Temper Tantrums have evolved tremendously over the years. The first temper tantrums were easy to manage. Ella-Grace would simply lay on the floor and stare up at the world around her with the saddest face ever.
I remember people asking me “What is she doing?” and I simply replied “Oh that is a temper tantrum.” They were the easiest temper tantrums ever. We simply would look at her say, “Boy you seem sad” and walk away.
Naturally these temper tantrums did not last long and graduated to full on screaming and crying. Again we responded with a simple, “Boy you seem sad, you were hoping for a toy.” and walked away. For some reason we lucked out and didn’t have too many in the stores or when we were out and about. Usually we were able to stay ahead of those by making sure needs were taken care of prior to us leaving the house. When she would ask for a toy, we would say “You have a lot of toys at home so we will not be buying any toys today”. Oddly enough that assertive statement seemed to work. She eventually got to a point where she no longer asked for toys. We have opted to be assertive parents. This doesn’t mean that we never cave, because honestly we both have our moments of weakness. Sometimes it is easier to cave but we know this doesn’t teach our child anything.
Responding to her temper tantrums with naming her emotions has allowed us to teach her how to manage her feelings. Her emotional control and intelligence is higher than most adults we know. Temper tantrums or power struggles are difficult to continue if no one is fueling the fire. It is hard to continue to be mad when those around you are calm. The next time your child has a temper tantrum I challenge you to first breathe, then name the emotion your child is displaying and simply walk away. It might not work the first time but we all didn’t learn how to drive the first time we were behind the wheel. There will be mistakes along the way and recognize you are human and that’s what you are designed to do. Our children are designed to push the limits, be emotional and push our buttons. Parenting would be pretty boring if they didn’t.
How do you handle temper tantrums?