During times your child has a tantrum, many parents may wonder how they should cope with it. There are so many different theories and approaches about this. In my years of experience working with families and teenagers, I found 10 approaches the most helpful on how to deal with children’s tantrums.
They are mostly derived from the worldwide famous classical conditioning theory that states all behavior is learned. I take this approach as well. There are certain aspects of behavior that are created by DNA, mother nature, but surely, nurture takes a big role in all this. Characteristics that look so inhibited in somebody’s behavior, can be changed with the right approach and patience. For example, some children are so used to receiving negative/minimal attention from their parents that they even strive to receive negative attention. At least it is attention. Try to provide them Help them with positive attention when they display positive behavior, so they want to do more of that. That way you can have much more fun at home.
The following 10 tips will help you to deal with your child’s tantrums:
- Observe and analyze what the cause is of your childs’ tantrums. When and where does it happen the most, and with who. When you observe a pattern, you can create a more consistent approach by using consistent rules and possible consequences.
- Use a consistent approach. When you start a certain approach, do not discontinue right away if it does not work. Often it takes time for it to work. Use the approach with consistency and use it at least enough times to be sure your child does or does not respond to it.
- During the tantrum, do not provide your child with attention (e.g., eye contact & physical contact), unless your child uses the tantrum to escape an activity. Every attention is attention, so your child may get motivated to throw more tantrums. If your child uses the tantrum to escape an activity, make sure he stays with the activity and only escapes it calmly. If your child is harming him or her self or others, make sure you block your child from doing so.
- Spend individual time with your child every day. Do an activity they choose.
- Create rules. Before each and every challenging activity, provide your child with rules. You can either ask your child to create the rules, or create them yourself. Rules should be clear, brief and manageable. Try to use a limit amount of rules. Too many rules is challenging for a child to comply to, and sets them up for failure.
- Use consequences. Before every challenging activity, provide your child with consequences. Tell them if they comply to the rules, they receive the positive consequences. If they do not comply, they do not receive the positive consequence.
- Use a reward system. You can create a tangible reward system, for example by writing down the behaviors you want your child to show, following with the rewards. Your teenager can help you with this.
- Use clear communication. When you communicate rules and consequences, be clear and brief. Further, communicate with your child about daily life occurrences. Try to be on their emotional and intellectual level, so they feel they can relate to you. The better the bonding and understanding, the more appreciation there is for each other.
- Be open for your child’s input. Ask your child questions about how certain situations make them feel. Listen to their input without judgment and ask questions. Take them serious and make them feel important. Encourage them and positively reinforce them.
- Enjoy. Enjoy the moments with your child and realize that every development is a phase. Nothing is permanent. Laugh, make jokes, be a parent and a friend.