Cry Baby Mums - Survey shows 50% of mums reduced to tears and marital arguments by toddler's tantrums

(September 06, 2010)

Poll reveals toddler tantrums leave mums feeling 'desperate and 'frustrated'

One in two mums has been reduced to tears by her toddler having a tantrum, according to a survey conducted by Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums, a new CD that contains 10 songs to help parents tackle common tantrum triggers by distracting tots with music and games.


And, of those mums, one in five said their toddler’s tantrums make them cry on a regular basis – at least once a month or more.


As well as mums being driven to tears by their tots, the survey results also show that 65% of couples say their toddler’s tantrums can prompt an argument between them and their partner.


But despite these destructive effects of a toddler’s tantrums, and although 30% of mums say their toddler has a tantrum every single day, and 42% say their toddler has a tantrum at least once a week, parents still aren’t sure of the best way to deal with these tantrums. 


Parents are inconsistent in dealing with tantrums, and rarely use just one approach – most use different tactics each time.  A huge 66% of mums say they regularly ignore their child’s mini meltdowns and try to carry on with what they are doing, whereas 52% say they often try to distract them with a toy, with a further 13% switching the TV on. 


Many think punishment is the best solution, with 27% sending the wayward tot to the naughty step, 15% shouting at them, and 3% resorting to a smack.


Angela, mum to Joe-Joe, aged six, and Ollie, aged three, admits her eldest son’s tantrums as a toddler drove her to despair.


“From before he could walk, Joe-Joe refused to get in the buggy. I would struggle to get him into the pushchair and once I had got him in the pram and out the door, he would just scream and scream until I picked him up. It was impossible to go anywhere with him in the buggy. His sheer stubbornness drove me to tears on a number of occasions. At one point, I was so desperate and frustrated, I posted requests on parenting websites asking for help from other mums who had experienced the same problem.”


Victoria Arlidge, a composer with BAFTA and EMMY-nominated TV credits to her name who has also written music for 240 children’s TV programmes, produced the CD Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums, after her own troublesome tots drove her to distraction.


She says: “Tantrums are a very real part of parenting pre-school children, but they can be destructive and soul-destroying for mums particularly when combined with sleep deprivation. As we can see from these results, they can be as upsetting for the parent as they are for the child.”


Top tantrum triggers, according to the survey results, are getting in the buggy (one in seven rated this the number one tantrum trigger), mealtimes and putting on their shoes or coats.


Victoria continues: “Any parent with toddlers will tell you, the most common everyday tasks, such as brushing teeth and getting in the buggy, can be a struggle for parent and child.


“Being a real believer in the powerful effects of music, I wondered why there wasn’t a CD on the market to help parents deal specifically with tantrums, by turning that negative energy into musical fun and games.  So I decided to produce my own.”


Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums consists of 10 catchy songs, and a variety of musical styles is combined with live instruments and fun musical arrangements to help parents withstand endless requests of “Again! Again!”


Each song addresses a common tantrum trigger, and includes a game or imaginary activity to distract the children away from their outburst. For example, the ‘Shoes Blues’ song is a race to get your coats and shoes on; with the ‘Space Buggy’ tune, parents and children pretend the buggy is a rocket ship and zoom to the moon.


Educational psychologist Sonya Hinton says singing promotes co-operation between parent and child, which is important in diffusing the temper: “Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums with its catchy tunes, engaging animal characters and repetition is a delight for children and parents alike” she says.


“As a sing-along it prompts interaction between parents and their infants, encouraging their communication, sense of self-efficacy and independence and above all co-operation. 


“Professionals working with young families will find this CD an invaluable tool in helping parents develop their skills in managing everyday situations with toddlers.”

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