Almost every parent has had to deal with a tantrum at some time or another. Although not all children throw tantrums, many use such episodes to exhibit anger and frustration occasionally. While these episodes generally do not have lasting physical or emotional effects, they can be used by children to manipulate other people and to draw attention to themselves when dealt with improperly.
Checklist for tantrum management
Here are some of the most important things to remember when dealing with a tantrum:
- Do not use the tantrum as an opportunity to punish your child
- Do not offer a reward in order to control the tantrum
- Maintain your calm and try to ignore the tantrum
- Make sure your child is safe
- Try to isolate your child if possible.
- Do not let other people’s reactions affect your actions
As a parent and an adult, it is your responsibility to stay in control all throughout the tantrum. By punishing your child, giving in to his demands, or worse, losing control yourself, you will not only prolong the episode but almost certainly ensure its reoccurrence. If you instead strive to maintain control over the situation, you will be sending a clear message that this type of behavior is unacceptable.
Dealing with tantrums at home
It is generally easier and safer to deal with a tantrum at home, since your child is in what is essentially a controlled environment. When faced with a tantrum at home, the first thing you should do is to carry your child calmly where he can be alone safely. You should then leave your child by himself and return only when he has calmed down.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is absolutely necessary in order to drive home the point that tantrums will not be tolerated. If you have to stay within sight of your child for safety reasons, do not respond to the tantrum at all, and only initiate communication when he has calmed down.
Dealing with tantrums in public
Dealing with tantrums in public is a lot more challenging, although maintaining control is still your primary concern (after ensuring your child’s safety, of course). If possible, you should calmly lead or carry your child to a less busy place, or even to your car. The same principle will then apply as when dealing with a tantrum at home: leave your child alone until he has managed to calm down.
Discussing the tantrum with your child
Once your child has managed to calm down, it is important to discuss the episode as soon as possible. Instead of focusing on the issue that caused the tantrum, it would be best to deal with the behavior itself. It might also be helpful to present alternatives to throwing a tantrum; you might be surprised to find how readily your child will consider them when presented with options.
Dealing with tantrums is never easy, although there are ways to do so without causing any more harm to your child. What methods have you found most effective in dealing with tantrums?
Guest Post by Kole for ivf Burlington isis