A temper tantrum is a child's means of expressing frustration
and anger. This is most common to kids below two years who are
experimenting on ways to get their message straight. However, dealt
with incorrectly, the child could end up using temper tantrums to
manipulate the people surrounding them. Sometimes, it can even be
carried through adulthood (e.g. the idiom "throwing a fit").
For parents with children prone to throwing temper tantrums, here are some ways to do.
The worst thing a parent can do is to be over reactive to a child's
temper tantrum; especially when you are in a public place (it is as if
the parent is throwing another tantrum into the mix). Handling a
tantrum properly requires parents to stay calm and not meet the child's
anger. Take a deep breath and try to compose yourself before deciding
how to respond.
Identify the Cause
A child does not necessarily throw a tantrum just to get things his
way. Sometimes they just want to tell you that something is wrong. As
parents, it is your job to find out what triggered your child's
outburst. They could be having digestive problems or are experiencing
pain. Check their temperature too.
Do not Give In
Giving in to your child's demands being made with a tantrum is
tantamount to allowing yourself to be held hostage by them. As a
result, the child will be encouraged to use it again and again. If
there is nothing wrong with your child and your child simply wants
something, ignore their behavior or leave them in their rooms. Let
them get the message that yelling and wailing will not give them what
Do not Punish
Punishing the child, by spanking them for example, will not calm
them down. Instead, it will just worsen the situation; it may cost your
relationship with the child. Be gentle but firm as you speak to them.
Let the child understand that you will speak to him/her only when
his/her tantrum is over. This way, your child knows that you are firm
on not giving in to his/her demands but at the same time is reassured
that you are going to listen afterwards. When the child has calmed
down, keep your word and discuss your child's concerns.
If your child usually throws tantrums in supermarkets, malls or
other public places, you must be prepared before going to these places.
Orient the child to the things you expect when inside the premises and
remind them when you are there.
To effectively handle a child's tantrum will mean a lot of patience and understanding. As this is very common to every child, the challenge now is for the parents to get through it calmly without compromising the child's growth and development. Diligent adherence to these methods will help achieve this while strengthening the relationship of the parent and child.