Temper Tantrums What’s A Parent To Do? Self Help Tips
By jamiesnest on July 02, 2011
First off let me start out by disclaiming; I am no child rearing ‘expert’ but I am a parent and yep, I’ll go there with that saying “Been there, done that and own the T-shirt”.
There is nothing like a kids temper tantrum that will set a parent’s nerves on edge, bring on a painful shuddering starting from the foot, vibrating up your leg, into your spine and hits your head, make your teeth ache, that will make even the most patient of parents want (or does) scream, SssssssssstTOOPPPP IT!
Makes you kind of look like this:
What’s a parent to do? I’m not here to tell you what to do but give you some ideas on things to try to do. Each kid is different in what works and doesn’t work and it’s all about repetition and consistency with the parent, well, that and….a cafe mocha, vodka, valium, latte to go please! Just sayin’.
What’s really fun (please picture dripping mom sarcasm here is when they decide to have their meltdown in public. You know, where tons of people are that whip their head around, giving you that darted look of “shut that kid up before I ….” Doesn’t it make you want to just crawl in a hole and die? Well it did me.
Let’s start with Infant’s and Toddlers:
So, the short of a temper tantrum at this stage of life is generally about expressing themselves since they don’t have the means to tell us what’s wrong or why they are feeling so frustrated. Even when they can communicate verbally their speech is limited and be honest here, half the time even us parents don’t really understand what they are saying in the first place.
So, what can you do when their tantrum happens? Here’s some tips to try.
- Be consistent. Establish a daily routine so that your child knows what to expect. Stick to the routine as much as possible, including nap time and bedtime. It’s also important to set reasonable limits and follow them consistently.
- Plan ahead. If you need to run errands, go early in the day — when your child isn’t likely to be hungry or tired. If you’re expecting to wait in line, pack a small toy or snack to occupy your child.
- Encourage your child to use words. Young children understand many more words than they’re able to express. If your child isn’t speaking — or speaking clearly — you might teach him or her sign language for words such as “I want,” “more,” “enough,” “hurt” and “tired.” The more easily your child can communicate with you, the less likely you are to struggle with tantrums. As your child gets older, help him or her put feelings into words.
- Let your child make choices. To give your child a sense of control, let him or her make appropriate choices. Would you like to wear your red shirt or your blue shirt? Would you like to eat strawberries or bananas? Would you like to read a book or build a tower with your blocks? Then compliment your child on his or her choices.
- Praise good behavior. Offer extra attention when your child behaves well. Tell your child how proud you are when he or she shares toys, listens to directions, and so on.
- Use distraction. If you sense a tantrum brewing, distract your child. Try making a silly face or changing location. It may help to touch or hold your child.
- Avoid situations likely to trigger tantrums. If your child begs for toys or treats when you shop, steer clear of “temptation islands” full of eye-level goodies. If your child acts up in restaurants, make reservations so that you won’t have to wait — or choose restaurants that offer quick service.
Now, on to the older kids. My “favorite” (ya the mom sarcasm applies here too) was when my son at around 4 liked to throw himself on the floor in a tantrum, face down, kicking and screaming, beating his fists into the floor. Seriously? You’re kidding me right? UGH.
Looks like this:
Sets my teeth on edge even remembering it.
When an older kid throws a tantrum it’s usually about them letting you know that they need to learn the boundaries of what they can and cannot do. Some tantrums can be manipulative, a means to get what they want when you tell him “no”. If your child has learned the habit of tantrums to get their way.
Try these tips:
Anticipate the situations that trigger your child to have a tantrum.
- Keep a positive but firm attitude when you enforce compliance in a situation in which they commonly tantrums to get his or her way.
- Don’t argue if they start to escalate into a tantrum. Simply restate your expectation and say, “I know you can do this. If you throw a fit, this will be the consequence.” Parents please, if you tell them you are going to do something, do it. Be consistent otherwise they will continue because they know you’re not going to do what you say in the first place. Um, I learned this the hard way.
- If they continue on with the to tantrum, step back, stay close, but don’t talk to them until they STOP. If they storms off, let…them… go.
- After they calm down, once again, enforce the consequence that you stated.
Eventually, this will pass as long as……..you stay consistent and oh, my other HUGE piece of advice that BOTH parents are on the same page with the consequences. If your child is allowed to play one parent against the other….yep I’ll say it….you’re, well, in deep Doo Doo.
I used these techniques with my son. We had the tantrums licked in a week but I’ll admit, I was a wreck. Here’s a great storybook to read to your child during this stage of life I like and wished I’d of had years ago. It’s called Emily’s Tiger.
My best to you and good luck!
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