If you haven’t experienced one, you will have witnessed one. A child having a temper tantrum can challenge even the calmest of parents. Things can be fine one minute and the next it appears that an unknown being has inhabited your child. Knowing what to do can be the difference between you throwing one yourself and it being a growing experience.
What a tantrum IS
- Loss of control of feelings
- Inability to express a problem in words
- Lack of problem-solving skills
- Normal stage in child development
What a tantrum IS NOT
- A deliberate attempt to make your life hell
- Deliberately designed to embarrass you in public
Why do children have tantrums?
Because they work! Giving in to tantrums means your child learns that the best way to get what they want is to have a tantrum – this will just make tantrums occur more often and for longer periods of time.
Tips for cutting down tantrums
- Set appropriate boundaries and limits – make it clear to your child what behaviours are expected.
- Avoid negative words – constantly saying “no” will add to your child’s frustration. Instead use phrases like “later”, or “after lunch”.
- Help children ask for what they need by putting it into words. For example “Mum, can I please have …..”
- Offer realistic choices by being prepared to follow through on your child’s choice.
- Use positive parenting – give plenty of praise and attention for helpful and appropriate behaviour you want to keep seeing from your child, for example “Well done Tommy, it’s great when you use your manners”.
Learning how to tackle tantrums is an invaluable tool that will prevent you from feeling like you want to tear your hair out. Our highly skilled Clinical Psychologists can provide you with much-needed skills to help you manage these challenging times. How much easier would life be if you felt more confident managing tantrums?
If this resonates with you, or to find out more call us on (02) 9525 8443.