The art of handling the toddler tantrum
The other night while you had a tantrum that felt like an entire series of Shaun the Sheep but which *only* lasted about half an hour, I was thinking that human relations are very different to toddler relations, and that peeps your age come with a whole set of rules that don’t apply to big people.
For example, if someone cries or is upset, the best thing to do is to engage, comfort and maybe hug. With toddlers, this doesn’t work. Engage and you might get screamed at, comfort and you might get smacked, and hug and you’ll hear louder cries.
If someone has a meltdown, often the best approach is to confront them rationally, or return the shouting or crying. With a toddler, being rational has no place during a tantrum because said toddler cannot hear over his screams, nor is prepared to listen in the first place. Shouting at toddlers to get a grip or to stop crying because Cbeebies has been turned off only adds fuel to an already heated moment – toddlers get even more upset and cry harder.
So I do what I’m not used to doing with people (aside from people who have hurt me or silly people) – I ignore and I don’t confront. And it feels weird to me – like I *should* be doing something else, but I honestly don’t know what. Handling toddler tantrums goes against the grain of “normal” human crisis management, but will probably go a long way in future handling/relationships/management. At least that’s what I tell myself. Let’s hope the neighbours agree…
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