Let’s talk a bit about how to stop temper tantrums with some quick behavior modification techniques. You can avoid the tantrum altogether with these techniques because temper tantrums are all about power.
Try to find ways to empower the kids to be their own boss. This doesn’t mean that they get to decide everything that the family does or they get to dictate what goes on within our family life.
It just means giving them limited choices such as:
- Would you like to sit beside mommy or daddy?
- Would you like to walk beside me, or would you prefer to hold my hand?
- Do you want to give your brother the dump truck or the fire truck?
Let them feel like they have some say or control with really simple things. Say it’s time to leave the park. You say, “Did you want to stay for two minutes or three minutes?” You’re still setting the boundary it’s time to go. You’re, just giving them a little bit of saying as to when that will be.
Another great way to stop temper tantrums is by asking your kids to do something instead of telling them.
So often we are just shouting – “grab me that, get that, do this”. We’re just ordering our kids around all the time without even realizing it.
It’s, amazing. The first time you sit back and really listen to what you are saying you will realize you are just giving commands all day long.
If you switch to asking for cooperation instead of demanding it is a real game-changer. Simple things like saying “would you mind”, “could you do me a huge favor”, and “could you please”.
Try asking instead of demanding and you will be amazed at the increase in cooperation. And, try saying yes as much as you can. This doesn’t mean you are giving in to everything your kids want, It is basically saying no without saying no. It is a great technique to stop temper tantrums.
For a lot of kids saying no is a huge trigger. It causes them to put up their defenses and be like oh yeah mom, you’re not the boss of me.
Behavior Modification Techniques
How saying yes is really saying no without saying no. Here are quick examples.
- Say they’re asking for a cookie a breakfast. Instead of saying no, you can’t have a cookie. You say, “oh yeah, I would like a cookie too. Let’s have one for dessert after supper,” So, you’re not giving in and you’re not giving them a cookie for breakfast. Instead, you’re telling them when they can have a cookie.
- You’re on vacation and your child says “I really want to go to the water slides now dad can we go to the water slides now.” Dad should reply, “I would love to go to the water slides too, Brian. Why don’t we do that after lunch?” You can still stay within whatever boundaries you have set but you just don’t have to say no all the time.
This behavior modification technique to stop temper tantrums does take a bit of practice. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be saying yes all day long, and saying yes is way more fun than saying no all the time. Of course, parents need to follow through.
When you follow through and your kids know that you mean what you say they are, not going to test you as much. They’re not gonna try and bait you into getting that extra candy or getting that extra slide down the slide, because they know you mean what you say it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Whereas if you give in sometimes they will think, “it’s like the last time mom said there was only one more slide but I threw a hissy fit, and then I got to do five more slides. So maybe, if I throw another hissy fit again then I will get to do six more sides this time.” They are like little evil geniuses. Okay, not evil but can be manipulative geniuses if you let them. Stick to your guns and follow through.
Dealing With Unruly Children
Sometimes it’s still gonna happen right. So when you start to feel your spidey senses are tingling and you know that the tantrum is coming on. This is a great opportunity to try and jump in and squash it before it happens.
First thing, always acknowledge their feelings. You can see they’re looking really disappointed, upset, angry, and frustrated. Tell them that you notice. Offer them a little bit of empathy.
Kids just want us to listen to them and understand them. So, instead of dismissing their feelings with, “you don’t mean that or you already have one of those, or I told you, it was time to go”, offer a little bit of empathy. It totally opens the door to connect with your child.
Try putting yourself in their shoes and just let them know that you understand that they are upset. Be aware of your body language, especially if tantrums are a big trigger for you to get upset.
Toddlers don’t have a firm grasp of their language skills. Toddlers will react to your body language more than to what you’re are actually saying.
For example, you say you acknowledge their feelings and are trying to be empathetic, but you’re standing there with your arms crossed and you’re all huffy with a mean voice. That is not really exuding empathy in your child’s eyes. Instead, take a deep breath, try to relax, and acknowledge your child’s feelings in as calm a manner as you can muster.
Stop Full-Blown Tantrums
When they’re in a full-blown tantrum forget about reasoning with them. It is not the time to try to rationalize with them.
They’ve lost it, they have flipped their lid, they are inconsolable. Save your explanations, save your rationalizations and just disengage. And by disengage, we don’t mean you act like you’ve washed your hands of them. Don’t give wind to their sales. By this, we mean to stop the temper tantrum quit feeding the tantrum by reacting.
Tantrums are no good if they don’t have an audience. Try ignoring the tantrum first, but of course, if you’re on vacation or you’re in public, this isn’t an option. So in those situations where their outburst is affecting other people, you need to remove them from the situation.
Instead of just yanking them and taking them out, go back to the avoidance tactics and acknowledge their feelings. Maybe say, “I can see that you really want to stay at the beach and we can come back tomorrow. Okay, can you take a deep breath and calm yourself or do you need some privacy? Would you prefer to go back to the room for a little while?” Sometimes they will calm themselves and you can stay. Tantrum over no big deal.
However, sometimes the tantrum continues. That’s your cue to exit with the offending child. Don’t make any other kids suffer and miss out when they are behaving. Tell the child, “I can see you need some privacy”. Take them back to the hotel room or their time-out space at home.
If they suddenly calm down and say, “I’m ready. I’m ready” it doesn’t matter. You go back to the hotel room or time-out space anyway since you need to follow through. Once they are away and have really calmed themselves, they have learned the lesson and now in a better frame of mind. This followthrough on your promises, and threats, will help limit future tantrums.
Later on, after the fact, circle back and talk with your child about what was upsetting them and what caused a tantrum without blame or shame. Just an honest conversation about what happened. Listen to what they say was bothering them and discuss with them by asking them questions on what they can do differently next time. Teach them without lecturing about emotions and acting appropriately. This is how you effectively stop temper tantrums.
Source: Kelly Bourne via YouTube