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9 Tips to Help Your Tantrum Prone Child

 We all have trouble dealing with our emotions from time to time, and for kids, feelings of anger can burst out as a reaction to a number of different scenarios: They want to attack their younger brother who broke their favorite toy, hit another child who scared them, or lay down on the floor kicking and screaming because mom or dad refused to buy them something. Correct responses on your part will enable you to correctly and effectively deal with these tantrums and reduce their future appearance. These are the 9 tips that you’ll want to use in order to do so effectively and successfully.



1. Don’t fight fire with fire

A child's disproportionate response, which in some cases may also be unexpected, causes parents to feel embarrassed, frustrated and sometimes angry. However, the last thing we want to do in such a situation is to strengthen the child's feelings and increase his distress by shouting at him.

The primary goal in a situation where the child is screaming and angry is to calm them down and restore order, since only when the child is calm and relaxed can they understand and internalize their mistakes. Remind yourself that your child isn’t trying to cause you discomfort or pain, but that they are in real distress and don’t know how to deal with it, or they’ve already learned that this is the only way that they’ll get what they want.

2. Lead to a time-out

After taking a few seconds to calm yourself, stand in front of the child so that you can look at their face, stop them and tell them in a calm but firm voice that they must stop what they are doing. Make sure the child looks at you, and repeat the words again. You can also hug the child if you feel that the action will calm them down.

The embrace does not indicate acceptance of the child's actions and is not a "reward" for the negative behavior. The only purpose of this show of affection is to remind the child that you love them, want them to relax and seek their attention. This reaction will help the child "extinguish" their fighting mechanism and move on to a more relaxed state.


3. Stop aggression

As noted in the previous section, a calm response and hugs aren’t a green light for destructive actions. If the children are not satisfied with anger and shouting but start kicking, hitting and breaking things, the link between their distress and the harmful action must be stopped at that exact moment. Children need to know that they are not allowed to hit anyone, and it is very important to set the limits regarding these actions. Tell them: "You can be angry, but I won’t let you hit me" or "You're welcome to tell me why you're angry but you aren’t allowed to hurt anyone."

 Some children feel better fighting against something while angry, so you can suggest turning one of their pillows into a “shout pillow” so that they shout into it or hit it until they calm down. It is important for them to know that this behavior is only acceptable in such a way that their goal is to calm down and not to cause harm to others. Make it clear that you won’t put up with such behavior towards others.

4. Avoid punishing tantruming children by sending them to relax in their room

In many cases when our children aren’t behaving properly, we tell them to go to their room and calm down. Keep in mind that in cases where you may not really know what is behind your child’s anger, sending them to a time-out may send them a message that they are completely alone in dealing with these frightening and threatening feelings without the tools to do so. So instead of keeping them away from you, define a "talk time" during which you and the child will talk privately away from the place of the event that aroused their anger and help them process and understand the feelings that overwhelmed them.

 You may be surprised to discover how much more self-control your child has once you adopt this practice, as it will allow them to feel less helpless. Take him or her by the hand and tell them, "Now we're going to have a talk" whenever you want to talk to him or her, so they’ll understand that they aren’t going to be punished, but they do need to express what’s bothering them.


5. Renewal of the relationship

During the conversation with your child, even if you don’t understand what’s behind their behavior, it is important that you tell them what you think and feel in order to create a connection so that they feel that you are there for them. You can say, "I see you're very sad and that's okay, sometimes I'm sad too, but you know what helps me? Talking about it with the people I love instead of yelling." If the child is still in turmoil and doesn’t want to talk, you can tell them that they can stay alone if that's what they want, but their welcome to hug and talk it out when they’re ready.


6. Teach your children how to relax the next time it happens

To prepare for the next time a tantrum comes around, help your child think about ways to better cope with the emotions that cause them to tantrum. Doing this will allow them to cope with these situations even if you aren’t around and the problem can be resolved immediately. You can make a list of ways and hang it on the refrigerator, and younger children can draw out the tip to help them better understand it.

Alongside the shouting into the pillow mentioned above, you can add listening to a favorite song, stomping their legs, breathing exercises or playing with a stress ball. For older children, you can offer to draw or write on paper what they feel and then tear it into tiny pieces tearing the anger with it.


7. Help children become aware of the "warning signs"

When children are already in the midst of a tantrum, the only thing you can do is calm them down until the "storm" passes, but if you teach them to recognize the warning signs of anger in advance, you can help them suffer less from the consequences.
If you see that the outbursts affect their relationship with their siblings, let them approach you whenever they feel difficulty and avoid letting them solve the problem on their own until they learn to do so. Ask them what they feel moments before they begin to shout or hit so that they themselves will be more attentive to the process they are going through. Advise them to go for a walk or do something else that relaxes them as soon as they recognize the feeling they get before an outburst.

 8. Develop their emotional intelligence

Children who are comfortable with their emotions are also able to manage their anger effectively and efficiently. Start sharing your feelings about small, everyday actions they can identify with so that they know they can express feelings like shame about not being able to answer a class question, being upset at a friend who insulted them, and so on.
Ask them how they would solve the problem you shared with them and teach them to think about creative ideas unrelated to physical aggression or shouting. At the same time, teach them to empathize with others by listening to family members at mealtimes, asking questions and encouraging communication in positive ways. As the child's toolbox for coping with emotions grows, he will use less of the simple and available tool of anger.

9. These are the signs that you need to seek professional assistance

As we’ve noted, every child is angry and upset from time to time, but in some cases, it may be anger management problems that require advice or professional help. Here are the signs you should look for in order to know when to contact a professional:

•   The child can’t control his impulses consistently and hits people who are not part of his family after the age of five.
•   You are unable to successfully explain to the child his part and responsibility in creating the situation he has encountered.
•   At the end of every tantrum, the child feels that he is the victim.
•   It seems that the outbursts of anger are a product of revenge rather than of difficulty.
•   The child loses friends frequently
•   The child threatens to harm himself or property during his outbursts
•   The child expresses extreme self-hatred or hatred towards another person.
•   Supervising adults like their teacher complain about their functioning.
•   In addition, it is highly recommended to have a conversation with your child's teacher to learn how the child is behaving in your absence and help him feel better as quickly as possible by addressing the issues that concern him.


In conclusion

There is no doubt that tantrums can be difficult experiences for the child and unpleasant for the parent, but it is important to remember that children who live in the house in which other family member’s anger is dealt with in a healthy way, usually learn to manage their anger well. The power to help your children cope with these situations is in your hands and you can help them cope with this anger efficiently and successfully.
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