Creative Child

7 Things to Remember When Your Child Throws a Tantrum

by Sarah Lyons

It’s easy to get frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, or embarrassed when your child throws an epic tantrum, especially if it happens in public. Unfortunately, the occasional tantrum can’t really be avoided. They happen to everyone, but next time your child is in the throes of a fit, try to remember these 7 things.

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It's Normal

The first thing to remember when your child has a tantrum is that it is normal. Tantrums are a normal way for kids to express their frustration when they may not be able to communicate their feelings appropriately. While this fact doesn't make the tantrum any easier to deal with, it does help to know that, developmentally, this is a normal stage.

Don't Engage

During a tantrum the temptation can be to lecture, yell, or reason with your child. They cannot hear you or comprehend reason when they are in the middle of a tantrum. The best thing to do is to wait it out. If you do feel the need to discuss the situation, wait until later when they are calm and ready to listen.

Leave the Scene

When your child starts to throw a tantrum, make sure they are safe, and then leave the area. Typically, if the child doesn’t have an audience to get a reaction from, the tantrum will cease. If you are not comfortable leaving the child alone, get busy doing other things and pretend to ignore them. If the tantrum happens in public, take the child to the car or the bathroom to calm down. If the tantrum continues and the child is unable to calm down, then the best option might be to buckle them safely in their car seat and just drive home.

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Assess Possible Triggers

Think about what triggered your child to get so upset in the first place. How can frustrating situations be avoided in the future? Of course, not all tantrums can be avoided but certain triggers can be removed. When armed with this information parents can be prepared to use distraction to lessen or avoid a future tantrum.

Don’t give in, except once in awhile

Giving into a tantrum will do nothing but encourage future tantrums. If your child is throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat a cookie before dinner, do not give him the cookie. It’s also not a good idea to use bribes to stop a tantrum. Saying “If you stop crying, I will buy you a toy” only rewards the child for the tantrum. However, if your child is in the middle of a tantrum and listening to the same annoying song over and over again on the car ride home will help him calm down, this may be an exception you can live with.

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