Is your 7, 11, 14, or 18-year-old throwing tantrums?
Surely you didn’t think tantrums were reserved for pre-schoolers! Whether you are the mommy of a two-year-old or the mother of a teenager, understanding and working through tantrums can be overwhelming and difficult.
Deborah Ann Davis, award-winning author, parenting skills coach, mother, and 20+ year high school teacher, emphasizes that knowing how to identify, address, and tame tantrums of any scale will help you better teach your child how to cope within your home, thus better preparing them on how to cope outside of the home.
Here are Deborah’s top 3 tips on addressing and working through tantrums:
1. Be thankful for the tantrum!
You heard me. A tantrum signals an inability to cope that needs to be addressed. The alternative to a tantrum is your child internalizes her distress and lets it fester.
You are unaware because there’s no loud flag-waving (unless she expresses it through headaches, nausea, lethargy, self-isolating, anxiety, etc.). So be thankful she is externally vocalizing her distress and unhappiness about something.
2. Let them have the tantrum
I know it’s distressing to witness their misery, but remind yourself that you are on the path for reducing their anguish. However, don’t physically face her. The energy of their distress will negatively impact you if you are receiving it head-on, which will wear you down.
Remaining in the room and sitting with them calmly conveys the message that you are there for them. It also provides you the opportunity to interact with them when they pause to take a breath. You can take advantage of that moment by saying you love them, even when they are upset.
3. Let them tire out
Just like any fiery explosion you see in the movies, there is a huge combustive beginning, which rages for a bit, and then it dies out because it runs out of fuel.
It may astonish you how long your darling child, whether they’re two or twelve, can pitch a fit before they run out of fuel, but rest assured, they will. Waiting her out teaches them that the tantrum is a waste of time and energy on their part. Eventually, they will seek alternatives for getting what they want.