When it comes to disciplining children, it can be challenging for parents. It can be tempting to give into the crying and screaming, but it is important to stand firm and let your child know you are in control. Easier said than done, right? I feel your pain. I have three small kids of my own and feel like it’s a never-ending challenge. Here’s a list of some helpful tips that might help you stop your child from throwing tantrums.
Don’t give in to demands
Don’t give in to demands or threats. If your child throws a tantrum because he wants something that isn’t allowed, don’t give in to the demands. If your child threatens to throw another tantrum if you don’t give him what he wants, tell him that throwing a tantrum won’t help him get what he wants.
Don’t reward bad behavior by giving in to demands or threats. When your child throws a fit, don’t give in to the demands or threats and then reward them with what they want. This will only encourage future episodes of bad behavior.
Ignore the crying and yelling when possible. If your child is throwing a fit over something minor, it’s best not to engage with them until they’ve calmed down. Ignoring their tantrums can be difficult for parents who are used to helping their kids calm down when they cry or yell, but it’s often the best way to stop an emotional outburst in its tracks. If necessary, try distracting your child with something else while they’re upset — like reading them a book or playing an age-appropriate game together — but don’t engage too much as this may encourage more fits in the future.
Ignore the behavior
Tantrums are designed to get your attention, so don’t give it to them. Instead, try distracting your child with something else he or she enjoys doing (i.e., playing with a toy). If this doesn’t work, then try ignoring the behavior altogether until it passes and your child calms down on his own accord. This can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours depending on how strong-willed your child is at the time and how frustrated he becomes about not getting what he wants from you (or anyone else).
If you have tried distraction and ignoring but are still struggling with tantrums, then it may be time to move onto some more serious tactics such as time outs or removing privileges. Time outs work very well for younger children who do not yet understand the concept of consequences (for example, if you tell a toddler that he cannot have ice cream because he threw a fit earlier in the day when mommy said no), whereas removal of privileges is better suited for older children who understand the concept of rules and consequences.
Be consistent and firm with your discipline methods
Your child needs to understand the rules and know that there are consequences for breaking those rules, no matter what happens during the day or what kind of mood she happens to be in at the moment. Don’t let her get away with bad behavior just because she didn’t mean it or because it was a mistake or she was tired or grumpy or hungry or whatever else might be going on for her at that moment. She needs to know exactly what is expected of her so she can learn how to behave appropriately when she’s feeling good as well as when she isn’t feeling good.
While this is not necessarily a guide to prevent tantrums, it is an approach that may work for both you and your child. There is always something we can learn from our kids, especially when they are frustrated or upset about something. Stop and think about why your child is having a fit rather than simply trying to calm the situation down. It will increase your bond with them and help you become a better parent.