Why Not To Stop Toddler Tantrums — And What To Do Instead

Parents, don't stop toddler tantrums. Just reassure toddlers after a tantrum and help with "big feelings."
Toddler Tantrums | Don't Stop Toddler Tantrums, Embrace Them
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Why Not To Stop Toddler Tantrums — And What To Do Instead

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Parents have a lot of concerns when their children have temper tantrums. I think we first have to define temper tantrums. Toddlers are stressed and they have very few ways of relieving that stress. Temper tantrums can be the most effective way for them to relieve that stress. It is normal for a child to have a temper tantrum. If you'll notice, after a child has a temper tantrum, if they've been supported, they are more affection, calmer, and more centered. We don't have to stop the temper tantrums. You can say, "Wow, you are having big feelings. I'm here if you need me." Giving that message is saying to the child that you can be there for them, even when they have intense feelings. When the frequency of the temper tantrums increase, we may have to look at the structure of the day. Is the child being too stressed out? Often with toddlers, you can decrease the amount of stress by reducing the amount of transitions during the day. Children's behavior give us really important information about the level of stress that they have, and how they are handling it.

Parents, don't stop toddler tantrums. Just reassure toddlers after a tantrum and help with "big feelings."

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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through Amazon.com

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