Breaking Bad Habits: 5 Ways to Curb Tantrums in Children

Raising children is a beautiful thing but with peculiar challenges like tantrums, it can be tiring. Between spending money and giving them all the love that they require, there are certain behavioural challenges that can make you tired. Throwing tantrums is one issue that every parent has to overcome. Tantrums is an act that shows defiance in a child. It is often accompanied by screaming, kicking of legs and wailing. A lot of parents are often at a loss when a child throws tantrums, especially in a public setting. This is because of the embarrassment that comes with receiving side-looks that express dissatisfaction with one’s parenting skills. A number of parents find themselves giving in to the child’s request at such times or they respond with slaps and threats. Times are changing and spanking a child every time may be seen as abuse. If you are trying to be a modern parent in the face of something as annoying as a child throwing tantrums, there is a system to cure your child of that nasty behavior without raising a finger.

Here are 5 practical steps to nip this frustrating attitude in the bud

Do the Hunger Test

Sometimes, children become cranky as a result of hunger. So the first thing to do is to try to give him food or fruits to establish that this tantrum is not based on the discomfort that comes with hunger. If he eats his food and becomes quiet after, then the tantrum was not a sign of manipulation. However, if he has eaten his meal at about that time or throws the food away, it is very clear that he is trying to play with your mind.

Remove Dangerous Objects

Children throw tantrums in the bid to manipulate their parents and appeal to their emotional side. The more you give a child the chance to win at this, the better the child becomes at wielding this weapon. Once you issue an instruction to your child and he proceeds to start a tantrum to the point of falling to the ground and throwing his legs in the air, just hold your peace and remove every sharp object in sight. If he is fond of hitting his head on the floor to pass his message across, put pillows around him. That way, he won’t hurt himself as you take the rest of the steps.

Take Away Eye Contact

The only way to control your child and get him to desist from this silly behavior is to deny him of unnecessary attention. Once your child gets on the floor, just remove eye contact as a way of telling him/her that you are not buying his idea. Do other things within that space to keep an eye on him while ensuring that he knows you are not interested in giving in to him.

Ignore Him

If removing eye contact has not given you the result you yearn for, leave the setting. It is possible that he will run after you and try to put up a show in your presence, just pretend like you are not interested in his display. Turn your back to him, go to the kitchen and cook, turn on music and play with his siblings while checking on him from time to time (without making it obvious). This will help him to understand that you mean business and you are not his puppet.

Speak to Him

After some minutes of following the first four steps stated above, you should notice a measure of calmness in your child. He would definitely feel tired after many minutes of wailing uncontrollably. This means that the noise level would have gone down and he should be lying down on the floor or sitting peacefully. This is the time to move close to him, bend until you establish eye contact at his level and speak to him in a very quiet voice. Make sure love and firmness shine through as you tell him why you left him by himself. You can say the following to him. “Tolu, do you know why I left you alone? I left you alone because you did not do the right thing. Crying is not the way to express yourself; I will not answer you if you do so. Next time tell me what you want without crying and I will listen to you” Make sure he/she is listening and encourage him to respond in his own way by nodding or speaking. After that, reiterate that you want the best for him which is why you gave an instruction. This will not only help him understand your point of view, it will also give him the confidence to speak up next time.

Note: These steps must be followed with discretion, don’t leave him by himself for long. Make sure you check on him to see how he is doing. Ensure that you carry your spouse along so that your child does not cause division or quarrel. It is important to let a child know that mum & dad are a team where discipline is concerned. It is not something you do once, it is like therapy. Repetition will help drive home the point and help you both bond properly. If you do this for months and still hit a brick wall, you might want to re-evaluate that child for autism or other challenges.

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