We all recognize an event that can trigger a tantrum: A dropped call after 100 prompts is one of mine! Fortunately, we all eventually learn that while having a tantrum may give us some release, it simply isn’t an adult option-well, most of us know that!
Recently I overheard a teacher ask one of our moms for a topic they’d like to discuss. Dealing with “tantrums” was brought up with a unanimous voice of agreement. Dealing with tantrums is something we all encounter at one point in our parenting career.
I have good news; we can control the frequency or repetition of the behavior by controlling our response. I know, easy to say, but hard to do. Well, here are four simple steps to help:
1: Acknowledge the feeling.
“I see you are very upset.”
2: Let your child know you are in support of them.
“I would like to help you.”
3: Label the behavior.
“You are having a tantrum and that is unacceptable”
4: DO NOT respond to the tantrum behavior.
“Come to me when you are done with your tantrum so I can help you.”
5: Walk Away! And be consistent, consistent, consistent.
Did I mention, be consistent?
Keep your voice friendly so your child will want to approach you for comfort and help. Remember, something is disappointing him/her.
I am NOT a big proponent of timeouts. I would rather call it a Feel better chair/corner. Some parents have relayed that their child has actually placed themselves in their ‘feel better chair’ when they are upset. You want your child to know you’re on their side, but they also need to learn ways to calm themselves when they are disappointed.
We often tell our children what NOT to do but neglect to tell what they CAN do. Teach acceptable options when the behavior isn’t happening. Tell your child what he can do. The results will be amazing.
When your child and you are in a happy situation, bring up the behavior and ask them what they could do differently next time. I suggest this communication for all ages. Even a 1 year old is learning to communicate and will process much more then you may imagine.
Remember, discipline is not anger; Discipline is teaching with love and support. ENJOY THE JOURNEY!