Navigating 2-Year-Old Tantrums
Tantrums in toddlers can be aggravating for parents, especially if they occur in public. In this post, you will learn about the science behind 2 year old tantrums and how to cope with them for optimal child development so that your child does not continue to throw tantrums.
A temper tantrum is characterized by an outpouring of emotions such as rage, loss, disappointment, and deep dissatisfaction.
This emotional outburst in toddlers can result in weeping, writhing, screaming fits, stomping, striking the parents, falling down, kicking, biting, throwing items, beating the head, or holding one’s breath.
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What Are the Different Types of Toddler Tantrums?
Temper tantrums are classified into two types: emotional meltdowns and non-emotional tantrums, often known as Little Nero tantrums.
Fits and tantrums aren’t always about attempting to manipulate or dominate parents. An emotional meltdown occurs when the emotional component of the brain (limbic) becomes too stimulated and seizes control from the cognitive half of the brain (pre-frontal cortex).
Young toddlers (2-3 years old) lack the ability to reason or manipulate. When they are unhappy, they experience emotional toddler meltdowns.
It might be a mixed bag in older children (>3.5 years old). Even older children are not experts at regulating their emotions. As a result, they might experience emotional breakdowns as well.
If a parent has previously caved into a child’s demand, the youngster may come to equate throwing tantrums with receiving what they want. As a result of the accompanying learning, Little Nero tantrums occur.
When things get out of hand, a child may begin with a non-emotional tantrum and finish with an emotional meltdown.
Why Does a Two-Year-Old Toddler Have Tantrums?
Around the age of two, young toddlers begin to have temper tantrums. This stage of toddlerhood is commonly referred to as the Terrible Twos.
Temper outbursts in toddlers are normal. These emotional toddler meltdowns are caused by unsatisfied wants or desires. They are more likely to occur in toddlers since that is when they begin to understand that they are separated from their parents and desire independence, but are unable to do so.
Babies are born into this world knowing nothing. They have absolutely no idea how things operate.
Their minds are still maturing. As a result, their capacity to comprehend and learn new things is severely hampered. Tantrums are one of the few tools a child has to attract the attention of adults in order to satisfy his or her requirements.
A kid that throws tantrums is not a spoilt brat.
However, children can occasionally go through horrific internal upheaval without our knowledge.
Toddlers are two-year-olds. They’ve only recently learnt to walk. They want to see the world, see everything, and touch everything. They’ve only recently learned how to utilise tools, but their motor skills aren’t yet refined enough to achieve the desired outcomes.
They look to their parents for protection (it’s terrifying to explore something they’ve never seen before), comfort (I’m so sorry I couldn’t raise that stool), assistance (could you please help me grab that pair of scissors? ), and sharing delight (see, standing on the high chair with no hands!).
Instead of being praised, youngsters are subjected to their parents shouting “no,” “stop,” and “bad” at them for no apparent reason. Wouldn’t you be offended as well?
To make matters worse, when toddlers are unhappy, they experience intense emotions that they have not yet learned to manage.
Babies are born with a reasonably advanced stress response system (crying) for survival reasons, but they do not have the ability to regulate their emotions.
Their rage and dissatisfaction are exacerbated by a lack of languages to express themselves.
Temper outbursts become their outlets and their language.
When children have emotional temper tantrums, they are communicating to us that they are experiencing severe emotional distress and are unable to manage on their own.
In other words, they require our assistance.
Why do some older children have tantrums similar to those seen in the Terrible Twos?
The term “terrible twos” refers to the age at which most children begin having temper tantrums.
However, like with other developmental milestones, each kid progresses at a different rate. Tantrums can begin as early as 18 months of age for a newborn and as late as 3 years of age for another youngster.
Temper outbursts are frequent in children from 18 months to four years. As a result, these temper tantrums might persist past the child’s second year of life.
Temper tantrums are not uncommon in 4-year-olds, especially if they have not been taught basic emotional management skills.
The Science Of Tantrums – What’s Going With Your Toddler
When a boy is overtaken with stress such as wrath, a little alarm (amygdala) is triggered within his emotional brain.
Stress hormones are released to the body and emotions intensify. When this happens.
It produces agony and emotional distress, which is equivalent to physical pain.
A child first has to develop the thinking part of the brain and then the connections between the thinking brain and the emotional brain in order to regulate powerful emotions.
The thinking brain, however, is the final section of the brain to grow and will not fully mature until the mid-20s. That’s why it might be difficult for even older youngsters to regulate their emotions.
Tantrums in Toddlers and Child Development
Babies are born with billions of brain cells (neurons), but few brain cell connections (synapses).
Life experiences 3 help to create the network of relationships.
Temper tantrums are among the most important childhood events in shaping the brain 4.
The ability to control one’s emotions during a temper tantrum permits appropriate brain cell connections to develop.
These brain connections are critical for the child’s ability to regulate stress and establish himself later in life.
If a child is not given the opportunity to develop these regulating abilities, such as when temper tantrums are handled with anger or punishment, the child may grow up unable to tolerate stress or be assertive.
Internalizing difficulties (e.g., depression, anxiety disorder) or externalizing issues (e.g., aggressiveness, drug/alcohol addiction) may also be present in the kid.
Temper tantrums, on the other hand, may become an essential life lesson in emotion management, which has been linked to resilience in children, social competence, academic achievement, and even popularity if managed with care.
So keep in mind that temper tantrums are not only a natural aspect of child development, but they are actually beneficial to toddlers’ emotional growth.
Are temper outbursts desirable?
Yes, you read that correctly.
One of the most essential duties in parenting throughout childhood development is assisting toddlers in regulating their emotions during temper tantrums.
Seven Steps for Toddler Tantrums
1. To avoid toddler tantrums, use simple alternatives or distractions
When a temper tantrum begins to emerge, parents may sometimes quickly soothe it by addressing the matter at hand.
For example, if a kid does not want supper, rather of pushing her to eat, which may exacerbate her feelings, the parent might ask her to pick whether to eat the meat or the vegetable first.
When simple-choice questions are provided, the child’s reasoning brain is stimulated.
Parents can assist their child’s higher brain stay in control by reaching it before the emotional brain takes over.
Another method for stimulating the logical brain is a distraction.
Allowing the toddler to have another toy (but not the one she wanted) or singing a humorous song might divert the child’s attention and increase her interest.
Curiosity piques the logical brain’s attention and causes the release of a feel-good hormone (dopamine) in the brain.
This hormone has the ability to decrease tension while also increasing her interest in the freshly given object or event.
Simple inquiries, diversions, or other methods of engaging your child’s critical thinking before emotions build to the point of losing control can prevent a tantrum from occurring.
2. You can’t reason with them since they can’t hear you
A toddler’s emotions are flooded as the tantrum begins. You can’t access her thinking brain or linguistic capabilities because her emotional brain has taken over.
So, when she is having a meltdown, attempting to reason with her or questioning her about her feelings is a waste of time. You may wind up upsetting her and exacerbating her emotions.
3. Learn To Self-Regulate And Restore Emotional Balance
Holding or cuddling a youngster might assist restore the hormonal balance inside his body.
Holding or embracing him can activate his body’s soothing mechanism and release another feel-good hormone (oxytocin), which can help him control his emotions.
Before you do this, make sure you’re relaxed. Otherwise, if your own system is not peaceful, you may stress him out even more.
Positive comments or acknowledgements such as “I know,” “you must be extremely sad,” or “I’m very sorry that you’re wounded” might sometimes suffice to make your child feel protected and understood.
Parents’ sensitivity and responsiveness to their child’s feelings might not only calm his emotions but also aid establish those crucial links between the rational and emotional brains.
It is critical to assist a child in learning to manage his emotions.
Deep mindful breathing practise on a regular basis can also assist a kid to pay attention to their own feelings.
4. Maintain Your Calm, Be Positive, But Don’t Give Up
Any parent will tell you that toddlers imitate what adults do.
This includes the adult’s emotional control.
When you become enraged and begin shouting at the child during a tantrum, you are modelling how she should behave when things do not go her way.
However, by being calm, you are teaching her how to deal with problems and distressing circumstances without losing control of her emotions.
Another reason to be calm and optimistic is that emotions, particularly negative ones, are contagious.
Being angry or negative will just add to your child’s anxiety.
Being optimistic, on the other hand, does not imply capitulation. You may recognize their dissatisfaction while maintaining your boundaries.
“I see you’re really furious and irritated,” you may remark. I apologize. But you can’t eat candy just before dinner,” she says gently and firmly.
Giving in every now and again is especially harmful since intermittent reinforcement fosters the child behaviour you’re trying to stop like no other. Instead of teaching your child that this is a one-time exemption, you are teaching him that if he persists long enough, you will ultimately cave in.
5. Punishment is not necessary. A time-out is only used as a last resort
Assume you are in a great deal of agony.
It’s so bad that you fall to the ground and writhe.
Do you want your loved ones to punish you, abandon you, or put you in a room alone?
Temper tantrums can often start as a way for a child to acquire something he or she wants.
However, if left unaddressed, it may quickly build into a powerful hormonal storm that a young youngster is not able to handle on his own.
When this occurs, it is a true case of uncontrolled misery and pain.
Punishment, time-out, or isolation will aggravate the situation.
According to brain scans, social separation pain stimulates the same neural area as physical pain.
Consider this: if you are experiencing tremendous emotional anguish, would inflicting physical suffering on yourself make you feel better?
No, it won’t. It will feel as if you are putting insult to injury.
It’s the same with your child.
Furthermore, it will teach your child that he cannot rely on you to support him or comprehend his sadness when he is in pain and requires your assistance.
If a kid learns early on that expressing strong emotions may result in parental rage or punishment, he may become cooperative or rebellious.
In either case, the youngster would miss out on the opportunity to develop healthy brain connections to deal with intense emotions.
When confronted with challenges later in life, he may struggle to assert himself or have furious outbursts.
When a distressed toddler receives negative or non-response from his parents, he may cease sobbing.
Despite seeming peaceful, disturbed young toddlers might have high-stress hormone levels within their bodies, according to studies.
This disconnect between behavioural and physiological reactions might, in some circumstances, lead to emotional or mental health difficulties later in life.
As a final option, time-out should be utilized.
It should only be used when there is a safe area, the kid has purposefully injured someone, such as biting or striking, and he is not already overwhelmed with emotions.
Yet it should be done in a non-punitive, compassionate, and firm manner (see positive parenting).
6. Teach Vocabulary and Language Skills so that they can properly express themselves
When the dust has settled and your kid has completely de-escalated from her heightened emotional state, you may go through what occurred to her.
Teach her what she should say the next time she needs anything.
Teach her how to communicate. Teach your youngster how to communicate her feelings via words rather than flinging objects.
You can even express your feelings to her when she has a tantrum.
It tells her that it is okay to experience feelings and that feelings can be managed.
You are also teaching her the importance of empathy and how her actions may influence others.
7. Temper tantrums can be avoided before they occur
There are things parents may do to help their children avoid temper tantrums.
HALT stands for Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness.
When these physical elements exist, all that is required is a trigger to start everything in motion.
Set a sleep-eat-rest routine to prevent tantrum traps.
Prevent temper outbursts from occurring in the first place.
If you know your child will be angry if they don’t get anything, provide alternatives or distractions ahead of time.
It is far simpler to access their rational thinking in order to prevent temper tantrums than it is to put them out once they have begun.
Tantrums with a Nero Twist (Non-Emotional Tantrums)
When a toddler behaves like Little Nero, it may be rather amusing.
He desires something and will not stop shouting and kicking until he has it.
A youngster is not inundated with hormones and powerful emotions when he is in this power struggle state.
The lack of pained reactions on his face and body tells you.
Most parents understand that if they give in to this sort of temper tantrum, they are training their children to use tantrums to achieve what they want.
Some argue that the child should be ignored.
But consider it.
How would you feel if you were unhappy but no one noticed?
You’re even more unhappy!
That’s like pouring gasoline to the fire for a child.
If she is old enough to reason, she may realize that it isn’t working and quit throwing tantrums.
However, if she is too young or too distraught to do so, she may find herself in the midst of an emotional storm.
Instead of ignoring, recognizing his needs and mimicking his emotions may be all that is required to calm him down and make him open to the set boundaries.
Here’s an illustration.
If your youngster exclaims, “I want this!”
You can mimic his face and say softly, “I know you truly want this.” You’re dying to get your hands on this!”
What you’re doing here is tuned in to his emotions.
Emotional attunement communicates to your child that you understand what he is feeling and that you understand why he is unhappy.
You will have your child’s attention and the reasonable thinking that comes with it when he feels understood.
It’s already half the fight won.
The second part is to tell him gently why, such as “But I’m sorry.” You can’t have ice cream before dinner.”
Is It Normal To Have Temper Tantrums
Tantrums among babies and toddlers are quite common.
They are the most often reported childhood behavioural issues by parents.
According to research done by the University of Wisconsin on 1219 families, 87 percent of children aged 18-24 months exhibited temper tantrums.
At 30-36 months, 91 percent had done so.
At 42-48 months, the frequency dropped to 59 percent.
As a result, you are not alone.
Your child is not a horrible person.
You are not an inept parent.
My Child Struggles More Than Others
Why do only certain children throw temper tantrums?
It’s conceivable that your child was born with certain temperament features that put him or her in the challenging group.
However, it is not the child’s fault that they were born with such disposition.
What works for simple children may not work for tough children.
Simple choices and diversions, for example, may not be sufficient to stimulate such children’s logical minds. You must put in more effort to restore your child’s emotional equilibrium, as well as spend more time teaching them how to communicate their emotions verbally.
Even challenging children may learn to connect their rational and emotional minds and cease using temper tantrums as an outlet with patience and determination.
When Do Tantrums Begin?
Toddler temper tantrums often occur in youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 months, when toddlers begin to become mobile but lack the linguistic abilities to convey their demands. Tantrums around 19 and 20 months of age are also extremely prevalent.
When Should a Child Stop Having Tantrums?
If the kid has learned emotional regulating abilities, most terrible-twos tantrums stop around the age of four. Unfortunately, not all children are capable of doing so. Adults can experience tantrums or explosive outbursts if they did not acquire coping skills as children.
What Should I Do If My Three-Year-Tantrums Old’s Are Getting Worse?
Temper tantrums in a three-year-old can worsen if the kid has not developed adequate emotional control skills, if the child has learned to use tantrums to obtain what they want, or if the child has both.
There are numerous reasons why some children may not be able to develop sufficient emotional control abilities.
A typical cause is a lack of a supportive environment or role model. We are not born with the ability to regulate our emotions. Humans cannot learn to “self-soothe” just by being left alone to weep during child tantrums. It is critical that parents use the techniques outlined above to educate their children on emotional control abilities.
Another possibility is that the youngster has a more reactive neurological system that is more difficult to relax, such as those children with ADHD or Autism. If you believe your kid has a specific condition, see a pediatrician to ensure you get the right information and care.
Parents must also maintain consistent limits in order to avoid a three-year-temper old’s tantrums from worsening.
Parenting is a lot of effort. We are sometimes tempted to give in “just this once” so that we may go on with our lives. Resist the urge to do so since it will simply reinforce your child’s association of tantrums with obtaining what they want, resulting to more tantrums in the future.
Stopping A Tantrum In Public Places
Stopping a child’s temper tantrums in public, such as when grocery shopping or at a toy store, does not need any particular therapy beyond the techniques listed above. The objective of dealing with toddler tantrums is to assist children in developing emotional control abilities. To do so, we must provide a positive example of self-regulation. We need to demonstrate to them that we can concentrate on assisting them rather than being embarrassed by them.
There is nothing to be embarrassed by when we know we are doing our best for our children’s growth. If the noise bothers others, I will relocate the kid and continue to assist them in calming down. If someone makes a critical remark, I generally smile and continue doing what I feel is best for my child.
Is It A Good Idea To Ignore Toddler Temper Tantrums?
Ignoring may be an acceptable approach when children conduct genuine, non-emotional tantrums to obtain what they want.
Most parents, however, find it difficult to tell if their child is experiencing a non-emotional tantrum or an emotional one.
When confronted with their children’s tantrums, many overworked and weary parents are overtaken by their own emotions. These feelings frequently cloud our judgement and cause us to feel manipulated, even when the child is not manipulating. It requires a very calm and clear-headed parent to determine whether or not a youngster is experiencing a Little Nero tantrum.
Furthermore, ignoring merely teaches the youngster that his or her conduct is unacceptable. It does not educate the youngster on what he or she should do.
As a result, while ignoring toddler tantrums has its uses, it should not be used as a primary approach.
When Should You Be Concerned About Your Toddler’s Tantrums Throughout the Day?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you contact your pediatrician or family physician if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
After the age of four, temper tantrums become more severe.
During temper tantrums, your child injures himself or herself or others or destroys property.
During temper tantrums, your child may hold his or her breath, especially if he or she faints.
Your kid also experiences nightmares, toilet training regression, migraines, stomachaches, nervousness, refuses to eat or go to bed, or clings to you.
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