How to Deal with “Toddler Tantrums”


One of the most difficult aspects of raising children and being an effective parent is dealing with discipline and the meltdowns and tantrums that accompany children. These temper tantrums are most prevalent with toddlers eighteen to twenty-four months. The common occurrence of these outbursts have coined the term “the Terrible Two’s” and strike fear into even the most courageous parent. As parents, we expect the occasional eruption of tears, fists and kicking from our little munchkins, yet, how is a good parent supposed to react when the instances of tantrums dramatically increase and the ability to respond positively radically decreases? There is help and hope through these helpful tips.

• Anticipate the Meltdown: One of the best lines of defense a parent has against an impending fit of temper is to know and understand the indications that one of these tantrums is in the immediate future. As a parent, you know your child’s cues better than anyone else; therefore, observing the signs of an impending tantrum like tension, whining, crying, and other verbal and nonverbal cues is vital. Once you can recognize these prompts, you can step in and neutralize the situation: your best line of defense against a looming tantrum.

• Sidetrack and Readdress: The moment you become aware that a tantrum is on the horizon, you can directly readdress your child’s concentration to something more positive. Examples could include, “Let’s go get your baby doll”, or, “Lets go get a snack”, or “Want to play outside?” Offering a distraction can deflect the anger and impending tantrum and can switch their energy to a more positive outlet to their vigor.

• Remain Calm and Talk with Feeling Words: In most cases, tantrums occur because toddlers do not yet have the capability to express themselves properly, leading to frustrations, which in turn, leads to the meltdown. You can step in and be the voice to the emotions they are unable to express. Be soothing, remain calm, offering to gently rock or hold your child, look them in the eyes, give a comforting back rub and attempt to put your child’s pent up feelings into words for them. While this may not always work, it can offer a sense of calm and the ability to express the irritation before it bubbles over into a toddler tantrum.

• Be Stern and Do Not be Afraid to Admonish: When the above methods do not seen to divert the tantrum, remain stern and let your child know the exhibited behavior will not, under any circumstances, be tolerated. If the reproach does not work in itself, you must follow through and carry out the punishment. Your child must learn to understand the conception of punishment and taking responsibility for the bad behavior.

• Do Not Argue: Trying to rationalize with a screaming, kicking, thrashing child is impossible, if not dangerous! Do not react, do not respond and do not give attention to the fit. If your child learns the explosion has an effect, they will continue the negative behaviors. Once your child is already immersed in the fit, there is no room for understanding. Yelling, pleading and attempting to entice the child is only going to escalate the tantrum.

• Find a Safe Zone: Many times, toddlers can become a danger to themselves during the actual tantrum. Be watchful for objects and sharp edges that could hurt a flailing child. If you happen to be in a public place, stop immediately and remove you child to an suitable place. This will also show your child that you will not tolerate such behavior, no matter where you happen to be.

There are a plethora of reasons toddlers will throw a fit, and while you can always ry to defuse the situation, there are going to be times when the tantrum is just going to occur, despite your best efforts. As a parent, you must remain calm, patient, yet firm and resilient. Remember, toddler tantrums are just apart of the deal. You can offer support and discipline that will help your toddler outgrow and learn from these tantrums, while you yourself can learn more about parenting techniques that work for you and that encourage and develop the growth and maturation of your child.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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