I have three children under three years old, so I know a lot about tantrums. They are a part of my daily existence. Let’s just face the fact that tantrums cannot be reduced to zero. They cannot be completely eliminated from our lives forever. BUT..they can be significantly reduced in the three main categories: frequency, intensity, and duration. More importantly, this system grows with your children so that it is still effective for those pesky, moody teenagers.
It is necessary to review again the mantra that tantrums in children are going to happen. They happen at home and most of us are embarrassed (to say the least) when they happen in public. Or worse, in front of your mother-in-law. Accept it. Acknowledge that it is a normal part of parenting and then be ready to take decisive action to significantly reduce these dreaded tantrums by utilizing these 6 steps:
In the beginning, you may continue to get a meltdown at this point. Stay calm. Continue to set the limit and enforce the ending. Do not give in and allow more time and you will go through all of the steps again, but without the same success.
As I said, you may continue to get some tantrums, but overall the frequency and intensity should decrease significantly. Just this past weekend, my three toddlers were at the pool. We did our usual routine just as I have outlined and one of them still threw a pretty big fit at the time to go. He cried and he wiggled in my arms. He really wanted to stay. The other two got up easily and waved, “bye bye pool.” My little one cried for about 1 minute and before we even made it to the exit was also saying, “see you next time pool.”
It’s not magic. It’s structure and routine without yelling, bribing or punishing. And it makes your life a lot easier in the long run.
Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org
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