CALMING CHILDREN DURING A FIT OF SCREAMING REQUIRES PARENTS TO REMAIN CALM AND IN CONTROL
By Rachel Goodchild
IT is believed that more than 50% of children will have a temper tantrum and many of them will have them weekly. It can be hard on any parent having to deal with a temper tantrum, but you need to look at ways you can defuse the situation before it happens.
If your child often has tantrums then you -need to recognise the signs, and deal with them before it gets to a stage that you can't do anything.
Again, you need to make sure you are not sending out mixed signals to the child. Many parents reward their child for calming down, and this will soon be something the child reacts to. They will have a tantrum knowing they will also be rewarded. If you have other children, they will consider it unfair that one child has a tantrum and gets a reward, while they behave and get no rewards.
You always need to evaluate why your child has had a tantrum, and if there is anything you can do to change the circumstances.
Maybe you asked if they would like to eat, whereas you really meant it is time for dinner. They have answered the question in their own mind, (No, I want to watch television or play with my toys), but then they are called to the table and suddenly pandemonium breaks out. Why?
Because the boundaries were set in the child’s mind that they were asked one thing, but in the parent's mind, they are thinking about something else. Do you see the difference?
Don't ask a child a question, when you already have the answer and expect that to be obeyed.
However much you want to shout at the child during the time of the tantrum, you must always remain calm and in control. Yes, it is easier said than done, but the child will be looking at your reaction.
It is easier to control a tantrum before it starts or before it gets out of control. Get down to their level and talk to them. Don't shout; don't bribe them, just talk to them. Keep talking until they tell you what they are feeling. It's important to know how they are feeling if you are going to make those feelings better.
There will be times you need to hold your child, especially if they are in danger of hurting themselves. Keep talking; it doesn't matter if they don't respond immediately. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, reassure them that you love them regardless of what they are doing. There is a difference between loving your child and disliking the way they behave.
There will be times that you have to give your child a time out. It is best for you to have a place for them to go, and they know about it before a tantrum happens: Explain that this is a place of safety, but one they have to stay in until they become calm again.
After the tantrum is over, talk to your child, ask them what they were feeling during that time, and how they now feel. Learn from what they say, and see if there is anything that you can do to help them.
The art of parenting
Tuesday, May 27, 2008