How to Handle Tantrums
By Lisa Bunnage on July 02, 2011
Like with just about anything, there are good ways to deal with tantrums, and bad ways to deal with tantrums. I have some effective ways of not only dealing with tantrums in the moment, but lessening their frequency and intensity, if not stopping them altogether.
There's a bit of short term pain for long term gain with this one so be prepared. It's well worth it as if you follow my advice you could have a tantrum-free family. That means less chaos, less stress, and more manners.
What do you do if your child is having what I call an industrial strength tantrum in public? Safety first. Keep him away from stairs. Prevent him from throwing things, biting, head butting, etc. Remove him if he's disturbing others. You don't want to ruin dinner out for others if you're in a restaurant.
Now comes the important part: IGNORE HIM!!! No conversation, no eye contact, no anger, no reaction whatsoever. Difficult yes, effective yes. Tantrums are done out of frustration and are rarely or never done alone. They're all done for a reaction. Attention is just tantrum food. You can pretend to be on your cell phone, read a magazine or anything else quiet like that. Don't have a loud conversation with someone talking over the tantrum as that's feeding it also. Just stay as calm as possible, on the outside anyway.
He may get worse initially as he'll be fighting even harder for your reaction. But if he never ever gets it then he'll eventually learn to turn to other ways of getting attention like manners, thoughtfulness, etc., etc.
If this does not work then there are usually other factors involved and that's more of a private coaching issue. I can help you through these issues and if you'd like more information feel free to contact me.
Happy Parenting, Lisa.
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