How to Handle a Tantrum
I would first like to start off saying parenting is a journey of self discovery. I am pretty sure last evening my daughter wanted me to discover how far my patience was going to take me. I was going to have to put into practice my skill set from teaching and think back to how to handle a tantrum because she was having on and it was epic. I truly believe there are two parenting strategies the first is escalating your behavior to meet theirs and the second is to act cool and collected even though inside your level of emotion is escalating. I have tried the yelling, punishing, time out, reasoning, and in some instances picking up my child and putting her in her room. It seems that her behavior escalates very quickly and her ability to reason declines just as quickly. When she is done it is almost like a storm has passed and left the most beautiful cloud formation because she is just so happy and sweet. it is like the hurricane never occurred.
How to Handle a Tantrum
The first thing I do when my child is having a tantrum is to make sure she is in an area where she can’t get hurt. The second thing I do is think about what it is that I want her to do. I then say what I want her to do in a very clear manner. This is not the time to reason. I can’t believe it but last evening I was saying please, stop kicking the wall. I say what is actionable. I do not go into if you do not stop kicking the wall you will never see another toy again. I do this three time. I wait a couple of seconds in between each request. When I say it the fourth time I ask her if she hears me. She is spunky and will say “Yes, but I am not listening.” Then I simply say the result of not listening to me is and I grab a basket and start collecting toys. I do not say anything when the toys in the basket start leaving. Then the begging begins.
When do I video tape and why? I bet you are wondering. I video tape as soon as I come into the room. I have to admit I originally video taped so my husband could see what I had to deal with. Then I realized when she saw the camera she wasn’t happy about it. That of course lead me to believe this was a great idea. It dawned on me that she had no idea what her behavior looked like. It also seemed like a great way once she was calm to show her what she looked like and to talk to her about better ways to handle when she is angry.
Like I said, “Parenthood is a journey of self discovery”. It is also a journey of trying to teach your children the best way you know how. I am someone that needs to remove my emotions and go after the facts. These are some of the questions I ask my child after she has calmed down. Yes, I have been known to let her have a fit for a long time. If she isn’t hurting herself than by all means cry and scream because it is my job to teach her that isn’t going to get her what she wants and sometimes she has to learn the hard way.
How to Handle a tantrum processing questions
1) Are you okay?
2) What is that you wanted?
3) What just happened?
4) After watching the video can you tell me what happened?
5) After watching the video can you see where you were in danger (this is where you may need to stretch the truth a little bit since you wouldn’t watch your child do something if you thought they were in danger)
6) Wow, Did this help you get what you want?
7) What do you think would have worked better?
8) Do you know why this isn’t okay?
9) What is your plan for when you get upset? (This is your time to listen. Then you can make suggestions. They often know what they need to calm down. My oldest told me he needs me out of his face when he is mad. When then processed that he needs to be able to go to his room and count to 200 when he is mad before he wants to talk to me.)
10) What can we do so this doesn’t happen again.
Oh, and yes I did make my daughter watch it multiple times and she was very embarrassed. She was not interested in watching it with her daddy.
I think sometimes kids do not have the ability to see beyond the immediate. This is true of some adults. I know that being a parent is a slippery slope but holding the cell phone and recording her helped me step outside of what was going on and turned me into someone that was evaluating the issue instead of me becoming part of the problem.
No, I am not going to share the video with anyone beyond my husband and my daughter because this is about helping her to learn strategies it isn’t about embarrassing her into behaving better
Have you ever used this strategy? If so why? If not how do you handle a tantrum?
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