I Want It Right Now!

And I want it my way. As an adult I can use words to communicate feelings. But try to remember what it is like to be a small child. Most toddlers still don’t talk too much or know how to express feelings. They aren’t very good at solving problems either. So when you think about it, having a tantrum almost makes sense.  During the podcast the guys talked about the two emotions that are central to tantrums – anger and sadness. I found it interesting that anger peaks about 1/3 of the way through the tantrum and then declines while sadness remains a constant steady background. I also tuned in to the conversation about how temperament figures into kids and tantrums. Do you see how last month’s podcast and this one tie together?

When a child gets angry it is soooo easy to respond with anger. In fact we were told that was a natural reaction. We were also warned about the anger trap. If everyone gets angry, then things can escalate and nothing gets resolved. Staying calm and in control of your own emotions is important. So is pausing for a few seconds before you respond. Doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but in the midst of a major meltdown it can be difficult. If you can remain calm and reasonably collected, you will be showing your child how to handle frustration and you will also have a better chance of figuring out the best way to deal with the tantrum.

The Temper tantrums publication suggest four possible ways to deal with a tantrum. Some are more suitable to different aged children. Check it out. Do you have a tantrum thrower in your family? What do you find helps dissolve the anger and comfort the child?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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