How To Deal With Temper Tantrums
Every parent knows exactly how tricky and embarrassing it is when they are cornered to deal with temper tantrums at one time or another. Call it a toddler meltdown or emotional blackmail, finding ways to deal with temper tantrums are never easy especially when kids don’t have any reservation in taking the public hostage by screaming their demands to your attention.
You Are Not Alone
According to Dr. Harvey Karp, board-certified pediatrician, associate professor of pediatrics at UCLA School of Medicine, the main reason why toddlers often resort to temper tantrums is largely due to their difficulties in using verbal expressions to describe their feelings or needs. This can pretty much explain why parents to about 80 percent of 1-2 year olds often have to deal with temper tantrums while the issue hits less on families with toddlers beyond 3 although toddler meltdowns are still common kids behavior way up to 4 and 5 years-old.
Know Your Child Before You Deal With Temper Tantrums
The reason why some parents get extremely upset and lost when forced to deal with temper tantrums are their lack of insight to the permittivity of young toddlers which Dr. Harvey Karp describes as having uncultivated right brain to control impulsive actions and emotions. Hence, it is us as parents’ job to find “compatible” approach to deal with temper tantrums effectively.
Initially, the much needed groundwork to deal with temper tantrums is identifying your child’s temperament based on developmental milestone. Another important piece of information to deal with temper tantrums is to know the personality type. By piecing up the behavioral puzzle, you will be able to judge methods that work best for your child to deal with temper tantrums.
Consistency Is The Key
No matter how much you think your child doesn’t like being put on schedule, having timetable will eliminate your frustration to adjust to your child’s preference. Moreover, an effective step to deal with temper tantrums is to let them know (don’t worry if they are still too young to comprehend) both you and your child have rules to follow. Before releasing him/her to playtime, show them in front of the clock (preferably analog) that he/she shall stop the activity when the clock’s hand points at the time you set for other chores/activities. This way, they will have little room to argue and if they put up remonstrations still, consider some appropriate warnings or punishments to deal with temper tantrums.
Warnings & Punishments
Given that children of modern family are mostly spared from the rod, asserting appropriate disciplinary actions is necessary to deal with temper tantrums effectively. Stern warnings (while showing serious face BUT NOT shouting) can usually catch their attention long enough to put your message through but if all fails, you should have no qualms in sending them to time-out corner or chair.
At times, the way to deal with temper tantrums of stubborn child is by implementing a little physical punishment (slapping on the palm). Even though this method may not be acceptable to some, a little punishment is needed to show your serious discouragement towards the unwanted kids behavior. However, note that this should be applied sparingly only to children above 2 as action-consequences is a concept that may not be understood below that age.
Use Appropriate Level To Deal With Your Child
Every time your child lets it out, your first response to deal with temper tantrums should be to stand eye-to-eye with your child at arms length. To deal with temper tantrums, direct communication works the best as your child can read your lips and facial expressions to gauge the seriousness of a situation. While giving him/her your firm but not hurtful grip on the arm, ask what he/she wants or if that’s impossible, help him/her phrase the feelings by finding his/her cues.
If your child tends to be physically rash (uncontrollable) during meltdowns, retreat him to a safer place to vent his anger if he’s at home. If you are at the mall and get stuck to deal with temper tantrums, proceed to check-out counter or leave everything to head straight to exit. Keep a close watch and ask if your child is ready to stop and talk. Have it repeated every 5-10 minutes until he/she settles down. Then, guide with simple phrases to acknowledge his feeling by identifying what bothers or frustrates your child.
Withdraw BUT NOT Ignore
Where else is the best place to assert on your rules to deal with temper tantrums other than comfort of your home? Young toddlers are little attention-cravers and by removing your focus (make sure every family member is cooperative) during the screaming fits, you teach them the consequences of having exactly that privilege confiscated. However, often times parents who struggle to deal with a screaming child may turn helpless and eventually ignore the “annoying” kids behavior. While it is wise to disregard their pushy demands, prolonged ignorance may imply that screaming is normal and acceptable.
The next time your kids throw him/herself on the floor again, walk away from the scene. It can be unbearable to deal with temper tantrums accompanied by high-pitched shouts for half an hour but hang on and see what unwraps. If he/she runs back to you with reduced fits, firmly let them know you don’t like the loud screams and cries, teach them to apologize (yes, even a 2 year-old will understand this) and then lead them onto another activity.
Intervene anything beyond 20 minutes via distraction as it is quite futile to prolong the tantrum episode because toddlers are neither good at judging time nor controlling their emotions consciously. As they start settling down on another activity, try to show by example on how to make proper request in sentence or signing if they are yet to talk. This shall teach them alternative channels to put their thoughts or requests through other than squealing and reduce likeliness to deal with temper tantrums in future.
Life-Saving Tips In The Public
Let Them Know The Plans Ahead Of Time
Just like adults prefer working towards anticipated goals, your child likes to know what to expect when going to “foreign” places. By making a deal on what they will gain in return for behaving themselves, you greatly reduce your chances of having to deal with temper tantrums. Try telling your child that if they will spend an hour at the supermarket without screaming or crying, they get to choose whether to make extra trip to their favorite park or bookstore. By allowing some freedom to choose their rewards, your child will appreciate and keen on following your rules.
Be Ahead of The Tantrum
Have you ever land in one of those days where you still end up having to deal with temper tantrums no matter how brief your trips are? This situation is probably due to your child’s basic needs gone unnoticed. The next time your child needs to tag along, be sure to prep up on the following:
- Bring Snack – Your child needs sugar boost for afternoon trips as their energy drain quickly after lunch.
- Ample Nap – To avoid tantrums, lead them for a cat nap before going through the door, better still, schedule trips around their timetable.
- Bring Their Favorite Item – Store it in your bag and present to them only when situation arise.
Work Around Your Child’s Limit
Sometimes, it is rather unrealistic to think that preparing your trip by lugging enough snacks, toys, milk and nappies can stretch the trip. However, toddlers are still toddlers – they need to return to their own territory to recharge. Hence, to avoid another occasion to deal with temper tantrums, either split your shopping trips into two sessions or concentrate your marketing to things on your list exclusively.
Other Perspectives To Deal With Temper Tantrums
Although most of the time temper tantrums is attributed to development phases, there is a small window of opportunity that patterns of kids behavior are influenced by food and environment. By charting down your child’s activities or food they consumed beforehand when the temper tantrum occurs, you will be able to narrow down possibilities and identify the stressors that led up to their meltdown.
Having to deal with temper tantrums is a challenging tasks and it is very normal to seek external supports by working closely with his/her pre-school teachers and consulting pediatrician to discuss the situation further. With the right intervention, you will eliminate pressure that may escalate to depression as well as bringing your child back to the right developmental track sooner.
Three Biggest Don’ts To Deal With Temper Tantrums
Whatever the cause or trigger that provoke your child’s frustration, always bear in mind that losing your rationale when forced to deal with temper tantrums can lead to undesirable consequences. If you think that you are not fit at the moment to deal with temper tantrums, withdraw yourself from the scene and repeat yourself in the mirror “My child has yet to gain good control over his/her emotion. I need to help, not worsen the situation.”
- Never Shout Back – You only teach your child the loudest wins and no reasoning is required.
- Never Smack – You only teach your child that the strongest wins and aggression is acceptable.
- Never Overuse “Keep Quiet!” or “Shut Up!” – You only teach your child to end dispute by shutting down communication and without solving the problem.
We have heard aplenty that problems should be treated from the root cause – same applies to deal with temper tantrums. If you are the parents to 3 or 4 year-olds and think you are off the “corrective golden stage”, don’t despair. Although it is recommended that kids behavior be tuned since early toddlerhood, you may probably only need to double or triple the legwork to deal with temper tantrums and still get to enjoy peaceful environment eventually.
- How To Deal With A Screaming Child
- Kids Behavior Developmental Milestones
- How To Identify Personality Type From Your Kids Behavior