Understanding children’s temper tantrums
Sulking or getting angry when they are not satisfied with something are common expressions of preschool children. Those are natural human responses to external influences, helping them control their internal disturbances. Therefore, adults and especially parents should not list the emotions expressed by their children as good or bad ones. In particular, if children have not been equipped with emotional regulation skills, their expressions of temper tantrums such as sulking, crying, etc. are sometimes understandable.
The role of adults in helping children express their feelings
Children’s behavior is a method of communication, especially when their language ability and their brain functions are not complete yet. Therefore, temper tantrums are signs for adults to recognize children’s psycho-physiological needs and give them necessary support.
There is great potential in every child, but they need the companionship of adults to develop in the right direction. Children do not naturally know how to handle their emotions. Their sulks are a reflection of their clumsiness, i.e., they do not know how to deal with their own emotions. If children want to relieve their anxiety but have not been taught how to regulate their emotions before, they may just scream and cry. Basically, these are the natural tools that they have. Such a view can help parents have a more loving, gentle and understanding view of their children’s negative emotions.
Understanding temper tantrums
First, make sure that the children’s basic needs are met. For example, they eat well, get enough sleep, feel comfortable in their clothing or their ambient conditions such as noise, scent, temperature, etc., and they do not feel lonely or embarrassed. In addition, the tension between adults unintentionally makes children feel suffocated sometimes. Maybe the children are angry not because of the immediate problem, but because of the aforementioned reasons, which badly affect their spirit.
Children themselves do not want to get angry if they know positive and effective ways to convey their wishes. To patiently help their children get through temper tantrums, parents can tell themselves, “He/she does not intentionally put difficulties in my way. He/she is in difficulty, and is badly in need.”
In addition, “attention seeking” behaviors can actually be interpreted as children looking for connection. They want to connect with their parents, to be hugged, to show off their achievements, or to listen to stories. A common situation that often happens is, children often “disturb” their parents when their parents are busy. Parents’ usual response would be, “I’m now busy. Be good!” However, because the children have neither worked nor lived in the world of adults, they cannot clearly understand what “busy” really means. As for them, “busy” may mean that their parents neither need them nor want them to be around. Just make everything specific for your child by saying, “I need 10 more minutes [to finish this], then I will play with you,” for example, and keep your promise.
Sharing to better understand each other is one of the practical ways for parents to be friends with their children. If children believe that their parents are always willing to support them, they will easily cooperate instead of crying loudly.