I always want to be making positive parenting choices, but when the kids throw a tantrum it is hard to hold to that ideal. Toddlers are well-known for tantrums, but many children even into teen years can throw quite a fit from time to time. Trying to be the positive and calm parent in these situations is really difficult. Especially if the tantrum happens in public. I don't always remain as calm and positive as I would like, but I'm learning too. That's why I decided to share some tips that have helped me to handle tantrums in a better way.
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5 Positive Parenting Choices For Handling Tantrums
Remove them from the situation. One of the easiest positive parenting choices you can make in the middle of a tantrum is to remove them from a situation. If you are in a grocery store, take your cart to customer service and let them know you need to step outside for a moment but will be back. Take your child to the car and talk to them calmly until they settle down. Hopefully, you will be able to diffuse the situation and go back to your shopping.
There are so many different places tantrums happen though that make this method difficult. Ultimately, if you are able to remove them from the situation, hold them for a bit, and remind them how much you love them it will help them to settle down and make it easier for you to manage. As you remove them from the situation, remember that sometimes this can be a form of punishment, but it is one for their own safety and yours. Tantrums can often get out of control with children. (For example, if they are trying to hit you or someone else out of frustration.) Protecting them, yourself and anyone around you is important. Sometimes that means you have to be the mean parent by taking them away from their toys, friends, or play time until they calm down.
Make sure they know they are loved. Positive parenting is all about showing love instead of anger. Instead of yelling at them for not calming down, you can remove them from the situation and let them know you are sorry they are upset and you love them. Even when they are acting out, it is vital that you make sure you are repeatedly letting them know that they are important to you, loved and that you only want what is best for them.
As you hold them when they are calming down repeat loving words to them. Rub their back. Hold them. Stroke their hair. These little things are loving and positive ways to calm their tantrum while not letting the get away with the behavior. When they are calm you can talk about what upset them, or explain to them that the behavior was not acceptable. Even young toddlers can understand basic concepts and are often able to tell you what is upsetting them.
Don't yell. One of the number one positive parenting choices you can make is to not yell at your children in the middle of a tantrum. It is also the area I've struggled with the most and continue to work on. I know not yelling is important in every situation. Kids need to feel loved, supported and important. Yelling strips them of that feeling and makes them feel bad about themselves. I know I do not like to be yelled at either!
While they may need discipline for their actions, that can come in the form of careful words and explanations instead of harsh treatment. Raising your voice shouldn't be an option in the midst of a tantrum. Instead, a firm but calm voice is what should be used to show your children you mean business. If you DO yell (and it happens, I know!), be sure to take time to apologize, hug it out, and reassure your child that you love them.
Discipline tantrums appropriately. This can seem tough when trying to follow a positive parenting method. To many, positive parenting means there is no discipline, but I believe that discipline is necessary. Positive parenting comes in how you deal with that discipline as well as the intention behind it. Discipline is more about guidance rather than punishments. If you are simply punishing them for wrong doing without trying to explain to them what they did you aren't being constructive.
Discipline with time outs or removal of privileges as needed, but focus more on talking things through. Help your kids to understand why their choices or actions were not appropriate. Explain how positive behavior brings rewards where negative behavior makes everyone sad. Also, offer positive alternatives for how they behaved or ask them what could be done differently next time.
Here are some great books that can help you learn more about positive parenting discipline techniques:
Try to avoid situations that typically cause tantrums. As your child grows, you'll quickly learn the situations most likely to lead to their tantrums. Whether it is because of jealousy of a sibling, or their desire to avoid that midday nap, you may be able to diffuse these situations long before they occur. I know if my kids are tired or hungry, they are more likely to throw a tantrum or have a meltdown, so I try to carry snacks on hand at all times.
- Plan ahead for outings or events that may cause a tantrum-inducing situation by discussing expectations and being willing to leave if necessary.
- Make sure to keep their routine and schedule as on track as possible.
- Learn triggers so you can step in and remove them before the tantrum occurs.
- Offer rewards for better behavior, which can be as simple as acknowledging it. “Catch” them being good. “Thank you for following directions and listening while we were at the zoo today. I can't wait to go with you again!”
As you try to follow positive parenting methods with your children, these tips will be helpful when a tantrum occurs.
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