tantrums and crises

in #education5 years ago

Many people think that the words "tantrum" and "crisis" mean the same thing. In fact, they can look very similar when you observe a child having them. However, a tantrum is very different from a crisis. Knowing these differences will help you respond in the way that is best for your child.

A tantrum is an emotional outburst that happens when a child is trying to get something they want or need. They are quite common in infants and preschoolers, but tend to decrease once children develop language and can express themselves better.

However, some are more likely to have tantrums even when they are not so small. They continue to be impulsive and have difficulty controlling their emotions, getting angry or easily frustrated. For example, you may have a tantrum if you are not the first to throw the ball in a volleyball game or if you pay less attention than your brothers. Shouting, crying or assaulting are not appropriate ways to express emotions, but it happens for some reason.

In short, children can control that behavior. They might even stop in the middle of a tantrum to make sure their parents or caregivers are watching them and then continue with the tantrum. That behavior will probably end when they get what they want or when they realize that they will not get it by acting that way.

A crisis is very different from a tantrum. It is a reaction when people feel overwhelmed.

In some children and adults it happens when their senses are exposed to too much information and they have to process all that "sensory stimulation". They are altered with certain sounds, lights, flavors and textures. You may hear it called "sensory overload".

For example, the riot in the amusement park could trigger it. In others it could be a reaction to having too many things to think about. Going to a store to buy clothes could cause a tantrum that triggers a crisis.

One way to understand the excess of sensory stimuli is the following. Imagine that you are filling a small jar with water. Most of the time you can control the flow of water and fill the jug slowly. However, other times the water flow is so great that the jar overflows before it can turn off the tap.

This is how a crisis occurs due to sensory overload. The noise in the amusement park or the pile of clothes to be tested in the store represent sensory information that overflows the brain. When this happens, some experts think that the "fight or flight" reaction triggers. That excess stimulation overflows in the form of screaming, crying, aggression, flight, or simply isolating.

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The causes of tantrums and crises are different, as are the strategies that help control them. An important difference to remember is that tantrums usually have a purpose, children are trying to get something. Crises are reactions to something, and although they start like a tantrum, they are out of the child's control.

Children often end a tantrum when they get what they want or if they are rewarded for behaving more appropriately. That is not the case with crises. The crises usually end for two reasons: because the children are exhausted or if the sensory stimulation decreases and they feel less overwhelmed. For example, your child may start to calm down when they leave the clothing store.

So, how can tantrums and crises be handled?

To contain tantrums, recognize what your child needs without giving up. Clarify that you understand what he wants. "I see you want my attention. When your sister finishes talking it will be your turn. " Then, help him understand that things will work better if he behaves differently. "When you finish shouting tell me quietly that you are ready to pay attention to you".
To manage a crisis, help your child find a quiet and safe place to calm down. "Let's get out of the store and sit on a bench for a few minutes." Then, act calmly and comfortingly without talking much to your child. The goal is to reduce the amount of stimuli your child is exposed to.
Watching your child have a tantrum or a crisis, and worrying about what other people think can be stressful. Knowing that these behaviors are common and can be improved can help both of you.

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This post has received a 43.5 % upvote from @boomerang.

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