Trying to stop temper tantrum behaviors can be one of the most stressful experiences for a parent. Without putting a stop to them, however, the child usually learns to use these terrible outbursts to get attention, to rebel, to try to exert control and power, or for numerous other reasons. So parents need to come to grips with the phenomenon of tantrums before they become held hostage to them – which only adds more stress and strain to the situation.
But in order to stop temper tantrum outbursts it is important to first understand that most tantrums are not triggered by just one single event or episode. What is generally more typical is that the child who throws a tantrum does so after a long accumulation of frustrations. These remain pent-up inside until eventually the child lets loose and expresses it in an uncontrollable fashion. So rather than trying to trace the tantrum to something that just happened, it is often more effective to just realize that the tantrum is the tip of the iceberg or a symptom of frustration and feelings that have been building up for some time.
Here are some ways to minimize that build-up, and therefore help to stop the tantrums from happening:
- Make sure children have enough rest, are well fed and not hungry, and did not accidentally skip their nap because many tantrums result from those simple things.
- At the first signs that the child is getting irritable, consider what to do to make the child feel better. That may nip the tantrum in the bud before it has a chance to escalate.
- Minimize stressful environments, because when kids are exposed to too much stress they can become overwhelmed – just like grown-ups do.
- Be attentive, let the child know you are there for them, and make sure they know that you are listening to their concerns. Sometimes if a child feels ignored he or she will throw a tantrum as a last resort to get heard.
Once the parent succeeds with changing the toddler’s behavior or effectively controlling these emotional triggers to stop temper tantrums, both the parent and the child feel better. But don’t wait until it is too late to implement these suggestions, because to stop tantrums the source of the tantrums has to be addressed in advance, and on a day to day basis.