Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is it really a Tantrum?

Krishnan raised an interesting question about what we adults refer to as a child’s tantrum in response to my earlier post, “Dealing with your child's stubborn tantrums”.

That set me thinking. I was curious and looked up the definition of ‘tantrum’. Tantrum is defined as a fit of bad temper. Now is it justified to call a child’s behavior of continuously crying to express her frustration or hunger a tantrum? I would tend not to agree. When children are not able to control themselves and resort to kicking, screaming, or pounding the floor, that may again be due to extreme frustration experienced by them because they have been denied something they want, and their parents aren’t responding to their actions either.

I came across this article titled “A Guide to Tantrums: Understanding, preventing and surviving them” by Claire McCarthy, M.D., Harvard Health Publications. Here is the link to the article http://health.msn.com/kids-health/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100211722&page=1.

Claire has written a very well balanced article on this subject that covers why children behave in this fashion, and how parents can help prevent or diffuse the same.

There is one paragraph I would like to quote that I believe is the essence to understanding everything: “The key to preventing or diffusing tantrums is to understand your child's tantrum triggers, and understand what it feels like to be little and out of control.” I think if we as parents really exercise patience in understanding this aspect, that’s half the solution.

In the case of our daughter after one time she was crying loudly for over 5 minutes when she didn’t get what she wanted, when she calmed down a bit I hugged her and explained to her in a very loving manner that I knew why she cried like this, but why we didn’t give her what she wanted.

To which she nodded her head as if she understood what I was talking about completely. We shall see, if not keep trying harder! :-)