Every parent finds dealing with your child's tantrums stressful and difficult. Sometimes it seems as though the "terrible twos" will go on forever, as every outing sees your little darling causing you public embarrassment. So if you're tempted to join them next time they throw a screaming fit, try these tips on dealing with your child's tantrums …
Sometimes, the best method of dealing with your child's tantrums is to ignore them. If they're doing it to get attention, getting annoyed with them can give them the attention they want. Either leave them quietly until the tantrum has passed, or take no notice of their behavior.
Another tactic is to try distracting them so that they forget all about their tantrum. Offer them something to play with, try tickling them, or point out something for them to look at. With any luck, they'll become engrossed in something new and forget whatever caused their tantrum.
Even the most patient parent can be pushed to their limits by a stroppy child. However much you get riled, hang on to your temper. It won't help if you shout at them, and may even teach them that throwing a tantrum gets attention. Shouting is also going to set a bad example - you want your child to learn that screaming and yelling is not acceptable.
Sometimes it really isn't bad behavior that causes a child to have tantrums. Small children lack the vocabulary to express their feelings, and have yet to learn that they can't always have what they want. So don't punish them for not understanding. With an older child you can reinforce the idea that temper tantrums aren't acceptable, but again without punishment.
Certain situations often trigger a child's tantrums, so try to work out what causes your child to get upset. It may be something obvious like getting tired, so avoid taking them out when they need a nap. Or it may be a less obvious factor, such as a sound that upsets them. Identifying the problem allows you to work around it and reduces the chance of your child getting upset.
Although you should teach a child that bad behavior is not acceptable, don't focus solely on what they shouldn't be doing. Positive reinforcement is just as important. Tell your child when you're pleased with his behavior and make a fuss of him. Show him that being good gets results he'll enjoy.
Finally, there are times when as a parent you just need time out from tantrums. Put your child somewhere he'll be safe and leave him to work the feelings out of his system. It'll be good for both of you, as you avoid getting stressed and he has time to calm down. Children can feed off your irritation, and things just get worse.
A screaming toddler in the throes of a full-blown temper tantrum can be enough to try the patience of a saint. Children often seem to pick the most public places to have a tantrum, which leads to plenty of disapproving looks from people who have forgotten what a challenge parenting can be. It'll take time to train your child out of having tantrums, but it can be done. What was the most embarrassing thing your child has said or done?
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