Should We Ignore Kid’s Tantrums
One advice we commonly hear when our kids throw tantrums is ‘IGNORE’ them. But should we ignore kid’s tantrums?
‘Kids only do this for attention.
Ignore them, don’t encourage.
Leave them alone for sometime and they will be fine’.
While this may work in a lot situations, it doesn’t work everytime. Does it?
For me it doesn’t really work. Everytime I face a situation of meltdown with my twins, I feel ‘ignoring’ offends them further. The entire issue gets even more escalated as they turn up the volume further, till it becomes unbearable! They feel neglected and to overcome that they scream even louder!
For us it only gets resolved when I pay full attention to their ‘attention-seeking’ behaviour. I may not give in to their demand but I also don’t leave them alone to cry-it-out.
Here’s what happens when we ignore attention-seeking behavior like meltdowns or tantrums of kids
1. It gives them the message that our love is conditional. i.e., we love them only if they behave well. If they don’t, all they’ll get is the ‘Silent Treatment’.
Even for us adults, it gets confusing when our partner gives us the silent treatment, right? Then imagine how baffling this could get for kids!
2. We miss addressing the underlying issue/ need.
If we don’t like the way our kid is expressing himself at the moment, ignoring him won’t help much. The underlying need that he is trying to convey won’t magically go away simply by ignoring. It may settle down for a moment but will resurface again.
So what to do instead?
Here’s what I do
1. Instead of walking away, try to connect.
In the moment of a meltdown, I try to calm him first by listening, hugging, holding him near me. Make him feel ‘seen’ & ‘heard’ . Once he is calm, then try to talk and discuss about the incident.
2. Try to identify the need/cause.
Is the meltdown because he is hungry, sleepy, perhaps overtired ? Or he is bored, scared, hurt, lonely?
Instead of addressing the behaviour, try to address the need first.
If we stay calm and empathetic in the moment, kids feel we are there for them no matter what. Also watching us stay calm, they’ll eventually learn how to regulate their feelings and emotions too.
Children, ofcourse, need our attention! They’re children. What they want more than anything is our acceptance, our unconditional love and our constant emotional presence.
Did you find this post ‘Should we ignore kid’s tantrums’ helpful? Do share how you handle your kids tantrums in the comments below.
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