Temper Tantrum 101
Belinda @ Kids Matter
“Tantrums are common from ages one to four because kids become frustrated when they can’t get what they want,” says Robert G. Harrington, a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas.
Have you ever been that parent in the store, whose child has a complete meltdown? You know, the one everyone in the store is starring at with those, “you are such a horrible parent,” eyes? Don’t you find it funny, that it’s the child having the meltdown but, your parenting skills are at fault? It’s a fact, Jack, kids have meltdowns! They do not have the coping skills to deal with anger. The only vent that pops into their mind is destroying the floor beneath them. Holding their breath, kicking, screaming, turning varying shades of red, and pounding the floor are just common tools a child uses to vent anger. Anyone who has dealt with children is very well aware of those coping tools. The reason other adults frown upon you, the parent standing in shame over the child’s behavior, is due to them not agreeing with how you are handling the situation. We all have different parenting styles and included in that all-encompassing style, is discipline. While you are standing there infuriated, mortified, and totally astonished by the child’s behavior, the people around you are judging your parenting style. Let me just say this right now… that is your child showing himself on the floor! You deal with it the best way possible; but, whatever you do… don’t give in to the child. Giving in only opens the door to many more mortifying tantrums and if you thought this tantrum was bad, just wait until the next one.
We know that tantrums are methods for venting anger. Children don’t have the skillset to talk through the problem. They don’t have the mindset to compromise. They don’t have the patience to wait until the next payday to get that ‘greatest toy in the whole wide world’. So, where do we go from here? As crazy as this seems, we prep the child for shopping trips. Start a couple hours before the trip, laying down in-store rules. One, this is what we are getting. Two, you are not getting any toys. Three, you will behave and not throw any fits. Do you see where I am going here? Make your rules simple but decisive. Include in your rules a reward for good behavior. Maybe it’s candy, maybe a trip to the park. As you venture through the store, and the child is asking for this and that every five seconds, remind the child of the rules. The first couple of times out will no doubt be frustrating, but in the long run, it will be well worth the trouble.
The more verbal a child gets, the better their anger coping skills become. At the age of four, my grandson is past the tantrum stage but, now we are faced with a new challenge. Yesterday, he clearly verbalized his anger over my accidentally putting his pajamas in his pants drawer. In a heated tone, with intense aggravation on his face, he clearly announced his disgust with me by telling me he was “ticked” (not the word he used). So, you see, we move from one dilemma into another with the growing stages of the child.What have we learned here? It’s your child and beyond the public embarrassment, you are the parent. Let those standing upon high, looking down on you, be of no concern. Make rules and enforce them. You, as the parent, are growing with your child. You will move through many phases and learn new parenting skills to cope with each new issue. Most importantly, understand that your child is not behaving this way just to torture you. Love your child and work on those patience skills because you have a long road ahead of you. Happy parenting!!