Managing Your Child’s Tantrums

Posted on August 20, 2013

Are you exhausted by your child’s need to throw fits each day?  Are you confused about your child’s behavior?  Do you wonder what you’re doing to warrant such an explosion?  Are you ready to give up?

You’re not the only one!  Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Not only is it exhausting, but it’s incredibly confusing when you don’t understand your child’s needs and your child isn’t able to tell you.  However, parenting can be one of the most rewarding gifts of life.  It takes hard work, but you can learn to manage your child’s tantrums with ease and over time the duration and intensity of your child’s tantrums will decrease.

Below you will find helpful tips for managing your child’s tantrums.

  • Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are a wonderful parent.
  • Realize that most tantrums are thrown as a way to communicate.  Remembering this fact can ease your emotions and help you work with your child in a different way.
  • Use descriptive words to describe your child’s tantrums to your child.  Tell your child that you can see frustration, anger, confusion, and even pain.  This gives your child new words to use.  Helping your child recognize emotions will decrease your child’s likelihood of throwing a tantrum.
  • Engaging in your child’s tantrum and emotion will only intensify your child’s reaction.  If your child is screaming, try to refrain from screaming yourself.  By doing this, you are showing your child that you are still in control and can manage the emotion your child is expressing.  When you begin to yell or scream, your child may think that you are out of control and therefore cannot manage his/her feelings or lack of control.
  • Remind your child that being angry, upset, frustrated, pained, and confused is okay.  Talk about your feelings.  Give your child an example of when you have felt the same way.
  • Give your child new ways of managing their emotions.  If your child is angry, allow your child to hit a pillow or scream really loud in a specific room of the house.  Teach your child that it’s okay to feel angry but set limitations on how they can express anger.  Hitting others is not okay but hitting a pillow is acceptable.
  • When your child has calmed down, talk about what happened.  Help your child recognize emotions by stating how the tantrum made you feel.  Remind your child of positive ways to manage their emotions.  Also, apologize for yelling or using words you didn’t mean when the tantrum began.  This lets your child know that you make mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.  This also teaches your child to apologize for hurting others and encourages them to take responsibility.
  • If your child begins throwing a tantrum and will not cease after numerous attempts of trying the above suggestions, walk away.  Remind your child that it’s okay to be angry and then remove yourself from the situation.  Let your child know that you are available to talk when he/she feels ready.  Attempts at moving your child may escalate the situation.

Managing your child’s tantrums won’t happen overnight, so be patient when trying new ways of communicating.  Try the above suggestions numerous times before giving up.  Your relationship with your child is worth the hard work.

Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are parent/child relationships, adolescent females, and grief and loss.   If you are interested in seeing a counselor, for help, in these areas, contact Kristie.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==