Have you noticed how often we label a child as ‘difficult’, ‘stubborn’ or as throwing a kids tantrum? But is that really the case? What if a child was just being that – a child. And what really constitutes childlike behavior, which unlike for adults, is very valid and natural during their tiny years of growth?
Recognizing these child behaviors can improve parent-child relationships and build newer bridges of understanding. Punishing is not a solution for a toddler. The child is innocent. They are just being themselves, with absolutely no tools developed yet to manage how they feel. Here are 5 examples that can help explore and tackle the problem better.
- kids Tantrum at a Mall
Take your kids to the mall and you will notice that in no time kids begin to fuss and ask for a chocolate, doll or a cookie. The baby becomes adamant, may start crying aloud much to your embarrassment and anger. You may erupt and glare down at them, or just plain refuse. The child reacts further, the chain continues.
This behavior is natural, owing to over-stimulation upon entering a mall. The child is surrounded by far too many tempting objects. It’s too much for a kid to manage.
Solution: Prepare your toddler in advance. Tell them in their baby language that they can only take 1 item home. Cook up a reason such as the shopkeeper and everyone gets only 1 item home, otherwise everyone else will go hungry. This also inculcates caring.
Distraction is another way to help them overcome kids’ tantrums. Just as they are about to cry, you can pretend to cry too. This works because they are not used to seeing adults cry, mirroring them also depicts to them how funny they might appear. You might get a laugh or a look of surprise in response. Just keep it to a minimum (the crying) and end the show very quickly, in less than a minute. Keep it funny. That’s enough distraction. Or Have an animated conversation.
kids are bound to move, in what one might perceive to be, clumsy ways. That is perfectly fine. Sudden movements, lateral movement, jerky ones, or constantly moving are all part of their need to grow and learn how to move around easily. Parents often insist them to sit still with glaring eyes and a finger on the lip, a gesture the child. They vex upon seeing the child move around aimlessly. This is known as child behavior.
Solution: It’s best to avoid places where children cannot be free. For example, parents cannot take a child to watch a film and expect them to sit still. You might be visiting a friend. Your child may decide to walk around and explore the space. Keep a watchful eye and allow for movement. As long as it’s a closed space, and has few people, and you are nearby, let the child be. On your part, stay vigilant. Show a little boundary, so the child knows to stay within and asks your permission to cross it. Remember though, the instinct to move around is not difficult.
- Anger or Hunger?
Kids cannot process what has caused them their foul mood. Endless crying, going hyper, bursts of anger and frustration could be due to several reasons not too apparent. Recognizing the real issue might help overcome mood swings in easier ways.
Solution: Probably your child had a previous tough night, did not sleep well, was tossing around or had a tummy ache. The so-called kid tantrum is a spillover of this condition. Alternately, your child might be hungry. Inability to express caused the child to cry continuously. No toy would suffice then and sometimes this would also result in kids temper. It’s important to analyze and get to the bottom of the problem. Remember it’s the inability to articulate that agitates a baby. The best way to deal with this is to keep a good routine going, irrespective of your own schedules or work. If correct food, play and sleep times are managed, half these difficulties are already dealt with. If you are planning to travel and there is a time-zone difference, plan and prep the child after consulting your baby’s pediatrician. This can simplify matters to a great extent.
These are annoying to a parent who, of course, knows better! But sometimes it could just be about the choice of clothes to wear – pants or shorts, whether your baby wants apple or tomato juice, or such other mundane things, which you might not expect your baby to turn down, because it’s a no-brainer and pretty much your choice. You do not expect your baby to have a preference at that age. It might become a bone of contention and lead to aggression. A little more push and it could develop into a full-blown ‘kid tantrum’.
Solution: It’s important to recognize and feel happy that your kid is already making choices. So let them choose. Maybe give them a baby talk on why shorts and not pants. Say it in a way that makes them feel that it’s still the child’s choice – ‘If you wear pants, these, you will feel hot. If you wear shorts, you feel cool/ good’, or the other way round for cold climates. This way you are helping them make the right choice. If they still insist on the wrong choice, pack a pair of the clothing you had suggested earlier and give them a change. In most cases, allow them to make their decisions, it helps them navigate through their tiny lives better. It’s fine to make mistakes. Trust the process of growing, they will learn.
The emotional contagion is real. Mood swings from joy and excitement to glum faces, sadness or irritability could be deeper than you think and might surprise that the origin of these negative emotions is none other than parents themselves. Do you ever see a child say ‘I’m bored’ on their own? It’s what they pick up from adults. They don’t even know what it is to be bored because there is so much visual and auditory stimulus around. And yet, we see tiny tots saying they’re bored. The sudden sadness gripping them has no reason, except one. They notice this in one or both their parents. They catch it and soak it up like a sponge, and soon exhibit these traits. They mirror the parents. It is therefore important to check your own emotions and set them right before being noticed by your child. This helps your baby remain happy and active through the day.
It’s a tantrum in isolation only. The underlying reason always throws a hint you cannot miss. Sometimes, it’s just a part of growing-up. So, the next time your baby feels agitated, relax and look at it from other points of view. It could all get really pleasant once the cause is known.