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Early childhood education expert says the best way to handle tantrums is to 'just let it happen', sparking debate

It's normal to cry and let out your emotions, and asking someone to 'stop crying' at the moment might make them feel as if what they are experiencing is wrong.

Early childhood education expert says the best way to handle tantrums is to 'just let it happen', sparking debate
Cover Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani

Emotional breakdowns are confusing and exhausting for kids and parents. Parents find themselves at their wit's end when kids go through emotions they cannot fully process or deal with. Maybe it is 3 a.m., and you are sleep deprived because your baby is wailing in the other room, or you are at the grocery store, and your children cannot understand why you won't buy them candies. The meltdowns then continue at home, and you find yourself lost as to what you should do. No guidebook prepares parents to control tantrums and meltdowns, but according to an early childhood expert on TikTok, parents should just "let it happen."

Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani
Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani

 

Relationship coach Jolana Jovani and her husband Russell, an early childhood education expert,  post question-and-answer conversations on TikTok and share opinions from their respective areas of expertise. "My love," Jolana asked Russell in a recent video, "as someone who studied early childhood education, what is something you stand by in parenting?" Russel said, "When our youngest has an emotional breakdown, we just let it happen." Russell delved into psychological reasoning and added, "It's completely ineffective to try and modify the behavior because all rational control is gone. The reasoning part of the brain is just shut down." So, the next time you witness your child crying over something, just let it go and wait until it's over. 

Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani
Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani

 

The same logic can be applied when we tell somebody to calm down when they have a panic episode out of nowhere. It is not much help and only makes matters worse, so the best option is to give them the space to gather their thoughts until they think they are ready to conversate and talk about it. It's normal to cry and let out your emotions, and asking someone to "stop crying" at the moment might make them feel as if what they are experiencing is wrong. In such a vulnerable state, the last thing you want them to feel is misunderstood. "We either just give them some time and space to cool off, or we offer them hugs and affection until they feel soothed," Russell explained. "The actual teaching opportunity comes after the tantrum has passed and the connection has been reestablished."

Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani
Image Source: Tiktok / @jola.jovani

 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents who react calmly to their toddler's outbursts help their child understand where the boundaries are, and promote feelings of protection and control. The late sociologist Murray Straus, Ph.D., added one caution: "When disciplining, it's important to focus on behavior and not emotionally attack your child. People say, 'That's unrealistic.' But it's not unrealistic to refrain from yelling at co-workers. We have to treat our children at least as well as we treat our colleagues." Per Parents, Linda Pearson, R.N., a Denver-based family nurse practitioner and author of The Discipline Miracle, said, "Sometimes a kid just needs to get their anger out. So let them!" 

She added, "I'm a big believer in this approach because it helps children learn how to vent in a non-destructive way. They're able to get their feelings out, pull themselves together, and regain self-control—without engaging in a yelling match or battle of wills with you." In Jolana's video on TikTok, people expressed how helpful this advice was and that it helps to soothe their children. "I just recently started doing this and it’s been working amazingly with my toddler," said @raine_ezra. "Learned this in human resources! it made me a better parent to understand behavior better. Kids deserve parents willing to learn for them," added @raisedfromourdead. "Yes! Just did that with my almost 3-year-old grandson. Gave him space and then he asked for cuddles," shared @forkysworld

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