Tantrums-Breaking The Cycle
Tantrums don't suddenly appear. They are learned. Controlling or eliminating tantrums isn't complicated, but it is hard work. It will be easier if you keep one simple premise in mind: Tantrums aren't personal.
Toddlers and pre-school children don't throw tantrums because they want to be naughty. They don't scream and yell because they want to hurt you. Children throw tantrums because they work. It is your job to make tantrums fail.
"Can I have a lollipop?"
This sentence, when uttered in a crowded supermarket, has the power to invoke a racing heart and sweating palms in many parents.
The answer is no. The child raises her voice. The answer is still no. The child drops to the floor. The answer turns into a discussion and the child's voice increases in volume. The tears flow, the shrieks begin and, after a few parental self-conscious glances at near by shoppers ? the answer becomes yes.
What makes the child in the next aisle accept 'no' with a shrug of the shoulders or a nod? Why is your child the one who throws tantrums?
There is no easy answer to this question, but there are some patterns of thinking and practical methods that you can use to break the cycle.
It is a simple, yet powerful fact. A child's behavior can be modified. Rewarding a behavior will increase the occurrence of that behavior. Ignoring it will decrease, and often eliminate the behavior.
A child who throws tantrums receives this message: If I yell loud enough and long enough, I'll get what I want.
The message you want them to receive is: It doesn't matter how long or hard I yell, I'm not going to get what I want.
The tantrums may be just developing. They may have been an unhappy part of family life for months or even years. Whatever the situation, if they're still happening, they're working.
So, how do you start?
Tantrums won't disappear immediately. If your child is just beginning to learn the components of a truly inspired tantrum, you may not have far to go. A few unwavering sessions may be all that is needed. If, however, your child has been honing his tantrum technique for months or even years, success may take a little longer. Even so, with consistency and perseverance, it will work.
Taming tantrums is challenging and rewarding. Be gentle with yourself. There will be setbacks and days when things seem worse. It can be difficult but it's temporary. When your child's smile begins to shine through the haze of anger and frustration, you will agree. The long-term benefits are worth it.
by Ann Harth
Ann Harth is a freelance ghostwriter, manuscript assessor, copyeditor, and published author. She has a BA (psychology) and has spent twelve years working with children with special needs. Ann writes a regular column on running a home business for the Writing4SuccessClub website. Her columns can be viewed at http://www.writing4successclub.com