Let’s be real! A child’s temper tantrums are not just frustrating but embarrassing as well for most parents. Dealing with a full blown terrible temper tantrum can be exhausting. Temper tantrums are the hardest things to deal with. They are so random, one moment it would be like a fairy tale, all calm and quiet and suddenly a storm will blow you away. Frustration over something, not getting things his/her way or who pressed the lift button first, anything trivial issue can trigger a tantrum.
Tantrums are sometimes deliberate. The child slowly understands what is about to happen and if they don’t want that to happen, they will definitely throw a tantrum even before you say something. For example, your child will be playing happily in the park with you but the moment he/she would sense that you might me planning to leave, you will be surprised by a tantrum.
Let’s see how we, as parents, can deal with a full blown temper tantrum:
1. Keep Calm: As hard this may sound, in fact, as hard it is to stay calm in time of a terrible tantrum, it is important. Stay calm and don’t lose your cool because you will be reciprocated by even worse. A tantrum is never good especially in public. The child might be yelling, crying, throwing things, rolling on the floor and much more can make any parent feel frustrated or upset. If you are a parent like me who can lose patience and can get pretty upset, do what I do. I step back, I take deep breaths, count to ten to myself and tell myself that this isn’t about me being a bad parent, this is normal and happens with a lot of kids. In fact I step away from the scene if possible and then come back when I am a little calmer.
If you are in a public place, gently pick up your child and move some place quiet. A child is not in his/her control during a temper tantrum and therefore as an adult we need to keep calm as hard as it might be.
2. Hug Your Child: This often works well. When you see your child throwing a tantrum for no reason just wait for a few minutes, let them cry, stomp or yell for a while. Then gently move towards them, look them in the eyes and hug them. Keep them closer as long as they want. Often tantrums are because a child is not getting things his/ her way. In that frustration, they need empathy and patience. Once the tantrum is over don’t forget to tell them that you love them. Let your child acknowledge his/her frustration and the reason for it.
3. Try To Find The Cause: A lot of times, there is some pent up anger or emotion that leads to a tantrum. Bullying in school, an overwhelming feeling kids get when surrounded by a lot of people or something else, try and find out what is bothering your child and what are the triggers for the tantrum. If you are able to figure out the riggers, you might avoid those before it gets worse.
4. Don’t Give In: Never give in because it will teach your child a tactic to get things done his/her way. He/she wants a toy, wants to stay over at a friend’s place longer than what is allowed or something else, never break the rules and cave in, no mater how easy it might be. Learn to say no to your child no matter how many times the same thing happens. Sooner or later the child will get the message that a no means no. If the tantrum occurs in a public area, simply take your child aside until he/she gets the message.
5. Distract: Insead of agreeing to whatever the child is saying, distract your child especially when you are in a public place. Try distracting their mind and also try and maintain a balance. Sometimes let them negotiate and reason so that they understand that there is a better way of getting things done their way instead of shouting.
6. Don’t Feel Judged and Let Go of The Guilt: You will be judged. Parents and non parents, everyone will judge you. ‘She doesn’t have a bonding with her child’, ‘She always says no’, ‘He is too strict’ and worse, ‘Their child has no manners’. You will be judged if you work somewhere, ‘Oh she doesn’t give much time to her child that’s why these tantrums’ and you will be judged if you are a stay at home parent, ‘She agrees to everything and now the child has become stubborn’. You need to have a really thick skin to be a parent. First thing you have to let go is the guilt. Every child at an age throws temper tantrums, some more, some less and that does not make you a bad parent. Let people judge because that’s not under your control. Simply do what you feel is the best for your child.