Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Knowing when to ignore a tantrum

My daughter Elizabeth just turned three. As toddlers are notorious for their prolonged tantrums I would like to share with you what works for me. For the most ridiculous reason she will stomp and kick until she gets her way. I find it very frustrating dealing with an uncompromising young lady who doesn’t listen to reason. When she gets unreasonable it’s too late for me to step in. It’s only at the beginning strains of a tantrum that I can deal with it and nip it in the bud.

One great tool I use to avert a tantrum is to offer choices. Many parents believe that offering a choice to their kid is enabling them to control the parent. In reality it’s just the opposite. You as a parent stay in control, by virtue of you being the one offering the options. All you are enabling is your child to feel like she counts as an individual with her own preferences. Offering a choice of options to a child, when done correctly, is one of the smartest things you can do. I never offer more than 2 options, as that could confuse them and it just makes it harder for her to decide. So for example, if my daughter is starting to protest about going to sleep, I’ll quickly step in and say “Elizabeth would you like to sleep at the foot of your bed or at the head” or I’ll say “should I close the door or leave it open”. Small things like these which divert her attention work like a charm. My child feels like the boss because she just got to choose and I accomplish my goal with minimal fuss.

If there is a full fledged tantrum in place already there are other great parenting ideas that may work. First thing is check if there is any danger to your child. When my daughter is having a tantrum on the couch or a bed I’ll gently remove her and place her on the floor. The danger of falling off a raised platform can’t be minimized. If my daughter is carrying on because of a silly thing like the wrong Sippy cup color then I feel free to walk away. I’ll make sure she is safe and then wander off to a different activity. My objective is to show her that silly tantrums do not bother me. If a crying episode escalates into banging and throwing objects then I’ll intervene and gently hold my daughter. Rocking back and forth usually does the trick and my daughter calms down.

What are your tips for handling a tantrum?

This guest post was written by Sandy. To read more of her posts visit bagless canister vacuum cleaner.

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