Like adults, children too have moments when they feel angry or agitated due to some reason and often have outbursts in various forms. And, here it becomes important to distinguish between anger and tantrum. Once parents have gauged the situation and the child’s behaviour, a plan of action can be put in place to deal with both.
Do not give in to tantrums, instead walk away from the situation. If a child throws a temper tantrum and parents give them a toy or a device to keep them quiet, the child will probably think that it works in her/his favour and possibly do it again.
Tantrums are emotional outbursts by children when things don’t go their way. Anger is usually a part of the tantrum. To calm your child, it is imperative to stay calm yourself. Do not, at any cost, get aggressive with your child. A tit-for-tat behaviour will only lead to more tantrums and aggression. They might become rebellious in the long run and ignore your advice. Instead, talk to your child politely, ask what is wrong, and why s/he is upset.
Speaking from experience, my daughter is a pre-teen and throws tantrums now and then. I listen to her patiently and then politely respond to her. I have realised that it’s the only way to calm her down and that aggression leads to more aggression.
It is quite common for parents to punish the child for her/his misdemeanour. However, in such a situation, punishments aren’t the answer. Positive affirmation is. Hug them, express your love with words, say nice things to them, and explain. Just be around your child when s/he is angry. Do not yell or shout just because the child is angry.
Parents often have trouble determining what is ‘normal’ in terms of a child’s behaviour or mood. Some children are more irritable or are easily triggered compared to others. And, much of that is related to temperament. Each child is different, hence the ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work.
Parents need to pay attention and make a mental note of their child’s behaviour. If it is just a one-off case, one need not worry. However, if it happens often, parents have come up with sustainable plans to calm an angry child. Getting to the bottom of the problem is crucial. Analyse if it is the situation that is making the child angry, his inherent temperament, or if it is something that you or others around the child did to tick her/him off.
(Riddhima Kapoor Sahni is a jewellery designer, and daughter of veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor)