5/09/2019

How I Manage Temper Tantrums | Just Add Ginger


As a parent I am no stranger to tantrums. Eric infamously had his first one at 14 months (over a yoghurt of all things) and well....things have only gotten more interesting since. 

If you have watched Eric's 2 Year Update then you'll know that we feel that since he had his birthday Eric has just decided to grow up. And whereas there are some great improvements in some of his areas of development (he seems to be picking up new words every day) hand in hand with that has come a drastic increase in the intensity of his temper tantrums! 

image shows a mother, father and child sitting together on a blanket in the woods

Now I am by no means an expert. In fact, at the moment with my hormones being all over the place I find managing these tantrums pretty difficult. However it is for this reason that I wanted to share some of the things I do to cope when I do find myself in the middle of a temper storm. These are the things that make things a little bit better and - quite frankly - stop me going insane! 

Stay Calm - Yeah I know - easier said than done right? But as much as trying to cope with a tantrum can make you want to tear your hair out it's important to try and look at things from your child's perspective. I saw a quote recently about toddlers trying to manage their feelings and the importance of the adult to remain calm and it just resonated with me. 

So now I just sit or stand in silence and watch. I practise my "up breathing" (thank you hypnobirthing) and try and stay as level headed as possible. Believe me it isn't always easy, but if I start to get stressed I take a step out the room, have a minute to myself and then head back into the fray. 

Don't Punish The Emotion, Challenge The Behaviour - As he grows up I would never want Eric to think that he could not tell me something. So I'm starting early and when his temper strikes I let him feel. He can't verbally communicate with me so tantrums are his way of expressing himself when he gets completely overwhelmed. 

That being said I do intervene of his behaviour is starting to become unacceptable. Whether that is throwing things, hitting, knocking over furniture or gnawing. He isn't the type of toddler to lash out at others in malice (although the gnawing has been aimed at Ryan and I once or twice) and I'm working hard to not let it get to that point. 

And if he's getting really irate, not paying attention to what he is doing and is looking like he might hurt himself I (if I can) put him in his cot so that I know he is safe.

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Take A Breath - As exhausting as it is for Eric to have a tantrum it can be for me too and sometime I do struggle to hold it together. And that's okay. Because as parents we can't have it together all the time. So, if I know Eric is safe I do step away for a moment, take a deep breath and then carry on. I don't want him to see that I am not coping - he needs me and I need to be there. But I need to be there for myself too. 

Cry Out Of Sight - Once Eric has calmed down and we have moved on from the tantrum I put a pin in how I feel and come back to it when I'm alone or with Ryan. I vent, I cry and I get everything off my chest. You just can't hold on to things as a parent. It isn't fair to you or your child. So at the end of the day I let go of everything that has made me feel angry or frustrated or sad and I move on, ready to start over again the following day.


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