Toddler Temper Tantrums are one of those aspects of parenthood that we all face and are never truly prepared for. They vary by kid and age. My oldest daughter, now 8, had them less frequently but much more intense. You can learn all about how she used to pee her pants to get here way. My youngest daughter, currently 3, has temper tantrums more often than her sister did, but they are much shorter and not as intense. I’m able to help her transition her mind onto other things faster.
[Photos taken by Shauna B. ]
Candid moment captured by my cousin while Zoey is at the beginning stages of a temper tantrum. I took her on her first carousel ride which she thoroughly enjoyed but once the ride ended; the monster was released.
In this moment, I understood fully why she was upset; which is not always the case with temper tantrums. We were doing something new, fun and exciting; and it ended. Kids do not have the reasoning skills to understand why the world works the way it does. ‘When you pay for one ride, you can only take one ride.’ Nor do they have the communication skills to verbally tell you “Hey Mom, can you not remove me from this spinning chicken I’m riding with the happy music!”. So they cry, scream, kick, hit, bite, and pee their pants. The only ways they know how to ‘show’ you that they are not happy.
At times they don’t even know why they are un-happy. Being tired, hungry, being last not first. The wrong color cup. The wrong cup altogether. Anything can set them off. AND I MEAN ANYTHING. Even giving them exactly what they ask for.
I get it, dealing with a tantrum at home versus in public makes it a whole lot more manageable. Parenting is hard enough, we don’t need onlookers judging and commenting on our every parent move.
I am not an expert in child behavior, I have tested a few techniques that work with my children that may help you in the time of need.
Four Tips to overcome a temper tantrums:
Ignore – If at home, simply do not respond. Even if they scream or yell or pull at your shirt. Be super focused on something else and ignore, ignore, ignore.
Walk away – Depending on the circumstance and surroundings. At the grocery store or mall I have simply continued on with my chores down a new aisle. They quickly re-focus on the fact that they can’t see you (you can still hear them but they don’t know that) and their new mission is to find you.
Bring them to a safe place – One time in Nordstrom my eldest laid on the ground and just screamed bloody murder because she wasn’t in the mood to shop. I brought her to the car and allowed her finish her tantrum in a safe (and without fancy shoppers) space. Once she and I were ready to be back in public, we continued our shopping.
Bribe with a snack or candy – This I reserve for special occasions. Literally. Weddings, Graduations, Plays, Important life events I want to watch. I don’t use this tactic unless I have to. You don’t want your child to associate food with behaving well. Healthy food is nourishment for the body, not a reward. However, a little candy will make any child pay attention quickly.
After a tantrum is over, I always have a quick discussion with my children on how they are feeling and coming up with better ways of dealing with those feelings for next time. It shows them that I care they are upset, but its also teaching them how to communicate those feelings. One quick discussion will NOT erase temper tantrums, however it’s helping create the foundation for open communication and trust.