This article (written for another online community) is rather lengthy, so I posted it here as a link as well as the full text. I’m not only a veteran, apparently I’m a rarity, a master if you will (see second paragraph). I survived many toddler tantrums as well as a few teen-aged tantrums, and as a result, I am pleased to offer advice. This article is for the newbs just starting out with two-year olds as well as battle weary parents of teens and tweens. Let me know what you think (leave a comment) and I’ll send you a FREE gift, a downloadable report with some fun stuff in it.
Temper Tantrums (click here for article below)
We’ve all witnessed it – a child wailing, screaming, waving limbs around, completely out of control. Few things are as aggravating or exhausting as power struggles with children, and it makes no difference if they’re toddlers or teenagers, the angst is the same. If you find yourself nagging, arguing or threatening, being ignored by your children or having your authority challenged, then this article is for you.
When our three children were young and I said, “No,” to candy at the grocery story, they dropped the subject. Onlookers found that extraordinary, and for that reason, I was told, “You should write a book!” Although I didn’t do that, I did successfully launch three progeny into the real world. In other words, these tips have been thoroughly tested and are expert-approved.
Tantrum Tips for Parents of Toddlers
It might seem as though your child misbehaves just so he can get on your nerves, but that’s giving your child too much credit. Toddler tantrums are normal. Toddlers are easily frustrated. They can’t do things, plus they don’t have the language skills to express powerful emotions. While it’s tempting to give in to demands during a tantrum, this teaches children you can be manipulated and meltdowns work.
There may be no foolproof way to prevent tantrums, but there is plenty you can do to encourage good behavior in young children.
First of all, keep calm and make a plan. In the early stages of a toddler tantrum, cuddling may end an outburst. On the other hand, acts such as throwing objects are unsafe attempts to call attention to his needs. The more people around, the worse the behavior will likely to be. Carry him away from his audience. In a safe place and in as few words as possible, explain what you’re doing and wait for him to calm down.
Look for factors that may be fueling his outburst and offer abundant praise when the child improves his behavior. If your child isn’t speaking, or speaking clearly, you might teach him sign language for such words as “I want” or “more.” Remember, children are individuals. What works for one, might not work for another.
Responding to Tantrums
Given that tantrums are a normal part of growing up, rather than punishing your child, a simple reminder to “use your words” will be effective with pre-schoolers and school-aged children. If specific circumstances trigger tantrums, note and avoid them, or find ways to counteract these conditions.
Give clear expectations and warnings before transitions. Use humor and create games to encourage cooperation. If you are at home, try ignoring whining and crying. For a full-blown tantrum, try a timeout with one minute for each year of the child’s age. Be consistent, firm, calm and neutral. Avoid empty threats such as “If you don’t calm down, we’re not going into the store.” Children know which threats are real and which are empty.
If you lose your temper, apologize. Make it clear that you were upset with what they were doing, not with them. However, don’t apologize for disciplining your child. Discipline teaches self-control, respect for others and how to handle difficult situations in ways that involve words, not hitting.
Experts agree that if by four or five your child is still having passionate, lengthy tantrums, doesn’t respond to consistent limits and consequences, or is regularly destructive, it may be time to seek help. If your child’s behavior is disrupting your family life or interfering with his progress at school, and he shows no signs of growing out of it, then ask your pediatrician for advice.
Wrangling with Teenagers
Teenagers will find ways to express their growing independence. If you are on the lookout for it, you can avoid disagreements wherein attempts to squash behavior triggers anger and rebellion. Parents of teenagers should not get greedy and take more control that they absolutely need to have. However, you should insist on respect because when children are disrespectful to others, it actually lowers their self-image.
Wise parents offer their teenagers non-threatening choices. “Feel free to make as much noise as you like somewhere else, or stay here and be quiet. You decide.” Choices, when offered calmly, give teens a chance to take some control over their lives. The old adage “choose your battles carefully” goes a long way in the ring with teenagers.
Take advice from a veteran. Attempts at making teenagers talk, have the same values as you, or learn will most likely fail. Teenagers enjoy tricking adults into fighting with them. Watching parents get angry and frustrated is great entertainment.
No matter at what age the tantrum occurs, remaining calm is the most important thing. Children become what we are; so be what you want them to be.