Are Toddler Tantrums driving you insane?
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Are Toddler Tantrums driving you insane?

Are Toddler Tantrums driving you insane?

Four-year-old Shilpi, was very fascinated by sarees, and wanted to wear one. “you are very young. It is not possible to drape a saree around you.” Her mom would always reason out with her, with promises “you would get to wear a lot when you grow up.” Then one day, a Dussehra jhanki passed by. Rows and rows of beautifully embellished chariots, with strings of marigold, rose, and jasmine festooned all over, covering every inch of the structure. Small little girls like her sat beautifully, poised as goddess Sita, Saraswati, Parvati, Durga. Each of them was wearing an impeccable saree! The shock was too much for her little heart and she sat down then and there, howling “I also want to wear a saariiii. I want to wear a saaaariiii” throwing up her legs and sprawling in the middle of the road.  

In a voice as calm as possible, her mother held Shilpi’s arm saying “baby! yes. Okay. My darling. My lovely child. Yes, Yes”, she continued to wipe her tears while smiling all the time with embarrassment to the curious onlookers.

 A friend who knew the family stopped by and asked, “why is she crying?”

“She wants to wear a saree” 

“My! My! Young lady, You surely must. Why not?”

“yes, she will. Now if she is quiet, she will. Now I will not say, ‘you will wear when you grow up.’ You will get to wear it” Shilpi’s mother colluded her statement, with the friend’s in agreement.

“Sure, it is not bad to wear a saree.” The friend nodded.

Shilpi sensed her demand being authenticated, and her wallowing stopped immediately. She looked at her mother. Once again her mother wiped her teary face “Darling I will drape you a saree. Now come.”

She allowed herself to be picked up.

A happy Shilpi would get herself draped every time at her whim and would be found sitting at the temple steps in their neighborhood, much to the amusement of everyone. Very soon, she outgrew the saree craze.

In another instance, it seems just yesterday, when the media channels were treating themselves to an adorable little tantrum display, by none other than Princess Charlotte, the two-year-old princess of England. The Royal family was homeward bound after the tour when little Charlotte utterly disliked, boarding the chopper. She began to cry and tried holding herself back by stropping to the ground.

Take a casual stroll through the neighborhood or visit any preschool classroom or playground. Such melodramatic moments where a child might be screaming, crying, hitting the floor, or squirming, whining, running amok like a calf out control, are hard to miss. The accompanying parent or caretaker would be trying their best by talking calmly to the child, waiting for it to get over; a picture of embarrassment.

Shilpi, Charlotte, and all these toddlers are throwing a tantrum.

WHAT ARE TANTRUMS?


Tantrums are histrionic explosions of anger, frustration – when you ‘lose it’. Throwing yourself on the floor, screaming, stomping, kicking, crying. Some children even stiffen their limbs, arch their backs in an impossible stoop. They might flail about, hold their breath, vomit, get aggressive or even run away. These are all scenes of disorganized temper when your child wants his way- the temper tantrum. Tantrums affect us all at some point in our life. 

Most common in toddlers between 1-3 years of age.

TANTRUMS AND DEVELOPMENT  

Tantrums start around the age of 12–15 months as toddlers begin walking around on their own feet. Their cognitive behavior develops, and they start becoming aware of their likes and dislikes. They now realize that objects exist out of their field of vision also.

1)A tantrum at this age is to obtain physical items (like a toy, food, access to Mommy or Daddy.)

2) To escape or avoid an undesirable activity (like, not ready to share a toy with a playmate, moving from play area to inside for a bath or going to bed when its time.)

They might show this as loud crying, falling to the floor, stiffening of the body.

 3)The tantrums are also a means to express frustration (for example, when trying to use a toy that requires fine eye-hand coordination beyond their current level of development.)

As children grow older and develop verbal skills, they may have the necessary language to express their needs and wants. The tantrums reduce substantially by the age of four.

HOW TO MITIGATE CHANCES OF A TANTRUM?

1)Direct your child’s attention to something else. 

2)Give your child a choice where it is possible for her to state her feelings. (“You want a potato parantha? or a puri? for breakfast.”)

3)Praise your child when he or she shows self-control and expresses feelings with words.

4) Always keep his wants and needs in mind. Do not be careless. Remember how our own mythological Yashoda maa kept the butter and milk supplies overflowing for her little Krishna- the makhan chor - the ladoo Gopala!

WHAT TO DO WHEN A TANTRUM STRIKES?  


(a) Remove the child from the environment as quickly as possible when the tantrum is at a relatively mild level. 

Tantrums are immature demands in an impossible way. But they land parents into a great deal of embarrassment. The best trick is to avoid taking the child around sticky circumstances and places. Eventually, the child is bound to outgrow the demand. As Shilpi did.  

b) Brief time-out. For this, the parent or teacher must be a bit more active in intervening as soon as they sense the possibility of a tantrum.

 The time-out location is an area without any opportunities for attention. Quietly take the child to time-out location without indulging in conversation.

As soon as the tantrum begins, speak to the child, in a very calm, soft, composed tone ‘‘No _______ (crying, whining, screaming, kicking).’’ After the child is quiet for a few seconds, say ‘‘Good.’’ It is important to appreciate the child’s efforts immediately at controlling his emotions. This will teach him that we must behave decently in public with minimal disruption. Always reassure the child when restraint has been exercised.

c) Stay calm, Acknowledge your child’s difficult feelings.

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