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Anticipating and Avoiding Tantrums can Help Protect Your Toddler from Harming Himself

Written by Sherley Pothen, B.A. | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Dec 31, 2018
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Anticipating and Avoiding Tantrums can Help Protect Your Toddler from Harming Himself

A tantrum is always unpleasant for parents. It sometimes happens so quickly that one does not even have time to react. However, if you have an eye for detail, you’d be able to foresee or anticipate it, and take precautions so as to not let the child get in harm’s way.

  • During a full-blown tantrum, your child will run around and fling any object in his path. You’ll have to be swift and ensure that you clear the child’s path before he topples over and harms himself. You can also hold him back for precaution.
  • Physically restraining the child can at times aggravate the situation. Your child could respond negatively to you by crying louder and choking as a result of being short of breath. The best thing to do would be to release the child and run with him till he settles down. This could be taxing for a parent!
  • Some children may inflict injury on themselves by banging their head on a wall or just dropping down to the floor face down, and rubbing their forehead on the hard surface. You can try putting your hand in between the child’s forehead and the floor or insert a pillow there. Do not try to pick him up immediately, but use a firm and assertive tone, asking them to stop. Do not cajole them at that moment. If you have been maintaining an assertive style of parenting, your child will definitely heed you and calm down.
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  • Your child can stiffen his body, cry out loud, jump up and down, and hurt his heels. He may even sprain his foot in the process and that would aggravate it further. It is best to quickly hug the child and assertively ask him to stop. In case he doesn’t, it is best to release him and say positive things in a firm tone, instead of trying to hug him.
  • Some children hold their breath. This is the most alarming tantrum of all. Do not lose your patience and spank your child - this would aggravate the situation all the more. He may cry and look terrible with his face turning pale or blue, and may even lose consciousness. Approach the child and try running your hand on his back. Use a low tone but do not cajole him. Ask him to stop. You will not see the results immediately, but it will surely pay off. When he eventually stops crying, he will come running to you and your fury will disappear.
  • You need to be absolutely calm, even if the child throwing the tantrum raises hell. Patience is the keyword. Emphasize more on an assertive tone and not a dictatorial one. Say in a low and firm tone, “Please stop screaming” instead of, “I said, stop it now” at a higher pitch. Do not say, “Stop it now or I will spank you”. It’s simple logic - if you were angry and someone spoke to you in an authoritative manner, you’d snap back. Kids react similarly.
Try Running Your Hand on His Back or Use a Low Tone & Ask Him to Stop

Do bear in mind that physical punishment will not serve to correct your child effectively. Research has, in fact, proved that this kind of disciplining has negative repercussions, and even alters children’s behavior, making them stubborn and more aggressive. It’s always best for parents to take a moment when unable to control their children’s tantrums.

Talk to your child. Distraction is the best way to have his attention as children’s attention spans are short. You can make full use of this fact by talking about something totally different.

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Parents need to inculcate positive statements throughout their conversations with their kids. When the tantrum-throwing happens, do not say, “I will not take you to the park today”, or “you will not get your dinner today”. You could say, “We can go swing in the park, stop crying and we can go in the evening” or, “I will cook your favorite nuggets tonight, go pick up your toys quickly”. It might not work with all kids, but most of the time it does. Remember, constant screaming may only present you as a horrible parent, even though your intentions are good. Your child may think that you hate him, resulting in increased aggravation or complexes. They need to express themselves constantly and failure to do that at times, results in an annoying breakdown with yelling and tears. Being parents, you will always have to have an open hand – but that does not mean you ignore their follies and say, “Oh they are just kids”!

If your child finds a game too challenging and starts getting anxious about not being able to solve a jigsaw or a block puzzle, you can offer him a different game and remove the one he was facing difficulty with. Later, you can sit him down and help him with it. The point is to be with your child, communicate and assist him with simple things like climbing stairs, catching stuff that he may throw afar, etc. Ensure that you keep aside time for “appreciation”. When kids are at their best behavior, recognize them for being good. This will help reinforce cooperative behavior and attitudes. Kids will understand that their positive behavior attracts your attention, which is what they seek at the end of the day. It will definitely pay off in the long run. After all, kids do look up to their parents as role models while learning to face the day-to-day challenges of life.

References:

  1. Tactics for tackling toddlers’ temper tantrums - (http://babysleepoby.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/tactics-for-tackling-a-toddlers-temper-tantrum)
  2. Tantrum Therapy - (http://www.tantrumtherapy.com/?gclid=CKP_gPjRjKoCFQ166wodPW4szg)
  3. Tackling toddler tantrums - (http://www.diyfather.com/content/tackling-toddler-tantrums)

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Dr. Vishal Parmar
Dr. Vishal Parmar
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Shri Hari Child Clinic and Vaccination Centre, Borivali East
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