You are Sunday shopping in mall and you already late for a late evening appointment with your doctor. Just when you thought you could make it if you hurried a little, to make things worse, your son starts throwing temper tantrums for buying the robot toy he broke that very afternoon. You try to reason with him but to no avail. You find you are at your wit’s end. Too Familiar? It is, in fact, every mom’s problem – my kid throws temper tantrums – how to deal with it?
What are temper tantrums?
A temper tantrum is an uncontrolled outburst of anger that usually arises from a child’s thwarted efforts to control the situation. All young children from time to time complain, resist, cling, argue, shout, hit and defy their parents. Temper tantrums, although normal, can become upsetting to parents as they are embarrassing, challenging and difficult to manage. Child tantrums typically begin around 12 months of age and should disappear around 4 years of age. If it continues, then you definitely need some additional help and support. Most tantrums occur during one of these five situations:
- When told “No” and unable to have an item or do an activity.
- When changing activities or leaving a fun place.
- When asked to do something they don’t want to do.
- In order to get attention.
- Parents’ behavior
How to prevent temper tantrums?
It is much easier to prevent temper tantrums than it is to manage them once they have erupted. Here are some tips for preventing temper tantrums:
- Reward children for positive attention rather than negative attention.
- Do not ask children to do something when they must do what you ask.
- Give children control over little things whenever possible by giving choices.
- Keep off-limit objects out of sight and therefore out of mind.
- Distract children by redirection to another activity when they tantrum over something they should not do or cannot have.
- Change environments, thus removing the child from the source of the temper tantrum.
- Choose your battles. Teach children how to make a request without a temper tantrum and then honor the request.
- Make sure that children are well rested and fed in situations in which a temper tantrum is a likely possibility.
- Avoid boredom.
- Create a safe environment that children can explore without getting into trouble. Childproof your home or classroom so children can explore safely.
- Increase your tolerance level.
- Establish routines and traditions that add structure.
- Signal children before you reach the end of an activity so that they can get prepared for the transition.
- When visiting new places or unfamiliar people explain to the child beforehand what to expect.
- Provide pre-academic, behavioral, and social challenges that are at the child’s developmental level so that the child does not become frustrated.
- Keep a sense of humor to divert the child’s attention and surprise the child out of the tantrum.
How to deal with tantrums?
Ignoring the tantrums and helping a young child learn how to deal with anger and frustration are often good ways to deal with tantrums. You may want to use time-outs as it takes the child out of the situation and gives him or her time to calm down. It also teaches the child that having a temper tantrum is not acceptable behavior. Time-out works best for children who understand why it is being used. Understanding the underlying cause can help you both get through a tantrum.