Dealing with toddler and preschool tantrums is one of the most frustrating challenges of parenthood. You tell us all the time when you read and comment our stories on how to tame your child’s angry outbursts from calm-down phrases to tips on how to teach your child self-control. But, at the end of the day, these techniques need to work with your parenting style.
In celebrity mom and TV host Bettina Carlos's case, the discipline method that works for her is walking away when her 6-year-old daughter, Gummy, throws a tantrum. The goal: “She should learn that making a scene would never get her what she wants,” she shares in her column for The Manila Times.
Why? The mom wants her daughter to know that she can’t use crying or anger to get her way. “When she is calmer, ask her what she wants and give it right away. By doing so, she will learn that she only needs to ask properly to receive whatever it is that she wants,” explains Bettina.
It is a highly effective method and often advised by child experts. The Idol sa Kusina host’s tantrum-taming technique has several key components. First, it’s important that the parent remains calm. Because, as you may have already found out the hard way, mirroring your child’s emotions and getting angry yourself only makes things worse.
“Parents' ability to regulate themselves and to remain firm, confident, and not overreact is a key way they can help their children to modify their behavior,” says Shannon Lipscomb, a researcher on child behavior from Oregon State University.
Next, the parent is dismissive towards the tantrum. Bettina simply walks away and treats the tantrum as dramatics (read: not worth the fuss). Being "indifferent" can shut a tantrum down, especially when you sense that the tantrum is just part of an act, so your child gets what he wants.
“Don’t give the tantrum more power than it deserves, or you will find your child using anger more and more to get what he wants,” Sara Bean, certified school counselor and former coaching advisor, says in an Empowering Parents article. Make it clear that tantrums don’t and will never work by ignoring them.
Another expert agrees. When it comes to tantrums, don’t fuel the fire by fighting it. “Every time you engage in this kind of back-and-forth exchange, you give him the opportunity to get stronger and better at it,” says Dr. Richard Bromfield, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of How to Unspoil Your Child Fast.
Here are two scenarios you can face when everything has quieted down. Your child ultimately moves on to something else -- he will forget or let go of the reason for the tantrum. Or, he’s ready to ask for what he wants in a calm manner. With the latter, both parent and child are ready to listen and talk things through. Either way, win-win.
What technique works for you when your child does a tantrum? Comment down below!