or even hit the child. Firmly say that their behaviour is not right. Explain to them why their wishes cannot be fulfilled. If the tantrum persists, do not fulfil their wishes. Wait until they are calm. If parents feel embarrassed in a public place, believe that this is for their own good and many people have already experienced this before. Parents should always remain around the Little One to ensure that the tantrum does not endanger them.

Another important thing is for parents to explain that even though you do not fulfil their wishes, this does not mean that you do not care. Hug the Little One and tell them that you are doing this because you care and want the best for them.

Tantrums do not suddenly occur. Parents should be able to recognize what can usually trigger it. The chance for a tantrum to occur can be minimized by conducting the following steps:

  • Ensure that the Little One gets enough sleep and is not feeling hungry.
  • Give them positive attention. For instance, by using motivational sentences when they do a good thing.
  • Understand the limitations of the Little One. For instance, when they seem exhausted, postpone your plans to go for monthly shopping until after they have had their afternoon nap.

Tantrums can only be overcome with a positive and consistent management strategy. Communicate this to other individuals who are present around the Little One, including their grandfather, grandmother, or caregivers, so they can also participate. The Little One will learn that tantrum is not a weapon that they can use whenever their desires are not met.