The Dreaded double T word most mothers are all too familiar with. , That’s right Temper Tantrums.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly thought I would have a chill, laid back baby, easy going in every aspect. Boy, was I in for a big surprise. Instead I was met with an extremely opinionated, decisive, headstrong baby.
All not negative personality qualities per se. I love that he is confident and outspoken. When he sets his mind on something there is no deterring him. But of course this is a positive trait only so far as the goal, if it’s based upon him getting a third helping of ice cream, it’s not so positive.
My son is now three years old and we have gone through several tantrum phases. I have read countless books, articles and the like on the subject. Here’s a quick list of some tactics I have used that have had some modicum of success.
Before trying any type of discipline it is important above all to be consistent. Easier said than done, I know. As sometimes this requires more patience and energy than we think we are capable of.
1. Remove Temptations
If you start to notice a pattern with when the tantrums are occurring, eliminate it. For example snack time, in my case it would always end in a fight for more snacks than were allotted for. (Meaning a responsible, reasonable amount of snacks.) He will gorge on chocolate if given the chance. If he knew there was more to be had, we had a problem, no matter how many times mommy mentioned before snack time there were only two pieces of chocolate for snack time.
Now I make sure to keep the cookie/ snack jar with just the amount for one snack time. He takes it himself and sees it is left empty and is content for the most part with his portion. I say for the most part because we have had the occasional ‘Go to the store and buy more chocolate’ tantrum. But some progress was made.
2. Distractors .
I’ve noticed with my son that I can usually spot the tantrum coming, not always though, but when I do a quick distractor comes in handy. Sometimes its as easy as ‘ Hey! Did you hear that?’ and we then proceed to find the source of the sound. Maybe it was a dinosaur in the kitchen… Silly, I know but it works.
When the tantrum has escalated to biting, hitting and throwing things, it’s time for a timeout. There’s nothing new here, just a corner of the house away from toys or any other distraction and I make sure not to give him any attention during the timeout. One minute per year of child is the general rule. I have a hard time with this as thirty seconds of his screaming seems like an eternity to me. The timeout is then followed by a calm chat on why we had a timeout and a better way to deal with our frustration for next time. We are still having several tantrums a week. So I am not really sure on how well our talks are going.
4. Stopping the Tantrum
I’ve noticed once he gets going with a tantrum, really in the thick of it. It’s really not very easy for him to compose himself. Sometimes it is as easy as my getting down to eye level and asking ‘are you finished now’? Let me help you calm down with a hug.’ and sometimes this works.
Hopefully this has been of some help, if not for anything new than to just know you’re not alone. The struggle is very real. I’d love to hear what tactics and tricks you’ve picked up along the way. I could certainly use all the help I can get.