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  • You Won't Stop a Toddler Tantrum by Yelling. Try This No-Drama Discipline Approach

    This approach can help strengthen your relationship with your child.
    by Kate Borbon .
You Won't Stop a Toddler Tantrum by Yelling. Try This No-Drama Discipline Approach
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  • When a child throws a tantrum, and you are not prepared for it, it is understandable you resort to yelling. Or to avoid the fit of anger you feel, you give in to end the temper tantrums. You know there is probably a better discipline approach — one that does not involve having you and your child both frustrated. But what to do when you get overwhelmed by your emotions as well?

    No-drama discipline

    Daniel Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Tina Payne Bryson, a pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist, recommend the “no-drama connection cycle” to deal with your child’s emotional outbursts. Their book No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind describes it as a practice of connecting with your child.

    Thrive Global writes, “Connection means showing that you’re on their side — while still maintaining boundaries. You need to tune into their feelings and show them that you understand. This helps move them from reactivity to receptivity. It allows the emotion to dissipate, so they can start using their thinky brain instead of their emotional brain.”

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    The no-drama connection cycle involves four steps.

    Communicate comfort

    It may be challenging to connect with your toddler while he’s thrashing and crying uncontrollably, and you’re trying to keep yourself from raising your voice. But it is crucial that your child still feels safe and secure in this situation. In an article for Motherly, Dr. Azine Graff, a clinical psychologist, says that offering your child a hug can be instrumental in calming him down so he can listen to you better. Assuming a more relaxed body position and getting down to your child’s eye level can also be an effective tactic.

    Validate your child’s feelings 

    It will help your child calm down when he can see you are trying to understand why he is upset. “They need to feel understood in order to calm down. Until the big emotions are out of their way, logic is powerless,” Thrive Global writes.

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    One phrase you can say is, “I know you’re feeling (insert emotion), and that’s okay.” It allows him to see that you accept how he is feeling, says author and parenting advisor Janet Lansbury. You can also try to encourage him to voice out what he is feeling. This way, you give him a healthy outlet for those emotions that don’t involve throwing violent fits.

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    Make sure to listen

    Once your child can talk about how he is feeling, make sure to show him that you are really listening. Give him the time he needs to express his frustrations. Unless you do so, he won’t be able to process whatever you have to tell him. The Raising Children Network also recommends making eye contact with him throughout the entire conversation and refraining from jumping in, cutting him off, or putting words in his mouth when he has trouble articulating himself.

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    When you listen patiently to what your child says, it lets him know that he is worthy of your attention and that you respect and acknowledge what he has to say.

    Reflect

    One way to show your child you genuinely acknowledge the intense feelings he is telling you is to repeat them back to him. Remember to be specific. For example, say, “It really made you upset that I wouldn’t let you take your sibling’s toy.” This is also a great way to help provide him the vocabulary to describe certain emotions.

    Yes, dealing with a toddler tantrum is no easy feat, but taking the time to connect with your child amid the chaos of it all might be what you need to put an end to the crying and screaming.

    Did you know there is a difference between a tantrum and a meltdown? To learn more, click here.

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