If the little fellow throwing tantrums and becoming aggressive in his behavior it means, the toddler is becoming an independent individual. Between 18 months to 4 years’ age group children show hyper activity and sometimes can be uncontrollable. They have limited self-control and will not understand why their behavior is not acceptable. When you visit a store, he may take your hand and direct you to toy section. If you don’t buy something that he wants, then there will be “crying, hitting, kicking, beating” to show you “how mad he is”. It may not be the case with all children. However, generally it is the scenario -overwhelming emotions one can expect!
Some children are easy going and once you say no to something then they won’t pursue with you. Some are big reactors and tend to show more aggressiveness. They communicate using heavy tantrums. Parents responsibility is to help toddler to understand and communicate with child and show only nonaggressive ways of communication is acceptable.
Handling temper tantrum of child
- Observe and learn: Figure out what is the reason for your child’s overwhelming behavior. Is the behavior happening at home, store, mall, with siblings, childcare or preschool? Is it happening when they visit grandparents? Or is it happening only when you are around or with a specific person?
- Developmental stage: Understand whether the behavior is typical for your child’s age group? During developmental stages, different age groups behave differently. If it is typical, then talk to toddler in a manner she understands.
- Temperament: How do you describe your child’s temperament? Is he a slow to warm up child? Is he afraid of new faces or does not like to be approached? Is there a fear? Because anger is one of the expression of children that they use to mask their fear. Observe and get answer. This may help you to calm down child in a proper way.
- Your rules and behavior: If you had a strict childhood and trying to impose same rules to your child then it might be an issue with your child. Child may have a short fuse while dealing with such rules. For example, while in a restaurant if you expect your toddler to behave certain way, she may refuse to do so. You are taking child out for fun, if your expectation of her is to eat quietly then it is an issue. Your guidance in a soft and sweet manner is needed in these kinds of situation.
- Calm yourself: When your child starts throwing tantrums, learn to calm yourself before addressing the situation. If not, you both will end up in horrible moods. Take time off for few minutes to calm down. If you lose your cool, then the distress increases in child.
- Plan and think prevention: If you know what you expect from you child then, plan. If you are planning to go out for dinner and you know the menu, talk to toddler and describe the items in such a way that they look forward to eat. Similarly, before meeting friends or new people, talk to toddler about them, say their names and show them photos if you have any. Toddler will start recognizing the words, faces and may greet them happily or may not behave aggressively.
- Give options: Ask your child what would be her choice. When they select their choice child calms down. When child is throwing tantrums to get something, offer something that is an acceptable alternative. If your child wants to throw objects, get a soft ball and play few minutes with him or give an empty box to use as a target box in which ball must fall. It will be fun for them.
- Talk to child: When you have free time, talk to your child about her aggressive behavior and her emotions. Tell advantage of exhibiting good behavior versus aggressiveness. Don’t compare the child to other children. Instead, whenever she behaves well, put positive word and show appreciation. Your smile positively makes a big difference.
- Recognition and communication: If the child wants to play in water, let him know it is okay to play but no spilling water or tell child to play in designated area. Use hand gesture and words at the same time when you communicate – If child is hitting you, tell ‘No, it hurts’ and hold his hand at his side firmly. Use an authoritative voice, but don’t show your anger.
- Be consistent: If you have simple rules and your child is not following then, be consistence with rules. Do not change the rule. While exhibiting anger, if your child throws toy, take away the toy for few minutes. Eventually child will learn that his behavior is not acceptable and must not throw toys. Don’t negotiate with child as it becomes a bad habit in future as they will negotiate for everything.
It is important to show children that there is a logic for your behavior, there is a structure and consistency in the family and world. With parental guidance and support children will learn to manage their emotions and reactions over the years.