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  • Yes, You Can Use Tantrums To Grow Closer To Your Toddler. Here's How

    The key is to let her know that you understand and care for her.
    by Kate Borbon .
Yes, You Can Use Tantrums To Grow Closer To Your Toddler. Here's How
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Through their parenting journey, moms and dads learn that tantrums are just one of those things that they can’t avoid. Still, there may be times when they struggle to respond to tantrums with understanding.

    It may not seem like it, but you can use tantrums to deepen your relationship with your child. The key is to show her that you understand and care for her instead of punishing her or giving in to her demands.

    How to use tantrums to grow closer to your child

    Understand that tantrums are normal

    Tantrums are frustrating but normal and even appropriate behavior for toddlers. Motherly says that kids throw tantrums for various reasons, like being hungry or tired or struggling to handle strong emotions. In a column for Psychology Today, Dr. Laura Markham says that tantrums can also mean your child is under distress.

    Sometimes, though, kids throw tantrums for no reason at all. Regardless of the reason, if you know that tantrums are completely normal, it will be easier to take a breath and deal with them calmly.

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    Don’t stop the tantrum

    While it’s good to be prepared for tantrums, it’s impossible to stop them once they happen. According to Motherly, doing so tends to make them last longer because when kids are overcome with emotion, they can’t process the reassuring words parents try to offer them. This might also tell her that you are uncomfortable with her big feelings or that you don’t want to deal with them.

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    Another important note: Don’t restrain your child from moving. Hand in Hand Parenting says during tantrums, kids need space to move around to get the frustration out of their system. Just make sure your child doesn’t harm herself, other people, or objects around her.

    Validate her feelings

    Help your child process her big feelings by validating them. Remind her that you are on her side by saying something like, “I understand you want to play with that toy, but your sibling is playing with it right now” or naming her feelings with a statement like, “You’re frustrated because you can’t play outside right now.” Aside from teaching your child that you value how she feels, this can encourage her to vent her frustrations to you.

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    Give her a hug

    Instead of punishing her, respond to your child’s tantrums with affection, like a warm hug. Hugging has scientific benefits for kids, including higher self-esteem, better communication between a parent and their child, and fewer psychological and behavioral issues. As ParentHelp says, “Giving your child a hug during or after the tantrum (if they want it) is not rewarding the behavior, it is building your relationship and helping them learn to regulate their own emotions.”

    Just be there for her

    Don’t underestimate the value of simply being there for your child. Parents says that even if your angry child doesn’t seem like she appreciates your presence, she does. You don’t have to say a lot; even a few reassuring back rubs can do a lot. “Your child will soak up your unconditional acceptance and feel closer to you afterwards.”

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