Cheat Sheet to Tantrums

Here is a quick cheat sheet (very summarized) on how to tackle TANTRUMS.

1️⃣ REFLECT❕❕❕

The quickest way to diffuse a tantrum is to pause and think about what your child is trying to show you. What feeling is behind that outburst. A tantrum is a need for CONNECTION and so you are not seeing THEM! Yes, it may be something as silly as you not seeing how badly they want a chocolate or sucker at the shops but for them their feelings are so big and so overwhelming. You could reflect “I can see how bad you want that chocolate. It is so hard when I say No. This feels so unfair”. Now, validating their feelings doesn’t make their feelings right or like you are siding with them. It just makes them feel SEEN. And what does that give rise to? EMPATHY!! If you can empathize with your child in those really difficult moments they will learn how to do that too!

2️⃣ Coach them ❕

Children don’t often know what to do with such big feelings. So they may scream, hit, pinch, bite, fall to floor kicking and screaming. They need HELP to get those BIG feelings OUT. Use these moments (when you can) to coach them through this.
“I can see your cross feelings are so loud, let’s try get them softer. Would you like to do 10 frog jumps or race me down the isle?”. Here, you are giving a CHOICE! A choice creates EMPOWERMENT! They leave a situation feeling helpless with a sense of control and independence. Congratulate them on their decision. Nothing to enhance motivation to do better like having your efforts acknowledged! And then help them, be with them while they get those feelings OUT. “Are your cross feelings out yet? Do we need to do more?”

3️⃣ Setting Boundaries 👆

NOW we set the boundary and reason with what is acceptable and what is not because ONLY at this point is a child able to access their frontal cortex which is responsible for reasoning. In the tantrum mode, most parents discipline at that point but your child won’t hear you because their cortisol levels have flooded their brain. At this point now, when you have coached, they are able to reason.
“Now that your angry feelings are softer, let’s talk about what isn’t okay in this family…..”.

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