Demolish Temper Tantrums
Children usually have temper tantrums about age two. These little, but mighty, toddlers assert their independence by saying ‘no.’ It’s not uncommon to see them lay on the floor to kick and scream if they don’t get their way. A parent can usually redirect their thinking and the tears turn off immediately.
However, when an eight or a ten-year-old is still exhibiting these behaviors, there is a problem.
A child acts out because of an unmet need.
These can include:
1. Lack of attention
Many times a child can be caught in the middle of the birth order, between an older child that’s a star and a younger sibling that’s the cute baby. Be sure everyone in your family knows they are important.
2. Lack of love
Every child in the family needs at least four hugs per day. AND that includes the sweaty smelly third grade ball player, as well as the cuddly curly-headed two-year-old.
Love your child.
If a child has developed the temper tantrum habit, they are sometimes ‘prickly’ and not easy to hug. If you ask for an embrace they may say, ‘no.’
1. Tell them you want to give them a hug.
2. Tease and laugh with them.
3. Send the message that you enjoy their company.
4. Pull them onto your lap for a squeeze.
Use these methods to build a stronger relationship with them before you try to talk to them about how to break the temper tantrum habit.
Our thinking determines our feelings.
We have the mistaken belief that our feelings determine our thinking. It’s just the opposite. Our thinking regulates our feelings.
1. We think.
2. We feel.
3. Then we act.
So if we change our thinking, we will alter our feelings. This is where you and your child will need to do some detective work.
Have the child:
1. figure out what he is thinking as he gets frustrated and decides to blow,
2. say ‘stop’ in his head to interrupt his negative thoughts,
3. take some deep breaths to calm down,
4. replace his pessimistic thinking with positive ideas,
5. and find a distraction to change his behavior—like another activity. A time out can be a good idea, but be sure it’s a positive experience.
Talk about each of the five steps listed above with your child. Have him set a goal for each one. Decide ahead of time a place he can cool down. He may go to his room to play or go outside to shoot some hoops—whatever he chooses.
Remember that habits take a few weeks to break. Don’t expect perfection right at first. We all need time to change. Keep talking and setting goals. Always ask, “What are you going to do differently next time?”
If there is a persistent problem, seek outside help. See a physician or a therapist. Keep yourself and everyone in your family safe.