If you recall awhile back I wrote a piece The Tantramatic Toddler I talked about how to deal with temper tantrums with your toddler. We all think that once our children pass the toddler phase their temper tantrums will end. THAT IS A LIE! I know from experience the tantrums never end, life happens and sometimes we as adults throw temper tantrums. We, hopefully have learned to deal with them better than our younger days. But what do you as a parent do when your out and about and your older child has a temper tantrum, I’m talking 5-8 years old. It’s embarrassing, it makes you anxious, it questions your authority as a parent because we all know you are getting those looks, the look of disgust from someone who will not sympathize with what you are going through. Yes, parents, children over 4 throw temper tantrums and hopefully in the next few paragraphs I will help you learn how to deal with them.
Let me set the scene for you…We are in Target I know exactly what I need to get and then I need to get out. Of course Anissa wants me to make a quick stop by the toy section, which really isn’t an issue, I explain that we are just looking (my mistake) we are not purchasing. I set the timer on my phone for seven minutes so that we can look and not purchase. The timer goes off and I prepare to get in line, I move but the little hand I am holding has stiffen and is not moving with me, I look down and I see the sad face. I bend over so that she and I are eye to eye and I say it’s time to go, I get back up and move, yet again no movement from my little friend. I look down and she is holding her ground. In my stern mom voice I say let’s go. That’s when it happens, the tears, the negotiating, the loudness. It starts off slow and as I try to remain calm, but as I refuse to agree with her demands it gets louder and louder and now I cam see people beginning to stare. What should I do, how should I handle this?! Should I cave and just buy the toy, should I threaten her, should I get loud??? The should list can go on and on. So let’s start the conversation how should I handle the Tantrumatic Kindergartener?
- Recognize that trying to calm her down when she is upset may not work. Think about when you are upset, someone telling you to calm down is the last thing you want to hear. So what should I do? I get back down to her level so she can see my eyes and I can see hers, I then ask her to explain her feelings to me. If she’s in huffing mode and can’t calm down, I gently rub her back and attempt to soothe her until she can talk. If she can talk right away I listen to what her issues is. We discuss, she will either remain calm or remain upset, but the thing is I HEARD HER! Will she be upset maybe but I’ve done my part, in helping her to hopefully deal with her emotions and feel like her voice matters.
- RESET! I’m almost positive your child’s school has a method they use to correct behavior. Anissa’s school uses the reset method. The behavior is given minimal attention, the student is asked if they need a reset. A Reset is the opportunity for them to change their behavior themselves. They are in control of their emotions and they can choose to reset them to help have a better outcome. Find out what your child’s school/teacher does and try that out. If it works for them at school why not practice it at home. A Reset can last from 30-60 seconds and can be implemented as many times as needed.
- BREATHE! This is more for you than the child. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent, but the first thing you think of when a child throws a temper tantrum is that you’re going to be questioned and deemed a bad parent. We’re all “bad” parents. As I’ve told you before, none of us left the hospital with a manual on how to raise children. Just like we are learning so are they. It’s important that despite wanting to scream yourself you remain calm. You getting upset and displaying those emotions will only heighten a situation you are trying to de-escalate. Children cry! They cry when they are upset and frustrated, and don’t feel like they are being heard. So let them cry! Now I’m not saying continue shopping while they ball their eyes out. If you can make your purchase then by all means make the purchase, but if not save your sanity and make your exit. It’s okay do not feel any shamed.
While we would love to control our environments and all the behaviors in our environment we can’t. Somethings are out of our control, feelings tend to be one of those things, how you deal with those things and how you teach your children to deal with those things are up to you. Your children are a product of what you pour into them. You are the example so be the best example you can be. Don’t be afraid to show your child your emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy way. We truly do our children a dis-service when we pretend we don’t get upset, or mad, or hurt. The way they learn to deal with their emotions is by watching us.
How do you deal with temper tantrums? Do you have any suggestions that may help another parent, drop them in the comments.
This is the saddest little face ever!