Do you ignore them? Punish them? Give in?
Whilst having children is usually regarded as being a blessing, having them throwing tantrums in public can be a parent’s worst nightmare – and I would know, I’m a parent.
When my son was four years old, he had a tantrum at a restaurant. And as I packed up my possessions and stormed out, red-faced and fuming with my son (who was still screeching at the top of his lungs), I vowed that I would never take him anywhere with me ever again. I was obviously over-reacting, but a child’s irrational and unwarranted tantrum can throw even the sanest of us over the edge.
As time went by and my son’s tantrums didn’t subside, I gave in to his demands, and only my bank knows how many boxes of sugary cereals, bowls of chips and knife-wielding action-figures I bought to shut him up – brutal, I know, but true.
I have realised since, however, that I may have not handled those tantrums as best as I could have. Now that I’m not going through it myself, I can tell how wrong it is to give in to them, and so I’ve researched and asked around.
Step 1: Funnily enough, the number one piece of advice is to remain calm – and it’s so true. The only thing worse than a child throwing a tantrum, is a parent responding in the same way. Staying calm is imperative, particularly if your child is throwing a fit in public.
Step 2: It is also important to keep in mind that a child doesn’t always throw a fit because he or she unreasonably wants something, then and there. Sometimes children feel that they want more attention or are frustrated by the fact that their parents do not see things as they see them. This makes it important for us, as parents, to see the world through their eyes, and actually take the time to ask them what’s wrong, instead of telling them off or giving in.
Step 3: Give your child a choice, and explain that if he or she doesn’t calm down, then he or she will be choosing to be punished. It’s important to make it clear that the decision is in his or her hands and that he or she is shaping the outcome of this situation.
Step 4: Never show your children that their tantrums are getting to you. Never get angry, never shout and never join in. Be calm and stay calm, but also make sure you’re straight-to-the-point and keep to your word. Don’t make empty threats and always follow up on the punishment should your child not calm down.
Step 5: Never reward a tantrum, but always explain why. Explain to your child that if he or she speaks to you, then he or she can get further. Tell them that tantrums will never get them anywhere and make sure you stay true to your words.
Do you agree with Evelyn’s advice? Do you know any other ways of handling a child’s tantrum? Let us know in the comments’ section below.