How to deal with a child’s tantrums

BusteRR asks: How should I deal with my child’s tantrums?

Aauuggh!  I hate tantrums!  Whenever I’m near one, I want to run away or hide under the bed.  Too loud, too angry, too crazy!

Now it’s bad enough if it’s a kid having one, but when it’s an adult, that’s really terrifying.  If that’s the case, and there’s someone in the house who’s bigger than you, who’s got anger that’s out of control, then the most important thing to do is to make yourself safe.  And if they’ve been drinking or doing anything else that makes them less sensible, it’s even more important.  And if you know there’s someone in your home who might be like that, you should have a safety plan, to make sure that everyone in the house (yes, including the pets!) has a way to protect themselves.

But if it’s your kid who’s throwing the tantrum, you’re probably not as concerned about your safety as much as about your own sanity!

There are two major things I can tell you about kids’ tantrums.  Firstly, most kids hate having them about as much as you hate being around them.  They may even feel frightened at how out of control they are.  So they will really appreciate you stopping the tantrum, if you can.

But secondly, sometimes they have to just have the tantrum.  If they blow up because you’re not buying them the toy they want, and you try to solve the problem by buying them that toy, you’re just teaching them that tantrums work.

So usually, the best way to handle a tantrum is to let the kid have the experience, but to let them know that you don’t like it, and that if they want something from you, they’ll have to calm down and “use words.”   Eventually they will learn to control their tempers, and pursue more productive ways of communicating with you.

But meanwhile, feel free to join me under the bed!

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