Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Temper Tantrums

I keep hearing about temper tantrums. Perhaps because they tend to coincide with the stress of the holidays? I am hearing the way to deal with them is to ignore them. I am pondering if this is the best advice? Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I realize the point of ignoring the tantrum is to make the child understand that it's not something that will get attention. Let's be real though, tantrums get attention, they get ugly stares from everyone around you if this child attempts their tantrum out in public, it gets the ears ringing of the parent who is listening to it, heck, sometimes the whole neighborhood can hear it, if it's a nice day and your windows happen to be open!

Tantrums are a part of life. It's the epitome of a child being frustrated with life. We can all relate. Afterall, how many adults would like to throw themselves on the floor in a screaming fit at times? We've learned better ways to deal with our woes and our children will too. With a little bit of patience.

My kids are NOT angels. I repeat, they are NOT angels, but thankfully, I can count on one hand the amount of times my kids have thrown a tantrum, TOTAL between the two of them is less than 5 times. Acilia is 9, Miles is 4.

There is something I like to do with my kids. It's called listening to them. When they are little, I try to stay on top of things that could "promote" a potential meltdown. I mean think about it, if your child is tired or hungry and you have to be in a store or anywhere for that matter, guess what, it's likely your child is going to object and let everyone around them know it! Not because they feel like being a little pain in your side, but because they genuinely have needs that are not being met at the current moment.

More than that though, they are frustrated. They have feelings, feelings of wanting something, feelings of boredom, feelings of neglect (*no parent I know intentionally neglects their child's needs, but when their needs are not being met, the child feels it, that's all I am saying*)

So, a child is frustrated and having a tantrum. Then, their parent, the one who is supposed to love them, ignores their feelings. Feelings are a strong indicator of how a person handles life and the people around them at the current moment. Perhaps, ignoring a child's "cry for help" via their tantrum, is in a sense teaching them that it's NOT ok to have a tantrum, but does it teach them HOW to deal with their frustration? No. It teaches them to feel brushed off.

I talk with my kids. We talk about everything. Including why they feel the way they do about something. I want my kids to know there is a right and a wrong way to handle their feelings and I empathize with them when they are feeling down. I try to be their biggest fan and I really try to help them to problem solve ways to feel better about whatever circumstances are thrown their way. They are taught how to take a deep breath if they are feeling frustrated or their voice goes into whiney territory. We speak calmly in those moments and we work through it.

If you want to try this, please do not wait until there is a full blown tantrum attack because I can guarantee it will fail. Once a child has reached "the point of no return" they really do need some quiet calm down time. Whether it be in their bedroom, or on your lap. You can calmly explain they are having a tantrum and when they can relax enough to talk, you are more than happy to listen to how they feel. You have to catch them far before their frustration level is beyond the point of no return. You will get really good at catching the cues that lead up to the big meltdown! Trust me! Practice Practice Practice :)

It takes some work, but I think you will be happy with the results. Who doesn't want more calm and less tantrums?


  1. Gosh, one of my biggest pet peeves is to be out somewhere later in the evening, like a restaurant, and to see a parent angry with or ignoring their child for throwing a tantrum. I'm just like, "Hey, it's ten at night, and that's a little guy...I would want to be home in bed, too, if that was me!" I don't have kids yet, but I have been around kids enough to know that you have to talk to them and listen to them (on whatever level they are on). I've left places before I was ready to when my niece or nephew needed something, and I was the one they were relying on. I know sometimes you can't always leave and address the issue right away. but the thing I mentioned--it becomes that no one ends up enjoying themselves (the parents, the kid, those sitting around them), and it seems like a lot of people just suffer through to make a point though it just makes everyone miserable (or so they look miserable).

    I feel like this post is full of a lot of wisdom I need to store up later.

    1. You will be a great mom someday, not because you like my temper tantrum post, but because you are looking into the future and collecting wisdom to use with your own kids!
      Thanks for your comment!


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