Dealing with tantrums and rudeness
Tantrums can be a major source of stress for parents particularly when they are in public places or are in front of family and friends. The majority of tantrums are from children under the age of 5 but many children beyond 5 and even teenagers can have tantrums and rages. It is important to know that children have very strong feelings and a tantrum shows they have not yet developed ways of expressing their feelings appropriately so when they want something that they can’t have, they often have a tantrum or use rude language if they can’t get it.
Camilla works with parents on a regular basis to help them understand why their child might be having tantrums and to develop strategies and solutions to reduce or eliminate them. If you'd like to connect with Camilla please make an enquiry and see how she can help.
Below are 5 key approaches that can help:
- When you get a warning sign that they might be about to have a tantrum use a distraction – the more exaggerated the better ‘Do you know I saw a pink elephant walking down the street today’ Your child might think it is funny or you could ask a question ‘Have you ever seen a pink elephant?’
- Stay calm yourself – breathe deeply from your abdomen, tell yourself you will be putting petrol on a fire if you shout or over-react. Some children are really persistent and it is incredibly hard not to be worn down by them. It might help to remove yourself for a few minutes to avoid shouting.
- Remember children are scared when they loose it and really don’t like themselves at that point, so it can really help to hold them tight and say ‘mummy really loves you so much. You are having a hard time right now I can see. I love you so much though and you will calm down soon’
- Describe their emotion. Imagine how they might be feeling and put it into words to help your child understand what feeling is driving their behaviour. This makes them feel less frightened at a time when they can feel very overwhelmed ‘You are so angry, you wanted to go to the sweet shop and mummy said no. You are really disappointed because you love to buy chocolate and you can’t have it because it isn’t sweetie day today. I understand, it is really hard for you.’
- When the tantrum subsides, don’t be tempted to ‘punish’ or criticise your child. This will NOT help them learn not to have another tantrum. Just say ‘it is so good that you have calmed down now, that was really hard for you. Do you want to take a few more breaths to feel better?’ and then something like ‘what are you going to choose to play with now?’