Beating Monday blues, two-and-half year old Megha’s parents had a harrowing time reaching their respective workplace navigating through rush hour traffic. They had left their child with her grandparents and was looking forward to the evening when they would meet their intelligent and mature toddler who was pretty self-sufficient. But every time they returned from office, they observed Megha behaving in a strange manner —- cranky and stubborn, especially with her mother around. She cried till her parents were forced to do what she asked for. She even refused at times to go to play school. Similarly, one-and-half-year-old Rik, a well-mannered boy, turns a super tantrum master when he is out with his parents visiting friends or relatives. He even refuses to have proper meals at any place other than his home.
Patterns of children’s temper tantrums are a myriad mix of emotions and communication gap. A recent study published in the journal Emotion, finds the vocalisation involved in tantrums including screaming, shrieking, wailing etc. follow a rhythm and are almost like a circadian graph showing peaks and valleys. Parents usually feel perturbed by a child’s tantrums, or some completely ignore the cause behind it. Either way, does not help to stop tantrums. Instead, parents must delve into the science behind a shout or a wail and bring about a balanced approach to tackle tantrums.
The University of Minnesota and University of Connecticut recorded vocal evidence of more than 100 temper tantrums. When researchers replayed the audio, they discovered specific tantrum patterns, like yelling and screaming, went hand in hand. Meltdowns be-gan in anger and ended in sadness with cries and whimpers. Spurt of tantrums in urban children have often been equated with rise in modern technology and lack of parent-child ‘connect.’ A recent TIME Magazine article speaks of a study on how digital technology interrupts the bond between a parent and a child, leading to unending episodes of tantrum. As suggested in the article, ‘a technology-free mealtime or playtime might help to ease tantrum tensions caused by modern blurring of outside world with home life.’
Tantrums will subside with a little care and control. Till it doesn’t, wait patiently for that next tantrum episode and keep calm.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.