When a toddler has a tantrum, it is probably one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. We feel like we are good parents when our children are precious toddlers who are smiling and behaving so well, but we feel so overwhelmed and helpless when we watch them on the floor screaming and kicking and wondering if they are indeed our children. But, believe it or not, that toddler tantrum is an essential part of your child’s health emotionally and their well-being. We need to learn how to be calmer as we face them. The following are ten reasons as to why your kid’s tantrums might be a good thing for you.
Our tears have cortisol in them, the stress hormone. So, when we start to cry, we are releasing stress from ourselves. Crying has been identified to lower one’s blood pressure, make your emotional well-being better, provided you have a loved one for close moral support. You have probably noticed that when that toddler of yours is on the brink of a meltdown, nothing seems right. They seem to be frustrated, whining, or angry. But, when the storm has gone by, they are in a much better mood. It does seem to help if we allow our children to have their tantrums and not interrupt their process so that they can work through their feelings. Because they are crying, it is not them hurting, but their method of working through becoming unhurt.
Sometimes when a child is struggling, and you see them expressing their many frustrations, it helps them clear their heads, and then they can learn something new. It appears learning for children is as natural as breathing. If a child can’t listen or concentrate, most of the time there is an emotional issue that is found to be blocking progress. A child must be relaxed and happy for real learning to happen. They must be able to express their emotional upset as it is all part of their process.
As parents, we think that the best approach for upsets and tantrums is trying to avoid them and sleep troubles can often occur because of this fact. It is then that your child’s emotions become all pent up and start to bubble out when his little brain is resting. Children are just like adults, and they will wake up when they are stressed or trying to figure out something that is going on in their little lives. Letting your child follow out their tantrum to the end will improve their emotional well-being and could help them sleep better at night.
There is a lot of the time when your toddler is having a tantrum that it is because you have told them ‘no.’ But that is a good thing! Your child must learn boundaries about what is unacceptable and acceptable behavior. There will be times we might be able to avoid the ‘no’ word just because we do not feel like dealing with another meltdown right then, but you need to still stand hard with your limits at the same time you offer, empathy, love, and hugs. If you say ‘no,’ it means you are not afraid to deal with the messy part of the emotional side of being a parent.
You may not realize it, but tantrums are honestly a compliment to you as a parent, even if it isn’t feeling that way to you. You must say in most cases; kids aren’t using their tantrums to manipulate someone or trying to get what they want out of the deal. Most of the time the child is accepting the ‘no’ they have been told, and the tantrum is his/her expression of how they feel about what they have been told. Keep standing true with the ‘no,’ and sympathize with him being sad. Being upset about his broke cookie or if he doesn’t like the color of his socks is merely a pretext, when it is the connection and love he needs to feel.
It might seem hard to believe but wait and watch. That angry little child may not be looking like she wants you to be there, but she does. Allow her to get through her storm of feelings and do not try to stop or fix them for her. Don’t keep talking too much but keep offering kind, reassuring words. Give lots of hugs. That child of yours will soak up this unconditional acceptance and even feel closer to you as a parent after it is all over with.
There will be times when your child’s emotions will come out some other way, like with aggression, not wanting to share, not wanting to cooperate on little tasks like brushing their teeth or getting themselves dressed. All of these are common signs that your child is having difficulty and struggling with their emotions. If they have a big tantrum, it will help your child be able to release feelings that might get in the way of their natural self who is usually cooperative.
Children seem to express their emotions more full-blown when they are at home where they feel their parents are there to listen. The more we try to get our kids to ‘keep it together’ in public or at home, it seems the more their tension will bottle up inside their little bodies. The more we find space and time to listen to our children’s upsets and feelings while we are at home, the less bottled-up feelings they will be carrying with them as their own little burdens.
As your little one gets older, they will cry less. It is partly due to maturing and being able to regulate their emotions. Another part is due to learning how they ‘fit into’ this society that does not accept the much emotional expression. Face it, when we as adults get stressed or mad we ‘lose it’ with the kids. Most of the time it is because we need a good cry! It is much harder for adults, men mostly, to find the grounds where connection and safety so we can let go and express what we are feeling.
Sometimes when we are with our kids when they have a tantrum, it brings up feelings we are not used to inside us. When we were younger, it may have been that our parents did not listen to our tantrums with empathy. When our child gets upset, it might bring up memories of how our parents treated us. Sometimes, parenting we find is healing for our emotional challenges when we can get support and someone to listen to us.
After you have been through a meltdown with your child and it takes its emotional toll on you, take a break to practice some self-care and talk with one of your friends. Find something to laugh about.
Being able to stay calm will take practice, but if you can manage it, you are rewiring your brain to be a more relaxed, and a more peaceful parent.