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Don't lose your cool when your child throws a fit

A little whining, screaming, stomping or even holding your breath probably never helps you get your way with your spouse or even your boss ... and it probably doesn't work when someone tries it on you either.

Every parent or teacher has witnessed the "temper tantrum," when a young child (usually between the ages of 1 and 5) whines, screams, hits or kicks to get his or her way. So why do they do it?

  1. They can't express themselves very well. Sometimes they don’t know the words for "I would prefer for my mother to push me in my stroller down the left side of the mall than for my dad to carry me."
  2. They get overwhelmed (i.e. don't delay naptime).
  3. They don't understand delayed gratification. Desert makes no sense.
  4. They are not as physically capable as they think. Why won't those blocks stack perfectly and stay together? Why can't I stand on the kitchen table?
  5. Share? What? They are the center of the universe, and they don't really understand that someone else might think they are, too.

Diffusing a tantrum:

  1. Try a distraction. "Help me pick out the best apple from all of these apples."
  2. Ignore it. Just act like it's not happening.
  3. Be silly. Sing a song or laugh it off.
  4. If you are in a public place, leave the scene when all else fails.

So how do you "keep the peace" when your child is having a temper tantrum? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter.


August 2011