Hysterics in kids. How to deal with the problem

Hysterics is a state of extreme nervous excitement, which often results in a loss of self-control. In children from 1 to 5, hysterics manifests itself in screaming, crying and rolling on the floor. Sometimes, in a fit of hysteria, children can even bang their heads against the wall, bite themselves or others. Kids cannot adequately perceive the usual methods of communication in this state, and therefore it’s often no use trying to explain something to them in this condition. Often, kids use hysterics as a means of controlling the parents. Temper tantrums is a problem in almost every family with kids.

Hysterics in kids

Reasons for hysterics and temper tantrums in kids.

  • The child needs some attention.

To avoid hysterics for this reason, warn the child that now you are busy and think of some interesting activities for him.

  • The kid wants to achieve something desired.

Your kid wants potato chips instead of corn flakes for breakfast and he screams and beats you… This is hysterics, and all you can do in this situation is to say «no» and to go about your business.

  • Inability to verbalize discontent.

Inability to express discontent or desire in words is a very frequent reason for temper tantrums in kids. You must teach your toddler to express emotions in other ways. Talk to him and read him stories — these will improve his speaking skills.

  • Fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger.

For children who are prone to having hysterics daily routine is very important. They must have meals and be put to bed on time to avoid fatigue. Don’t play active games with your child before bedtime. Don’t often go to crowded and unfamiliar places with him — as it may be too exiting. In the morning, before going to kindergarten, wake your baby in advance and give him time really to wake up and to get ready.

  • Sickness, illness.

If your baby has some health problems at the moment, his hysterics may become more frequent and prolonged. Your task is to create a gentle psychological atmosphere, but you mustn’t humour all the child’s caprices even if he is ill.

  • Desire to imitate adults or peers.

It is absurd to require good behavior, if you yourself are often frustrated and nervous or when you are not satisfied with something. Behave the way you want your child to behave. If hysterics and caprices are typical of your child, you should try to explain to him that he behaves badly. I have children myself and I realize how useless this advice may seem, but each act of communication is important in the family, so don’t minimize the effect of your communication with your kid. You never know, which words can help your child understand his inner state and help him stop being naughty all the time. Try different approaches!

  • Basic errors in education.

It often happens that we, ourselves, provoke temper tantrums in children. This occurs when parents and grandparents are too strict to kids and suppress their autonomy and initiative.

At the same time, lack of necessary parental care and unclear parental attitude to a child’s behavior, as well as an indefinite system of rewards and punishments negatively affects the child. All these breed permissiveness, self-doubt, and inability to define the boundaries of behavior.

Excessive care, indulging the kid’s every whim, lack of reasonable requirements also lead to frequent temper tantrums in children.

Education plays an undoubtedly big role in shaping the child’s behavior, but it is only one of the provoking factors. The root of hysterics lies in the peculiarities of your child’s nervous system. In early childhood, these peculiarities are manifested most clearly.

Types of nervous system and temper tantrums in kids.

There are several types of children nervous systems. Each type has its own characteristics, which can help your determine which type your kid has. After identifying, parents need to work out the correct tactics of education, which will help the child adapt to different life situations, grow up confident and able to overcome stress. Let’s discuss the basic types of nervous systems in children and how parents need to behave to avoid conflicts and hysterics.

Weak type of nervous system.

It is characterized by slow processes of excitation and inhibition. Such a child is very impressionable, susceptible to anxiety and fears. He is, as a rule, uncommunicative and self-contained. Such children do not like conflicts, and do not tolerate changes in their lives. Often they have low self-esteem, but they know how to adequately analyze feelings and emotions. Such children rarely show emotions with a loud cry, their discontent is usually expressed with a prolonged whimper that will not stop as long as you do not pay attention to it. In stressful situations, children with week type of the nervous system will be paralyzed, they can lose control over their behavior. In stressful situations such children are capable of unpredictable actions. They often have unstable appetite and sleeping problems.

What to do?

  • try to be patient;
  • do not skimp on well-deserved affection and praise;
  • often involve him in the conversation with relatives;
  • engage him in household chores;
  • often ask him for help;
  • let him have plenty of rest,
  • avoid noisy places and activities, sudden changes in life.

Strong type of nervous system.

The processes of excitation and inhibition are balanced. Such children are rarely in a bad mood. They become nervous only due to serious reasons. They easily communicate with children, and easily adapt to different situations. They resolve conflicts easily and quickly. They often change their hobbies, and often do not keep their promises. Such children are easy to educate, they rarely create problems and rarely have temper tantrums. However, if you systematically violate their daily regime, such children begin to change and act like children with a weak nervous system.

What to do?

  • Keep to daily routine;
  • Avoid crowded places and noisy activities for some time.
  • Think of a new hobby for your child.

Unbalanced type of nervous system.

The processes of excitation prevail over inhibition. These children are high-strung, even a new toy may cause a violent reaction. They don’t sleep long and deep, they wake up from the slightest rustle. They are often noisy, and like to be in the center of attention. Children with unbalanced type of nervous system like to be leaders. If you bluntly point at his errors, he gets angry and begins to shout, and if it works with you, get ready to constant scandals and hysterics, because now he will use this method of achieving what he wants.

What to do?

  • Educate these children unobtrusively;
  • Teach them patience;
  • Learn to feel the moment when your child stops to listen to you and begins to confront you — change the subject;
  • Periodically gently tell him that his behavior is not always correct;
  • Serve him the example of calmness, such kids like to imitate adults.

Slow type of nervous system.

Inhibition dominates over excitation. Such babies are fast asleep, eat well, and quickly gain weight. These children are calm, considered, they are comfortable in solitude when no one distracts them from thinking or playing. They always bring their work to the end. They are afraid of mood swings in other people. They are restrained in emotions, therefore, it’s often difficult to understand their state of mind. These children know how to be a good friend and appreciate friendship.

What to do?

  • Stimulate the child to actions;
  • Choose activities and games where you have to run or to talk loudly;
  • Do not scold your child for tardiness — before to do something he needs to gather his thoughts and understand what is required of him;
  • Do not rush to do everything for the child (because it’s faster);
  • Help him to overcome his inertia;
  • Sometimes arrange competitions, and be sure to play along.

Usually children with weak and unbalances nervous systems are more prone to having temper tantrums.

In babies under 1 year old, tantrums can be expressed in heart-rending bouts of prolonged crying because of a wet diaper, hunger, long intervals between periods of sleep, etc. They are very difficult to soothe, even if these inconveniences were eliminated. Such hysterics are often caused by serious reasons, such as intracranial pressure or congenital brain diseases. So it’s better to consult a neurologist.

Tantrum stages

There are 3 stages of hysterics in kids.

  1. Stage of screaming — the kid screams hysterically, demanding nothing and seeing no one around.
  2. Stage of motor excitation — the kid starts throwing things, and if there isn’t anything to throw, he just stomps his feet.
  3. Stage of crying — the baby is crying and sobbing with a suffering look.

If you don’t pay attention, there won’t be any third stage. In the third stage you must help the child to calm down, or it may last indefinitely long, as it is difficult for your kid to cope with all these emotions. Embrace your baby, put him on your knees. The exhausted child will calm down, most likely he will want to lie down or even to have a sleep.

How to avoid temper tantrums?

What to do to stop constant tantrums?

  1. An explosion of emotions is easier to prevent than to stop.

Try to prevent hysterics in your kid. Monitor initial changes in his mood (dissatisfaction, irritation, tearfulness), and be ready to distract the baby from the situation, which can cause a negative reaction. You can offer to do something else, to draw the child’s attention to any other object or phenomenon. Sometimes tantrums can be prevented by simple manifestations of sympathy for his bad mood. Just talk to your child, try to comfort him, hug him or gently pat on the head. The child is not always able to understand and explain his bad mood, therefore, help him to put into words what he feels, give him the opportunity to relax, to eliminate this stressful situation. Over time you will successfully learn to use this method.

But remember, this method is effective before a tantrum. It does not work if hysterics comes into its first stage. To distract the child during this period is almost impossible.

  1. Let your child understand that his hysterics won’t change your opinion.

If a tantrum begins, stop talking to your child. Talking and explaining will not help, and may even intensify symptoms of hysteria. Pretend you don’t see it. You can even put on the headphones, but don’t react. Calm down the child in the third stage.

  1. During a tantrum you need to isolate the child

Take your child to a remote place where are no children, toys and TV. Let him know that when he behaves this way, he will not be allowed to play with other children. Give him time to calm down. But watch him during hysterics as he may hurt himself. The main thing at this time for you is to remain calm yourself. Youк child also needs to understand that hysteria is not an excuse to shirk homework or housework. When he is back to normal, he must finish his chores.

  1. Your tactics during hysterics should always be the same.

The algorithm of your actions must be always the same even if hysterics begins in public places. Yes, it can be frustrating, but find the strength and be confident that you are doing this for the good of your child. If such flashes of emotions arise while dealing with other people, you need to tell them how to behave properly in such a situation and to warn them not to pay attention to your child until he calms down.

  1. Tell your child how to express dissatisfaction in a civilized way.

Usually kids have tantrums because they do not know how to express their feelings. Let them know that nothing is strange in his bad mood, that all people sometimes get upset. Teach him the words that adult use when they are upset (for example: I’m angry, I’m nervous, I’m very unhappy, I’m sad, I’m bored) and rehearse them with your child. Praise him every time he speaks about his troubles. This really helps as children like to behave like adults.

To combat tantrums, you need to be able to remain calm. You should be able to restrain yourself. If you get angry, take a deep breath, and leave your child for 3 minutes in another room (only in case, if his hysterics are safe for his health and if you are sure he won’t hurt himself). You need to lose eye contact with the child. But before that, tell him that you give him time to calm down and that you’ll be back. Use the same phrase each time and do not say anything more. This method is called «timeout». It is simple, versatile and can help to control anger.

After your kid’s temper tantrums, behave as if nothing had happened. Let the child to deserve your affection again. After two or three weeks of using such methods, tantrums should become less frequent.

If, despite your efforts and patience, the bad behavior still persists, you need to contact the neurologist.

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