Temper Tantrums

Three Tips to Stop Temper Tantrums

temper tantrumsIn our last blog post, we looked at the three mistakes parents make when trying to manage their children’s occasionally volcanic temper tantrums. (View the previous post HERE).

Now that you know what not to do, how do we stop little Alexis as she unleashes her next natural disaster of a temper tantrum–whether she’s a pre-schooler demanding a new toy from the store or a teenager crying for the keys to the family car? Read More

Child Tantrums

Child Tantrums: Top Three Mistakes Parents Make

child tantrumsEver feel like you live with a volcano? And at the slightest misstep—for instance, serving a side of green beans for dinner instead of cheese puffs—the child tantrums begin as your child spews hot ash (or emit glass-breaking screams while kicking the wall hard enough to leave a mark) all over the house?

Whether you’re dealing with toddlers that refuse to wear clothes or teens that won’t do their homework, the emotion-filled explosion known as child tantrums are unmistakable—but it can be avoided. In this two-part series, we’ll take a look at the “why’s” of child tantrums, and give you some hope—through strategies you can put to use right away—that your child doesn’t always have to erupt into a meltdown every time you say the word, “no.” Read More

Toddler Tantrums

Tired of Toddler Tantrums? Know the type of tantrum you’re dealing with!

toddler tantrumsThere are two types of toddler tantrums. The first type is displayed by the child who has been dragged around all day running errands, has missed naptime and is feeling “trapped” by the confinement of a stroller. The child who “loses it” at the end of such a day probably just needs a hug in the moment and desperately needs for her parents to recognize and respect her need for routine and structure during the day.

The second type of toddler tantrum is a display of power and is used by the child to manipulate the parents into giving into the child’s demands. This type of tantrum might be a public meltdown in the grocery store, a verbal tirade or stomping away in a “huff” and slamming the door. The child is digging in his heels and saying, “you can’t make me” or “you had better give in, or else”. (The “or else” is the tantrum!)

As frustrating and maddening as toddler tantrums can be, they do “make sense” when we see it from the child’s perspective. The child is trying to get her way and she’s learned from past experience that having a total meltdown usually works! The next time toddler tantrums occur – remember these two key points:

Read More

The Problem with Counting 1-2-3

A woman counts to three using hand gestures.

Counting 1-2-3 to get kids to listen is a popular strategy especially among parents of young children.  The problem is, it really doesn’t work long-term—instead, it teaches kids to do the opposite of what we want them to learn. Think about it: counting to three teaches kids that they really don’t have to listen the first time.  They learn that they’ll have several more opportunities before they have to respond. And wouldn’t we rather they listen the first time we make a request?

If you’ve been using the “Counting 1-2-3” strategy in your home, you’ve probably noticed that your kids don’t exactly snap to attention when you first speak to them. Here’s what’s going through their minds: Read More

Could You Be Making Their Tantrums Worse?

Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes

tantrums_FacebookChildren of all ages – toddlers and pre-schoolers thru tweens and teens – throw tantrums. It may be a bedtime battle, disagreement over your food selection or a fight over homework. It may be a tantrum in public or the “quiet” of you home. How parents respond will determine if the tantrum escalates and how often the tantrums reappear.

1. Reasoning with a child who’s in the midst of a tantrum. I call this, “Talking him down off the ledge”. We all have done at one time or another. It sounds something like this…”It’s okay, everything will be alright, calm down, stop crying, let’s go play with your train, let me help you, let’s get a drink of water, etc.”

The problem with this is a tantrum-throwing child is in a state of high-emotion and is not in a position to rationally consider your suggestions. Further, the ongoing verbal feedback you provide only reinforces the behavior and reassures the child that a tantrum is a very effective strategy to get attention!

2. Being firm and then giving in. Sometimes, we just can’t tolerate it any longer. The wailing, the thrashing, the unhappiness. While you know you should remain firm, sometimes parents just don’t have the stomach for an Oscar-winning tantrum and eventually give in. Unfortunately, this proves to the child that with some persistence on their part, you’ll eventually cave if she continues the tantrum long enough.

3. Adding fuel to the fire. A temper tantrum is a power-seeking behavior. When parents respond with a “power reprimand”, they add fuel to the fire and the tantrum continues and even escalates. When we lose our temper, physically try to stop the tantrum or spank the child, it proves to him that his tantrum is a great way to upset us, thus exerting his power. While he may not like the “power reprimand” response on your part, it does serve his goal for seeking power – even if it’s negative power.