Saturday, January 12, 2008

Handling Tantrums - How to Handle Yourself When your Kids Throw Tantrums

Tantrums are a misbehavior most parents dread. So what to do if it arises?


When children throw tantrums, they cry, they shriek, they yell, they throw things, even try to hurt you, and sometimes they even try to hurt themselves too. Talking to them at this point is useless. They would only cry more, yell and shriek louder. Attention reinforces this misbehavior. But if you ignore it, eventually the child will stop.

My son used to bang his head on the wall when there’s something that he wants and he was not allowed to have. At first I would try to cover his head because of fear he might hurt himself, but the more he would do it. I would end up giving in to his wants just so he would not bang his head. I knew it was not right. I knew this teaches him to threat so that he could get what he wants. So I asked the occupational therapist (OT, he was undergoing therapy at that time because of speech delay) what to do. She suggested ignoring my son when this attitude arises and be firm. And so I did. Though anxious that he might hurt himself, I tried my very best to ignore him. The first time, it took a while before he finally stopped. I did not try to cover his head, and acted as if I did not see him, and so after a while, probably when his head starts to hurt, he stopped. And so from that time on, in every time he throws a tantrum, whatever he does, whether he cries, shriek, yell, and even throw things I ignore him. Now, he does not throw tantrums anymore.

My friend also proved that ignoring your child when he throws a tantrum is effective. Her daughter, probably because of the arrival of the new baby, would cry for several hours for no apparent reason at all. My friend and her husband would be so worried, and would do so many things trying to pacify her and stop her from crying. Their daughter instead of stopping from crying would cry even more. They tried to give her everything she wants and she asks for but she would still cry for no apparent reason at all. From several hours, her crying got worse to almost 13 hours a day! There was even a time when she cried the whole night until the next day till almost lunch! Exasperated, my friend called me up and asked what to do, and so I suggested what the therapist said, IGNORE and try asking her to help take care of the baby. After several days she called me up and said ignoring her daughter worked, she no longer cries and have started to act as a big sister.

So the next time your child throws a tantrum, ignore.


One reason why children throw tantrums is that because they want something you do not allow. The tendency, they would throw a tantrum in hope to press you to give in.

An example, maybe they want to watch more TV while it’s already bedtime. My son used to throw tantrums because of this. And what I do is that I turn off the TV, unplug it and order him to get inside the room. I ignore his tantrums, and after sometime, when he get tired and would go quiet, I go to his room and explain why they need to go to sleep at that specific time. He would be ready to listen by then, and would apologize and would go to sleep.

Not only did you stop the tantrums at that specific moment when you stay firm in saying no, but also you are teaching your child that there are things that he can’t just have, or are not allowed to. This would teach him discipline and self-control.


When your child throws tantrums, it is because he is frustrated. As I have mentioned on my previous post, to be able to teach him that tantrums is not an acceptable way to express frustrations, you should set the example. Communicate, express to him your disappointment with his misbehavior calmly. Because if you respond negatively with his negative behavior, you taught him by action, violence and anger. Remember, children learn what they live.

I hope these tips have been helpful. I am not an expert parent; I am actually yet at the beginning of this job, still learning and needing to learn more.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Handling Tantrums

Yesterday my son threw a tantrum during his study time. Apparently he had decided not to study and would just watch TV instead. So the whole time while we were studying he was crying, shrieking, and stamping his feet. He threw his face towel several times and when this had no effect on me he threatened to throw his pencil and book.

Tantrums among children are inherent to growing up. This is their way of expressing their frustrations which, causes frustrations too among parents. Tantrums when handled properly will eventually go away. But if not, it will cause more and bigger behavioral problems among kids. How to properly handle tantrums then?

First and foremost there is something that parents should always, always remember even in their midst of frustrations with their kids’ behavior. THERE IS NO INHERENTLY BAD CHILD. A child can be likened to an empty cup; he doesn’t know what is wrong and what is right yet. You, the parents are responsible in teaching your children of this. And tantrum is one very good opportunity to teach your child the demarcation line between what is acceptable behavior and not.

Therefore the first thing that parents should be aware of is that never label or call the child to be misbehaving and bad. Sometimes parents, in their frustrations and in hope of making the child feel that what he has done is unacceptable, they tend to call their child names, bad names that is. They tend to label their child to be misbehaving and bad. The danger with this is that, children seeing that what they did gained their parents’ attention, they may live up the names and labels parents gave.

Another thing to remember is that parents should determine first what caused the child to throw tantrums. Ask the child what is wrong, or what is it that he wants, this will help parents know how to handle the situation. Just as the case of my son’s tantrum yesterday, since I know the cause, I talked to him that he should study first, and after he could go back to watching TV. I explained that studying is important. I compared it to eating; I told him studying is like feeding his brain so that he will not grow up knowing nothing.

The whole time that he was having his tantrum, I was calm and tried not to display any hint of frustration and anger. Even though he threatened to throw away his pencil and book, I just looked at him. Seeing that this action would not stir me to get mad, he eventually laid down his pencil and book. He again threw his face towel on me; I just picked it up and laid down on the table. I did it as calmly as possibly as I could.

Being calm when children throw tantrums is very important. Remember, tantrums are ways for children to express their frustration, likes, and dislikes. So as parents, we ought to teach them that there are other and better ways of expressing and communicating their frustrations, likes and dislikes. Parents ought to teach them that throwing tantrums is not an acceptable behavior, and that it does not make people around them understand what they want. Definitely, parents could not explain these things to children properly if they are angry. At the same time, kids seeing their parents getting angry and mad only add up to their frustrations. Also it causes them to be confused because their parents are reacting in the same manner as they do. Thus they tend to learn that their actions are acceptable and therefore their throwing of tantrums reinforced.

In situations where tantrums demand punishment, parents should never punish if they are angry. This does not apply only to tantrums but in every time a child misbehaves and punishment is necessary. Anger causes parents to punish their children unreasonably. At the same time, children seeing their parents’ anger as the reason for being punished learn violence. The real reason of the punishment, which is to teach children that unacceptable behavior comes with consequences is then clouded, and thus the opportunity for the child to learn which is right and proper from wrong and improper is lost.

Tantrums again are ways for children for communication and expression first and foremost of their frustrations. For parents to be able to teach them that this is an unacceptable behavior and means of communication and self-expression, should not react in the same manner, that is with frustration and anger, to their children in this instances. How parents handle their kids’ tantrums is what they teach them as proper and acceptable behavior.

There are two things I always keep in mind in dealing with my children, which I wish to share, CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE, and PARENTS REAP WHAT THEY SOW.

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