Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Fun Facts And Advice On Temper Tantrums

Fun Facts And Advice On Temper Tantrums
Image result for tantrumsTemper

Tantrums Are normal. All children Get Temper Tantrums. You're hot, you're bothered, you're being dragged around the supermarket when all you want to do is get to the pub for a few pints of the good stuff. What's a guy to do? You scream and cry and stamp your feet. Maybe even try falling on the floor and flailing your arms and legs about in the air like an epileptic octopus, all whilst crying and screaming, perhaps with the added bonus of bellowing, "I hate you. You're not my real Mom."

Oh, wait, hang on a minute. We're talking about temper tantrums in toddlers. Oops. Ignore everything I said above. I don't do that. Not at all. Wow, this is so embarrassing.

Anyways, the first thing to remember: Temper Tantrums are normal. Every child will suffer from a tantrum or ten in their childhood. Or even per day, sometimes. And pretty much all parents will have to suffer through them.

Or, just let me go to the pub, and I'll stop. Simples. On average, 80% of children will have a tantrum once a week. A fifth of two-year-olds will have them more than twice a day.

Don't Feed the Need. When I want to have a Temper Tantrum, I much prefer having an audience. It's much more likely to be effective if there are people watching. Even more effective if you're actually watching.

Separate them from watchers. And that's all watchers. Including you.

Lock them in the dungeon, deep down inside a pit where no one can hear them scream. Or space. Yep, space is better. Definitely can't hear them scream in space.

Okay, maybe not to that extreme, but at least move them into their bedroom, or bathroom, just a room away from you and anyone else, preferably one that has no dangerous objects inside that they can harm themselves. The armoury wouldn't be a great choice. Or the chocolate emporium. They'd like that. And liking having a tantrum is the last thing your want to encourage.

Prepare to disappoint. Some tantrums can be avoided. Not all, mind you, but some.

The little snot-machine is watching television, or playing pool with their mates, or whatever activity they are completely focused on enjoying, such as drawing, or colouring in, but you need them to stop for whatever reason. Probably because you're an evil SOB who wants to destroy our fun. Their fun. I meant, their fun. Why? Why would you do that? Do you hate me? Hate them. Sheesh. Got to keep it straight who we're talking about here. It's the kids. Yep, kids.

Don't just tell darling-poops-a-lot-but-never-in-the-toilet to stop. Not at first. Prepare the disappointment of their activity ending by telling them they have five more minutes. Then again at four minutes. And at two minutes. Then at one minute. Only twenty seconds, then you're cleaning your room.

Or painting the fence, digging up part of the lawn for a flower bed, taking the bins out, cleaning the car, fixing the loose door on the cupboard. Come on, all that is boring. The television is much more fun.

In Preparing To Disappoint, they are prepared, know what's coming, and it's not a shock to the system. It's shocks to the system that'll bring on the tantrum. If they know what's coming, they're less likely to rage against the machine.

Distract From the Act. You'd be surprised how often a distraction can help stop an almost tantrum from becoming an atomic bomb in the milk aisle.

Sometimes this can be as simple as "Was that Mickey Mouse kicking Pluto in the nuts?" What? Where? Can't even remember wanting to go to the pub now. Must confirm status of Pluto's fun sacks.

See, distract.

Works almost all of the time. "Hey, can you help lift this into the shopping trolley for me? You're a big boy now, you can carry the basket. Bet you can't balance on your right foot for more than five seconds whilst shoving two fingers up your nose."

Any kind of distraction will work. You just have to find the right one for your child. If they like Star Wars, change the name of a food product on the shelf to make it more Star Wars-y. Oreo Kenobi. Princess Pea-ah. You get the idea.

But, seriously, is Pluto okay? I got kicked there once and it wasn't pleasant. Perhaps Mickey should seriously consider apologising. What an evil little rat.

Let them choose. As Eddie Izzard said: Cake or death? The Spanish Inquisition would have been a lot more friendly if they'd have given them a choice.

Oh, I'll have cake, please. Dammit. You were meant to choose death.

We're leaving for school. NOW. Leave. LEAVE NOW. Nope, those aren't choices.


Instead: Which shoe would you like to put on first, left or right? Is left right, or is right right? You choose which is right to put on first? Choose right. It's right. Has to be, right, right? What-the-Chuck? Left? You chose left? You little git. Why do you never listen to me?

Or perhaps: Would you like to open the door, or do you want Mommy or Daddy to do it? Would you like to get dressed first, or brush your teeth first?

Give them the choice and wait for them to choose. This doesn't just help you get what you want, as in, them out of the friggin door. You're already late for school and I need to get to the pub when they open the doors. 

With this, they are also learning to make decisions. They are choosing for themselves. And, to them, it feels like they are choosing, rather than being dictated to all the time.

Challenge them. If all else fails, it could be because your little Oh-Carp-On-A-Stick-Get-Your-FLOCKING-FROCK-ON-AND-GET-IN-THE-CARPING-CAR needs to be challenged instead.

And I don't mean "Either you get in that car, NOW, or we'll replace you with that nice kid down the road and feed you to the witch living in the corner house on the next street.

Yeah, you know what house."

But, rather, "Hey, bet you can't put your jacket on whilst standing on one leg?" Challenge them. It does work, and helps with their development. "Can you make it to the car in only six steps?"

Any tedious activity that is Boring Boris is Bored, can be made less so by keeping your child's mind active by challenging them.

"You're Grandmother said there were twenty-three street lamps on this road. I don't think she's right. Can you count them to check if she's right?"

Be imaginative in your challenges, and it will keep your little Sir-Picks-His-Nose-A-Lot from getting bored as it will fire up his own imagination. It's great for their development, too. "Who is better at keeping off the cracks in the pavement, you or Daddy?"

Share any advice or experience you have on temper tantrums in the comments section below.

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