NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - It’s a situation new parents with toddlers know all too well, tantrums, but did you know that these epic meltdowns are part of normal behavior?
A lot of parents feel frustrated or upset when their toddler throws a tantrum, thinking that they're doing something wrong. In fact it has nothing to do with *you* and everything to do with your child’s emotional and mental development.
There is no panacea to stop tantrums, but there are tricks to calm down the craziness and make family life fun again.
“It’s a behavioral expression of an overwhelming emotional experience,” said Dr. Rebecca Schrag Hersberg. “That might be frustration that I can’t have a cookie but it might be anxiety, loneliness or sadness and that could all look alike.”
The first step to tackling tantrums is to be more patient and regulate your emotion. Use your attention strategically as a way of preventing or de-escalating tantrums.
The next tip, get on their level.
“Especially in public spaces, get on their level in public spaces and thoughtfully decide what’s next,” said Hersberg.
Finally, distraction can be helpful and humor can help any situation.
For children with increased frequency of tantrums like several times every day who bite, kick, break things or hurt themselves, go seek professional help.
Dealing with tantrums is the foundation for later coping skills.
You are teaching your kids that feelings that make you uncomfortable in a toddler stage are usually temporary. These skills are also paramount for future growth in social relationships future learning and cognitive learning.
Self-regulation is the key.