Keep calm during tantrums


On Monday, I explained how it’s important to address the attitude behind every tantrum that your child throws. But you must also keep your own attitude in check.

Above all else: stay calm!
If you buy into your child’s tantrum (it is an act after all) by getting angry, then he knows the tantrum has been effective. If you show any sort of emotion as a result of the tantrum, you will be rewarding the action and he will continue to throw them. Your attitude will shape everything.

Be aloof
Even if you’re seething inside, don’t let him see it. Remind yourself that the tantrum is a decision your child made and if he chooses to throw a fit, then he is choosing to be isolated. The more consistent you are, the more he will understand that this will be his consequence. Imagine yourself saying to him, “Oops, I see you’re throwing a fit. So sorry. I have to isolate you now.”

Move on
After the tantrum is over, move on. You have disciplined for it and have taught him how to express his emotions in an acceptable way. Don’t keep talking about the fit and don’t keep giving him consequences. The great thing about timeouts is that they allow us to wipe the slate clean. Give him that courtesy.

Stay positive
Don’t expect that he will throw another fit, or he will. Keep your expectations positive and express every direction with positive words. If it becomes plainly obvious that he is about to throw a fit (but hasn’t yet), you might be able to head it off at the pass with positive words. For example, if you deny his request for another book at bedtime, and he starts to get a little upset or has thrown a tantrum for this exact thing before, you might say, “I understand you love to read and I’d love to read to you all night long, but you must go to sleep. Let’s read some extra books during our daytime reading time tomorrow.

Read more about the need to stay calm here.