How To Stop Aggressive Tantrums In Their Tracks

When toddlers fight in tantrums, they're working through futility. Ease toddler tantrums by helping toddlers cry.
Toddler Tantrums | Stop Toddlers Hitting & Fighting
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How To Stop Aggressive Tantrums In Their Tracks

Tantrums, hitting, fighting, this is a common problem with children. In fact, the aggression is a common problem. In fact, the ages between two and five are the most aggressive in all of development. Aggression is one of the most misunderstood of behaviors. It feels to us as if the child is doing it on purpose. It feels to us as if the child should be able to control it. In actual fact, it is indicative that they are full of frustration, not only frustration, but foul frustration. The way it works is very simple. When we are frustrated, and something doesn't work for us, the first thing we do is try to effect change. Children are up against all sorts of things they cannot change. They can't send a sibling from where they came. They can't get what they want all the time. They can't be the best all the time. They can't win all the time. They can't have the second story tonight. When that happens, and they are up against the things that they cannot change, what its meant to do, when they encounter futility; it's meant to actually move them, the actual tears of futility. It's a wonderful little thing that happens in the brain. The amygdila, the command center of the lymbic system, sends signals to the lacrimal glands, and the eyes water. They can water for all kinds of reasons, but the tears of futility are actually a child has encountered futility and let's go. This is a transformation. We are meant to be transformed by something we cannot change. The key, when a child hits, a child strikes out, or a child smashes things or a tantrum, it tells us; one, he's frustrated, B, he's up against something he can't change, but three, that he has not yet felt the futility in his life. The challenge with a tantrum is to take tantrum to tears, not to add more frustration, not to add all kinds of consequences. It's just going to harden the child.

When toddlers fight in tantrums, they're working through futility. Ease toddler tantrums by helping toddlers cry.


Expert Bio

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Gordon Neufeld, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author, Hold On to Your Kids and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a worldwide organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather of three.

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