3 Things to do during a Temper Tantrum
Almost every parent is blessed with a child who will throw a well known “temper tantrum .” I know your thinking “That is not a blessing” but think of it as a learning experience because it only gets harder after temper tantrum years. The problems aren’t as visible but they are harder to navigate in the later years.
Anyway, I thought I would share some well-learned steps to do during a temper tantrum. I know some tantrums look different and whether your child is special needs or not these are tried and true. You can ask anyone in my local grocery store if I know how to handle a temper tantrum.
1- First of all Stay Calm – this is the hardest step – I promise. You need to stay calm throughout this process, take a deep breath and focus on keeping your self from getting embarrassed (If you’re out in public) or from getting stupid angry (if you’re at home). This is also the time I simply and quickly ask God to keep my temper in check and to help guide me through the meltdown. I think I’m not alone in that if I let my embarrassment or angry start seeping into the situation we will turn into a scenario that is only fit for a Jerry Springer episode. Just remember this is the most important part: Never threaten a punishment or action that you will not do. If you will not spank your child, don’t threaten it. If you won’t take away a birthday party that they are going to, don’t threaten that they won’t be able to go. Only use words that you mean and will carry through on.
2- Ask them calmly why they are throwing themselves on the floor. Whether you think you know or not. I find that if I ask them with a smile or half laughing that will make them stop and take a breath themselves. They may give you a dirty look. So what, kids give dirty looks 20 times a day if you’re being a decent mom.
3 – Tell them you’ll talk to them when they’re done and walk away. I mean if you’re out in public keep them in sight but don’t stand next to them, walk away a few steps pay attention to something on the shelves and start talking about that thing like the kid isn’t even throwing a fit. I’ve had my oldest son tell me “It’s not funny!” And I responded “You throwing yourself on the ground and screaming in front of all these people is pretty funny. Do you see anyone else doing this? No, because they don’t want to be laughed at.” At which point he pouted and crossed his arms and walked with me, by the next aisle of me talking as if nothing was wrong he had completely changed his mood.
Bonus 4- If you are in public, and your kiddo is extremely headstrong and won’t calm down either because he/she has gotten what they want before by throwing a fit or because they are just that strong-willed. Your only choice is removing the child from the store. They will most likely scream no or say they’ll behave but don’t give in at this point, bring them all the way out to the car to fully calm down. Tell them that behavior is not ok, whether you think they can understand it or not, they need to know. They need to be completely calm. If you think they will calm down in the car you can wait it out or just leave and try again later. I know this is not convenient, but nipping the behavior in the bud is important for the rest of both of your lives.
So I may have lost some of you, and you may be thinking I’m crazy. I’ve been called worse but let me explain:
The reaction to staying calm and laughing does depend on the kid’s personality, my oldest ( a typical kid) got laughed at and then ignored, and never did it again because she got embarrassed and didn’t get what she wanted. My middle child, however, is non-verbal and throwing fits can be either part of her being in a sensory meltdown or just not getting what she wants. When the fit is simply just not getting what she wants, the laughing works wonders because she looks up at me and gives me a very dirty look and she starts this like talking scream – think like a high- pitched bear’s roar, animated, loud, and pissed. When she gets to this point I tell her to stand up and come to me. It will only take her a minute or so to calm down as I redirect her to something. If it’s a sensory meltdown typically that’s when it will show and I know that she needs to be squeezed (crossing her arms over her chest and hugging her shoulders or full body) and the re-direction will take both me physically squeezing her and talking in a quiet voice so she will keep her voice down to hear it.
No matter what age your kids are or if they are special needs or typical kids, you are not alone. Everyone has had to deal with a misbehaving child. If the people in the store stare or say something judgmental and mean, brush it off and vent to a friend about it. Or write me about it, we can compare stories of how clueless some people can be.
In the following verse think of the ruler as anyone who is trying to sabotage your emotions, especially your children. And your post as a parent is very important, stay calm fellow Mamas. You can do it!
“If a ruler’s anger rises against you,
Do not leave your post;
calmness can lay great offenses to rest.”