You may feel like perfect parents when your kids are all smiley and at ease, but equally helpless and overwhelmed when they are on the floor, kicking and screaming. However, toddler tantrums are a crucial part of a child's emotional health and well-being, and you can learn to be calmer when it comes to handling them.
Here are 10 reasons why your toddler's tantrum is actually a good thing.
1. Better out
Tears have cortisol in them, and cortisol alleviates stress. When children cry, they actually feel better and a lot calmer when they’re done. Also, tears lower blood pressure and improve emotional well-being, provided there's a loved one close for support.
2. Crying aids learning
Often, when a child is struggling emotionally, venting their frustration helps them clear their minds, creating space for something new. Learning is as natural to children as breathing, but when a child is facing difficulty concentrating or listening, there's usually an emotional issue at play. Research suggests that a child must be happy and relaxed, for comprehension to take place, and being emotionally sorted is essential to the process.
3. Better sleep
Sleep issues generally occur when parents think that the best way to discourage tantrums is by avoiding them. In such cases, the child's suppressed emotions surface when his/her brain is at rest. Just like their parents, even children wake up stressed, trying to process something unsettling that's going on in their lives. Allowing your child to go through this positively impacts his/her emotional well-being and aids sleep.
4. Saying "no" is a good thing
Chances are, your child is throwing a tantrum because he/she is being denied something. And that's actually a good thing! Denying them something gives your child clear boundaries about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
5. He/she feels safe to tell you about his feelings
A tantrum is an indirect compliment, even if it doesn't always feel that way! In most cases, tantrums aren't meant to be manipulative. The child is making his/her peace with the "NO", and the tantrum is just an involuntary expression of his/her feelings. The best advice would be to stand firm and empathise with your child's feelings.
6. Tantrums bring you closer
It may be hard to believe it at the time but wait and watch. Your angry child may not look like he.she appreciates your presence, but they really do. Let them go through the emotional turmoil without trying to stop or 'fix' them. Don't chide or reassure him/her with kind words. Hug your child and he/she will soak up your unconditional love, getting him/her closer to you.
7. They help your child's behaviour in the long run
Sometimes, a child's emotions surface in other ways, such as aggression, having trouble sharing, or refusing to cooperate on simple tasks, like getting dressed. These are indicators that your child is struggling with his/her emotions. Having a major tantrum helps your child release feelings that can get in the way of their natural, cooperative self.
8. If it happens at home, there's less chance it will happen in public
When children get to fully express themselves, they will often choose to have their outbursts at home, where they sense there's an audience. The more children are instructed to 'keep it together' at home and outside, the more the tension bottles up inside of them. Find time and space to listen to your child's feelings and the causes for their disappointments, and the chances of a tantrum thrown in public will be lowered.
9. Your child is doing something that people your age have forgotten how to do
As they get older, they will cry less. As they mature, they will learn to keep their emotions under control. Also, they will learn to 'fit into' a society that doesn't appreciate juvenile emotional expression from people of a certain age. As a parent, you will be able to relate to this. Sometimes you may need a good cry too, but you hold back. And this should make you all the more empathic towards your children. Let your child cry, as it’s important that their emotions flow freely.
10. Tantrums are healing for you too
When parents are present during their child's tantrum, it brings up memories of their childhood. It is possible that your parents may have turned a deaf ear to your outbursts when you were a child. So, when your kid's sad face triggers memories of your treatment as a child, which you may not even be conscious of, you understand how to handle your child in the best way possible. Parenting can help deal with your own emotional challenges.