Toddler Tantrums

It’s funny how a person remembers that when she was six, she ran down the street, tripped on a pebble and ended up in the hospital getting stitches, but she doesn’t remember the pain. However, as parents, when we start talking about what it was like raising our two-year old, we find ourselves talking faster, using exaggerated arm movements, breathing faster, and for some, perhaps sweating a little. Nonetheless, we laugh knowing that when that child starts dating, we will have a lot to tell.

Our child will not remember the toddler years in the same way. She will have in the depths of her thoughts a loving parent, always there, ready to lie on the floor and play a favorite game or sit on the couch to watch Bonnie Bear. They live in the moment, and we have to remember this as we ourselves go through the terrible twos.

When the tantrums start, and continue – daily, maybe hourly – it’s important for us to remember who they are: a toddler. They don’t reason, they don’t even know how. They don’t make rational decisions (nor do we parents sometimes in these situations). When we begin making irrational decisions, consider the following:

-The here and now-

Managing your child’s behavior needs to happen immediately, not when getting home from a play date

-Clear and Consistent-

Your child needs to have clear boundaries and even clearer consequences, but we have to be consistent in following through. Throwing food at the picnic table is just as wrong as at the dinner table.

-Talk about the behavior, not the child-

Your toddler is not evil, he does not want to displease you, nor does he want to be told he is naughty. Rather the behavior is naughty. Instead of saying, “That was bad” after hitting, rephrase and say, “Hitting is hurtful.”

-It’s not a choice-

Our toddler needs to know that your are the adult; that you set the rules.  They expect us to be that way, and in some way, they are comforted by knowing it, so be consistent.

-Use of a time-out-

Manage your child’s behavior by making sure she knows that when she does something unacceptable, she will need to spend some time alone. Make sure that it’s done for a specific reason, and again, be consistent.

Ref.- Dr. Maud, MD

Toddlers don’t bear grudges, nor do they harbor ill thoughts of those days spent screaming on the couch while you finish the dishes… loudly. It’s hard on those long, tired days, but being able to tell your child how wonderful she is and seeing her mind her manners at school and beyond is reward for both of you.

“Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next.”
Franklin P. Jones

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