Toddlers Aren’t Defiant, Just Often Misunderstood

We love kids and know just how tough it is to be a parent nowadays, given the fact that your workspace, place for rest, and your kid’s playground environment have been merged into one single place called your home for the past year or so. And while most parents have the ability to deescalate and control a not-so-pleasant situation, the infamous toddler tantrums are among the worst scenarios any first-time mother and father could ever encounter.

However, what most families often fail to perceive is that tantrums aren’t actually a form of defiance but your kid’s way of communicating their misunderstanding, meaning that a lot of people are approaching their kid’s responses the wrong way. And so, to help clear up said misunderstanding and help first-time parents make their way through the toddler stage, we’ll be going over the different facets of a toddler’s meltdown, why it happens, and where your intervention begins.

Those Aren’t Meltdowns; It’s Them Trying To Learn.

Firstly, we must stop associating your child crying or misbehaving out of spite with a negative tone because these meltdowns don’t stem from ill intent, but rather it’s them trying to learn and make sense of the world and their mistakes. Learning new things and soaking so much knowledge and rules at a rapid pace can be stressful for your kids, and if the environment offers no support to lean back on, then it’s no surprise why they resort to emotional outbursts and distress.

  • Preference For Consistency And Order

You see, unlike adults who have the capacity to make conscious decisions of being flexible and adapting to changes, toddlers are still busy familiarizing the current boundaries set before them. Therefore, they largely prefer consistency in both the games they play, the utensils they use, or their schedule throughout the day because it’s their form of learning mastery from their perspective.

  • Desire For Freedom And Independence

While your toddler may have a couple of years under their belt, these memories are fleeting and can hardly pass as wisdom for the long term. They have a strong desire for freedom and independence, which explains why you’ll often find them rushing for every little thing that piques their curiosity or at the opportunity to try something by themselves.

  • Tendency To Be Emotionally Volatile

Apart from the physical development of their body and fine motor skills, a toddler also goes through emotional development and maturity, which means moments of emotional volatility are expected. Toddlers are very easily irritated and frustrated when things don’t go as planned, but their expressions aren’t out of pure anger and hate; it’s them trying to learn how to express their emotions properly and honestly.

Lead With A Guiding Hand, Not An Iron Fist

Secondly, we strongly recommend that you avoid any far disciplinarian tactics in teaching and responding to a toddler’s tantrums because an iron fist often leaves the impression of an unloving parent. Instead, you’ll want to observe and lead with a guiding hand, one that provides ample freedom for your child to learn and explore, but not too laissez-faire that you show no interest in their actions.

  • Communicate But Also Set Limitations

Toddlers are curious about every little thing. Communication is one of the simplest ways to get their attention and teach them essential pieces bit by bit. So, always offer feedback in the form of them asking and you answering their queries, interjecting the limits you’ve set, and helping them understand the reason behind it to nurture their cognitive growth.

  • Always An Opportunity To Teach & Learn

While some parents would argue that a balance of rewards and punishments plays a key role in teaching responsibility, a better approach would be seeing every crossroads as an opportunity to teach and learn. So, instead of losing your cool or resorting to damage control, employ a bit of creativity on how you can support your toddler, whether through involving them in problem-solving or helping them manage their expectations.

Extra Learning Resources Are Well Appreciated

Lastly, never turn down an opportunity to further your knowledge of parenting and equipping yourself with timely skills that can aid in the guidance of your child. Remember, there are only so many tips and principles we can squeeze into one good read, so spending ample time studying books or reviewing psychotherapy videos will provide a deeper understanding. Learning is always a lifelong process, and that goes double for first-time parents.

Let Your Unconditional Love Rise Above

Overall, no matter how stressful times may get, never forget to let your unconditional love for your kids rise above everything else. Love is what holds a family together, and it’s also what keeps it strong during tough battles. So don’t let one blunder blind you from that beautiful truth.

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