Good Morning Friends,
Temper Tantrums, aren’t they the best. Especially when you’re in the middle of grocery shopping and your child decides they are done with everything and anything.
Thankfully this has only happened to us once with Aria, and I am shocked that I handled it fairly well. I left the store, took her outside, kneeled to her level and asked her to calm down for a second while she was crying. She was mad I wouldn’t get her a treat from Starbucks and I told her that acting like that would bar her from ever getting a treat from Starbucks. I told her that sometimes we get treats and sometimes we don’t. Treats aren’t an every trip to Target thing. So if she throws a fit about not getting her way treats will stop completely. I got her calmed down enough to go back in and do my shopping.
Whenever I hear a child in the store having a hard time, I never judge the parent. We are all trying to do the best we can and I know some parents let their kids cry it out and scream until they are done. That’s not my style, I am always to concerned with other people around me, but I won’t judge that either.
There are different ways we try to combat tantrums before they start. I know what to look for in Aria when she is on the brink of a melt down, or I know when she is completely over something.
Also let me preface this, I am not a professional parent and God really blessed me with a really good kid. I am very blessed in that aspect and she’s really been an easy kid to raise.
Ok so let’s get started with combating tantrums!
Look for signs
Aria has always had a very apparent physical sign of being upset. She has this really dark vein across her forehead that sticks out when her temper is increasing. Whenever I see that sign I stop whatever it is I am doing and kneel down to her level. That is something I will discuss next.
Another sign to look for is minor whining. They start to do little complaining or like crossing the arms. I understand sometimes kids can go 0-60, but most of the time they start to show little warning signs.
Kneel Down to their Level
I learned this from my grandma, but when your kids are frustrating you to no end and you want to scream take a deep breath and kneel at their level. This helps you to calm down, and this helps them listen because you aren’t towering over them screaming. You are face to face, eye to eye and this has really helped me because I’m not going to scream at her when we are eye to eye.
Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times where I lose my cool and yell but thats always when I don’t get to her level and outside things really have me lit. The kneeling really helps. Try it.
Talk to them as calm but firm as possible
I remember never listening to my parents when they yelled I was just scared. I think that is normal kid logic. Yelling meant I was in trouble so just apologize and GTFO as fast as possible. Yelling makes you as the adult get some steam off but afterwards you feel like a jerk. Well at least I do.
Again, I do yell at Aria, I am not perfect in the least. But I try to do these things for both of us as much as possible.
When I talk to her I use a softer tone so she will listen, but I am firm and direct with the message I want her to hear. For example
” Aria you cannot freak out in the store because you didn’t get a treat, we don’t always get treats when we go to the store.” I told her what she can’t do and why she isn’t getting what she wants. It’s direct.
Have them repeat what they heard
I remember my parents shouting at us when we did something “DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?” not really as a question more of a statement. Usually kids just say yes and go to their room or whatever the punishment that ensues. I wanted to use that but make it more of a conversation with Aria.
So after talking to her I ask her, “did you hear what mommy said”? I then have her repeat to me what I said. This helps clear up misunderstandings they may have had when you were talking to them.
I try to refrain from always making her feel like she’s a bad kid, more like she made a bad choice. So when I am mad I say ” I love you Aria and you are not a bad kid, you just made a bad choice.”, or “I’m not mad at you, I’m mad at the situation.” This helps them from internalizing things and thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with them. That they are still good kids even when they make bad choices.
Again I am no expert this is just our love language in our house. I pride myself in not calling names or labeling as anything when I am mad. Kids are little sponges and how you react to them really sets the course.
Aria knew from an early age that if she did something she would get said punishment. There are no empty threats, or caving in. If she didn’t listen to us she went and sat on the chair. When she was being cranky she knew she would sit on a chair until she changed her attitude. Which was actually pretty cute because she would go sit and then I would hear, “Ok mom I changed my attitude I’m ready to be nice.” She always picked up on our lingo pretty quick which makes for communicating with her so easy.
There was a time we were in the car and I said we weren’t going to grandmas. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw an angry face. We are big on saying what our emotions are, we always ask Aria and she always asks us how we are feeling. I asked her “Are you mad?” and she repeated back to me “I’m not mad at you mom, I am mad at the situation…we aren’t going to grandma’s and that makes me mad.” Lol it was funny to hear this coming from a 4 year old but also proud parent moment that she could tell it wasn’t me being mean to her to not go, we just didn’t have time.
The art of apologizing
We are all human and sometimes even we screw shit up. I know that there are often days where things aren’t going right and I am short with Aria. When we have days like this I make it a point to show her that I am accountable for what I have done. If I snapped at her for something that wasn’t her fault, or overreacted to something she did, I take a moment breathe call her over and get down to her level. I apologize and say something like ” I am sorry I said (blah blah) it’s not your fault I snapped at you like that I am sorry, I messed up.” Not only are you making them feel better about what just happened you are showing them how to be accountable for screwing up. That apologizing isn’t a weakness it’s a strength. That when you mess up you ask for forgiveness and you say you are truly sorry.
We are not perfect
This is what works for us. I am always so worried about posting these things because again I am no freaking expert and I am no where near perfect. I’ve always known that early on I promised myself I would not hit my child. So far I have stuck to that, but the yelling aspect I have failed in ALOT. As a redhead I do have a ginger temper and sometimes my child isn’t always a complete angel and those two things are a recipe for disaster.
Try you best, as parents thats what we need to do. Don’t be too hard on yourself, mindsets are a hard thing to maneuver around especially if you were raised with certain behaviors.
You are not a bad parent, the fact that you’re reading this proves you are looking for help, change or a different perspective. You got this and hopefully you can share some tips below that have helped in combating tantrums in your home.
If your looking for more parenting tips you can check out:
How to make playtime matter (here)
Getting your kids involved in the kitchen (here)
Also I love following Simply on Purpose. I like I can pick and choose things from her advice that I know will work for me.