Tempering temper tantrums!
Babies, toddlers, kids, preteens and/or teenagers – all have a mind and a heart of their own. Try force feeding a baby and it ‘coolly’ returns the courtesy by throwing up within 5 minutes flat.
If a baby is hungry, it wants its meal right now – and mothers have to drop everything to cater to their intense hunger pangs. Their schedules keep changing as they grow up. Till they learn to express themselves properly, we have to deal with these ‘temper tantrums!’
That does not mean that only toddlers or young children throw temper tantrums. Children of all ages unfortunately do so and as parents we constantly have to update and refine our techniques to deal with such unpleasant scenarios.
Here are a few ways to deal with it:
- Try to adhere to their routines:
Sleeping patterns, meal times, comfortable clothes, regular room and place for sleeping and meals all add to the ‘happiness quotient’ of the child. Children often become cranky even if one aspect of their routine gets disturbed. They are unable to cope with their hunger pangs or cannot understand why their meal is ‘not usual’ today.
Plan your outings or trips keeping their current schedules in mind. Half the problem is taken care of when we do this.
- Dealing with ‘new’ aspects:
New surroundings, guests at home, a new toy or the colourful flowers in the garden may excite them, stimulate them or scare them. They may get instantly attracted by such ‘new’ things and are unable to comprehend the fact that they cannot have anything and everything that catches their fancy!
They are unable to deal with their excitement and emotions and so end up throwing a tantrum. Allow them to touch it, feel it and explore it. Talk softly and explain what it is to them. Show them other similar things around the store or the park. When we tune in to their level of understanding and get them into discussion mode, they grasp what we are trying to say.
- Divert their attention when they throw a temper tantrum:
Simply change the subject and distract them. Children have very short spans of attention. They forget what they were crying for within minutes if we know how to deal with such phases. Take them out of the store or the park or the house physically. Carry them if necessary.
- Comfort them!
Keep talking to them while you do so. Talk softly, quietly but firmly. Give them a drink of water. Sometimes they are just thirsty or tired of the excitement. Give them that snack that you had packed in your bag. Hug them, wipe their faces and noses with a clean hanky and rock them gently in your arms.
Often we feel so guilty of the scene that they are creating that we forget these little things.
- Acknowledge their emotions!
They have minds and hearts of their own too. Remember this. They may not comprehend why they have to share their stuff with other kids or why they cannot have what they like. Explain such things to them patiently. Keep your cool at all times even if the crying, wailing or screaming becomes louder.
Don’t endorse their behaviour. Show them with your expressions and body language that you do not like the way they are behaving.
- Allow it to fizzle out!
Children tend to seek our attention when they truly want something or want to have their way in a certain matter. When we quietly tell them that this is not always possible and ignore their behaviour, it takes a while for them to come to terms with it. When we give them no choice in the matter, they understand that they have no choice in the matter! Very simple! J !
- Don’t cave in!
Instead of succumbing to the temptation of ‘giving in’ to their demands, all we need to do is to take a firm stance and do so quietly. We just need to do this every single time unfailingly. Often we simply give them what they want to avoid a public display of bad behaviour. We are embarrassed of our child’s behaviour. Focus on what is important and necessary.
Don’t worry about what ‘people’ might think or say. All parents have been through this. They understand what is happening. Anyone who has ever had a kid has faced these things so quit feeling embarrassed about the episodes.
I know how I feel that if someone told me one more time about being patient I would…some things are better left unsaid! But all said and done, patience is the only constant thing in parenting. If will be tough, very tough to be patient and yelling will seem like the easy to grab option. Yelling may result in quick solutions but it will do long term damage.
Image: greg westfall on Flicker