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How to Handle Your Child’s Temper Tantrums, Part 2

Published: Feb 18, 2022
How to Handle Your Child’s Temper Tantrums, Part 2

Always remember that your actions and reactions to chaotic situations are imprinted subconsciously in your child's mind. Your goal is to serve as a role model, and in time they will learn to deal with frustration as you do, subconsciously.

Editor's Note: To review How to Handle Your Child's Temper Tantrums, Part 1, click here

Psalms 127:3 says, "Lo Children are a heritage of the Lord," and verse 5 says, “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” It is funny how a parent could briefly forget the happy feeling when their child starts throwing temper tantrums. Dealing with a child that constantly throws a temper tantrum is one of the most challenging experiences for a parent.

If you are already having a bad or stressful day, this kind of child can make things worse and unbearable for you. And if you’re not very careful, you will do things that you will regret afterward.

Little children haven't yet developed healthy coping skills, and these outbursts of tantrums are a way they express their emotional breakdown or frustration. However, there are many other reasons why different children exhibit this irrate behavior.

It varies according to their age difference. For instance, a baby or a toddler who hasn't yet developed clear verbal communication skills might express discomfort or needs by throwing tantrums. Some children throw fits to get their parents' attention.

Older kids might throw tantrums to express disapproval for something they don't like. Or to express their disagreement. Some throw fits when they feel offended or angry. They could be very physical in this state and end up breaking things or screaming their hearts out!

Temper tantrums are a feat many kids will display once or many times at different stages of their lives. So, as a parent, you must be prepared to handle the situation when it arises.

You have to understand that because your child throws tantrums on some occasions doesn't necessarily imply that you are a bad parent. It is simply a trait associated with kids. But how you handle it is totally up to you as this will save you from occasional public embarrassment. According to Proverbs 29:17, "Correct thy son, and he shall give you rest." You must not refrain from disciplining the child if the circumstance warrants it.

However, your inability to have your kids in check whenever they throw these temper tantrums can soil your reputation as a parent, and worst-case scenario, you could end up having a spoilt brat for a child. Having the appropriate first-hand knowledge of defusing your child's temper tantrum will put you in control and make things a lot easier.

Here are some effective ways to handle a child's temper tantrums:

1. Understand your child’s tantrum triggers

Before you can control your child's outbursts, you need to understand the child and the elements that trigger their temper tantrums. Many things can trigger a child's temper tantrum. You certainly don't have to be a psychiatrist to figure out these tantrum triggers. When a child puts up an inappropriate behavior, you should know what the child needs and why the child has resorted to throwing a fit.

Kids do not have the sound mental capability of controlling their emotions maturely as adults do under unpleasant or frustrating situations. So they easily freak out when faced with such situations.

The triggers can be different for children under different circumstances, including irritability, anxiety, depression, and others factors. Parents should also look out for other serious causes, like learning problems, ADHD, Autism, and sensory processing issues. They will need the help of specialists for these.

2. Be in tune with your child’s feelings

It is important to be aware of your child's feelings. When you're in tune with your child's feelings as a parent, you can relate with their emotions and develop an almost perfect understanding of how your child feels under different circumstances. And the best part is that you become so empathetic that you can sense when they are about to have an overwhelming emotional meltdown. 

Most mothers have developed this gift somehow. For some, it comes naturally, and others develop it over time. Being in tune with your child's feelings is very important as parents. Not only does it help you know how your child feels, but it also helps you develop that special bond with them. And this makes it easy for you to help your child deal with emotional troubles the right way.

You can easily communicate with your child when this overwhelming feeling sets in. And help them deal with it maturely and healthily. This will not only help them but will also teach them to deal with such feelings on their own as they grow. You can only truly help troubled children when you can step in their shoes, feel what they feel, and see things the way they do.

You can hug the child and make him realize that you understand how he feels. And at that moment you should use the power of positive words. Talk with the child about whatever it was that triggered their outburst. Do this lovingly and try to stay positive all through the conversation. This positive approach will help you teach your children to control their feelings.

3. Be mindful of your response

When a child throws temper tantrums, it is sometimes almost impossible not to freak out as a parent. Especially when you've had a bad day at work or are silently dealing with your own problems. You might end up yelling back at the child or doing something out of rage, which you will regret. This will only make an already volatile situation worse.

If your child is throwing a fit, you could try to ignore the child at that moment. Avoid being sucked into the vortex of chaos the child is building up. You don't want to engage them in a yelling battle. Always remember that your actions and reactions to chaotic situations are imprinted subconsciously in your child's mind. Your goal is to serve as a role model, and in time they will learn to deal with frustration as you do, subconsciously.

Another effective response is to bring up a positive, engaging distraction. Come up with a distracting event in the middle of the child's outburst. You could make up suggestive fun activities that you two could do together, or something they can do for you which they love.

4. Time to put your foot down

This approach is suitable for aggressive kids. Some kids take throwing temper tantrums to the next level. They break things, hurt people around them, and some kids even inflict self-harm to make a point. When such behavior happens, you must act swiftly and remove the child from the scene immediately. And this time you must firmly make the child understand that such behavior is unacceptable.

When you know the child's tantrum triggers, you must be ready to deal with potential temper tantrums when these triggers are around the corner. Learn to avoid or defuse a potential trigger before a tantrum happen. You must learn to be stern and firm with whatever instruction or command you give, and make your commands short and understandable. Make eye contact and let them see the seriousness in your eyes while speaking to the child.

You might sometimes resort to handing them punishments and time-outs. Proverbs 19:18 says, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Learn to be spontaneous and creative with your discipline. And more importantly, do not threaten a child with punishment unless you are going to do it. It is advisable to stick with realistic punishments like confiscating their toys, reducing their playtime, and some other minor punishments that are morally justified and won't infringe on the child's rights.

5. Use positive reinforcement

This approach requires that you use positive words to help your child deal with temper tantrums. Giving your child positive verbal and emotional reinforcement is an effective way of helping the child overcome frustration and difficult situations which could trigger their outburst.

For instance, if a child is trying to get out of a sticky situation unsuccessfully, and after a few attempts is about to have an emotional meltdown, you can defuse the situation by affirming to the child that he can break free, while you offer some assistance if need be. Keep telling the child how much you believe in his ability as this will motivate the child to try harder and eventually succeed.

By doing this, you have averted an imminent emotional breakdown. Proverbs 22:6 encourages parents to train their children in the right way and they won’t depart from it when they grow old. You have also taught your child how to stay positive and cope in frustrating situations. Your positive reinforcement will motivate the child to be strong emotionally. It will also teach the child to have faith, which they can carry into adulthood.

Children are naturally inclined to throw temper tantrums whenever they face difficult or unpleasant situations. They can also exhibit this behavior to get attention. It is our duty as parents to understand our childrens' feelings. We must also help them develop healthy coping skills.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock-Studio

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You can read Rhonda's full article here!