© 2012 Sedef Örsel Özçelik

May 5, 2008

5 Different Ways to Deal With Your Child's Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums among younger children can be a source for discouragement among parents who feel overwhelmed and embarrassed by them.  The following are a list of 5 effective measures to control and deal with your child's tantrums. 
  1. Do not hit or punish the child:  What I have observed in parks, stores and playgrounds is that some parents' first response is to spank or hit the child.  While hitting or spanking the child might seem like the easiest and most efficient way to calm the child's tantrum, the truth is the hitting would make the child sulk and cry even more.  The younger the child, the more emotionality may be running through their small bodies and the eruption needs time to cool down.  The child who can only express what is inside does not easily control a tantrum.  Time is what the child needs and a removal from the stimulus.
  2. Do not bribe or reward the child:  Do not take the other road and try to calm the child by stuffing candy into her mouth, or by buying her a new toy.  This would immediately calm the child but will also give her the message that in future all she has to do to get her demands met is to throw a tantrum.
  3. Be patient: Keep yourself calm and composed during your child's tantrum.  Make sure you do not start one of your own while trying to deal with the one your child is throwing.  Your child is in the midst of upset, and your job is to remain calm pillar of strength.  Forget being embarrassed, and focus on connecting with your child and moving to the next step.  To calm  yourself, take deeper breaths sing soothingly to yourself and your child, use self-talk as in, "I can handle this right now.  I am calm and I love my child."
  4. Ignore the tantrum:  Sometimes the most effective way to deal with a tantrum is to simply ignore it unless harm is being done to himself or the environment.  Don't feed the disruption in attempts to soothe your child if you are unsure of yourself.  Instead take other measures to play music as a distraction.  Tell him you are going to go into another room now, and he can join you when he's finished, then without punishment or an attitude of withdrawal, simply go to another space.  The child will most probably tire on her own and settle down.
  5. Set a good example: Children learn most of the things from their parents by modeling and mimicking their behavior.  If your child witnesses you flying into a rage every time you are stressed or things are not going your way, chances are she will pick up the same.  Try to keep yourself as calm as you can in front of your child while you deal with everyday situations and life in general.  In fact why not model managing stress with your child as a great role model of taking walks, stretching, exercising or breathing deeply and effectively.

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