It’s hard to accept that meltdowns are a normal part of childhood development. As a mom, watching my kids’ having tantrums, my own meltdown tends to become even more dramatic! I have often contemplated throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming, evoking shock and horror onto my unsuspecting child causing their tantrum to stop dead in its tracks. Now, if I could pluck up the courage to actually do it.
With society frowning upon such behaviour, I instead solicited advice from experts on the subject. Here is a five step guide to help you survive the stage of hissy fits.
1. Ignore the Child
Yep. It always works. The frontal cortex of your kid’s brain – the area that controls judgment – literally stops and emotions take over. Reasoning therefore does not work. Allow the tantrum to happen and talk when it’s over. It will probably be the longest and often most embarrassing few minutes of your life, but hey, it goes with the territory of being a parent.
2. The Art of Distraction
It’s the ‘hey, look at this’ diversion. I’ve downloaded games on my cellphone which serve as a lovely diversion tactic when things fall apart. If you notice your child slowly going off the deep end, do the ‘hey, look at this’ trick. The more excitable you sound, the better. As parents we have to be excellent entertainers.
3. Find out what is REALLY the problem
It’s not easy being calm in such situations but trying to empathise with your child does take the edge off a bit. With younger children, their vocabulary isn’t extensive. So trying to string words together whilst having the tantrum only serves to cause further irritation. Get to the root cause of the problem in a calm manner and open the lines of communication in an effective way.
While this may appear as a futile battle of the wills, a strong, firm hug make children feel secure – even if you don’t necessarily agree with their behaviour.
5. Hot Kick It Out of There
If you are out and about, simply picking up your child and removing yourself from the venue can dramatically change the behaviour. And save yourself a ton of embarrassment.
Tantrums are simply a way of getting frustrations out and testing limits. The idea is to remain calm, regardless of how dramatic the behaviour becomes.
By Tivania Moodley