5 Surprising Things About Temper Tantrums

When it comes to our child and an impending wobbler, we naturally gravitate towards our own feelings of how difficult a temper tantrum can be for us as parents. We immediately try to stop the tantrum because no one likes to stand in the middle of a supermarket with a kid who is having a meltdown.

Rethinking tantrums can help us to understand why they happen and ease our frustration and agitation with a child who is seemingly upset over nothing. So let’s reframe our thoughts with some surprising things about temper tantrums.

Tantrums Don’t Last That Long

What may seem like a lifetime may in fact only be three and a half minutes. This is the average length of a tantrum. Now, we’ve probably all been there with a full-on half-hour wobbler, but knowing the tantrum will end in quite possibly a few short minutes can help us refocus our attention, act with compassion and patience, and help our child through their mini-explosion.

Meltdowns Don’t Happen For No Reason

Our kids are learning about the world around them, and they have so much to learn. Tantrums are often sparked by a child’s inability to understand what is or isn’t happening. They are learning about boundaries which may be difficult for them to navigate just yet. Remember, a tantrum does not happen for no reason. A child could be overwhelmed, exhausted, hungry, or unable to express themselves.

Kids Can Self-Regulate

Even at a young age, children have the capabilities to self-soothe and self-regulate when their soaring emotions become higher than expected. Helping our children to self-regulate those big emotions will help calm tantrums quicker and easier.

Language Affects Tantrum Severity

Language is a huge determining factor in tantrums, especially in children of a young age. Having the inability to verbally express themselves leads to agitation and frustration which amplifies the potential for a temper tantrum as they feel unseen and unheard.

It’s Not About Anger

The scrunched-up face, the loud voice, the banging of fists, all highlight anger. But temper tantrums are not always fuelled by anger but rather the request to be simply heard. Seeing the world from our child’s eyes can instantly defuse a tantrum as we recognise their difficulty.

All in all, temper tantrums are a trying experience for both parent and child. When we recognise what our child is asking for or needs, we can rethink why the tantrum is happening and soothe the high emotions. Give the right amount of attention, validate their feelings, and teach them to regain their calm.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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