Remember that moment when your two-year-old had a major meltdown at the supermarket because you refused to buy him something he had demanded? He may have tossed a few things around and you were not just embarrassed, but angry too. At times, as a parent to a toddler, you might have lost your patience at your child’s frequent tantrums. But as child counsellors will tell you, tantrums are common and natural, during the second year of a child’s development, when they pick up language skills and try expressing themselves. When they can’t, they get frustrated and gradually as language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease. They also want independence and control over their environment. This can lead to power struggles between the child and the parent.
So, there is a difference between usual anger and tantrums of a toddler with issues that need intervention and proper anger management counselling.
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As a parent, you can keep a watch on the following signs to understand if your toddler needs counselling on anger management.
Some toddlers do not just throw things, but can’t control their aggressive impulses and hit people, both children and adults. If this behaviour continues beyond three years and the aggressiveness on the playground, in school or in a social gathering increases, then you must consult a professional counsellor to assess if the child has ADHD.
Frequent explosive outbursts:
If the child gets angry repeatedly, it indicates they have huge pent-up emotions and anger within, that they are trying to vent out. Reasons for such emotions need to be explored and understood.
Tend to oppose everything:
Some children are reflexively oppositional beyond two years and tend to oppose anything and everything one says. This is not normal.
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Unable to concentrate:
Children who cannot engage in constructive problem solving and do not acknowledge their role in creating the situation, instead feel constantly victimized. They might keep complaining or throwing tantrums among friends or even at a birthday party.
If a child throws his or her toys once or twice, that is acceptable. But if they repeatedly damage property, it becomes a problem and needs counselling.
Some children show deliberate signs of cruelty and hatred. Killing an insect or hurting a pet while playing is one thing, as it might be unintentional, but some children target animals and hurt them with all the intention to hurt. Such acts of violence can be an issue that needs to be addressed.
Tantrums, meltdowns, can test your parenting skills. But it is important you keep your cool and handle the situation sensibly, without losing your patience. Remember, the way you handle your toddler who is in the midst of a meltdown or a tantrum, will go a long way in defining his social interactions and ability to control his aggressive impulses.
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