Nothing says ‘I’m a parent’ like watching your child chuck a massive hissy fit for no apparent reason. Sure tantrums are frustrating, but could we actually be making them worse because we’re doing one of these three things?
Tantrums are almost a rite of passage for every child, from toddlers to tweens and even teens.
Sometimes they happen in the privacy of your own home, sometimes they happen in PUBLIC! Oh-uh!
Whether it’s about homework, bedtime, the way you’ve sliced your child’s apple or the fact you refuse to let them do something their friend is allowed to do. You name it – someone’s thrown a tantrum about it.
Most of the time it’s all we parents can do to not scream like a banshee in frustration at their behaviour and then give in.
But according to parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, this is one of the worst things we can do.
She says how parents respond will determine if the tantrum escalates and how often the tantrums reappear.
As such there are a few tantrum no-no’s we parents should consider.
3 tantrum mistakes to avoid
1. Reasoning with a child who’s in the midst of a tantrum
McCready calls this the ‘talking him down off the ledge’ approach and says it’s something we’ve all done at one time or another.
It sounds something like this…’It’s okay, everything will be alright, calm down, stop crying, let’s go play with your train, let me help you, let’s get a drink of water, etc.‘
She says the problem with this is a tantrum-throwing child is in a state of high-emotion and is not in a position to rationally consider your suggestions.
“Further, the ongoing verbal feedback you provide only reinforces the behavior and reassures the child that a tantrum is a very effective strategy to get attention!”
2. Being firm and then giving in
Yes sometimes we just can’t tolerate it any longer. The wailing, the thrashing, the unhappiness.
“While you know you should remain firm, sometimes parents just don’t have the stomach for an Oscar-winning tantrum and eventually give in,” she says.
“Unfortunately, this proves to the child that with some persistence on their part, you’ll eventually cave if she continues the tantrum long enough.”
Avoid this at all costs if you don’t want to have children who pack tanty’s at 12!
3. Adding fuel to the fire
McCready says a temper tantrum is a power-seeking behaviour on the child’s behalf.
As such, when we respond with a ‘power reprimand,’ we add fuel to the fire and the tantrum continues and even escalates.
“When we lose our temper, physically try to stop the tantrum or spank the child, it proves to him that his tantrum is a great way to upset us, thus exerting his power,” she says.
“While he may not like the power reprimand response on your part, it does serve his goal for seeking power – even if it’s negative power.”
Yes tantrums are part of life but it seems if we’re willing to take deep long breaths and be the adult in the situation, we might be able to shorten their duration.
Meanwhile, here are 11 secrets to taming toddler tantrums!
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