tantrum

Are you Afraid of the Tantrum?

I know, no one likes to have an unhappy baby/toddler/child. I’m not talking about the kind of frustration that comes from being hungry, sick, or teething.

I’m talking about when our kids have a tantrum because they don’t get their way. When they pitch a fit because they’re told ‘not this time.’

When they throw a temper tantrum because you won’t buy them a toy. I don’t mean a one-time occurrence.

Let’s face it, asserting their will is a developmental milestone and we should be happy our children are growing up and starting to have opinions, preferences, and desires. Lebê, lying is also a developmental milestone.

Just because we can expect it does not mean we should ignore it, or worse, condone it by lack of intervention.

Do you often avoid conflict with your child? Or do you just give in?

It must be said that it gives a parent’s heart joy to make their children happy. And how could it not when you love your child so much?

It is our privilege to shower love, nurture and attention on our children in a way that brings their heart joy. Lebê, there will be many times when we do what is best for our children yet they do not like it and it will make them positively not happy.

When you are approaching your child to correct them or tell them “not to do something” do you have a feeling inside that urges you to avoid correcting their behavior or disciplining them to avoid the hassle?

You just feel like not going through it today. Unfortunately, today becomes tomorrow, and the next day, and so on.

You know they’ll fight you, so you avoid correction to avoid drama? While this inclination is felt by most parents, it is just not something to follow. Feelings can aide our will and mind but they should never take the lead.

Feelings can aide our will and mind but they should never take the lead. The more we give in to their emotional outbursts the louder and stronger their emotional outbursts will be.

They will intuitively know that you aren’t going to fight them and they will kick up a big fuss to keep in control. The sooner you quit doing this the sooner their behavior will turn around.

Get a Strategy

We don’t need to parent based on our children’s actions. We need to have a strategy and go by it. Wiha, what’s yours?

What will you do when they say NO to you?

What will you do when they cry because you have denied them something at home? In public?

How will you deny them certain things? Will you say straight up NO, will you distract, will you give choices, or will you compromise? Will you choose a mix of these strategies? If so, when will you use each one?

These are some questions you need to ask yourself.

Stop Being Afraid of a Cry (Tantrum)

For some reason, parents suddenly can’t handle a cry from their child, even though this same baby cried 3-4 hours a day as a newborn and you were overjoyed! We have to get over it, kids will cry.

It is how you react to that cry that matters. Do you match volume and energy of your child’s cry? Using fire to put out fire… that works sometimes, I guess, but I’m no firefighter so I’m not sure how truly effective that is.

If they want to cry for any reason, let them.

At home, I’ll usually calmly say something like, “I’ll wait until you are finished” and go on about your business (while always observing them out of the corner of your eye).

This isn’t ignoring them, it is however, not giving this behavior energy to thrive on. Once they calm down, engage them to figure out what was wrong, and how both of you can come to a better resolution in the future.

It is not your job to stop your kids from crying… it is your job to help them navigate their own emotions, which includes teaching them to control their own emotions.

As you know, they aren’t listening to you when they are crying anyway, so why try to talk sense to them at that point.

When in public, I usually do they same thing, but instead of going about my business, I’ll look them straight in their eyes, put my hands together, and wait until they finish crying.

It helps me not look at others who are looking at my tantrum scene and it provides my child the opportunity to see me completely in the moment with them.

So What Do I Do?

I’m not going to tell you what to do… exactly =)

You are the parent, you need to figure that out for yourself.

What I will do is tell you what I do, which I think is pretty effective.

Let the tantrum be… but on your terms!

Below are some ideas

  • If they fall out during a tantrum, hold their arm up until they are back to standing up on their own and then let them go.
  • Like I said before, ask them if they are finished so you have a tantrum that is 2-5 minutes vs. hours on end.
  • If they are excruciatingly loud, let them know they are crying too loud and that it is hurting your ears (it’s called acting, my fellow parents). They will suddenly be aware of their volume and start to simmer down.

If you consistently don’t accept defiant behavior or reactions then they you’ll quickly find your children are a lot less defiant. If they know that pitching a fit in rebellion to your direction does not work they will wise up.

Imagine going shopping and taking your merchandise to the checkout counter where you attempt to pay with your credit card.

If your card is declined every time, you don’t continue shopping for things you can’t buy, do you? No. You realize there’s no point and you stop.

Your kids will do the same.