Most days our son is a very laid-back, easy going boy. Other days, when his temper likes to set in, watch out!
His temper tantrums are driving us insane. The kind of insane where you ask the pediatrician if there is something wrong with him. Only for her to respond, “It’s not him I am worried about, it’s you two.”
Sometimes we joke about it and say “that is the Italian in him” or “he takes after his mother.” These are true statements, but it does not help us define what is causing the tantrum or how to handle it.
After a little research and a lengthy discussion with his pediatrician we have learned a few things.
Redirection: I was not for redirection at first because I thought this would make him develop some type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We are constantly throwing distractions out at him that would make anyones head spin. With this method being pediatrician approved, we are learning this is the best way to deal with his tantrum. The most popular distractions that work for us are putting on his favorite TV shows, having him go find the moon, or telling him someone is at the door. Redirection takes time, effort, and patience. The first distraction may not work so you have to keep it up until something does. Redirection is a work in progress, but it has helped save our sanity a few times.
If redirection fails, we ignore him. There is nothing like arguing with an indecisive toddler. We say yes and he yells no. If nothing we are doing is making him happy, we simply walk away and let him finish his tantrum. Some days this method takes ten minutes or sometimes an hour. This depends on how upset he is. We are learning once we step away from the situation he is learning that we will not put up with this type of behavior. He eventually calms down and moves about his day.
If step one and two fail, it is important to remember toddlers have bad days too. He is human just like the rest of us. He does not understand frustration or how to cope with it. Parents put a lot of pressure on their children to know right from wrong at a very young age. Truth is, he is still developing. It is our job as parents to give him the correct tools to navigate his own frustration to solve the problem.
After meltdowns, I look at him and say “I still love you today.” He smiles back and repeats sometimes adding in a hug or kiss.
It is important to let them know that you are always here for them even when they have a bad attitude.
Does your toddler have bad days? Explain your tips and tricks dealing with tantrums in the comments!