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  • How to Handle Tantrums Without Raising Your Voice: Try This 3-Step Guide

    Try these three simple tips to tame a tantrum and help you keep your cool.
    by Rachel Perez .
How to Handle Tantrums Without Raising Your Voice: Try This 3-Step Guide
  • Discipline is one of the most challenging parts of parenting. It takes a great deal of patience and a massive dose of calm to deal with a tot throwing a tantrum. Depending on your patience reserves, it could be just a matter of time before you find yourself shouting and losing your cool. We often feel guilty about raising their voice; in fact, all parents regret it. 

    Toddlers are at a stage where they're testing their limits, seeking their independence, and consequently, learning more about the world and about themselves. "Throwing a fit" at age 2 or 3 is part of growing up, but it doesn't mean you continue to let her to misbehave because of her age. It serves as an opportunity to help your child manage his emotions, and it means discovering your discipline style. 

    How can you discipline a toddler without flaring up? Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, authors of the new book Now Say This: The Right Words To Solve Every Parenting Dilemma, detail a three-step discipline technique called "ALP" that they say works on toddlers and even for older children.

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    ALP works with the premise that your toddler is capable of understanding rules and following instructions. It's just that toddlers need to learn how to process their emotions. The "misbehavior" is the only way they know how to react. Here's how ALP works.

    A is for Attune
    Put yourself in your child's shoes, and look at the situation in his point of view. "Keep in mind that blind obedience is not the goal. Over time, we want kids to become independent thinkers and to make good choices and cooperate because it comes from within" the authors wrote. 

    Empathizing with your child doesn't make you a weak parent. It's about letting your child know that you want to understand the source of his anger or frustration.  

    L is for Limit 
    Your child needs to know that while you empathize, there are consequences to his actions. You need to stand firm when you lay out the rules. It's crucial to state the rule or limit in a neutral and matter-of-fact tone. Be clear and brief. Your toddler may still not have the attention span to listen to a string of sentences.

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    To make sure your little one hears and understands what you're saying, refrain from shouting and get down to your child's eye level. Try not to bribe ("If you do this, you can have this.") and instead state a cause and effect ("When you do this, we'll do this after."). When you use these words, you expect cooperation, which your toddler should get used to over time.

    P is for Problem-solve
    Here's the part where you can propose an alternative, suggest a solution, or offer your child choices. Tots love choices because they feel that they are in control. It speaks to their desire to feel independence. Just make sure you provide options that you can deal with, so it's a win-win situation for you and your child. 

    If the previous steps involved empathy and being firm, make this part as creative as you can. You're trying to diffuse a tantrum and not add to the reason why your child is acting up.

    Next time your toddler throws a fit, try ALP. You can always take a breath or a time out to calm down if you feel like you're about to burst.

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