Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How to Deal with Those Terrible Tantrums; Emma Says

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How to Deal with Those Terrible Tantrums; Emma Says

Article excerpt

MY two-year-old is having terrible tantrums over the smallest of things. Every way I can think of to deal with this seems to make him worse. I would welcome any advice. EMMA SAYS: WHEN we talk about tantrums, children will express two different types. One is a distress tantrum and the other a tantrum for power.

A distress tantrum is a genuine feeling of pain, loss, frustration or disappointment. During this time your child will not be able to engage or understand any form of communication and needs to be handled very sensitively.

When your child is having a distress tantrum, avoid shouting or punishing him for his behaviour.

If your child's distress is met with anger, then he will grow up to develop angry outbursts instead of expressing disappointment.

Putting children in 'time out' or leaving them in a room on their own will only lead to them feeling that no one will come to help. Crying and sobbing is a request for help.

During a distress tantrum, the best thing you can do for your child is to hold him close, remain calm and talk very softly, using soothing words such as 'I know'. Once your child has calmed down, distract him with a toy or something of interest.

A power tantrum is usually absent from tears and is a learned behaviour as children know they will get what they want if they act in this way.

Giving in to these tantrums sets up an angry reward system and children will act aggressively in order to get their own way. This can lead to children developing 'bullying' personalities.

During these tantrums, the best thing to do is ignore your child's controlling behaviour and use firm commands and clear Nos.

Power tantrums are usually for an audience so if no one is listening, this behaviour will stop.

Remain calm at all times and do not get into negotiation with your child as this is seen as a reward.

By ignoring these tantrums, you are teaching your child important social skills.

It is important that you do not humiliate the child and reward him with your attention once his behaviour improves.

As a parent, trust your instinct as you know best when your child is genuinely distressed and you won't go far wrong.

Lindsay says...

LINDSAY Bruce lives in Billingham with her husband, Nathan, and their sons, Corban, six, and Micah, three. She runs church NCLC Teesside with Nathan.

"WELL, they don't call it the terrible twos for nothing!

"My youngest is almost four and we have definitely had to deal with more than our fair share of tantrums - and I felt exactly like you!

"But what I discovered was that my wee boy's tantrums usually stemmed from him not being able to communicate to me what he wanted to say. With his limited vocabulary but very strong will, it almost always ended in him getting really angry. …

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