We often think of temper tantrums as synonymous with toddlers, yet this is certainly not the case. While most toddles are prone to an occasional tantrum, it’s the toddler who tantrums three…four… even five times a day that starts to drive us crazy. Yet, most of the parents who come to me for help are dealing with something even more challenging. (Quick Note: See MaryBeth’s question about her toddler, later on in this article. Many of you will relate to her very real life question)The out-of-control, scream at the top of your lungs, stomp your feet, fall on the floor and throw your toys as hard as you can tantrum. The REAL melt-down tantrum…pull out your hair because you just can’t take another second of screaming.Yes…. Now we are talking….NOW THAT is what a severe toddler tantrum looks like…and many of my parents are dealing with these exhausting, embarrassing and frustrating tantrums. (Just yesterday…one of my clients said she had to run out to the garage, get in the car…and find 60 seconds of peace… she couldn’t stand another minute. Can you relate? )For those of you with these more severe and frequent toddler tantrums, the solution is often made to sound WAY too complex. It need not be. (Keep reading…please)In this article, I touch upon three key principles, which will start to put you back in control of your home. The more challenging the toddler tantrums in your home, the more important it is to have a comprehensive game plan.
The more you have an easy child… with basic, occasional tantrums…then it’s likely you can be sort of ‘lazy’ about this tantrum problem. Honestly however, for most of you reading this article, you will want to have more precision, and more knowledge about what works. And what doesn’t work! Because what you read, and what is promoted on most websites out there…it’s actually dangerous for your toddler. You will learn why as you read my posts. (BTW: Don’t miss out on my special toddler tantrum report, if you have those more difficult tantrums…look for the red arrow later down the page.)But first… a common assumption about tantrums, and where they come from:Toddlers tantrum because they’re frustrated, and not getting what they want. (Yet, we know that they must learn to cope with not always getting exactly what they want!)
In many ways, toddler frustration is understandable. They’re beginning to make their way in the world, and find that mom or dad is often saying no or setting limits and they don’t like it.At other times, they want something…and they really want it. Not later… but now.You know how this works. They want the toy. They want the juice now. They want the pancake, not the waffle.Or, even more challenging…is when you toddler fights you when it’s time to do something. It’s transition time.Perhaps it’s bath time. Perhaps it’s time to change diapers. Perhaps it’s bedtime, or time to get dressed and out the door.
They don’t want to. And…depending upon their weeks or months of toddler experience…they might give you a warm-up introduction, before the all out tantrum. Or, if they have plenty of experience, they may skip the warm-up…and go straight to the full blown, over the top tantrum. But… I am getting ahead of myself.Reality: Your toddler simply hasn’t learned that they CAN NOT get everything when they want it, or the way they want it.Thus…their frustration is understandable.However, just because your toddler is frustrated (as they learn to adapt to the world) it does not mean that we want to feed into that frustration. (THIS IS WHERE MANY PARENTS MAKE A HUGE MISTAKE…AS THEY UN-KNOWINGLY FEED INTO THE FRUSTRATION.)
Learn To Love Toddler Frustration? Dr Cale… You Must Be Crazy!
So, you know that having frustration is natural and necessary. Here’s the critical point that gets missed: The frustration is necessary in order for your toddler to learn how to handle frustration. There is a LEARNING that must occur. And this must occur through the proper handling of the tantrum, warm-up and the post tantrum.Thus, if you try to avoid all the frustrations that upset your toddler, you deprive them of opportunities to learn. More importantly perhaps, you will see that this strategy is only a short-term solution. if you go down this path, you can avoid or alter the path of some of the tantrums.But…over time, you just simply can’t avoid the frustration. However, if you keep trying to ‘fix it’ and protect your toddler from such upsetting situations, you teach them a very dangerous lesson: “Mom will always make my life okay and fix it for me.”This simply is a set up for failure. An emotional failure…that can haunt them for their entire childhood.While at a young toddler age, it may not appear so dangerous, it clearly becomes evident as time goes by. You can’t get to the doctor’s office without a bribe. You can’t fix healthy food without a tantrum. You can”t get them to turn off the TV without yelling 6 times.And it gets worse with time. But more about that….in another article. For now, let’s get on to some helpful tips.