3 Simple Steps to Lovingly End Toddler Tantrums

Original article can be found from Positive Parenting Ally https://www.positive-parenting-ally.com/parenting-issue.html

Even though children have many emotional ups and downs, their reaction strategies are a lot simpler than most adults'. Adults can hide their true feelings - kids can't. At least not while they're young. As they get older, they gradually learn to adapt their behavior and change or hide their true feelings.

Small kids cry, throw things, they roll around on the floor in hysteric fits, some bite and hit and so forth ... we parents are not in doubt if our child is unhappy.

Believe it or not, toddler tantrums are a good thing. It's a gift for you as a parent. A positive parenting issue!

Why? Because when you have a parenting issue, it's an invitation for you to pick up a giant jug of whatever it is your child needs and pour it into your child. Positive parenting is a parenting style of filling up needs!

So when I have a parenting issue, if for instance my child is throwing things around in anger, crying because I 'said no' to something, or refusing to put on his clothes to come home with me after a good day in the day nursery - I typically use this 3 step procedure in my positive parenting strategy:

Step 1: Discover there's a need Step 2: Understand the need Step 3: Meet the need

Let's go through each step briefly, now.

Discovery of a Need When my child is sad or angry and maybe misbehaves, I try to put my own stirred emotions on ice and be present to the situation. If I let myself be 'infected' by his challenging emotions, it will fuel his own emotions and a continuous escalation of painful emotions will have started. We will have a full parenting issue ready to explode! When an escalation in which we both participate has started, it will be difficult to find out what is really going on. It will most likely just be an emotional mess. An essential key in positive parenting is maintaining a positive attitude - and yes, I know it can be challenging! I consciously say to myself: 'My child's feelings are not bad or wrong - they are merely communication about a need'. So, don't be afraid of your child's emotional outbursts - he or she is just trying to tell you something about his or her needs using the most basic means possible: emotions. Even if I'm stressed in these situations, I try to say to myself: 'I am never too busy to meet my child's needs, never!" This actually works!

What is the Need About - Sensing It or ... Just Trying Out Different Things The need is always simple in nature whether your child is a baby, toddler, or teenager: The need often lies somewhere in the area of getting attention, feeling connected and loved, being touched, feeling heard and understood, being seen and accepted, being empowered by their own decision making (see for instance The Simple Two Step Recipe We All Want: How to Respect Your Child without Compromising Yourself!), wanting to change things in the world by their own will etc. It might even be more basic and physical than that: at the age of about one or two my son could become very short tempered or clingy - out of the blue. To resolve this parenting issue, I would try all sort of 'need-meeting' tactics such as hugging, talking, letting him make a decision by choosing a book to read etc. And after some time of desperate trying 'this and that', I would finally try to put some food into him - and voila, end of misery. The poor boy was just hungry. Boy, did I feel stupid. So don't forget to check for signs of tiredness, hunger, and illness as well. However, as we all know, finding out what need lies behind our child's behaviour or what our child says he or she wants, is not always easy. Some parents are very intuitive and can immediate sense what their child's needs are. They 'tune in' and just feel it. Others have a more mental attitude and will have to resort to their brains, creativity and basic trial-and-error: simply trying different 'need-meeting' actions to see what works. I myself do a bit of both. When for some reason I can't feel it (if I'm tired and stressed, it is more difficult), I use my brain to come up with ideas that I put to the test - just like in the above example.