During times your child has a tantrum, so many people may wonder how they should cope with it. There are so many different theories and approaches about this. In my years of experience working with families and teenagers, I found about ten approaches the most helpful on how to deal with children’s tantrums.
They are mostly derived from the worldwide famous classical conditioning theory that states that all behavior is learned. I take this approach as well. There are sudden aspects of behavior that are created by DNA, mother nature, but surely, nurture takes a big role in all this as well. Even characteristics that may be so logical can be changed, with the right approach and patience. Some children are so used to receiving negative/minimal attention from their parents that they even strive to receive negative attention. At least it is attention! To help them learn that they can receive positive attention with positive behavior, you can also implement these following tips.
The top 10 most helpful tips:
- Observe and analyze what the cause is of your child’s tantrums. When and where does it happen the most, and with who. If there is a pattern, you can create more consistent approaches, rules and possible consequences.
- Use a consistent approach. When you start a sudden approach, do not discontinue right away if it does not work. Sometimes it takes time for it to work. Use the approach with consistency and use it at least enough times to be sure your child does or does not respond to it.
- During the tantrum, do not provide your child with attention (e.g., eye contact, physical contact), unless your child uses the tantrum to escape an activity. If that is the case, make sure you bring your child back to the activity. While you do this, again, limit the amount of attention.
- Spend individual time with your child every day. Do an activity they choose.
- Create rules. Before each and every challenging activity, provide your child with rules. You can either ask your child to think about the rules, or create them yourself. Rules should be clear, brief and manageable. Try to use a limit amount of rules. Too many rules is challenging for a child to comply to, and sets them up for failure.
- Use consequences. Before every challenging activity, provide your child with consequences. Tell them what they can earn, if they comply to the rules, then they receive the positive consequences. And vica versa.
- Use a rewards system. You can create a tangible reward system, by for example writing down the behaviors you want your child to show, and then the rewards. Of course your teenager can help you with this, or create this themselves.
- Clear communication. When you communicate rules and consequences, be clear and brief. In addition to this, communicate with your child about daily life occurrences. Try to be on their emotional and intellectual level, so they feel they can relate to you. The better the bonding and understanding, the more appreciation there is for each other.
- Be open for your child’s input. Ask your child questions about how sudden situations make them feel, ask them about their input, and listen to them. Take them serious and make them feel important.
- Enjoy. Enjoy the moments with your child and realize that every development is a phase. Nothing is permanent. Laugh, make jokes, be a parent and a friend.