Are you a parent? Do you remember being stressed in time of your kid’s tantrum? Tantrums and tears are a common part of a parent and child relationship. Those are some of the most testing moments we have had as parents. Some so stressful, that we have even questioned why we chose this path in the first place?
Other times, we have dreaded our daily encounters with our children for the fear of
encountering yet another temper tantrum. Our parenting stress turns out to be not very unusual amongst parents.
What is not helpful in times of tantrums, are our initial reactions. Here is an example list I made that enlists “not so helpful” parenting responses.
Here are things YOU DO NOT SAY OR DO when your child is throwing a TANTRUM
- Yell at the child
- Spank the child
- Throw a tantrum yourself
- Cry yourself
- Throw some object at the wall or on the ground out of despair
- Lecture the child
- Throw tantrums at your partner
- Give a punishment
- Shouting CALM DOWN
- Asking “what is wrong with the child”
- Asking “what their problem in life is”
- Asking them to keep quiet
- Asking them to “please stop crying” for god sake
- Hitting your hands on the wall
- Making empty threats
- Call yourself a failure
Some Reasons on why these do not work on TANTRUMS
- Think of yourself in a situation where you are feeling angry or hurt and now imagine an elderly person coming and shouting at you instead of trying to understand what is really going with you. Yelling and spanking a child will temporarily solve the problem but will drive them away from us in the long term where the children will be afraid to share with us their deepest fears and secrets.
- Calling yourself a failure or throwing a temper tantrum makes yourself turn into a victim. The last thing a child needs is a parent who has turned themselves into a victim and now wants the child to soothe them. Again imagine yourself in a situation where you are angry and now you are having to calm the other person down.
- The child has less attention span depending on the age. A lecture will not help them as after first couple sentences, it will not be easy for them to keep up
- If you are threatening your kids, then empty threats may make them more empowered in throwing tantrums as they know you will never ever do these things. They will use these threats against you next time you want them to do something for you.
Here is what you can do instead…
- Create a win-win situation – Let go of your ego and see if you can come to a compromise with your child
- Let child do what he/she wants – This cannot be implemented where safety is concerned but in all other areas like maybe choosing clothes for a function they can do whatever they want to do and face natural consequences of their choice. You can at a later time let them know consequences of their action. Unfortunately during the time of the tantrum, it might not be the best time for a lecture (Examples of natural consequences: they chose a dirty shirt to wear and everyone called it dirty. They chose not to go to school, now they have missed XYZ that was fun. They chose to go to school late, so now they have tardy, they chose to play video games, so now they have lower grades) A lot of times my kid has chosen my point of view instead of acting on his own when I let them do what he wanted.
- Take them to a different room – Give them a timeout without calling it a timeout. Give them a moment to calm down. Let them cry it out and stay away but close by and do not react to anything they do.
- Hand them pencils and paper and color with them – They may or may not join you but it will help you calm down and once they are calm, they will come join you.
- Drink a glass of water – Water helps us cool down and gives us a moment in between and helps us recollect ourselves before we react.
- Go to the bathroom – Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. This will give you a moment as well
- Take 3 deep breaths in and out – Start with breathing out in palms of your hands and then breathe in and breathe out 3 more times. A good oxygen boost is just what we need to get our emotions in control.
- Give the other partner control – If you feel you are not in control, let your partner take the control (if they are calmer than you are in that moment). Take turns each time one of you feels exhausted in this never-ending parenting gig.
- Lighten the situation up – See if you can laugh or make jokes about the situation without causing harm to the child’s emotions. Do not laugh at the child but see if you can laugh with her/him.
- Change the subject – For children under 8, distractions can work temporarily until you have made up your mind about what you want to do about a particular situation. While it may not work permanently, it can give you a breathing moment to think about and address the situation when everyone is calm.
Did you try any of the strategies above? What strategies did not work for you? Which strategies worked for you? If yes, please let me know how the situation ended up…