Parenting Tips | Dealing with a Temper Tantrum

Posted on May 7, 2011

Are you exhausted from listening to your children scream and cry?   Do you have screaming and crying children?  Does this leave you questioning your parenting skills? If so, you’re not alone.  There is hope to reclaim your confidence and decrease the amount of temper tantrums experienced in your home.  Below you will find helpful parenting skills to manage your child’s temper tantrum.  Hold on to these parenting tips so you can hold on to your sanity.

1.  Take a deep breath and discover what your child’s temper tantrum is communicating.

            Not all tantrums are triggered by the same thing.  Even when dealing with the terrible twos, children have tantrums for unique reason.  Does your child want something he can’t have?  Are his feelings hurt because he feels he’s done something wrong?  Is your child tired because he didn’t take a nap?  Before you react or assume you know what is causing the tantrum, take time to think about the cause.  You’ll be surprised how different reactions to tantrums can reduce the intensity of the tantrum.

2.  My child’s temper tantrum is because he can’t have what he wants.

            Trying to be a good parent, you make choices to withhold items from your child for the good of your child and not because you’re upset, hurt, or want to get even with your child from earlier tantrums or arguments.  If your child is throwing a temper tantrum because he can’t have what he wants, reassure your child that you know and understand his frustrations, but then walk away.  Engaging your child in the temper tantrum and trying to stop it will only make it more intense.  Your child should feel comfortable to express his emotions but should also know that you are not going to engage those feelings with him.  Another good tip is to pick a “safe” spot in your home for your child’s temper tantrum and encourage your child to visit this location when needing to express emotions.

3.  My child’s temper tantrum is because his feelings get hurt easily. (made a mistake on homework or project, lost a sporting event, struggling with accomplishing a goal, etc.).

            Controlling temper tantrums in this case is unique because it requires you as a parent to put aside your frustrations with temper tantrums and connect with your child.  If your child is upset, be with him and let him know that you understand his hurt feelings.  Making positive statements like “I don’t think it’s messed up,” or “I think you played great,” usually don’t help when your child is feeling hurt.  Try making statements like “I understand that you are sad your team lost,” or “I get frustrated too when I find something difficult.”  These statements will show your child that you understand his emotions and will provide the comfort he needs in these moments. 

I encourage you to stay strong when trying these new parenting skills.  It may take a couple tries before you get the hang of it.  Be patient with yourself and with your child, and stay positive that over time things will begin to change.

Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a  Indianapolis Marriage and Family Therapy Resident at Groff &Associates.  Her passions are grief and loss, parent/child relationships, and pregnancy related struggles.  If you are interested in contacting a marriage family therapist, please contact her at Kristie@GroffandAssociates.com.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==