10 Reasons Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums Are a Good Thing

10 Reasons Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums Are a Good Thing

February 28, 2019 | By Shawnna Stiver | Category: Health, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Relationships, Toddler

You’re in the middle of the grocery store when you get the feeling. ‘This cannot be happening. She is not going to do this in public,’ you think. And right before your very eyes, your toddler throws herself onto the concrete floor and proceeds to stomp and kick her feet, piercing screams blowing out eardrums within a five-foot radius. It’s a temper tantrum for the books. Gritting your teeth and putting on your very best “Selling her to the highest bidder” smile, you quickly make your way out of the store and into the car where you’re able to properly discipline. It’s annoying. It’s embarrassing toddler behavior. And often times it leads to a completely wasted trip because nothing gets accomplished. But did you know that temper tantrums are actually an important part of your toddler’s emotional well-being? It’s hard to believe but hear us out! These are the 10 reasons why your toddler’s temper tantrums are a good thing.

They’re experiencing big feelings

Keep in mind, your toddler has only been around for a couple of years and is still trying to learn what this life thing is all about. Every emotion she experiences is relatively new if you think about it. In the midst of a tantrum, she gets to experience these big emotions that include frustration, anger, sadness, fear and more. If you can let the initial frustration subside and let her know that those big feelings are normal and okay, she’ll feel more inclined to experiment with her emotions.

She’s letting her emotions out rather than bottling them

When a child cries, she’s actually releasing stress from her body as tears contain cortisol (the stress emotion). Crying can also lower blood pressure and improve emotional well-being. If you think back to the time when most tantrums begin, nothing pleases your toddler, right? She’s angry and whining, feeling frustrated about everything. And after the tantrum is over, she’s in a much better mood. Tantrums can actually be a helpful process for letting children work through their feelings. Deborah MacNamara, Ph.D., author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers, told Parents.com that “Crying is not the hurt, but the process of becoming unhurt.”  

It’s a way to build self-confidence

The part of a tantrum that annoys parents the most is that you tell your toddler “no” and the world ends. But during the toddler years, this is when children learn to cultivate self-confidence and autonomy. Asserting independence is a normal phase for toddlers as they learn when to need you and when they can do things for themselves.

She can learn to reflect back on the tantrum

Once the tantrum is over, this is a great time to talk with your toddler about what happened, discuss her feelings, responses and other ways you can help her through those emotions. The goal for the reflection is an opportunity for her to think about how she behaved and encourage her to respond more appropriately in the future.

She becomes aware of others’ emotions

If a toddler can work through a tantrum and understand what she’s feeling, this gives her the opportunity to have greater awareness of how others are feeling too. If you create the space of recognizing and sympathizing with her, she then has the skills to react in a more compassionate way next time.

Tantrums help with brain development

Consider this: your toddler’s brain won’t be fully developed until she’s in her 20s. Crazy! Which means that the more you’re able to help her react in a healthy and appropriate manner for a tantrum, you’re boosting her brain development in a positive way.  

She may sleep better as a result of a tantrum

If you try to avoid a tantrum, the result can be a lot of pent-up emotions that your child is trying to release. It can disrupt her sleeping patterns if she goes to sleep stressed out or is still processing what she’s upset over. Helping her through the tantrum not only improves her well-being but also can contribute to better sleep for her (and you!).

Tantrums are a compliment to you

It doesn’t feel this way at all but a tantrum is actually a compliment to effective parenting because she feels safe telling you how she feels. A tantrum is usually a toddler reacting to you telling her “no” and she’s accepting of that, even if she’s acting out. Moving her through the upset feelings and giving her love and connection is really what she needs at the end of a tantrum.

She can learn to channel her emotions at home rather than in public

If a tantrum occurs at home, your toddler may feel more comfortable expressing her feelings because she knows she has your undivided attention to help her. If she’s asked to repeatedly bottle up her feelings, the tension can spill over in the places we don’t want them to. If you can set aside time to listen to your toddler and make her feel comfortable expressing her feelings, the fewer bottled-up feeling she may have when you’re out in public.

Tantrums can help YOU heal old wounds too

Depending on how emotions were accepted (or not accepted) when you were a toddler, it can bring up old unresolved emotions for you when your own child acts out. If your own parents didn’t listen to your outbursts, working through your toddler’s can pave the path toward healing for you too.

It’s never easy to stay calm in the face of big and raw emotions in our toddlers. It takes practice and massive amounts of patience (and maybe a momcation) but it can help your children to express healthy emotions as they get older, which can be a win for you and a win for them.

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