If you’re like me, the parent of a kid susceptible to tantrums occasionally, you know how difficult and emotionally demanding tantrums can be. I didn’t handle his tantrums well sometimes. I feel angry and resentful, and mad at my kid. Every parenting book suggested that kids throw temper tantrums as a way to manipulate their parents to get what they want. I’m sure some kids do but in my son’s case, he simply didn’t know how to control his reactions. I am trying to change my reaction to his tantrums and realized that my job is to teach him how to calm himself. I am trying to stop throwing tantrums about my son’s tantrums and help him to regulate himself.
Here are six things that can help:
1. Stop being angry at my son for his tantrums
Instead of feel offensive and want my son to be different or being angry that he is throwing a tantrum; I am trying to accept that this is who he is and learn to help.
2. I am not ignoring my son, but I am ignoring the tantrum
My son wasn’t trying to get attention by throwing a tantrum. But I noticed that when I did try to speak to him when he was throwing a tantrum, it almost seemed to start the tantrum over, always make sure my son is safe and that others around are as well.
3. I am trying to stop telling him to stop
A child who can’t regulate himself certainly isn’t going to have a miraculous improvement in his actions because his mom is screaming. My son needs me to be a calm person and see how I react.
4. I am teaching him how to calm himself down
I need to teach my son to calm his own tantrums by 1) Not talking to him during the tantrum. 2) Picking up a book that my son likes and reading it to him or I simply find an activity he loves to distract his attention, reading the book to my son would make him want to join in, and understand that he could pick up a book when he’s feeling out of control and calm himself down.
Now when my son gets upset I offer him to read a book or he takes one on his own. Grown-ups have tools to calm themselves down same as kids.
5. I never talk about the tantrum after he is done
Talking about the tantrum afterward only gave it more weight than it deserved. We move on and move forward trying to focus in something else.
6. I don’t punish my son or take something away from him
A lot of kids who are disposed to do tantrums are anxious kids to begin with, so feeling like they’re going to lose something for a behavior they can’t yet control only adds to the anxiety more anxiety, and to the tantrums more tantrums. My son needs to know I love him no matter what and not feel like he’s a bad kid for freaking out.
The tantrums are random, but now I can track in reverse and see how to manage them but if I can’t, I’m going to tell him I love him anyways.
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