August 15, 2017 — By Wendy Sachs
It’s natural to want to stop the behavior immediately in its tracks and talk firmly with the child. Especially in public, such a display of good behavior gone bad can force adults to snap or feel humiliated. While the notion may seem less than pleasant, more studies indicate that such emotional displays in children are beneficial – and not just for the kids, but for you as well.
Solve the Tantrum Challenge
If you’re tempted to combat a temper tantrum with a time-out or other disciplinary tactic, think again! Often, responding emotionally to a tantrum produces the opposite of results. Children are more and more incited by your reaction.
- Relieves stress: By releasing these emotions through crying, your child relieves him or herself from negative stress. Even biologically, tears consist of the stress hormone cortisol, so when the waterworks begin, you can be certain that your child is releasing stress quite literally. Afterwards, you’ll notice that your child is in a much better mood.
- Improves sleep: When emotions go unexpressed, it can affect your children’s sleep, just as it would you or I! Such stress alleviates itself through tantrums and allows for children to sleep sounder, which is what all parents dream of.
- Learning emotions: Next time your child throws a tantrum, you can turn the experience into a learning one. Try naming and validating the emotion your child is feeling with them, which helps to boost your child’s emotional intelligence as well as shows them that they can trust you with their feelings.
- Cuts down on public meltdowns: If you allow your child to express him or herself fully at home, this creates a more open space. They’ll feel comfortable sharing how they feel with you while realizing that they have more of your attention than they would if you were out in public.
- Embrace saying “no”: A tantrum is typically a response to something you said or did that the child didn’t like – which is actually great! As parents and caregivers, knowing what boundaries to create and how to uphold them is healthy, both for you and the kids, despite the tantrum it might provoke.
It’s definitely not the best part of child rearing, but temper tantrums do present some added benefits for emotional and physical health overall. The next time a child throws a tantrum, try focusing on these positive effects rather than scolding, using time out, or growing angry yourself.