Toddler tantrums seem like they are one of the more challenging parts of being a parent.
We feel like good parents especially when our toddlers are smiley and at ease.
However, we can feel helpless or overwhelmed when they are lying on the floor screaming and kicking like crazy.
We have found out that your toddler throwing a tantrum is actually an important part of your child's emotional health and well-being.
In turn, we can work out how to be calmer when faced with a tantrum.
Here we will show you 10 important reasons why your toddler throwing a tantrum is actually a really positive thing.
Did you know that tears contain cortisol?
This is the stress hormone. When we cry we are releasing the stress from our bodies so it actually does us good. It has beed found also that tears lower our blood pressure and also improve emotional well-being. We do need to note that this is limited to the times there is a loved one who is close by for support.
You may also have noticed that when your toddler is on the brink of a tantrum absolutely nothing is right. They will be angry, frustrated and whining.
You may have also noticed that after the tantrum has ended they will usually be in a much better mood.
It has been proven that if we let our kids work through the tantrum without trying to interrupt the process so they get to the end of their feelings quicker.
"Crying is not the hurt, but the process of becoming unhurt," explains Deborah MacNamara, Ph.D., a parent educator and author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or Anyone Who Acts Like One).
A little while ago I was working as a babysitter for a 4-year-old. He was building using Lego and proceeded to have a tantrum because he got stuck.
After having the tantrum he sat down and fixed the Lego structure he'd been having a problem with.
I've seen so many moments like this where a child is struggling. Once they have expressed their frustration it helps them to clear their minds so they can learn something new.
"Learning is as natural to children as breathing," says Patty Wipfler, the founder of Hand in Hand Parenting.
"But when a child isn't able to concentrate or listen, there's usually an emotional issue that's blocking his progress."
Research suggests that a child must be happy and relaxed for learning to take place. Expressing emotional upset is all part of this.
Sleep problems can sometimes occur when parents think the best approach to tantrums is to try to avoid them all together.
When this happens, a child's pent-up emotions bubble up when his brain is at rest like when they are trying to sleep.
Just like adults, children also wake because they're stressed or trying to process something that's happening in their lives.
If you allow your child to get to the end of her tantrum then this will improves their emotional well-being and may help them sleep through the night.
Nine times out of ten a tantrum happens because a parent says 'No.' Saying 'no' is a good thing.
It gives your child clear boundaries about acceptable and highlights unacceptable behavior.
Sometimes we avoid saying 'no' because we don't want to deal with the emotional fallout, but we can stand firm with our limits while still offering, love, empathy, and hugs.
Saying 'no' means you aren't shying away from the emotional, messy and difficult, side of parenting.
Tantrums are a big compliment even when it doesn't always feel that way. In most cases, children aren't using tantrums to manipulate us or get what they want.
Often your child is accepting the 'no' and the tantrum is just an expression of how they feels about it. You can, and should, stand firm with the no. You just need to be able to empathise with the sadness.
The upset about the broken cookie or the wrong colour socks is just a pretext, and it's love and connection that they really need from you at this point.
I am sure you won't believe it at the time but just wait! Your angry child may not look like they appreciate you being there at the time but they really do! Let them get through the storm of their feelings without trying to stop or 'fix' them. You don't need to talk too much but offer a few reassuring or kind words or offer hugs. Your child will soak up your unconditional acceptance and feel closer to you after the tantrum has ended.
Children can let their emotions out in ways like aggression, refusing to cooperate or in trouble when sharing. Simple tasks like getting dressed or brushing teeth can become very frustrating. These are all common signs that your child is struggling with their emotions. Having a tantrum helps your child release the feelings that can sometimes get in the way of their natural, cooperative self.
If you let your child express their emotions and let the tantrum out then they will often chose to do this at home when they know we will be more open to listen to them.
"The more we ask our children to 'keep it together' at home and in public, the more the tension bottles up inside of them," says Michelle Pate, a parenting instructor and program manager at Hand in Hand Parenting who lives in Bend, Oregon.
"The more we can find time and space to listen to our child's feelings of upset at home, the fewer bottled-up feelings they'll carry along with them on every excursion."
As your child gets older they will cry less and less. Most of this is your child learning to regulate their emotions.
Partly it's learning to 'fit into' a society that isn't very accepting of emotional expression.
When we adults get stressed or angry with our kids, it's often because we actually need a good cry too! It's hard for adults to find the sense of safety and connection to really let go of our feelings.
Let your child have that mood-enhancing tantrum while their emotions are still able to flow freely.
When we are present for our child's tantrum it brings up big feelings in us. When we were young our parents may not have listened to our outbursts with empathy.
Our child's upset can sometimes trigger memories in us of how we were treated.
We may not be conscious of this!
Parenting can sometimes be a healing path for our own emotional challenges when we get support and a chance to be listened to ourselves.
When you have had difficult moments with your child we need to take time to practise self-care. Talk to a friend, have a giggle and maybe have a little cry yourself! It takes practice to stay calm but when we do we are literally rewiring our brains to become calmer, and in turn we become more peaceful parents.
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