Tantrums: learning to understand and manage them

As our children grow and gain greater autonomy, the feared challenging behaviors emerge, especially around 20 months. This natural process occurs due to different factors and is associated with intellectual, emotional and social changes.. Children begin to gain awareness of themselves and their independent “I”. Wanting to do everything by themselves and the denial stage happen to develop their individuality. Many experts call this stage “the adolescence of babies” and usually ends around the age of 4, when they begin to better understand their emotions and express themselves appropriately.

It is common, at this stage, that what they want one day, they no longer want the next. All of these behaviors are natural and necessary for child development.. Around the age of two, they discover what they are capable of doing on their own, they want to try everything, but at the same time they are dependent on their parents. Little by little they will understand that there are certain rules and limits.
Sometimes it may seem like they are challenging us with some behaviors, what actually happens is that They still don't know how to control and express their emotions. If we start to observe them with a different perspective, we can give them tools to learn to better manage certain situations.
Another thing that happens at this stage is that, as they begin to acquire autonomy and new knowledge, they also become more aware of their desires and that can generate frustrations.
It is understandable that we become angry when we see inappropriate behavior in our children and many times we respond with punishments, but it is important to know that in this way we are not giving them tools to manage themselves better. Empathy and patience have a great weight at this stage, only then can we provide them with appropriate strategies to manage their emotions. without the need to give in or reinforce a tantrum.

Each child has their own temperament and will evolve and react based on it and their parenting style.

Happy Way Tips for managing tantrums:

  • Let's validate your emotions
  • In a tense situation, it is important to remain calm and tone of voice and for both parents to be aligned, so the child only receives a single piece of information.
  • When a child cries he is releasing his frustration so it will be necessary to give him that time of crying (the responsible adult always at his side), a safe space, holding him, without removing us from the place. We will tell them that we are there to support you
  • Staying calm and being empathetic does not mean giving in to what someone is asking of us in a tantrum, but with that same patience we will maintain the limits.
  • Let's remember that children are still very young and in a crisis situation, asking them questions or having a long discussion will not work since their attention span does not allow it. It is better to wait until you are quiet and speak with simple words and short phrases.
  • To better explain the situation, we will wait until the anger is over since at the time of the crisis it will be more difficult for you to understand. Then we will offer you alternatives, a hug (if you need it) and we will validate and name your emotions so you can learn to express them
  • “No” is a word that children must learn to recognize, but without abusing it. If at home we do not want them to touch certain objects, we can redirect the behavior towards another action instead of always using NO.
  • Some of the routines that our children must follow may seem tiresome or tiresome (brushing their teeth, picking up toys, going to school, etc.). We can do them as a game, accompany them with songs, etc. This way they will adapt more easily
  • It is also important to anticipate to avoid situations that generate frustration, if they already know what is coming for them it is easier to organize mentally.
  • Observation: paying close attention to when certain challenging behaviors or tantrums occur and how frequent they are will help us discover what is bothering them and thus give them the necessary resources.
  • At the moment of a tantrum, we must give them space, tell them that when they calm down we will support them, we will stay in place to ensure that nothing happens to them, we will try to avoid eye contact so as not to pay attention to inappropriate behavior.
  • When they are still very young, to release anger we can suggest that they clap their hands or roar a lion, this will help them release emotions.
  • Art is an ally: children find it difficult to express their emotions, which is why art is an important resource as it helps them channel and project their emotions. Paint, invent a story that includes your story and experiences (we are giving you guidelines regarding emotions), etc.

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