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A tantrum is a child not being able to express themselves, so they express themselves by
shouting and screaming, throwing things, hitting, biting. It can be anything. It can happen
anytime in the child's life, but normally it happens round about two to three years.
It's normally very embarrassing for parents and adults around them to deal with it, but
they don't realise that the child is going through a hell of a lot as well.
It is difficult to find out why they're having tantrums, especially initially when
they first start off with a tantrum, because in the very beginning it's just all anger.
It is hard to understand because they're not at speaking level at the moment, so it's
like having to read their minds for them and it's like a guessing game.
They have tantrums for all sorts of reasons. They can be tired, they could be hungry, they
could have had a bad day at nursery, a friend could have took their toy off them. It could
be anything. It could be that they didn't want to sit in that seat; they wanted to sit
in another seat, but they can't express what they're feeling and they don't have
the words or the understanding of the emotions that's going on with them, so then they
scream and kick and shout.
They break down, they're screaming and stuff and you don't know why, so you're trying,
and the more you're trying, the more they're doing it.
And the more I got worked up that he could feel my vibe, getting stressed and getting
annoyed and then he'd get stressed and annoyed.
You have to stay calm. It's so hard though when your child is kicking off to actually
take a deep breath and to stay calm, because if you get the tiniest bit worked up, your
child's going to pick up on it. Find out what works for your child. Diverting their
attention to something else can be so easily done. Not necessarily sweets or treats or
anything like that. Simple as a bus going past the window. You can encourage a child
to think about something else, and then they forget about what they were upset about in
the first place. And if you really can't handle it, if you think you're going to
lose it and you're not staying calm, well if that child's safe wherever that child
is, you just move away, because you're not going to make the situation better by being
angry to the child. You're going to make it worse.
Taking him outside by myself was my biggest fear because I didn't know how to adapt,
but after a couple of times I got used to it.
It is embarrassing. It's like you just want to, you know, hide away because you're getting
all these funny looks off parents, like can't you control him?.
Tantrums in public are very embarrassing, but you need to be strong because you're
the mum or the dad, and you are the one that is going to help your child to control their
anger, control their emotions, so you as a parent, you need to make sure that you stay
calm. No one will even look at you. If your child is kicking off and you're staying
very calm, because they'll take one glance and then they'll move on, but if you scream
at your child and lose it with your child; that's when everyone will be really staring
at you. Make life easy for yourself. Don't go when your child's tired, don't go when
your child's hungry. Get them to get things off the shelf, ask them to go and get the
bananas and involve them in it. Talk to them all the way round. Maybe avoid certain things
at that time in your life. Don't go to a toy shop where you're going to say no to
your child constantly. Really just make life easy for yourself.
You've got to be consistent all the time. If you're going to stay calm and talk to
them and then give them a cuddle, then they'll know that that's how they calm down, so
if you do the same things every single time, then eventually the child will be able to
understand that this is what's happened to calm themselves down out of a tantrum,
and then maybe they'll be able to do it themselves rather than needing an adult to
support them, and that is often what happens.