Unless you produced an angel (few or none of us do, alas) you as a parent will have had to deal with your child having a temper tantrum. And a child in the throes of a tantrum – yelling, crying, screaming, perhaps kicking, thrashing around – is not a pretty sight. So how do you deal with it? Here are some easy tips.
1. Head off the tantrum
As a parent you will learn to recognize the onset of a tantrum. Don’t let your child get to a stage where he or she will lose control. When you sense your child working themselves up, try and head them off in another direction: get them involved in another activity, change the subject or leave that place. Identify the triggers and avoid them.
Try and lower the chances. For instance if you’re going to the super market with your child, make sure that your child is not hungry, tired, sleepy or uncomfortable. This way the chances of your child making an unreasonable public demand that may escalate into a tantrum are lower.
2. Don’t get heated up
It can be difficult to control your own anger in the face of bad behavior or unreasonable demands of your toddler. However not losing control yourself is vital here. If a child gets a strong reaction from a parent to bad behavior, that bad behavior will be reinforced and repeated.
3. Be firm, be consistent
If you have said ‘No’ to something, make sure that remains a ‘No’ – a protracted tantrum shouldn’t change that to a ‘Yes’. Retain authority and remain the adult in every situation. If one type of behavior invites disapproval, make sure that that type of behavior is censured every time. By being consistent, a parent can help avoid confusion and uncertainty.
4. Create routine
Predictable routines create familiarity and a sense of comfort for a child. Try not to deviate from that routine so far as possible. Also provide lots of opportunity to the child to let off steam. Provide opportunity for physical activities as well as mental stimulation –pent up energy as well as boredom can bring on a tantrum.
5. Don’t let your child feel powerless
Let your child control some of what he or she does and what happens to her or him. What to eat or wear, where and what to play can be their decision to some extent so that they don’t feel powerless. The feeling of doing something of their own volition can help curb anger and frustration.