Finally, The Real Reason Why Toddlers Have Tantrums
By Ute Fumeaux
Many parents find their toddler's temper tantrums bewildering. How is it possible that a once-sweet baby could fall to the floor screaming and kicking looking more like a wild animal than their beautiful baby? How could such behavior be considered normal? To learn the answers, you need to put yourself in the shoes of both a baby and a typical toddler.
Ute Fumeaux is a mother of 3, and has taken it upon herself to read everything she can get her hands on about parenting and takes every opportunity she can to observe mothers and children around her. Ute's way of explaining tantrums is to take a look at what life is like from the perspective of a baby and then from a toddler's point of view.
For many months, after the baby is born, its parents have catered to every demand. They knock themselves out to keep baby satisfied and comfortable. Each time baby whimpers, cries, burps or passes gas mum or dad, or both parents, are there. What a wonderful life! What wonderful service! Two grown-ups catering to baby around the clock. It doesn't matter if it's 3 in the morning or 9 at night. Mum or dad will be there to change a wet diaper or give a bottle. Sometimes, they even rock baby or sing a song.'
Everything just described is absolutely necessary for babies. They need this nurturing and attention to survive. They need this service and love so they can trust that their new world outside the womb is a good place. If a baby learns he can rely on the world to help him survive, he has the foundation to develop a personality. Babies also need this service and love so they can fall in love with their parents. You see, babies have been inside their mother's womb for nine months. A mother may have fallen in love with her baby during this time, but her baby won't fall in love with her until after he leaves the womb. This happens only if mom and dad are there for a baby.
Now, let's move on to life from the perspective of the baby as he becomes a toddler.
They feel wonderfully secure with the way everyone fusses over them. They eat when hungry and get changed when wet. When irritable, someone picks them up. When bored, someone will play with them. Little by little, though, the toddler is growing up. Soon he'll be able to roll over and sit up. Before you know it, he's 18 months old. Things are changing fast. All of a sudden the 'round-the-clock service your toddler has been receiving begins to slack off. Of course they can't have this continuous service all the time"in fact he may even have to wait. What's really upsetting is that mum and dad now sometimes say, 'No.' In fact sometimes they even get mad at their toddler, and they may even scold him.
As a parent, you can now see how a baby has come to expect that he will have his way. You can also see that, to a toddler, growing up means receiving less service from his parents and having to wait for needs to be satisfied. All this can be overwhelming for a toddler who not only has these high expectations, but who has not yet developed any self-control or coping skills. So when he is faced with frustration, he often loses it. When the world doesn't respond to a toddler the way it did when he was a baby, he temporarily goes into a fit of rage. At this point, he cannot respond to reason. Saying something like, 'If you don't stop I will give you something to cry about,' means nothing to him.
Also, you can see why it doesn't make sense to interpret a toddler's temper tantrum as a defiant act against authority. A toddler in the middle of a tantrum is not defying anyone. This child is temporarily out of control, a little 'crazy.' He cannot help himself.
As your toddler grows, he experiences one frustration after another.
From these experiences, the toddler gradually begins to develop a tolerance for putting things off and not always having his way. But this takes time. While he learns how to tolerate frustration, there will be many temper tantrums. Sometimes, the toddler will fall to the floor and bang his head. Sometimes, he will pull his hair and spit. Sometimes he will kick his feet, or throw things"or throw up. All of this is normal...of course, it's also trying on parents. But now that you understand why toddlers have tantrums, you will be in a better position to be patient"and you'll be reassured that you're not raising some wild animal.
About The Author
Ute Fumeaux is a fast-paced educator who blends the experience of raising her own 3 children with years of study and observation. She provides solid practical advice that answers many of the questions parents have about raising and educating their children.