There might be nothing you can say that will quiet that screaming child in the throes of a tantrum. But you can handle the situation, no prob.
By Sarah Massry
Some mothers, while in the midst of dealing with a child in a temper tantrum, resort to some desperate measures. I even once saw one other taping together her toddler’s pretzel with Scotch tape. But you don’t need to do that. You (and your toddler) can make it through with grace.
Detach yourself. Here’s a riddle: A mom walks into a crowded grocery store. She waits on a long line. The two-year-old in her cart is having a full blown tantrum. Kicking, screaming—the works. He wants a bottle of coke NOW!!! Onlookers are starting to look (and judge). Yet Mom is cool as a cucumber. How can that be?? Answer: It’s not her kid! She’s not emotionally involved; she doesn’t feel as vulnerable and threatened by the tantrum.
When your kid is throwing a tantrum, try to detach yourself emotionally. Tantrums are normal. It’s not your fault. They happen to all the supermoms of the world. Stay calm and think rationally. You’ll get through it!
Co-regulation. Have you ever tried to out-scream a toddler or out-cry a baby at 3:00 a.m. in attempt to get her back to sleep? Doesn’t work. Your crying only escalates things. Whether the one throwing a tantrum is 3, 13, or 33 here’s a tip that works like a charm:
The tantruming toddler (or teenage for that matter) is having difficulty regulating himself. The snags and disappointments in life are setting him off into a frenzy. We want to teach him how to regulate himself. The best thing we can do is co-regulate, by remaining totally cool, calm, and rational. Your calm will quickly spread to everyone else and diffuse the situation. This isn’t easy, but it’s the greatest gift you can give your family. And whoever said that having kids is easy? Raising children is all about stretching ourselves into a better person.
Not ready for the fight? Give in. It’s okay to avoid the tantrum all together. There may be some times that you are tired, overwhelmed, at your mother-in-law’s house (or all three) and you will give your kid the coke she wants to avoid the tantrum. But once your kid is in tantrum mode, don’t give in! Because if you do, you’re asking for 30 more!
Use kind, gentle words. Try to see things from your kid’s perspective. She’s not intentionally trying to make your day miserable by throwing a tantrum in the crowded shoe store. She may be tired (hey, did she miss her nap?), hungry, or overwhelmed by the other 50 people clamoring for new shoes. Once you put yourself in the tantruming toddler’s shoes, you can validate her feelings.
Special thanks to my friend Shaindy Mozes, an incredible mother and an amazing person.
[small_title title=” About Sarah Massry:”]
Sarah Massry is Director of Marketing and the Program Coordinator at Agudath Yisroel PCS. Sarah holds a Master of Science in Education from Daemen College and has a decade of experience in education. She is a regular contributor to several international publications and the author of two books, including “What’s Best for Me.” Since the book’s publication, she’s been enjoying reading it to her own children while helping them internalize the lifelong message that everything that happens to us is from Hashem!
Read Sarah’s post “Three Easy Ways to Teach Emunah to Your Children.”