One day, suddenly, that cute, smiling baby turns into a crying and whining child, the kind that will scratch your arm and throw things in your direction. These temper tantrums over nothing tend to scare parents and, before you start questioning your parenting skills, be assured, it will pass.

Take a deep breath! These impulses are perfectly normal at this age. The child’s brain is still developing and they don’t have the cognitive tools necessary to deal with all this frustration and anger they feel when they don’t get something they want. Aggression is an instinctive way to defend these feelings especially taking into consideration toddlers’ communication skills haven’t been mastered yet. Your child doesn’t understand the consequences of these attitudes and won’t be able to stop feeling overwhelmed by how they feel until they reach 3 or 4 years of age.
Of course, it won’t hurt to run a self-evaluation, and examine whether we are aggressively dealing with daily life situations – road rage, cussing players while watching a game, acting intolerant during political arguments – and make sure we can manage our own frustrations more healthily.

How to deal with temper tantrums

Patience is key to several of maternity’s issues – and with tantrums, it’s no different. Even if the baby doesn’t fully understand, explain that you did not appreciate their attitude and that they won’t be able to solve any problems by crying in anger.
Do not fall into the temptation of catering to the child’s wants and needs to get them to stop crying. Wait until the baby has calmed down and talk.
If necessary try to distract your little with a toy or activity they enjoy and wait for the anger to pass.

When the child throws objects or even dares to hit you, it is your job to help them control themselves and express what they’re feeling. Help them name their feeling. Suggest alternative ways to deal with the situation showing them there are better options. It might not work the first time, or the second or maybe not even on the third try, but with time you will reach an understanding.

Read next:

+ How to impose limits for my child?

+ Tantrums and the “Terrible Twos”

+ Frustration: an important concept to learn

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