Yelling, hitting, threatening…..When our children do these things, parents refer to it as temper tantrums. When parents do these things, those same people refer to it as discipline. The fact of the matter is, they are both the same thing – a call for help. When a person feels overwhelmed or frustrated, they feel out of control. They have a need for some help but they don’t know how to deal with it or communicate it. Hence, the temper tantrum, whether by a child or adult, occurs.
When our children throw a temper tantrum, we generally have the maturity and coping skills to help them through it. We recognize what is happening and can work with them to find a solution to what the real problem is – whether they have a physical need which isn’t being met, such as hunger, fatigue, or something else, or an emotional need such as expressing their emotions or needing to feel connected in order to feel loved and cared for. We can help our children as they learn to communicate their thoughts and emotions.
Unfortunately, our children do not have the same maturity and coping skills. When we cry out for help, they aren’t capable of giving that to us and the frustration and disconnect we feel doesn’t get any better. We are at a loss and if we don’t change something, we continue down the same path.
It is impossible to control another person. The only person we can control is ourself. So, if the situation isn’t going well, then we need to change something about the situation in order to cut down on our frustration (or whatever else we are feeling) so that we can get control over ourselves again. Rather than thinking about how we can control someone else, we can focus on how to bring control for everyone back by bringing control to the situation. A really good way to break the cycle, give yourself a break, and get the situation going in a better direction is to do something to reconnect with your child – totally different than what you may feel like – but it’s really what everyone needs. When we are connected with our children, everyone is more willing to work with each other. When there is disconnect, everything gets out of whack.