TANTRUM IN CHILDREN
Anger attacks are part of the normal development of the child, especially at the age when he begins to develop his autonomy, that is from 18 months. Some attacks last only a few minutes, but others can last for more than an hour.
Some children are more likely to have seizures than others. This may be due to the fact that they have a more assertive temperament or even less tolerance for frustration. It is also observed that tantrums are more common in children who are less comfortable expressing their dissatisfaction verbally. Their anger will then manifest itself in cries and gestures.
During a crisis, the child can:
- kick, punch or head;
- rolling on the ground or having uncontrolled gestures (“make the bacon”);
- throw objects;
- refuse to be caught;
- hold your breath (do not worry, no intervention is necessary: he will start to breathe normally by himself).
For a toddler, crises are often a way of reacting when he feels overwhelmed by the intensity of his feelings or needs, and when he cannot express them. Even for a child who speaks well, putting words into their emotions and feelings is difficult and requires practice and encouragement.
Seizures often occur when a toddler:
- cannot do what he wishes (faces a constraint);
- must do something he doesn’t want;
Managing emotions is difficult for toddlers, which is why a child who is fluent in language can also have tantrums.
- is overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness, frustration, anger, anxiety or even fear;
- is tired, hungry, excited, or not well
- fails to do something they want to do on their own;
- lack of words to express themselves;
- discovered by experience that a crisis allows him to get what he wants;
- wants attention, perhaps because he feels left out, ignored or alone, or, on the contrary, because he tends to monopolize attention.
Whatever the reasons for your child’s outbursts, here are some guidelines to help you deal with them:
- Start by trying to appease and calm your child by naming his emotion: “I see that you are very angry! But don’t insist. If you try to reason with it, the crisis is likely to last longer. He’s probably in no condition to listen to you.
- If your little one is not listening to you, observe him from afar and let the crisis pass without intervening, except to ensure his safety. So you have to stop it if it hits you or someone else, if it hits itself or if it throws objects. You can keep other people and things away from your child during the crisis. Wait until she has passed to chat with him.
- Keep calm during the crisis, because getting carried away with your child would only make things worse. So, if you raise your voice, it will shout louder, not to mention that you may also scare it. If you are upset and another adult is present to keep your little one safe, stay away for a few minutes to regain your composure. If you are alone with your child, take a deep breath to regain control of your emotions.
- Remember that it is important not to give in when he is angry, even if it is very tempting to give him what he wants when he hits you and yells in public. Even if you give in only once or twice, you teach him that his outbursts are an effective way to get what he wants.
- If you are in a public place, do not worry about what people around you think: for each person who is critical of you, there is another who is understanding and sincerely sympathetic. Focus on the best way to deal with the situation and remember that perfect parents do not exist.
- When the crisis is over, hold your child against you to calm and reassure him. These outbursts of anger, which he has difficulty controlling, also affect him. Help him talk about what happened, how he felt and why he was angry. If he doesn’t speak yet, do it for him. For example, say, “You wanted to do a nice tower with your blocks, but it always fell when you put the blue block. It made you angry and you started screaming. “
- Suggest one or two things your child can do instead of a seizure. He will thus know that there are other means than shouts and blows to express his dissatisfaction. For example, he can breathe a few times like a butterfly when he feels anger rising in him, that is to say, take a deep breath by opening his arms like the wings of a butterfly and exhale by closing “his wings On his heart. Your little one can also say he is angry with words or draw his anger.
- Do not put your child aside when he has an angry outburst, as this could cause him anxiety. Stay in his line of sight, as he is probably as upset as you are by his own reactions.
Even if seizures are part of normal children’s development, you can help your toddler reduce the frequency. To prevent a crisis in public, clearly explain your rules before going out. Remember, however, that no parent can prevent all of their child’s tantrums. Here are some tips for reducing your child’s outbursts.
Meeting basic needs
- Follow a stable routine for meals, snacks, and sleep.
- Avoid making your child too tired or hungry. When you go out, remember to bring a snack.
- If your child starts to show restlessness, try to see if he is tired, hungry, lack of space to play, etc.
- If you know you are going to a place that he will find boring, consider taking things that can keep him busy.
Act before the first signs of anger
- Place objects that he must not touch outside his reach and his field of vision in order to avoid temptations and, subsequently, crises.
- Distract his attention when you feel his anger building up or take him to another room.
- Find strategies to prevent your usual frustrations. For example, if your child often gets angry when his little sister defeats the puzzle he is doing, offer him to sit at the kitchen table rather than on the floor.
- When you go out together, let him know what’s coming. If, for example, you go to the grocery store , tell him in advance that you are not going to buy him a treat, but that you will let him choose the cereals. You can also give it a small task to accomplish. For example, ask him to put oranges in a bag or to show you red, yellow objects, etc. When their brain is focused on a task, your little one is less likely to have a seizure.
Encourage other ways to express frustration
- Help your child express his feelings in words and tell you how he is feeling. By encouraging him to talk about how he feels, you can help him better control his emotions and not be overwhelmed by them.
- Be patient and try to set a good example for him. If you try to control your anger and frustration, your little one will tend to do the same. On the other hand, it is difficult to demand that he stop getting angry if you get carried away at the slightest glitch. When the situation is right, say out loud what you do to make yourself feel better when something bothers you, for example: “I’m disappointed that Martine doesn’t come for supper, but I’ll watch a good movie instead . “
- Praise your child when they are able to express their negative emotions and needs in words rather than in crises.
Usually, tantrums tend to decrease in intensity and frequency around 3 or 4 years of age. Your child then develops better self-control of his impulses and can also express himself better with words. However, if he continues to have several attacks per week and their intensity does not decrease (your child has trouble calming down, he injures himself or others), a consultation with his doctor or the CLSC in your area would be desirable. His outbursts may be hiding another problem that specialists will help you spot. So together you can find ways to help him.
- Anger is a normal stage in a child’s development, which occurs mostly between the ages of 18 and 36 months.
- When your child has a tantrum, try to stay calm. Getting angry will only make things worse.
- It is not possible to prevent all of your child’s tantrums, but you can help them decrease the frequency and intensity.