Many parents report the same story when their once loveable toddler doesn’t want to do something: he often throws himself on the floor and kicks his arms and legs. They state they can barely bring themselves to take their child out in public because he throws tantrums so often. What can be done? The fact is most toddlers throw temper tantrums. It's a very typical stage of child development. To understand why your toddler throws tantrums, try putting yourself in his place. A toddler has an intense desire to do things, but his mental and motor skills have developed more quickly than his ability to communicate. He expresses his frustration by throwing a tantrum because he doesn’t have enough verbal skills. The first thing you should know is that they can be handled. Tantrums often come in two flavors: manipulative tantrums and frustration tantrums.
If you feel that your child is throwing manipulative tantrums, the first thing you need to do is give him verbal cues and use body language that says you don't do tantrums. Be aware that toddlers know very well how to push their parents' buttons. If you are a person who is easily flustered, it'll be easy for your child to trigger an explosion from you, ending in a screaming match with no winners. When you ignore his fits or walk away, you are sending a clear message that tantrums are not acceptable. This is a vital part of toddler discipline.
If you are dealing with frustration tantrums, they require another take that focuses on empathy. These emotional outbursts can be used as an opportunity to bond with your child. Offer a helping hand, a comforting hug and "it's okay." Your job as the parent or caregiver is to help him out where he feels frustrated at not being able to accomplish a task. This way you establish your authority and build your child's trust as you work together. Often it helps to direct his efforts toward a more manageable part of a task. For example, if he throws a common "I'll do it myself" fit about putting on a shoe, you can slip it halfway onto the foot, and he can pull it on the rest of the way. Sit down with him at eye level and calmly say, "Tell mommy what you want." This method encourages him to use words or body language to communicate his feelings and needs so that he doesn’t have to act them out in displays of anger.
Your ability to curb the number of tantrums your child has increases if you are able to identify the triggers. Tantrums usually happen at the worse time for parents: when they are on the phone, at the supermarket, or busy in some other way. The very circumstances that make a tantrum inconvenient for you are what set your toddler up for an outburst. You may want to keep a tantrum diary, noting what incites your child. Is he or she bored, tired, sick, hungry, or overstimulated when the tantrums happen? Watch for those telltale pre-tantrum signs. If you notice a few moments before the outburst that your little one is starting to whine or grumble, intervene before the volcano erupts.
And most importantly, if the worst happens and an all out tantrum results, don't take it personally! You are not responsible. The "good factor" of your baby is not a reflection on your parenting ability. Tantrums are common when a baby starts growing into toddlerhood and is striving for independence. Try to stay cool. While tantrums in public places are embarrassing, try to consider your child's feeling. If you feel trapped and embarrassed when your child is throwing a fit in a supermarket, don't lash out. Remember you are her role model for teaching self control and independence.