Last week, we talked about why kids have tantrums. This week we’ll talk about 4 ways to handle them. So, here are some ideas to help children learn self-control:
1. Set rules and enforce them. Many parents are concerned with how other people might look at them, so they’ll let their kids get away with things. But you can’t let a child get what he or she wants just because you are embarrased. Forget about what people might say, you have to decide where your real priority is, and that is to teach your child.
2. Make sure your rules are age-appropriate. A 5-year-old may have a hard time keeping quiet in church, so expecting her to do so may be unreasonable. But that same child should be able to keep her food in her mouth when you go out to eat.
3. Make sure you only discipline kids for breaking rules that they know about. Gently remind them by asking whether they remember what they’re supposed to do. If then, they look at you in a confused manner, you remind them of the rule. But you can’t punish them for something they didn’t know they were supposed to do.
4. It’s OK to ignore some types of behavior. (e.g. asking for a toy at the department store). Any response you give to whining or crying, even punishment, shows that a child is in control. If you give in, you’re going to have lots of temper tantrums before they realize it doesn’t work.
5. If they are very young (around 2 years), distract them. If not, then a brief time-out will help them understand how ineffective the tantrum is.
6. Do not yell! Be firm but stay calm.
Bottom line is, do not give in! You are in control! They need to know that the tantrum is ineffective and inappropriate.
Have you tried any of these? Did it help? Do you have any more suggestions?