It is vitally important that you are clear about the origin of your children’s tantrum, as it will depend on whether your reaction strengthens negative behaviors or contributes to a good education for children.
There are basically two types of tantrums, the one that controls the child and the one that the child controls, both arise from a single base, and that is anger. However, they require different treatments, and before making a decision about how to react it is important that you identify what type of tantrum your child is having. If he is just trying to manipulate you or his emotions are really dominating him.
How to identify which is which? The answer is simpler than you might imagine. If when you please him or he sees that he is going to get away with it he calms down, that is proof that your little one knows very well what he is doing. If, on the other hand, whatever you do, he can’t stop having the tantrum, then he really isn’t in control.
It is vitally important that you be clear about the difference because it will depend on whether what you do will serve to reinforce negative behaviors or if you are facilitating communication and the management of emotional skills. In any case, you must make a decision, ignoring their behaviors under the argument that it is a stage will make them grow without knowing what they are feeling, if it is normal, if it is correct, even if it is loved. How to act in each case?
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1. Tantrum type «plan with skill»
Tantrums are part of growing up, they are your way of getting attention or benefits like toys, TV time, or dessert instead of food. It is important that outbursts with purpose do not achieve their mission, allowing it is like giving them the formula to handle you at will. It is also healthy for you to learn to deal with frustration, and to know that you cannot always get away with it.
This type of tantrum needs an audience, he knows perfectly that with his behavior he will create an atmosphere of unsustainable tension that will guarantee him success, take away that power by taking him out of that scenario that he wants to control, making it clear that the adult is not him and that he is not in control . You don’t need to use force, just your authority and emotional intelligence to deal with the situation.
2. “I can’t control my emotions” tantrum
Once you are in a position to name him, go to the next part of the plan, comfort him! Try together to figure out why he is feeling that way, help him identify and guide his emotions, and give him alternatives to reach you and receive the attention he needs without losing control. Do not make him think that he is wrong or blame him for what he feels, remember that he does not yet have the maturity to deal with his emotions and he needs you.
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As I said at the beginning, this anger will continue with you, without you and in spite of you, it is the way you realize that it really is authentic. Although throughout life we will become angry and frustrated, behaviors called tantrums should not go beyond five years at the most, or at least not as a way for our children to get our attention.
Communication is important, but it is not only about talking with your child and telling him what is right or wrong according to your adult perception, your words must be accompanied by empathy so that he feels that you are capable of understanding him, of putting yourself in his place, and that way he knows that it is not only about what he feels, but also that he is worth putting himself in the place of the other.
One last tip: tantrums are not fought with another tantrum, so as complicated as it may be, do what is necessary so that the situation does not get out of hand. Just like you, your son deserves respect, he does not yet know what he is about, that is why you must be the example.