So my daughter’s new favorite word these days is mmoon, and no she’s not referring to the moon, but to “spoon” instead. I don’t know how we got here, but nowadays we’re having tantrums over spoons. Well not just spoons, pretty much everything she wants or needs but can’t have like my phone, the dog’s food, changing her diapers, and the list goes on.
I’m happy she’s become so vocal & that she manages to communicate what she wants a lot more nowadays, but still her tiny brain doesn’t seem to grasp some concepts such as “dirty” for example, and if I look away for 2 seconds, I’ll find her playing with the dirty water from the mop bucket and having a blast. Of course she’s having fun while I go nuts and panic and feel like pulling my hair, but she doesn’t get it. To her it’s just water, not dirty water, just water to splash around and play with.
As I venture into the unknown world of tantrums, I feel insecure & terrified honestly. I’ve never had a toddler before, I’ve had a baby, and although mothers of newborns complain about how hard it is to manage life with a baby, well I think they’ll soon see that it was a walk in the park compared to dealing with a small toddler with a big personality. What I’ve learned about tantrums is that they come in 2 forms, manipulative & frustration tantrums.
Manipulative tantrums, as the name suggests, is the tantrums that babies have when they want something they can’t have or do. If any of you moms with toddlers have ever taken your child with you to a toy store or supermarket, you’ll know what these are. The problem with tantrums though is that most often than not they happen at the wrong time, and mostly when mom has to get something done quickly & possibly in a public place. If they happen at home, it’s relatively easy compared to your baby having a tantrum in public. These often make us feel very self-conscious, and we tend to worry about how others will judge us according to our child’s behavior. In gentle or attachment parenting, it is advised to ignore the behavior itself, try to distract your child with something else, and show your child using words or body language that this kind of behavior is not tolerated. If your child is becoming aggressive or too loud, it is best to take them to a private area where both you & your child can cool off & prevent them from hurting themselves or others.
Frustration tantrums on the other hand usually occur when your child is frustrated for any particular reason like trying to get a task accomplished but not being able to. It is very important to identify which of the 2 your child is having, as the course of action is very different. With frustration tantrums, empathy is key as your baby will probably need your help to overcome the frustration, get a task done, or simply wind down. Both types of tantrums usually take place when a child is tired, sleepy, over stimulated or hungry, & it is best if you can anticipate them before they occur, as it is easier to manage before your child has already exploded.
After understanding tantrums, and looking at things from a different perspective, they have become a little more manageable, but it still feels like I’m dealing with a ticking time bomb. Skip a nap, tantrum. Be late to finish her lunch, tantrum. She’s over stimulated in public places, yup another tantrum. The only thing that keeps me a little sane is thinking of it this way: a tantrum is something that is happening to my child, they are not happening to me.
Most toddlers lack the proper tools to deal with & communicate their emotions, keep that in mind the next time your child is in the middle of a tantrum. Try to use your words and acknowledge the child’s emotions by using sentences like “I can see that you’re really sad cause I didn’t buy you that toy, it made you really angry when I said no. I’m sorry”. Also remind them that you are here for them “mommy is here if you would like a hug”. And although you might think that your baby doesn’t get it, but believe me they’re a lot smarter than we give them credit for & they will understand. It will be hard to say these words as you are dealing with your own frustrations, but on the long run this would have taught you and your child a valuable lesson in expressing your feelings & dealing with your emotions.
Has your child been having tantrums lately? How do you deal with them?
For more details on managing tantrums the attachment parenting way, check out these links. ❤