Friday, November 1, 2013

My Favorite Tip For Calming Tantrums

Do you want to get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling? Do you want to be a kinder parent? Don't forget to sign up for the FREE webinar from Positive Parenting Solutions that we are offering.



Two and three-year-olds are exhausting, adorable, and amazing. They experience basically every emotion possible in huge ways during short periods of time. As I am going through this stage again with my almost three-year-old daughter (my oldest son is almost six now), I think I am figuring a few things out. The strategies I am learning are helping me become a more respectful, empathetic, and kind parent.




Tantrums are inevitable with two and three-year-olds, especially ones that are slower with developing language who are still learning appropriate strategies for communicating. There are lots of tips for dealing with tantrums... many of which I have shared before in my post called Toddler Tantrums: Ways to Deal.

Today I wanted to share with you my absolute favorite tip for calming tantrums. It is so simple and yet I have only just focused on the power of this strategy during the past six months.


One of the most important things I've learned this year to help my daughter calm down when she is frustrated and throwing a tantrum is to simply acknowledge her point of view.


Simple, right? But are you doing it? I was not (or at least not consistently) and have been amazed at how quickly I've been able to stop tantrums just with this simple tip. Keep reading to understand more of what I am talking about.

In her article called The Key to Your Child's Heart, Janet Lansury says, 

"Acknowledge your child’s feelings and wishes, even if they seem ridiculous, irrational, self-centered or wrong. This is not the same as agreeing, and is definitely not indulgent or allowing an undesirable behavior.

Acknowledgement isn’t condoning our child’s actions; it’s validating the feelings behind them. It’s a simple, profound way to reflect our child’s experience and inner self. It demonstrates our understanding and acceptance. It sends a powerful, affirming message… Every thought, desire, feeling — every expression of your mind, body and heart — is perfectly acceptable, appropriate and lovable."

Does your child ever throw tantrums? If so, what are they about?


At our house, my almost three-year-old often throws tantrums when... 

  • her brothers take toys from her
  • I won't give her a specific thing that she wants (toys, candy, breakable things, etc.)
  • I ask her to change a specific behavior (walk... instead of run in the house, use her words instead of hitting, etc.)
  • a task is hard and she gets frustrated
(these are just a few examples)

For example, when a toy isn't working the way she wants and she throws it or starts crying or getting mad, I'll just get down to her level (often I'll sit on the floor somewhere nearby her) and I'll say, "Wow! You are feeling really upset. It is so hard when your toy doesn't work the way you want it to."

Sometimes that's all I have to say. Often I will follow a statement like that by saying, "do you need a hug?" or "do you need help?" Usually the response is "yeah" with a sigh, followed by a reduction in tenseness, and an adorable moment of hugging. Then later (when she's calm) we talk about more appropriate ways to react and ask for help when something is hard.  


When my daughter gets really upset because I won't give her something she wants I try and pretend that I am a professional and talk calmly. Emotional reactions often feed tantrums.

For example, if she wants a piece of candy for breakfast and I've said no and she is flailing on the floor, I'll acknowledge her feelings right away. Instead of getting annoyed at her for banging her legs on the floor or saying rude words, I just say, "You want a piece of candy and you are sad because I said no. It is hard sometimes when mom says no." Then I might offer a hug or a healthy snack/meal alternative depending on how she is feeling. Sometimes she chooses to still cry for a bit and sometimes she snaps out of it. Either way, she knows I listened. I might give an option for when we can have candy as well (like after dinner or after lunch).



Tantrums and crying are easy ways for kids to let out their emotions. As parents we often don't want to hear the crying or yelling and we try and get our kids to stop them. The problem with that is that if they don't feel like they can express those emotions, they don't learn how to share them in healthy ways. We can teach kids to express their emotions in different ways (like using their words), but first we need to acknowledge their emotions. We can't teach kids anything when they've shut down and don't feel like anyone is listening to them.


By acknowledging the emotions that our kids feel... and listening to those emotions (however they are expressed)... I have found that my kids are slowly having less tantrums and are having more appropriate reactions to situations. They are also using language like, "I am angry" and "I am upset" more often because it is modeled during these moments of acknowledgment. 


As parents we often say, "You're okay" or "You'll be okay" and try and minimize our kid's reactions and emotions to situations. I have caught myself doing it many times. My goal for myself is to ban that response. If my kids are crying or upset then they are NOT okay. They are asking for help. Who am I to tell them otherwise? By ignoring their feelings I am not being a respectful or kind parent. I can also easily cause a tantrum by ignoring their feelings.


My relationship with my daughter has really been strengthened over the past few months as I have actively tried to acknowledge her feelings better, in addition to using several other strategies that I'll share with you in future posts. We have a deeper connection and many friends have remarked that she seems much more confident and happy. 

I also feel more in control as a parent and I feel like I have a plan for dealing with her emotions. Having a plan helps me stay more patient and focused and help my daughter instead of just getting frustrated. 

I strongly recommend that you head over to Janet Lansbury's post called The Key to Your Child's Heart to read the seven reasons that acknowledgment works and delve into this topic deeper. It is a really important one. 

Do you have any thoughts on this?

What are other respectful tips you have for calming your child's tantrums?



** As always, just a reminder... I am a parent and an educator. I am not perfect. This post shares my opinions. I am not a parenting expert. Please use what works for you and leave what doesn't. I love to learn from others, so feel free to share resources with me that have been helpful to you. They may also be useful to other readers!

Go here to read more of our Toddler Approved Parenting posts and join in the conversation. Let's work together to raise happier and kinder kids!

96 comments:

  1. Fab post Kristina. It's so hard to listen well at the best of times, little known when a full blown meltdown happens (usually at the worst time and worst place possible). Such a great reminder. I will try this very helpful tip. xoxo P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tantrums are seriously hard for everyone involved- moms included! Thanks Pauline for taking a moment to comment!

      Delete
  2. I think this is a very important point. As parents, our first reaction to tantrums is usually of anger or frustration. That's when we forget to acknowledge the reason behind it in the first place. I think we need to listen more, even if that means stopping whatever we are doing, so that we reduce the number of situations that could potentially lead to a tantrum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree Tarana! It is so hard when we are busy to take that time and slow down and listen, but so critical to help us build a relationship with our child. Thanks for taking a moment to comment!

      Delete
  3. These tips are so helpful. I am in the "terrible twos and threes" with my second child and it is so helpful to acknowledge her feelings. I also have a family friend who created a program called Crabbie Masters. It really helped with my first child to allow him concrete ways to describe/define his emotions, learn what causes them and how to effectively deal with them. It's a great program with lots of freebies. She has been teaching in her home-based preschool for over 20 years, so she knows this age group well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooo sounds like a great program Jaimi. I will have to check it out!

      Delete
  4. It's such a simple idea but, like Tarana said, so difficult to do in the moment. I find it's helpful to understand a little about child development, to know that the behavior is normal and not necessarily something I'm doing "wrong". I will definitely be trying this tip with my preschooler (who still has tantrums! ugh!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Emma- my 5-year-old still has tantrums from time to time too. Growing up is hard!

      Delete
    2. It gets easier with practice. I struggled with my first two and it felt so unnatural to say things like this...or even want to. My fourth is entering this phase now and I find it second nature to pick him up and say "You're feeling angry. You really wanted to keep playing. We'll play again soon." (or whatever) Just keep at it.

      Delete
  5. Thanks or sharing this simple tip! Will be trying harder to do this since we've been having a hard time her with these terrible threes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome Nadia! Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Good luck!

      Delete
  6. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment about helping children express their emotions in healthy ways but am not always sure how, and I appreciate your suggestion for carrying out that goal. I am definitely going to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This post has been god-sent! My 3 year old was very behaved in her two's but all of a sudden -- BAM-!! - tantrum meltdown city at my house. This is what I needed to help understand what she is going through and to show me a way of rationally dealing with emotions!! thank you so much!! look forward to your later posts :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear that the post is helpful! There are so many reasons for the emotions of two and three year olds and it is so frustrating when we don't know how to help them. Good luck as you continue to navigate the threes :)

      Delete
  8. I especially love that you say this: "It is hard sometimes when mom says no." Great post!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post Kristina! It's amazing the magic a little validation will work!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't have a child of my own, but I do spend lots of time with my god-daughter. Whenever I see her about to have a meltdown, I praise her immediately for whatever the better behaviour is. So if we are waiting for a taxi and I feel she is about to lose it, I say "Celeste, I know you are tired - but thank you for being so patient while we wait for a cab..." And I find in wanting to be praised she doesn't act out. I also make sure that she overhears me telling her parents how good / well behaved / patient she was.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for the tips! I often ask my son if he wants a hug in the middle of his tantrums and I think that helps calm him down and get his mind on something else.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have taught preschoolers with special needs, most of them with autism, for 13 years. Early in my career, by 'accident,' I found that a little bit of empathy goes a LONG way. I totally agree with your perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Kristina, thanks for the tips, acknowledgment of my little girls feeling really does help her calm down, in most instances, however it is when she point blank refuses to do something like getting ready for school in the mornings that I have a problem. No matter how many times I say "Mommy knows you don't want to get dressed now but we have to so that we can go and have fun at school" or "Mommy knows it's fun to jump on the couches but you are going to get hurt" she just doesn't care about my acknowledgement or the fact that I have her best interests at heart, in those instances I have to just power through it even though tons of tears and tantrums are involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shelane- Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I wholeheartedly agree that acknowledgement is just one of many ways to help children who are frustrated or reacting to limits we set as parents. It is my favorite and one I always try first, which is why I shared it in this post. It is not the only thing that works.

      Delete
  14. Thank you for this post! I actually responded to my son (who is almost 4) today who was mad because he wanted to play a game but I had told him he had to eat lunch first. I usually put him in his room until he can calm down and talk to me about it but today I went in and knelt down by him and just talked to him calmly about how he was feeling but why I had decided he had to eat first. After a few minutes, he calmed down and ate his lunch. I didn't think much about it until I read this post. We are having our 3rd in March so I need to get on the ball with it so that I have more cooperative, happy kids. Church has been a place where I'm having to deal with tantrums and I just have to get that under control before a new baby is here! Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so great! Thanks for taking a moment to tell me about this experience with your son. Church is so hard (plus a new baby). Sending lots of positive thoughts your way :)

      Delete
  15. my 2 year old son has started throwing tantrums. and while i agree a lot with most of what you say in your blog, and believe that toddlers need to be recognized, they also need to be taught and guided to learn to control their reactions when they don't get what they want. after all... that's not how the real world works and my #1 goal is to prepare them for what they will have to deal with in the upcoming years. A method that has worked for us, is if he starts throwing a tantrum, i ask him if he needs to go to his bed to calm down. he usually, at this point, says yes and goes to his room and shuts the door for a few minutes then comes out when he's ready. I always ask him if he's calm now and he smiles and says yes, then i talk to him about what happened and how he can react differently in the future. I refuse, and he knows it now, to acknowledge him when he is in a bad or not calm state, but of course will recognize his feelings when he is. it doesn't mean he gets what he wants, but i am hoping to help him understand how to react in different ways in unwanted situations. (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking a moment to comment Darcy. It sounds like your son is very mature. Mine would not be able to do the same. This post is solely about my favorite way of calming tantrums. It is not the only way. I shared several other thoughts in this other post that go along with some of the things you are mentioning: http://www.toddlerapproved.com/2012/04/toddler-tantrums-ways-to-deal.html I think the most important thing is for all parents to find a respectful way of responding to tantrums and then once their child is calm, teach their child a more appropriate way to communicate. Sounds like your strategy is working great for you!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your tips. I read this article with enthusiasm but don't believe these particular fave approaches of the author will work with the maturity level of our soon-to-be 2 year-old son. I tend to lean toward the 'this is an unacceptable way to handle your emotions/react to this situation' yet know that he doesn't get it. I've resorted to time out/calming time for BOTH of us. ;)

      Delete
  16. This lends support to a tantrum I witnessed once while working at a retail store in college. A little boy (around 3 or 4) was sitting in the cart, and he wanted something his mom said he couldn't have. He began to scream and cry and try to get out of the cart, but his mom would just tell him to stop, or push him back into the seat. Eventually he began to scream, "Somebody help me!"

    It was so distressing! It seemed unnatural for a child to be screaming that, but it made me realize just how helpless and upset he felt. To not do anything to calm a child on an emotional level in that situation is just really terrible. But I realize that a lot of parents aren't educated in effective ways of doing this. Thanks for your effort in trying to get the word out!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for this! :) My 18mo (2nd born) is truly fiery!! :) I will try this although I'm slightly disheartened as I fear her understanding doesn't quite match up... but I know that a calm tone and gentle redirection will help her through these emotional moments! :) Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a 21 month old, so I know that frustration of "is this even doing anything?" But I've been employing this method for many months now, even when I was sure she didn't "get it". First, because it helped build it into habit for me, so when she was at an age where it resonated, I'd be more natural at it. And, second, I figured that just because she wasn't responding outwardly to my efforts, it didn't mean they were fruitless. While empathizing, I would offer labels for her feelings, which I think helps her internally build understanding of her feelings. She's starting to get it more and more now, and I'm starting to see dividends. Just last night she got very upset when we had to come inside after visiting a neighbor friend. As I said "you feel sad because you were having fun with Adam, but we had to come back inside for bed." To whuch she replied, emphatically, with "yeah!" And buried her little face in my shoulder for a moment before taking a deep breath and calming down. Hsng in there, mama!

      Delete
  18. Thanks this is really really helpful, especially reminding me of the importance of giving a voice to his feelings when he can't. Recently I started trying a tactic I had read about called asked and answered (reflecting together on what was asked, what the answer was and stating that it has been asked and answered) and found the way it truly helped us was helping my son recognise that just because he hears no doesn't mean that was what was said ie often the answer is yes after a particular time or activity and helping me to commence a discussion without becoming emotional and frustrated. We have only been doing it for a week but since doing it I don't think once I have raised my voice in frustration due to badgering/pestering/tantrums from not getting what he wants, so fingers crossed

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am a mom of six and, although my oldest four are more than half grown, I still work with toddlers and have two at home; I'm also so very close to finishing my bachelors in early childhood education with a minor in child development and a specialization in infant and toddler care and have more than 12 year of experience working in the classroom or privately. From both the mom and teacher stand point, this is WONDERFUL advice for parents and is something I include in parent training sessions. I have noticed a very big difference between my 3 year old now and what my older kids were like at this age. Experience, education, and training do matter and have helped me be a better parent! Thank you for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you so much for these tips. My three year old is having lots tantrums these days and most of them are when he wants me to do something for him and no one else. For example he wanted me to turn on the light in his room and since I was busy making dinner I asked my 14 year old to do it and Jaxon blew up! He wanted me to go turn off the light and turn it back on for him. He is a very demanding little boy

    ReplyDelete
  21. Read the book "Happiest Toddler in the Block" . It has the same idea..plus some more great tips. Like when you try to help your crying toddler, to use simple words "Elie is mad, mad mad mad. But mommy says non. Elie do not like". Talk in very simple words...and when tantrum is over, go back to normal talk. Long sentences sound BLA BLA BLA to them when they are really upset.

    Great article :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. My guess is it will work with outbursts from older children/teenagers who just have a huge amount of emotion that needs to sometimes spill out! And like the little ones, they just want to know that you hear them. Excellent article and a reminder that we all want to be heard!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I just want to say that I read this probably about a year ago and I have had excellent results from using this method. I'm still trying to get my husband to do it, but for the most part my son doesn't have terrible tantrums. Thank you for sharing this method and explaining it as clearly as you have. One of these days I'll get my husband on board. I'm around our son all day and have figured out what works and what doesn't so my husband just needs to learn patience. He'll get it. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so great to hear!! It has worked wonders for us too. My daughter still has tantrums from time to time, but they are not nearly as bad. I really appreciate you taking time to let me know that it has worked for you!

      Delete
  24. what is your take on getting a 3 year old to take naps. I am almost at my wits end with this. I haven't had a problem until this last week. she blatently refuses. she says things like "I just can't, and I don't want to". when her father puts her down, then there is no problem. I wouldn't push so hard but this mommy needs a little nap time too. any suggestions??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thoughts are that you can't make anyone do anything. My kids all stopped napping at 2 or 2.5 and I transitioned them into having daily quiet time. Sometimes it last 2 hours, sometimes 1, sometimes 3. My post on quiet time is here if you want to check it out: http://www.toddlerapproved.com/2012/05/establishing-quiet-time-when-your-child.html

      This way I still get the down time I need and they need. We also adjusted bedtime so they go down a little earlier since they aren't napping. Kids vary in their sleep needs, so some nap until they are 5 and some don't nap nearly that long.

      Delete
  25. Common sense to me - whenever there is a disagreement between my kids or a point of frustration, first thing I do is find out what happened from each one. Each gets to speak with no interruptions. I affirm their feelings. We try to find a solution together.
    I've always wondered how do kids get to the point where they are having tantrums........

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have a 4 yr old and a7 yr old who both throw tantrums - still. This is a great post, I am going to try to reteach myself when dealing with them for now on... Thank you for your post!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I felt completely out of my depth a few days ago when my (just) two year old began to cry and scream in the middle of a shop because I said it was time to go home. I just put my hand out ofr her to hold and said '"c'mon bubba, time to go home". Before I realised what was happening, she was on the floor crying and screaming. If I tried to approach her in any way, she screamed louder and began to kick. I told her I was sorry and explained to her that the shop was closing and asked her if she wanted a cuddle but everytime I sopke or aproached her she just seemed to get worse. I ended up standing back about six feet away until she calmed down (this seemed to be forever but was probably about five minutes). She then just jumped up, held my hand and walked out with me. I had about 200 people in the cafe opposite staring at me the whole time and I felt so upset that they were probably looking at me judging me for the way I dealt with it. What could I have done to avoid the situation? How could I have dealt with it better to avoid the meltdown. It still upsets me when I think of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you did just right. sometimes talking to them escalates the tantrum. I've been a nanny for 20 years and am a mom to two grown daughters. You just acknowledge why they may be upset. Tell them you care. Tell them you will just simply wait for them to finish and offer a hug. That's all. Who cares who is looking at you? don't worry about that.

      Delete
  28. I am a Nanny to a two and a half year old, one year old, and baby in the oven. The one year old has learned to throw tantrums following the older child. Thank you for this post because I often say, "You are okay." and "We don't yell and hit because we are angry." It helps, but explaining to them on their is key.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Few months ago I have read your article. Today it back to me again. I agree with you. My daugther is having tantrums very often. But the first thing i have in mind when it happens is what i read long time ago in a book. it said they have big passions in their bodies without control.... So we need to teach them how to control them. I like your ideas / tips, the hug can show them things are easier to get when they are calm. And if they feel we acknowledge their feelings we are opening the box of the emotional intelligence :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it is what parenting is all about....from start to finish of parenting is to teach children how to deal with what life inevitably throws at them. You are so right/they don't know how to handle their passions and anger and it's our job to help them learn.

      Delete
  30. Great post. Though everyone should know that sugar is bad in so many ways. Mainly because you can never have enough. There is no natural off switch. So if i were having kids now, I'd try and not introduce it at all if possible. Reference to the "candy later" statement.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you! For me is more difficult because I have a couple of twins (3 years) and when they are tired and I'm tired ... I feel really unable...

    ReplyDelete
  32. Grandma here, but I'm caring for two grandchildren every week day.
    The new series "Daniel tiger" based on Mr. Rogers' work has catchy little songs that I have seen work VERY well on my grandson. If he's in need of a reminder, I can sing the little song because I've watched it with him. Like "Saying I'm sorry is the first step, then how can I help?" reminds him to try to help after he's bumped little sister down. They address things all children feel, and can be a touch-point for discussion. http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/dtn/songs/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm a big fan of inconditional parenting, I like to hear and read every other mom's opinion, uncluding your's. I experienced, just like you, that talking and listening is far more effective than yelling and punishments. It brings peace to my child and to myself. And although many parents think it's strange that it never put my son in the corner or that I let him decide some small things, 'you shouldn't askhim so many questions, he's just two years old ...' :) I love parenting this way. Good luck with your kids. They will surely become great human beings.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am a grandmother of a 2 year old and a mother of three grown children. Each child tried a tantrum once. I made sure the child was safe and waited for the tantrum to finish. When the child was calm is when I would start acknowledging their feelings and, depending on the situation, give them choices for the future. My parents taught parent's education and this was part of their teachings: always give as little attention as possible to this behavior. If you give them cuddling to calm them down, you will be rewarding them and they will learn that if they do this in the future they will be cuddled. I know situations can be a lot more complicated but this has always worked for me for my own children and when I did home daycare. Parents would always tell me that their children were always happy and well-behaved when they were with me. I never got angry or lost control. Hopefully this helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you. I'm a nanny for 20 years and a mom of two grown daughters. No offers of cuddling, but offers of trying to figure out the problem. If they just continue screaming I'd say something like "whenever you want to show me what is wrong I will listen if you are talking and not screaming". When they are too young to talk I think the best thing to do is just put your hand gently on their back and show them you acknowledge the tantrum then tell them you'll be busy with the laundry or something and when they want to stop screaming you will be there for them. That's all. It's a habit you want to END not nurture!

      Delete
  35. I also use distraction, today it happened that my dd 2yo got upset because she wanted to change her (clean) leggings, so instead of say 'no you don't need another pair', I took her out of the room and quickly ran downstairs, got a slice of bread and took it outside on the grass for birds. Later on she showed me some blackbirds eating it. X

    ReplyDelete
  36. Unfortunately I don't have kids, yet, but the kids I do interact with and the adults I interact with need the same responses to similar situations. Granted, adults don't typically fall on the floor and howl when they have a tantrum, but they may start yelling at people, give the cold shoulder to everyone, or any number of other rude actions. What I've found is that children are people with thoughts, feelings, and opinions, these things are frequently either wrong or strange and small-minded adults discount them. If you instead pay attention to (at least some) of what a child is thinking the same way you do with an adult and treat them like they are capable of sound decisions they tend to make sound decisions. You treat a child politely they will frequently be polite in return, even more so than an adult.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Kristina, I'm a counselor in Florida and this is such a healthy perspective! I love to hear other parents who embrace validation in parenting. Great tips for kids and adults! We all need this, even if we out grow the tantrum stage. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am so glad you posted this and put this concept out in mainstream parenting. Its hard for parents to fully realize the positive impact of their child "being heard" can make on children's behaviors. I teach making "reflective responses" and to see through "the child's eyes" in my counseling practice. I've written some handy tri-fold brochures that are FREE on my web page filled with step by step examples of how to implement "reflective responses" that your followers would like. You can find all my parenting brochures at this URL: http://www.kaytrotter.com/parenting-brochures/

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love the post. Ive always said we need to teach our children how to communicate and this sounds like a great way to do that.
    When my son is throwing a fit, i sit him again the wall and say, "You're being no fun. When you're fun, you can get up." Then when he's fun we cheer and tell him good job. He turns hos attitude around very quickly! I'll start using the acknowledgment of his feels now more!

    ReplyDelete
  40. mine lil man isnt two yet but i swear he is bipolor lol just the most drastic emotions that change in a short time its hard to get him to listen to me but he isnt making complete sentences yet lots of words i try to talk to him and tell him its ok that you fell, or your toy broke ect not the easiest thing i dont know how to make it better its easy to get frustrated for both of us any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Super post. Pinning and sharing. Recently I read advice about stopping the crying - leave them alone/ignore it to teach them to control themselves - and I thought that was TERRIBLE advice, primarily because that is what my mother did to me. I learned to pretend to be happy and never express anything negative. Bless her heart, she did the best she could but I have had a lifetime of trying to get over it. My own family (husband and children) have truly suffered from this particular teaching technique of my mother's.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thanks for the reminder! Have you read How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman? Validating emotions is one of his 5 steps. It works wonders with our 3 year old! Focusing on emotions has made a huge difference in our family. I mean, we all want our feelings validated too, why not do it for our kids? Question for you though: Do you have any advice for working with an 18 month old? Our 18 month old little girl does not respond as well to this approach so I wonder if you have any ideas. Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi i want to find out my daughter is 3 and she is always with granny she was bathing the other night and my mom want to bath her with a sponge she was screaming and crying it was so load it sound like if she is getting tied up or something she will be running around screaming and crying falling down to the floor i will say mily if you dont stop it now im going to tell daddy tonight and she will stop if we dont want to give her her way she will do it again. Sometimes ill be crying i felt like maybe there is something wrong with her. Is it normal at 3 years old to do that?? Please i dont know what to do anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think she just sees that she's getting YOU upset so she continues to try harder. I do remember my daughter being hard at age 3. I feel for you. Just be consistant and firm and let her know you love her and validate her feelings but don't let her win! or she'll try harder next time.

      Delete
  44. You are essentially describing a very small part of "Conscious Discipline". It's a very thorough, kind, and well thought-out way of looking at your child's behaviors and triggers. They also have free downloads on their website, (not trying to be a commercial but am just a teacher of small kids who found great success with it!)

    ReplyDelete
  45. hi your post is very helpful im going to try it with my 2 year old and 5 year old. My 5 year old is also throwing a lot of tantrums because he knows he'll get what he wants from someone other than his mom. I stay with grandparents and its extremely difficult to discipline my kids and I also am working from 8am to 5 pm with my husband in the shop. My mother in law hears the children cry and comes to check and give in to what they want. My kids have learnt to lie to get what they want any advice on how to go about trying to get the kids to listen to me and to help them to stop lying and help them to calm down and avoid tantrums in public which is very embarrassing... pls email me advice at twinklezw@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. As a play therapist, I always try to get the parents/caregivers to acknowledge the feeling (and calm themselves) before anything else. Excellent article!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that the worst thing a parent or caregiver can do is get upset! then the child is rewarded because they got just what they wanted......and if parents really watch what goes on - toddlers throw these fits usually when a parent is rushed, tired, upset about something else, overworked etc. Alls the kid needs to see is that the parent is going to remain solid and firm and strong and loving and they will see their tantrum isn't worth it!

      Delete
  47. I just want say that a crying, screaming, flailing child WILL upset any caring parent. I had one who still has difficulty controlling his emotions today's at age 26. When he was very young, before a year old, he had awe-inspiring tantrums. I tried many suggestions from professional sources and not a lot helped. Finally I hit on the 'ignore it' method. I made sure he was safe a waited for him to calm down. Then I could talk with him, reflecting his feelings or giving the hug. Please tell parents not to give up and try different tactics for different children. I later found that my son had physical problems that made it hard for him to develop self control. He still has his moments, but he has found life much less frustrating with professional help. NEVER give up, parents. NEVER.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Really needed information for all mothers. You shared an really impeccable information to your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  49. It's so easy to criticise mothers, carers and teachers for screaming at the child and not acknowledging the child's point of view (which, I agree, is usually necessary to calm a child down) however it's also difficult not to get frustrated in the moment and step back and deal with the situation rationally. Once you are already arguing with the child it's already a lost cause, so I agree this is an important thing to keep in mind!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I really liked this post. I have been working on changing the focus for our preschooler by first acknowledging his point of view then gently redirecting with new suggestions and helping him choose better words.

    It is working but there is one lagging issue that I hope some has dealt with and has a solution for me.

    Once I acknowledge him, he cries louder than the original "tantrum/protest". Instead of feeling heard he moves in for a hug and begins to wail and wail at the top of his little lungs. It is so hard to be compassionate when he is belting at the top of his lungs right into your ear. It is frustrating because his issue has been acknowledged (i.e. he wanted candy for lunch and I said no, he flailed about, so I get down to his level and tell him that I understand it is hard when you can't have candy for lunch and you were hoping for candy, that it's very disapointing to have to pick something else. He nods, tears well up, he comes in for a hug and screams in my ear. The wailing can last for 5 minutes or more and he doesn't want to let go of the hug.) How can I get him to ditch the screaming in my ear part? We have made lots of good progress with this technique (the flailing has decreased) but the screaming continues...he only screams if you hug him and he always once a hug after the "conflict". Once I denied him the hug and he seemed to get over it faster. This hug should be the feel good part when we move on and reframe and make a better choice. Instead he ramps it once he feels he's been heard. I am wondering if I am being played yet his tears are pretty genuine in the moment. It takes a lot to console him. Certainly a different personality than my other children. Any helpful advice would be appreciated?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hug him tight and whisper in his ear "you're safe, you're calm, you can handle this". Dr. Becky Bailey-Managing Emotional Mayhem-check out the scientific brain research that's effective with EVERY aged child (I'm an educator and have used it on 3 year olds, up to 5th graders inside and outside of a school setting). First job is changing adults' responses and emotional management techniques in order to better serve our children during times of emotional turmoil. I am able to intervene my 3 year old's meltdowns before they even begin to slightly escalate because of Dr. Bailey's research and techniques.

      Delete
  51. You just described a research-based practice called Conscious Disipline by Dr. Becky Bailey. This concept of helping a child 'manage their emotions' has been scientifically studied for quite some time and nothing is more effective than Dr.Bailey's strategies which focus around brain research. The focus around the program is for adults to understand the process our brains go through when something angers us so we can better mediate a toddler/child's meltdown. This sounds exactly like her philosophy. I really hope this wasn't taken from her research. If not, you should purchase the book 'Conscious Discipline' for educators and 'Managing Emotional Mayhem' for parents. Highly effective, I use the practices with my 3 year old in order to help her manage her emotions at a young age so she'll mentally be set up for success as she deals with the everyday frustrations that life brings. She will have these mental coping skills from a very young age which will only be beneficial to her, and hopefully others, in the future. It also teaches children to stand up for themselves by using their words, not physical reactions. Very relevant for children in 2014, and 100% effective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear Dr. Bailey's strategies have been so useful to you. I have never read Conscious Discipline and definitely will look into it. Thanks for sharing. This post was inspired from my experiences after reading the articles mentioned in the post by Janet Lansbury.

      Delete
  52. Thank you for sharing all of this information! It has truly opened my eyes and my heart even more to my child and his little person needs :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. As my children ages 3 and 6 begin a tantrum, and start uttering ideas, sentiments etc., I find the phrase, "What else?" lets them know I there to listen, and it allows them to expel what inside, decompress and settle down. I say it as often as they need, until they calm down. Then we are free to discuss the issue and they are ready to listen to me as well.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I noticed that when my little boy is upset...there is no use o f telling or explaining something........ he is so much intoo meltdowns so the only thing I do is hold him and hold him tight no talking no explaining .....it does upset him even more...... but of course he is still very Young to explain himself ...... later I suppose this aproach will not work but for now he needs to feel my acceptance of his crying and lots of love.

    ReplyDelete
  55. These tantrums are draining however. Does anyone have this happen with kids that are past the 2-3 years of age (i.e. 4)?

    ReplyDelete
  56. I just want to say thank you....ive been at a complete low and lost of idees on how to handle the whining and constant moaning and tantrums of my 2yr old twin girls. I love them to bits but its just getting too much. I feel like a bad parent as im getting short of temper and it frustrates me to the point of anger. Im definately going to try this....and yes after reading this i understand so much more....they need to be heard and understood.

    ReplyDelete
  57. This is for toddlers. But what do you do when 10-12 years old girls have a meltdown. They are still blown up tantrums.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I work at a daycare & have a 9 month old of my own. It is soooo important to let them express their feeling. I was always raised believing I had a voice and was encouraged to express my feelings. This helps alot, great tip! You go, Momma!!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I work at a daycare & have a 9 month old of my own. It is soooo important to let them express their feelings. They aren't throwing the fit for no reason, they're hoping to get a response out of you...hopefully a positive one. I was always raised believing I had a voice and was encouraged to express my feelings. This helps alot, great tip! You go, Momma!!

    ReplyDelete
  60. some of this i agree with and even exercise, but not this bit (among others):

    As parents we often say, "You're okay" or "You'll be okay" and try and minimize our kid's reactions and emotions to situations. I have caught myself doing it many times. My goal for myself is to ban that response. If my kids are crying or upset then they are NOT okay. They are asking for help. Who am I to tell them otherwise? By ignoring their feelings I am not being a respectful or kind parent. I can also easily cause a tantrum by ignoring their feelings.
    because as parents (ie, rational adults) we often know when something is okay, and i think it's not only a comfort to the child to hear it, but our responsibility to teach them that every disappointment (or even physical injury) is not a tragedy, and not every emotional hiccup is an occasion for drama.

    a lot of these "new parenting" techniques, like the "negotiative parenting" employed by parents who need validation even more so than their children, is why there is a generation of 20-somethings in america with an unrealistic sense of entitlement and a (quite dangerous, as it happens) belief that everything they do is okay, or can somehow be rationalized.

    ReplyDelete
  61. We do this too - it's amazing how well it works. It's a variation on the theme talked about in the fab books "how to talk so children will listen and listen so children will talk".

    ReplyDelete
  62. I am a grandma who babysits her 2 year old and 6 month old. The 2 year old doesn't talk well so therefore cant communicate all that well and throws one fit after another. HELP!!

    ReplyDelete
  63. My daughter just turned 17 months old and has started to throw terrible tantrums. I love this approach but will it work with a child so young? I don't know if she is capable yet of truly understanding what I am saying to her, etc. and I feel like I am failing at raising a respectful child. We do not give in to her tantrums ... we wait until she is done to talk to her or walk away/ignore her outbursts. What else can I do? Help!

    ReplyDelete
  64. This information has actually helped me with dealing with my 84 yr old father. He has a generally bad temper and is a very negative person prone to outbursts, much like a kid having a tantie. I have found myself engaging in a battle of the wits and it leaves me so drained. You gave me a different perspective about acknowledging the feelings behind the outbursts...things are looking a bit brighter for us at the moment. So 2 or 84 the concept is the same...so Thanks for your imput...much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Enjoyed reading this! It aligns to a book I've been reading to help train myself for working w my very bright and strong willed two year old daughter. "Easy to love, difficult to discipline" by Becky Bailey

    ReplyDelete
  66. I definitely try to acknowledge his feelings whenever he cries, even though he's only 14 months! If he's in deep, inconsolable tantrum mode, I can sometimes snap him out of it by singing a silly song I made up, a version of "If You're Happy And You Know It"... but substitute "happy" with "cranky" and use stamping your feet, yelling real loud, beating your chest, or other cartoonish expressions of anger. He has so much fun watching me and trying to imitate that he forgets I took a dangerous "toy" away!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I definitely try to acknowledge his feelings whenever he cries, even though he's only 14 months! If he's in deep, inconsolable tantrum mode, I can sometimes snap him out of it by singing a silly song I made up, a version of "If You're Happy And You Know It"... but substitute "happy" with "cranky" and use stamping your feet, yelling real loud, beating your chest, or other cartoonish expressions of anger. He has so much fun watching me and trying to imitate that he forgets I took a dangerous "toy" away!

    ReplyDelete
  68. I can totally relate to resorting to anger and frustration as my first reaction to my kid's tantrums and I know that I, as a parent must learn to calm myself first before learning to calm them down. Thanks for this post, sharing it on my page here. http://bit.ly/KidsHavingFunTimes

    ReplyDelete
  69. I've been having issues with my kids and tantrums as well. It is definitely hard to keep a peaceful mindset when you have one or more kids screaming and crying for, what you think, is not a good enough reason. I actually just wrote a blog about this very thing. It's called "Dealing With Tantrums And Fussy Kids" on learningthemomlife.com. Hope it will also help your readers!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Wow, I needed to read this today! Wish I had read it like two years ago or so. My eldest is four and we struggle with tantrums all the time, sometimes I am good and acknowledge his feelings and the tantrums stop for a while, most times I get frustrated, I struggle with tantrums myself apparently, and yell at him or spank. I am not the best parent but not the worst either. I think what is so great about your article is really that it isn't about your child's reaction and changing it, is my reaction and changing that! Good advice.

    ReplyDelete
  71. This is a great piece of information. I went to a foster parent training class on this subject. I have found it really works for any age. People and children just really want someone to listen, not fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Wow, I feel like I just found a gem of the internet. Seriously, what great advice!! Treating our children like humans, who have feelings and emotions, is so very important yet so often forgotten. Many parents treat their child's tantrum like a dramatic outburst (which it kind of is) but fail to understand that toddlers are only beginning to understand their own feelings. I have dramatic outbursts all the time and I'm 23 haha, kids deserve a little slack. Thanks so much for sharing! <3

    ReplyDelete
  73. Great information. My grandson is 3 years and has started this throwing everything in his path thing when I say NO to something he wants. It seems like he is in a zone and I cannot get through and then after a few minutes he comes out of it and just starts watching TV or doing something. My daughter said he has started throwing toys at her recently so I think we will try to and see what his frustration is and be consistent with him. He has a sibling on the way so this will be challenging. Savannah Baker is right, we need to give them a break., They handle alot these days that I never had to deal with as a child. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! Please know that if it isn't kind or adding to the conversation, it won't be shared. I moderate each comment, so you won't see your comment show up immediately when you post. Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog.

Related Posts with Thumbnails