Child tantrums can give anyone a headache. "No I want this one", "me, me, me" or "no" to this or "no" to that. The list can go on and so can your frustration as a parent. The simple fact is, as an adult it is important to have more patience with kids. Their level of patience is very different to ours so we need to take this into consideration when dealing with them. Most children usually throw tantrums between the age of 1 to 5 but it can happen with older kids too.
What makes tantrums so effective?
Children are smart little beings, believe you me, they know what they are doing when they want something. They will kick, scream and shout the place down if they know you will give in to their tantrum. How many times have you seen parents feeling so embarrassed by their child's behavior in public that they just simply give in to the child's demands? Kids will use the same tactics of negative behavior time and time again if they know they will get away with it. Child tantrums are effective because they get your attention and you usually give in. When you give children attention to their negative behavior, you are adding fuel to the fire, their behavior will eventually become worse.
Some of the best ways to deal with tantrums are summarized below.
Show less emotion, when your child behaves negatively be it at bedtime, when they are being told to do something or whilst out shopping with you, tell them no and stick to your guns. There is no point getting into a verbal argument with them, just tell them what the boundaries are and that's it. We all love our kids but if we become emotional during their bad behavior, they will in the long term show a lack of discipline be it at school or home.
Give less attention, by doing so you are telling them negative behavior will not give them what they want and you are not responding. Kids love to get our attention and we should give it for the right reasons. When they do something good, give them lots of praise. They will begin to understand that good behavior will mean lot's of attention and praise from my parents.
Give rewards, when your child behaves well. You may say something like, "If you stop this bad behavior, you can play with the toy car when we get home or I will buy some stickers if you are good". By giving incentives, your child has something to look forward to by not behaving badly. Of course don't use this tactic during the tantrum otherwise your child will think you are rewarding them for their negative behavior. Use this tactic before any tantrums begin.
Time outs, can be used to get your child to understand their behavior is not acceptable. Some parents use smacking as a method of discipline. I do not believe in smacking kids because " what happens once they stop fearing being smacked"? What do you do then? This is just my opinion. By disciplining them and not compromising on bad behavior, your child learns that they will not get their way at a very early age.
Child tantrums are very common in many kids growing up. It is how you decide to deal with the issue that will determine your child's behavior today and as they grow up.
Are you struggling with your child's tantrums? Are your 4 year old tantrums driving you insane? Or maybe it is your two, three or five year old?
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