Love em or hate em… the “Terrible Twos” are an important psychological development stage of every toddler. At around 18 months to two years toddlers demands can reach fever pitch with some patience-testing meltdowns!
So why the tantrums? At around two years of age a toddler goes through their very first “assertive phase”. This is one of the first introductions to how they instinctively behave when they don’t get what they want – or alternatively - they’re trying to get what they want! This can give you some great insight into how passive or assertive they are in displaying their will.
Think about it… as an adult – how do you behave when you do or don’t get what you want? Do you have a tendency to be passive – putting others first above your own needs and will? Do you say yes… when you’d really prefer to say no? Or are you the type that is more forceful – ensuring your needs and desires are met?
At the age of two, your child is displaying how passive or assertive they’ll be in pursuing their wants, needs and desires, not only now, but into adulthood. So… the way you manage this important phase can go a long way to helping their ability to assert themselves in functional ways into adulthood. If you’re not sure whether your child is passive or assertive – start taking notice of each ‘tantrum’ or ‘meltdown’ and how your child responds.
If you recognise your child is displaying passive tendencies – you could encourage them to recognise what they want and boost their confidence in pursuing it. Alternatively, if you child is displaying less than social domineering traits – here’s your chance to teach them fairness, balance and delayed gratification.
Recognising their natural talents can also go a long way in channelling their abundant energy into activities that suit their personality. In the “Goals & Motivation” section of the My Little Character Child Personality book, I discuss what motivates your child and make suggestions on activities that best suit their character increasing their happiness and wellbeing. This information is specific to your child’s personality, based on their birth data.
Tips for dealing with tantrums...
Stay calm – breath… having your own tantrum is counter-productive (and serves to re-affirm “this is how you behave when you don’t get your own way!”)
Give warnings… e.g. in 5 minutes we’ll be leaving or if you keep doing that, I’ll remove it from you…
Remove the object… rather than using physical restraint, remove any object you don’t wish your child playing with
Label emotions… using words to describe emotions, saying “I know you want to play with that toy and you’re mad because I won’t let you…”, not only lets your child know that you understand how they feel, it will also help your child articulate their feelings as they develop
Give your child permission to feel… feeling anger is as important as feeling love and happiness – it’s a natural emotion that needs to be felt and worked through – the challenge is to teach your child an acceptable behavioural outlet to release their anger!
Get down on their level… during a tantrum, if you don’t know what else to do… get down to your child’s level, sit on the floor beside them and just breathe and see what happens… likely the tantrum will pass, you’ll feel calmer and better able to implement some of the tips above
Good luck... trust you found the information helpful!