Understanding Tantrums: Why They Happen & Why They Should

Understanding tantrums (or the inability to understand them) is just one of the frustrations that come with parenting a toddler. Another frustration comes from actually coping with tantrums and wondering if we are handling them correctly. In order to better understand how to react to and effectively manage temper tantrums, it’s important to understand what causes them. Here’s some advice in understanding tantrums, why they happen, and why they should.

Why Tantrums Happen

We obviously don’t remember what it was like to be a toddler, which makes it difficult to understand the realistic capacity a child has to control their emotions than what is developmentally possible. What happens is, because of that unknown, our expectations as parents can sometimes be unrealistic. The child then can’t meet the expectation, we as parents get frustrated that they haven’t, and then our child loses it, we lose it, and thus commences the tantrum fit!

Another component of understanding tantrums is acknowledging the child’s inability or difficulty to properly communicate. If a toddler is just learning how to talk or doesn’t know how to verbalize the issue or feeling they have, they might become irritated and overwhelmed. Their inability to be heard and our inability to hear them causes the explosion of a temper tantrum.

Why Tantrums Should Happen

Have you ever told yourself that you just need a good cry and then you’ll feel better? Well, there is scientific reason for that! Tears contain the stress hormone Cortisol and, when we cry, we are releasing that from our bodies. Guess what? If that does it for us, it does the same for our children!

Tantrums also allow for better management of emotions in the long run. If a tantrum happens at home, take time to communicate with your child, hear them out, and let them feel safe to have an emotion. The more you do this, the less it will happen in public since they will not be carrying around their pent-up feelings. They will also have less chance of taking out their feelings in other ways such as aggression, having trouble sharing, or refusing to cooperate on simple tasks like getting dressed or brushing teeth.

Why Tantrums Make Us Better Parents

Temper tantrums are a part of the development process for children’s growth and understanding tantrums and why they happen is how we can best facilitate healthy emotional management. Not only is it a process that will teach the child to learn how to better communicate and cope with certain feelings, it’s also a learning process for the parents. We learn about ourselves when we learn how to cope and adapt to others, especially when they bring up new emotions we have never had before.

If this is your first child, then this is certainly a new experience! As the child learns to communicate and you learn the same, you will be growing with your child and building an irreplaceable bond like no other.

Posted in