It's very difficult to calm small children who are going into a tantrum, and in some cases, it feels like one of the most problematic things to deal with as a parent. On the one hand, we want to scold our children for their offensive words or behavior, but deep down we know that anger and nerves will only make the situation worse. Generally, we feel relaxed when we see our children smiling and happy, but experience a sense of helplessness when they start kicking and yelling.
However, believe it or not, your child's tantrums are an important part of their emotional and psychological development, and it's advisable to deal with these tantrums calmly. Below are 9 reasons why your child's tantrums are actually good for them, and some tips to help you deal with them in a cooler, calmer, and more productive way.
When our children have a tantrum, they will usually ball their eyes out. The tears that stem from sadness and a sense of injustice contain cortisol, the stress hormone, and when children cry they actually release this hormone from their bodies. You may have already noticed that after crying, the kid will return to a happy state, as long as you, the parents, provide them with the necessary support. During their tantrum, you should not try to stop their tears by saying, "Stop crying like a baby,” because tears are not just an expression of the pain the child experiences, but a process by which they get rid of the pain.
Sometimes children have a tantrum when they are unable to do something, even if it's just building a block tower. In moments like these, the children are frustrated and don’t know how to express it. this will often lead to an outburst, after which they’ll usually go back to what they were doing with new-found energy. For children, constant learning is a natural thing, like breathing, and the feelings they experience in moments of failure help them learn how to deal with situations where not everything goes as well as they expected it to.
Sleep problems among children often result from parents feeling that the best way to deal with tantrums is by preventing them before they happen. What happens is that kids bottle up their feelings and don’t let them out. As a consequence, just like us adults, they might stay awake at night mulling over their feelings. If you allow your children to express their feelings in any way, it will help them sleep better at night.
You'll see that most of your children's tantrums happen after you say "no" to them, which is a good thing. Saying no helps define clear boundaries for children, as well as acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Sometimes we refrain from doing so out of fear of the anger that will most likely follow, but as long as you shower your children with love, affection and warm hugs, you’ll be saying no in a way that helps them learn to accept and deal with it.
In most cases, children do not use temper tantrums to get what they want, rather they accept the new rule or situation they find themselves in, but feel the need to express the way they feel about it. All you can do is empathize with your children and with the sadness they feel - what bothers them isn’t the broken cookie or that miscolored sock, rather they don’t feel that their desires are being respected.
You may find it hard to believe, but as your children grow up you will see it more and more clearly - your angry children may not seem to appreciate you in those moments of tantrums, but they definitely do. Let them release their feelings without trying to stop them, offer a few soothing words but don’t talk too much. Offer warm hugs, and as long as you do this during the angry moments, your children will feel your unconditional love and know that they can lean on you whenever they feel bad, even in their teens and later on in life.
When our children feel that we are listening to their feelings, even if they express themselves in the form of tantrums, they will prefer to show them to us where they know we can give them our full attention, which is at home. The more your children are asked to avoid anger at home and in public places, the more their feelings will be pent up inside them. On the other hand, the more time you spend listening to your children and understanding those feelings, the more they’ll slowly learn that you are their source of serenity and that the best time to share their feelings is when you’re together at home.
The older your children get, the less they cry, partly because as they get older they learn to control their emotions. The second part is that they learn how to behave in a society, which usually doesn’t view crying and anger favorably. When adults are prone to anger or stress, we also have to cry, but we have learned to stop this urge both because of our desire to control our emotions and because society does not accept such behavior. Let your children be free from judgment, and allow them to express their feelings in the way their bodies feel they need to right now, at this early stage of their lives.
When we see our children succumbing to feelings of anger and sadness, we too experience similar feelings. It's possible that in the past, your parents didn’t empathize with you in your moments of anger, and therefore such moments in your children’s lives bring up memories and feelings that you’re not even aware of. Parenting can heal our psyche when we are dealing with emotional challenges we didn't receive treatment for in the past - now we have the opportunity to fix this wrong through our actions. After coping with your child's tantrum, take a few moments to sit with yourself and understand the feelings you are experiencing.