Toddler Tantrums Abound . . . Help!
Help! Who has or had a toddler that is emerging into tantrumhood? This novice mama is shocked to have her precious perfect son suddenly go on 8 minute crying fits for no apparent reason (or for a reason that usually wouldn’t ignite such fervor).
Dr. Sears and every available website has told me a variety of things including:
1) Acknowledge and identify the child’s emotion.
J has few words, so I try to provide them for him. “It seems like you are frustrated because mama wouldn’t let you hit her with a croquet mallet.” Or “I think you are angry because you don’t get to have more time outside.” I try to hug him, and say I understand, but that X is a part of life.
2) Ignore the behavior.
So long as he’s in a safe place, I try to pretend like he’s not screaming and screeching. And keep narrating whatever we’re doing, getting ready for bed, putting food away, prepping food, whatever. This can be difficult as my frustration levels rise, but so far I haven’t shouted back.
3) Don’t punish him.
Because he’s not specifically acting defiant, but more overreacting, most experts say not to punish the child or the behavior. Obviously when he wielded a croquet mallet in my general direction as I went to pick him up (after a “two minute” and “one minute” warning about playtime ending), he was firmly told that such behavior was no acceptable. But I’m not using time outs or corporal punishment at this point. Similarly, I’m not trying to coax him back into a good mood. It’s like riding out a storm.
Your advice, mamas & papas & friends of little ones? So far we’ve only been at home during these instances, but I presume the same response carries over into public.