As parents, we have a hugely influential role to play in child development. As far as babies and toddlers are concerned, it’s very important that we respond sensitively to such childhood behaviour as toddler tantrums. So, what do you do or how do you respond when your child throws a tantrum?
Emotions in Control
One of the best parenting advice would be to understand what is happening. Temper tantrums in very small children are common. This is because they are still building their neural networks that will allow them to control their emotion as they grow and develop. When a temper tantrum occurs, all rationality is shut down and the nervous system is overwhelmed. Thoughts are not clear; their little hearts are pounding, and their stress hormone levels rise. Of course, some infants are more susceptible to negative emotions than others.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Similar behavioural disorders can also occur in adults. Imagine, for example, that you have unexpectedly lost your job. How would you feel? It’s quite likely that you will be so shocked and devastated that you can hardly focus or think about anything else, let alone someone else telling you to do something. You would hardly even hear or comprehend the instruction. Later in the day, however, your rational brain will take over from your emotions and you might start thinking about updating your resume and realise that it’s really not the end of the world. You may even come to regard it as an opportunity for a new direction in your life. But imagine what it is like for a child living every day without the developed rational controls that adults possess.
Emotions are important because they provide us with valuable information to help us to cope with our environment. They influence our perception and help us to make decisions. They also help us to relate to one another. Emotions are essential in this regard and emotions are also important in child development.
Toddler Tantrums are Normal
Tantrums are a normal part of early child development. A toddler may appear to be behaving badly but, in fact, is simply experiencing big feelings and strong emotions. Even babies experience sadness, frustration, anger, joy and other emotions. As infants develop, toddler behaviour will start to reflect such emotions as guilt and embarrassment. This simply means that they are becoming more self-aware and socially conscious. Positive parental guidance on our part will help them to make sense of their emotional experiences. This in turn will help them to develop better emotional regulation skills.
This skill development process may take years to develop.