© 2012 Sedef Örsel Özçelik

May 7, 2008

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

In addition to the previous posting, here are 5 more ways to deal with your young child's temper tantrum:
  1. Praise the child when she ends the tantrum: It is a well acknowledged fact that positive reinforcement ensures repetition of behavior.  While that reinforcement should not be materialistic, do make sure it is verbal.  Offering verbal congratulations for a child's end of the tantrum expresses that you value that ability.  Praising your child when she ends the tantrum would ensure that the span of the next tantrum may be shorter.  Next, offer your child another activity to refocus attention and soothe emotions.
  2. Teach the child healthier ways to express anger:  Take it upon yourself  to teach your child healthier and more effective means to express her anger.  Tell her that she has a better chance of being heard and understood  if she makes it clear that she is angry and why.  To teach your child to verbalize her anger would not only reduce and with time finish off the temper tantrums, but would also make your child more  communicative and verbal.  Another option is to ask your child, "Try another way," to managing and emotion or to respond to you when you ask, "Show me what you want."  Take her by the hand and be willing to be shown.
  3. Reason only when the child is calm:  To reason with a child throwing tantrum is useless and next to impossible.  Logic rarely works in a fit of emotion.  Instead wait till the yelling and crying is over and then talk with an older child.  This will make the child more receptive  and you have a much better chance of being heard.
  4. Do not take the child on a guilt trip:  Temper tantrums are not uncommon and specific to your child alone; hence do not make her feel that way.  Making a child feel guilty about throwing a tantrum could either make the child rebellious or make her retreat into a shell.  Both scenarios  are bigger problems.  So instead of making your child feel bad about throwing a tantrum, explain her why tantrums are unhealthy and uncalled for.
  5. Connect with your child's needs:  A  child throws  a tantrum  for a reason.  As a parent, your are supposed to be able to figure this out, as if by magic.  One way is to read up on the developmental needs of a child at each age.  Another way is to use your intuition  and "feel" your child's needs.   A third way is to observe the environment  and seek  to know what might  have triggered the disruption and remove the stimulus.  A final  technique is empathy.  If your body exploded in eruptions of tears and release, what would you need?  ....To be held, spoken to reassuringly, taken out of the environment, loved??? Connect with your child's needs through empathy and give her the positive message that you take seriously.  Not only will this give you a better chance of being heard, but will also  help your child develop a mature state of mind.  Once your child understands that you understand her, she will give you better responses.

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