Temper Tantrums: Guidelines for Parents

Temper Tantrums: Guidelines for Parents Cover Image

When children are happy, we tend to join in their fun and feel a sense of ease. Their giggles and laughter embraces us with so much happiness. Temper Tantrums on the other hand can be hard to accept, let alone deal with it in a calm way.

I am a certified life and parent coach and I haven’t met a parent who says that they enjoy their child’s temper tantrums. When parents reach out to me for coaching and support, tantrums are a very common concern. So, today I’ll be talking about

  • Dealing with Tantrums at all Ages
  • Dealing with Tantrums in Public
  • How to help your kid understand and curtail angry outbursts

Dealing with Tantrums

You made it through the woes of tiring two, survived the terrible three’s and overcame the challenges that your four year old brought. Then, just when you thought the worst was behind you, you realised the cold, hard truth. Tantrums happen. Anytime, anywhere and at any age.

Here’s why

  • They are the result of being emotionally overwhelmed and can be a normal part of growing up.
  • The ability to stay calm instead of melting down only happens when children have developed self regulation abilities.
  • Tears are the brain’s way of dealing with stress.

How to handle

To best deal with them, I suggest seeing meltdowns and screaming fits as stressful behaviour, not naughty behaviour. However, there are other steps that you can take to help your child deal with it, here’s what they are:

  • Stay calm and stay close
  • Don’t worry about fixing the problem just yet
  • Validate your child’s feelings
  • Be mindful of your body language and tone of speech
  • Going forward, don’t be afraid of tantrums but pick your battles

Tantrums become equally challenging when they happen in public. I completely understand that it becomes extremely embarrassing for us parents to deal with such situations, so, below I have shared some steps that will help you to tackle them effectively.

Dealing with Meltdowns in Public

They are watching you!

Your child has just started screaming and thrashing about and there are several sets of eyes on you. You can feel the weight of their stares, judgement and disapproval. It’s every parent’s nightmare….a public tantrum. Let’s take a closer look at how to deal with tantrums that happen in public with the spotlight squarely on you.

  • Keep your voice calm and low: When you notice your child getting worked up, make sure you keep your own voice calm and gentle. It should sound comforting to your child. Maintaining eye contact is important.
  • Pretend you are at home: As much as possible pretend you are at home or at least, alone. Don’t get yourself caught up in worrying about what people think. You will end up stressed and no matter how hard you try to hide it, your child will pick up on that and it will get worse.
  • Give them a little attention: Sometimes all you need to do is stop for a moment and give your kids a little attention. You can get the kids involved in what you are doing. A quick hug also works wonders.
  • Staying calm, cool and collected is really important: Believe that you are a great parent and you can handle this!!

How to help your kids understand and curtail angry outbursts

Have your kids ever yelled at you with an intense rage? Pretty much every mom I know has had this experience – some more than others-  and still when we experience it, it feels as raw as the first time it happened.

It’s normal for children to get mad and upset in their growing years, however it’s important to teach them how to deal with these waves like a pro. Helping your child learn to say “I am angry” or “I am mad at you” instead of “I hate you” or “You make me upset”, is a great way to start. Not only are they giving their feelings a name, they are also not blaming someone else for those feelings, which happens with “you make me upset.” This is an important concept to learn when young, otherwise, we often carry the instincts to blame into adulthood. We need to help our kids take ownership of how they feel, whether those feelings are good or bad.

They may not be able to tell you what really makes them so terribly upset and so a little help will work wonders to build their expressing ability. When adults help children move through frustration, it is possible for the kid to move on and adapt. You can do this by:

  • Asking questions that allow a child to offload and express emotions, to ensure he or she feels heard and understood.
  • The use of open ended questions will gently allow the kids to move towards
  • Teach the ABC’s of anger (become Aware, I am angry. Breathe. Count to 10)
    This tool was created for parents when they feel they are going to lose it. The same can work for kids from about 4 onwards.

Remember, all behaviour is a form of communication. When our child is bringing a big behaviour to us, they are trying to tell us about a need that hasn’t been met. If we only look at the behaviour being exhibited, we will miss what they are really trying to tell us, because what we see is roughly only 10% of what’s actually going on for them, a bit like an iceberg. There’s a saying that goes “love them when they least deserve it for that’s when they need it the most”, which is so apt in these situations.

Happy Parenting!!

Featured image credit: Dreamstime.com

About Guest Author

Sonia Jain, founder of Inspiring Lives is a torch bearer of positivity, Sonia has received several testimonials and accreditation for her contribution in goal setting, self discovery, positive parenting sessions, coping with stress and emotions and restructuring one’s vision through powerful tools and techniques. just does that! The foundation of Sonia’s career was led 12 years ago in coaching, mentoring and guiding individuals. She has worked with numerous parents, children and individuals across the country. In a nutshell, she motivates, guides and trains individuals towards a healthier and happier life.


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