Autonomy - more than just a phase

What can parents do when children have a "tantrum"?

Article was written on 19.06.2020 by Stefanie.

In our editorial on Monday you have already learned that autonomy, the need for freedom, becomes a basic need as we develop. This begins in early childhood and is like a roller coaster ride with ups and downs. For many parents this is quite a challenge in raising their children. Because often the need expresses itself in the so-called "tantrums". Every mum and dad has probably experienced this at least once. This article would like to relieve you and show you what possibilities for action you have in such situations.

Autonomy - more than just a phase

Thinking and feeling must first be coupled with each other

Already babies have many different and also very strong feelings. However, self-regulation at this age is not yet as pronounced as in adults. However, as soon as the youngest children grow older, they develop the ability to postpone needs. Infants are therefore already able to understand the perspective of their parents. One reason for this is brain development: thoughtful thinking and feeling are not yet linked.

Parents as co-pilots

At this age, children in particular need their parents as co-pilots in order to better classify their feelings. This helps them to learn how to deal with feelings. Here is a small excerpt with the most important thoughts on this topic.

  • Allow feelings and admit them to the child (no matter how stressful it seems at the time, there is rarely the right moment for strong emotional outbursts)
  • As parents remain steadfast in the children's tantrums - this gives security. If you let yourselves be unsettled, this is transferred to your child
  • Don't leave the child alone with the strong feelings, but accompany them and name feelings ("You are angry because...?")
  • If we reject our child's feelings, it learns to suppress them. This can lead to rejection of himself and other people
  • New situations or changes can lead to strong emotional outbursts, but also situations that overwhelm the child
  • Children must be accompanied in their emotional world and must not be left alone. Only in this way can they learn to deal with them safely

Please remember: your child does not have these strong emotional outbursts on purpose or wants to annoy you with them. On the contrary, you can help your child to name feelings and to regulate them.

Children's book recommendation (unpaid, personal recommendation)

The book "The Day the World Disappeared" (published by "Greta's Friends") describes the current Corona situation from a possible child's point of view and is intended to remind us adults what it is like to change perspective and look at the world through children's eyes. And since we are all so busy with the current negative effects on society, a little optimistic sunshine can't hurt.

The parents' hotline is there for you and supports you in your personal crisis. On 24.06.2020 the team of the Parent Coaches will answer your personal questions live on Instagram. Of course anonymous and free of charge. Feel free to write to us and get in touch with Instagram or at redaktion@elternhotline.de. If you are looking for advice, the Parents' Hotline has compiled a list for you here https://elternhotline.de/de/beratung that can help you in your search.


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