Are You Really Doing That?...TANTRUMS

As we continue to discuss the value of discipline, I would like to discuss children who have TANTRUMS. As a parent who personally experienced a tantrum, I remember thinking, "Are you really doing that???"
This two-part question was posed to me by a reader of my blog: "What do you do when you have children who have tantrums? What about a parent who allows a tantrum to happen while just looking at the child and letting the tantrum come to an end on its own?"

My response was: To answer your question, the parent who is experiencing this "tantrum type" behavior needs to stop it immediately.  (I asked the ages of the children which were 2 and 3.5 years) For both, have the mothers pick them up from the floor (firm grip on arm) look them in the eye and say "NO! get up". This needs to be repeated every single time. the 2 year old is still learning to express him/herself so they need the language. Mommy does not like that. No-No! The three year old could be imitating behavior. This child needs the firmer grip on the arm and major eye contact each and every time she does it. If she's in school, she could see another child doing it and she wants to test the waters at home. Because she's a bit older, the language could be more mature. For example: "This is not acceptable behavior, get up from the floor now! Use your words and tell Mommy what you need." Because this behavior has been occurring for some time, and there have not been any consequences, these methods should be followed BEFORE a pop on the behind. With words (language) should come the warning of a smack on the butt for the 3 year old. Preschool will bring about many bad habits and cooties. LOL  I would suggest  parents speak with the teacher in regards to what behavior modification plans are in place there at the Preschool. 

I know there are some of you who cringed at the thought of gripping your child's arm. Do not fret. This does not mean dig your nails in your child's' arm, rather it means to get a firm enough grip to let them know they are no longer in control of this situation and YOU ARE. You know how you grab your child's arm when you're at a friends home or in the store and they are embarrassing you? Right. That type of grip. It will get their attention and let them know, "This is not acceptable behavior". Waiting a tantrum out is not such a good idea; a child could injure themselves during a tantrum. Language mixed with a firm grip will let the child know that this will not be tolerated.

As I stated in my previous post, children want to express themselves and a tantrum is a way of showing pure displeasure for them. Therefore, you want to teach them to say, "I really want that, or I really want to ride that merry go round at the mall Mommy". In their head, they think, "If I scream and kick and yell, she will really hear me and know I mean business"; it is our job as parents to teach them that we do not respond to threats (tantrums), we respond to words.

I remember when my son, who is now 20, had a tantrum on me in the store. It was the most embarrassing thing I ever had happen to me. I had not had any of the Child Dev training I have now and I just snatched him up and popped that butt really good and I left the shopping cart and exited the store as quickly as possible. That was the wrong thing to do. Once you get control of the situation, you continue on with your plans. You want to send a clear message to your child that you are in control.

I have heard some say that you should just ignore this type of negative behavior and let it run its course. I do not agree. I am firm believer in the power of experience. Meaning, if you touch that fire, you'll get burned, right? If you don't wear knee pads, you fall and it hurts, right? Children need to know that for every action, there is a reaction. How you react to tantrums will determine how many your child will have. Have you or someone you know had to deal with Tantrums? What were the strategies used?

Until we chat again...