Tantrums - Preparation is critical

 Temper Tantrums

 A tantrum, temper tantrum, meltdown or hissy fit is an emotional outburst, usually associated with children or those in emotional distress, that is typically characterized by stubbornnesscryingscreamingdefianceangry ranting, a resistance to attempts at pacification, and, in some cases, hitting, and other physically violent behavior. Physical control may be lost; the person may be unable to remain still; and even if the "goal" of the person is met, he or she may not be calmed. A tantrum may be expressed in a tirade: a protracted, angry, or angry speech. Tantrums are one of the most common forms of problematic behavior in young children, but tend to decrease in frequency and intensity as the child grows older. 

Understanding Your Child, Yourself, and the Situation

Temper tantrums can be infuriating and embarrassing. Sometimes, children have tantrums because they are tired and parents are dragging them to places they don't have the resources and skills to handle. Other times, it helps to remember that your child's behavior may have a purpose. Children may throw temper tantrums to get an adult's attention, to get their own way, to hurt back if they feel hurt, or to get others to leave them alone. Temper tantrums are an emotional display.  

Tips to deal with Tantrums:

  1. One of the best ways to deal with a temper tantrum is to simply ignore it. Stand quietly and wait until it's over.
  2. Another possibility is to shut your mouth and act. One way to do this is to kindly and firmly pick up the child or take the child by the hand and leave the public place. If you take the child's hand, and she pulls in the other direction, do not resist. While still keeping your mouth shut, let yourself be pulled in her direction until she stops pulling. Then start walking (still holding her hand, kindly and firmly) away from the public place.  
  3. With some children, it helps to hold them and comfort them when they have a tantrum. Say, "It's okay to be upset. It happens to all of us. I'm here and I love you.
  4. It's okay to say no to your child, and it's okay for her to be angry.  
  5. Once the tantrum is over, say nothing about it. If your child is using a tantrum for emotional blackmail, she will soon give up if you don't buy into it.

 How to Prevent Future Problems

  1. Ask your child at a calmer time if he would like to learn some other ways to handle frustration. 
  2. Pay attention to ways you may be setting your child up to have a tantrum. Most kids don't start off with a tantrum. You may be arguing, demanding, controlling, and fighting with your child until she throws a tantrum in exasperation.
  3. Ask your child what she would like you to do when she is having a tantrum. Do this at a time when you can discuss it calmly. Give choices like, "Would you like a hug, would you like me to just wait until you're over it, or would you like to go to your comfort place (positive time-out) until you feel better?" Children are more receptive to an intervention that they have chosen in advance.
  4. Role-play before going to a public place.  
  5. Decide what you will do and inform your child in advance. For example, you may decide that you will take the child to the car and patiently read a book until she has settled down and tells you that she is ready to try again. Or you may decide that you will go home immediately. Whatever you decide, be sure to follow through with dignity and respect. In other words, keep your mouth shut and act. The only thing you could say that would be effective is, "You can try again when you are ready" (if you are in the car) or "You can try again tomorrow or next week" (if you have returned home). It might be better to wait until everyone is calm to make either comment.

  • Clinic 1
    Dr. Hemendra Gupta's Child Care Center
    B-1/560, Shiva Residency, Chitrakoot, Near Akshardham Chouraha, Jaipur-302021
  • dr_hems1@rediffmail.com
  • Clinic 2
    Gupta Child & Dental Clinic
    472, Shanti Nagar, Opp. Durgapura Rly. Station Near Rukmani Birla high school, Jaipur-302018

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