Temper Tantrums

The first-born, being the first in both maternal and paternal families, was a bit of a pampered one, courtesy grandparents. She started throwing tantrums at the age of two months by screaming at high decibels hurting our eardrums.

Later on while on an outing, she went on to the extent of sitting down right in the middle of the road when her requests were not met and her orders not taken. Initially, I got frustrated myself and started worsening the situation by shouting, screaming and spanking. Of course, motherhood was then a completely new experience to me. Slowly I learnt to remain calm and handle it in my own way. I started putting some cotton balls in my ears, I sang (in my own melodious tone) some of her favorite songs and rhymes which distracted her. Whenever she sat on the road, I used to coolly walk away. Of course with regular glances to ensure she was fine. This scared her and she slowly started falling in line. This sounds pretty easy and fun. But trust me, it isn’t.

The second-born as a child was pretty cool, and her way of showing anger was hitting her own forehead on the floor. I first thought it was some kind of a game she was playing. It took me sometime to understand that she was exhibiting her anger and disapproval because she never cried or screamed while doing this. This being the second innings as a mother was a little easier to handle.

As soon as you deliver a baby, all your loved ones shift loyalty to the baby, thus you become the sole fighter on your front. I found it really difficult with everyone except me being on the child’s side. Anything and everything that the baby does is right, because it’s a baby. And anything you do fetches you the tag of, ‘heartless’, ‘rude’ and ‘insensitive’. Yeah, I can see you nodding. Don’t loose heart; it has happened with all of us.

rekha

Kids throw tantrums when they’re irritated or uncomfortable, frustrated, hungry or are seeking attention. It occurs predominantly in the first few years of birth as part of their growth and development. Mostly it occurs when the child is unable to communicate and make you understand his/her need. They do it when they’re refused something or are not given enough authority and independence. After all, who doesn’t love to control others? They do it more often when most of the people around are ready to dance to their tunes. And thus you and you alone happen to be the common enemy. And trust me these same people are the ones that point it out as your mistake when the child makes one.

So how do you tackle the temper tantrums in your child?

The best way to handle temper tantrums is distraction. Distract the child with the help of something new. It works. It always does. It’s just like the media works on people. Shifting focus to a new news item and you’re most likely to have forgotten the previous ones. Yes, children having high-energy levels and being at an age when they’re exploring the world, it becomes very easy to distract them with something new to discover completely.

A simple way is to just leave the place yourself and let the child know you aren’t easy to win over when they’re being unfair. Leave the place and let the child have a conversation with self. It works not because they’ve accepted that they are being unfair; it works because they do understand that beyond a point there’s no fun in talking to a wall.

Another way to tackle these tantrums is avoiding them. Just as it is necessary to compliment the child for a good behaviour, it is necessary to ignore their unrealistic expectations and tantrums to make them understand that they’ll loose your attention completely. The more you give in, the child tends to make it a habit. And habits as they say are shirts made of iron. Complete rebellion too is harmful; hence do give in once in a while to have the child within your control.

All these are tried and tested tips for ages, but remember each child is different and each situation is different. You and you alone can decide what suits your child in a certain situation.

Handle it whichever way suits you, but it is necessary to tackle these at the root level because it goes a long way in building your child’s personality as a grown-up.

[This post was first published at Parentous]

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6 Replies to “Temper Tantrums”

  1. You’re not serious – you left her in the middle of the road? You meant the pavement not the road with vehicles zooming past, I hope. Or it was a quiet path – no vehicular traffic.

  2. I know this, don’t I? They sometimes turn so nightmarish and embarrassing especially when the other ‘parents’ around look at you and nod disapprovingly, their way of telling you don’t know to handle your kid,loser? 😦

  3. Thanks for the tips rekha…you are right, tested and tried many ideas…have faced similar situations wondering what to do and realizing that I am out of solutions!!

  4. I like your suggestions as they vibe well with the same three point technique that I use with my little one – distract, avoid and ignore completely. Works well for me. The only catch is that both my wife and me have to be on the same page when either of these strategies are being used, else the little one is smart enough to pit us both against each other 😉

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