Terrible twos, threenagers, and many other terms that basically describe the little terrorists our cute, innocent babies turn into as a toddler. The bichin is 19 months now and we are starting to notice that the terrible two are approaching: tantrums and drama are starting to get a bit too normal. Luckily, his daycare organizes “Parent school” every trimester and last week the topic was the famous toddler tantrum. Perfect timing! There was a pedagogue / child development specialist to explain tantrums, where they came from and how to deal with them, and what she explained on the different types of tantrums was definitely a game changer for me.
I had never really given it much thought, I always thought a tantrum was a tantrum and that´s it. However, the pedagogue explained that there two types of tantrums that we need to distinguish in order to know what we´re dealing with and what we can do about it.
A tantrum might seem like a tantrum but apparently, there are “normal” tantrums that a child needs to have and then there are tantrums that a toddler throws to get their way or to make you do something.
The first type of tantrums is kind of like development tantrums, and no matter how annoying they might be for the parents, every toddler will have them to some degree and they also NEED to have them in their developmental journey. She called them evolutionary tantrums and they usually start between 1,5-2years old. Some kids have mild ones, whereas others might go completely insane for no particular reason. No kidding, but parents have arrived at the ER because they thought their kid had some kind of attack but it turned out to be a tantrum. It´s often hard to reach the toddler and they have so much anger that they don´t know what to do with themselves. Again, apparently this is completely normal and the best you can do (according to our parents’ school) is to let them know that you´re there for them, to stay close, but to let them be. Don´t try to enforce things on the toddler, this needs to come out.
And then, there is the other type of tantrums, which usually start a bit later, when the toddlers have discovered that by throwing one, they can get their way. This kind of tantrums can come in any degree as well but can also be over in seconds when the kid is distracted by something else. E.g. when the doorbell rings and they want to know who comes in or if you start playing with a certain toy they are suddenly happy to join you and forget about the issue that caused their tantrum. According to child development specialists, this distraction factor does NOT help in the evolutionary tantrums. With this second kind of tantrums, a much harder approach is needed from the parent to make sure the kid doesn´t play us and finds a new method to get their way.
Ok, a tantrum is still a tantrum and they can drive us insane, but for me, as a newbie in tantrum wonderland, it was very helpful to get some clues on what´s going on and how to somehow deal with the craziness that comes with a tantrum.
How do you deal with tantrums?
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