If you’re a parent you have likely experienced “toddler tantrums” and if you’re not yet a parent you most definitely have heard about toddler tantrums.
Most parents brace themselves for the toddler years where their child displays angry outbursts, aggression, upset and frustration. Behaviours which appear unreasonable.
That child crying and screaming because they wanted a blue cup and you gave them a red cup, or the child who melts down because you cut their toast the wrong way – we’ve all been there.
Many parents can despair when they are experiencing toddler tantrums and question whether these tantrums are normal, which they are!
Toddlers get a lot of stick and parent’s can often mock or tease their child when they are having a toddler tantrum which can only add to their frustration. When a toddler is having a tantrum they are generally trying to communicate that they are upset and frustrated and they need a parent to help coach them through these big feelings.
Understanding toddler tantrums
Believe it or not, toddlers aren’t deliberately out to get you. They don’t deliberately push your buttons and they certainly aren’t malicious, despite how it feels.
Toddlers are simply going through a time of rapid brain development and they express their feelings and emotions as they arise.
There’s actually so much we can learn from toddlers. They feel a feeling and they let them out – something which is actually really healthy. Many adults today can find themselves stuffing down and suppressing their emotions which can really be detrimental to their mental health in the long run.
So what is going on for a toddler who is having a tantrum? Well there’s a few things to ask yourself and I like to think of the following acronym.
Is your child?
Instead of judging and labelling a toddler who is having a tantrum, I encourage parents to become like little detectives to figure out what their child could be feeling an experiencing.
In an ideal world a child would be able to say, “Mummy/daddy – I’m really tired I’ve had a long day at day care and the lights are too bright in the supermarket. I would rather go home and relax and have something to eat then be going around the supermarket doing the weekly food shop with you.”
and because they can’t articulate and communicate in such a way (and sometimes we as adults don’t even express our words this way), instead we experience a toddler having a tantrum, kicking and screaming and dragging their feet around the shops.
Many tantrums can actually be avoided, if not reduced by understanding what is going on for the toddler and striving to meet their needs.
“Fiona encouraged me and gave me confidence to implement the tools and strategies that a book could never give. She would listen to the situations that had occurred and gave me practical tips and advice about how to deal with them. She would then recap and ask how things went the following week and if anything had changed. I do a lot of what she recommended with my children and the relationship with my children has flourished.”