Taming Temper Tantrums
When the moment arrives, you become the center of attention but not because you want to. It could happen anywhere, the shopping mall, the supermarket, the toy store or even the bank. Your beloved child, for reasons known or unknown, has decided to throw a tantrum and now he/she refuses to stop crying. Now we get back to you, how will you respond to this? Parents are put in tough spots such as this very often and the frustration and anger sometimes bubble over and suddenly, a meltdown follows. The nightmare scenario of a child amidst a tantrum and a beleaguered parent’s meltdown in response to this makes for an awful scenario in public. So how do we avoid all of this? We need to start by reading the signs.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Let’s start with the feelings of a parent. Nobody wants their children to be unhappy or throw a tantrum but that doesn’t mean that parents should meltdown or react angrily. A tantrum needs to be met with understanding and soft language by the parent. You can’t bring your frustration or anger to this tantrum because your child will read your emotional state and react accordingly. However, the best way to stop a tantrum is to never let it happen.
So how can parents prevent tantrums? It starts with giving your child your full attention for at least some time during the day. Making sure that he/she eats properly and on time and even gets a nap before going out, is the most consistent and surefire way to minimize any hunger/sleep crankiness. You should also take note of what could be possible issues for previous tantrums, were these tantrums due to hunger or some other factor such as feeling too hot/cold? You can prepare for these situations better if you know what they are going to be.
Use Your Calmness
When your child is acting out and throwing a tantrum, the only person in the world that can calm him/her down immediately is you. The key to communicating to your child at this time is behaving calmly and using a soft and soothing voice. The louder you child screams and shouts, the softer you should speak and the closer you should get. Seeing this, your child will speak softer as well because he/she will eventually match your levels. While keeping the tone soft can work on its own, you can also try to create a diversion or distract your child with a different subject. Sometimes this does enough to take your child’s emotional frustration off the main cause.
Get to the Root of the Problem
While you are calm and using a soft voice to get your child’s tantrum under control, show a sense of empathy for why they are feeling sad or angry. Once they have begun accepting your empathy and acknowledgement of his/her feelings, take the opportunity find out why the tantrum took place? See if you can get them to identify why they are upset and if they can express their feelings through words or gestures, that would be ideal. This helps reassure your child that you can respond to them through positive communication.
Acting Out is Time to Act
In most cases, a calm and soft approach is the best way to resolve a tantrum. However, if your child is acting out physically by throwing things in a public place or infringing on the space of other people, you must act immediately. Get your child out of that place, apologize if necessary and find another spot to calm your child down again. Once your child has calmed down, take the time to explain what went wrong with their behavior in the same calm fashion. They need to understand that public spaces are not their spaces and they need to behave differently outside.
Own Up to Your Own Tantrums
As much as we’d like to think we don’t have temper tantrums of our own, we most certainly do. Our children are often with us watching what is happening. It is important that when you make a mistake, apologize for it or correct it in front of your child. They need to know that you make mistakes too and you have to atone for them as well.
Ultimately, keeping your cool, using your calm voice and engaging directly with your child to find out and understand what the problem is, will solve any tantrum issues you might face.