Skip to comments.How to handle tantrum-throwing kids
Posted on 04/04/2010 4:38:57 PM PDT by James C. Bennett
Not sure what to do when your tantrum-throwing child embarrasses you at the department store? Well, an expert has offered some advice to parents on how to react in such situations.
Chuck Smith, a Kansas State University child development expert, said that when children act out in public, parents dont always know how best to respond.
He said that the proper way to react depends on a number of factors including the childs age, the purpose of the public outing and whether the childs behaviour even needs to be corrected.
Smith said that the golden rule for parents is to set reasonable expectations and to stick to your guns when enforcing them.
"Many parents are concerned with the glare of onlookers, so theyll let their kids get away with things because of the threat. You cant let a child leverage your own sense of embarrassment in public to get what he or she wants. Its not that you ignore the public, but you have to decide where your real priority is -- and that is with teaching your child. You cant ever lose focus on that," Smith said.
First, Smith said parents should work on developing age-appropriate rules about how their children should behave in public. For example, asking a 5-year-old to be quiet in church is probably unreasonable. On the other hand, expecting that child to keep food in their mouth during a meal at a restaurant is not.
When a child misbehaves, Smith said its useful to gently remind them of the rules by asking them whether they can recall what they are supposed to do.
"Then, when they look at you in a confused manner, you firmly remind them of the rule. You dont ever punish a child for something they didnt know they werent supposed to do," Smith said.
Whatever the behaviour, parents also have to decide whether its worth correcting. For example, parents often will negotiate with a child who continues to whine about not getting a toy from the store. Smith calls that sort of behaviour from children irrelevant and adds that its perfectly valid to ignore it.
"Any response to whining or crying, even punishment, shows that a child is in control and is pulling a parents strings. The parent should rise above this noise and remain steadfast to the limit they set. You have to be smarter than the kid and realize that you are not going to be drawn into this," Smith said.
If the parent succumbs to that sort of behaviour - even once theyll have a long road to hoe before the child will take them seriously again, Smith said.
"If you give in, you are going to have lots of temper tantrums before they realize that doesnt work. The child will remember that throwing a fit worked that one time. Gradually, theyll realize that throwing a temper tantrum isnt worth the energy, but it will take a lot longer and will take a toll on both the parents and child," Smith said.
In situations where a child is being a nuisance, Smith said its also important for members of the public not to make the situation worse.
Unless there is obvious abuse going on, its best to not intervene unless you are offering help to the parent. "Parents need to be appreciated for the hard work they do. Never assume you know whats going on. You have no idea how this child normally reacts and what this parent is going through," Smith said.
In some situations, Smith says a bit of understanding can go a long way.
"You can say something like, ''Im sure its been a long day for you, what can I do to give you a hand? Youre recognizing that persons struggle and if theyre on the edge of doing or saying something inappropriate, youre helping to bring them back to reality," Smith said.
Tantrum throwing kids, like SEIU thugs or MSM opinion writers?
I’d get right down on the floor with them. “You call that a tantrum? That’s not a tantrum. THIS is a tantrum.”
They stop and stare at me.
My Mom always had a cure for a tantrum. She’d stop what she was doing and we’d leave. We knew if we did anything like that in a store that it would be a very long time before we were ever allowed to go again!
My parents instilled a level of terror in my sibling and I that if we EVER embarassed them in public, the wrath we would experience once we were out of The Public Eye was far greater than anything we could ever HOPE to achieve via a tantrum, LOL!
Roots and wings. It works. :)
Applying immediate, high quality pain to said child usually ends public tantrums quickly & forever.
1st time in public, she had to go to the bank the next business day and apologize to each and every teller for disrupting them. (it didn’t help they all gave her candy!)
Second one, my cup of ice water poured over her head and me walking away.
There has not been a third.
If they are not mine I can convince them I am going to kill them, works wonders - nonverbal.
Mine I did the out of the store bit. Only twice (1 each). i always told them my expectations on the way into the store.
Not only will it be long, but really hard to drive on, after hacking it up with their hoe.
My mother would completely ignore me and go about her business, pretending I was somebody else’s child.
Well, what I did was hold the child, whisper in their ear that they have to the count of zero to behave or they would get a spanking.
Not once did I ever have to spank them (well for tantrums anyway).
Duuugh... You spank them...
A pinch will work where a spanking won’t.
It's really simple. You grab the child by the arm, just enough to hurt a bit, pull them close enough to whisper in their ear "You will stop NOW."
I must note that this only works if you have used the opportunity of all the preceding years of their life to instill in them the appropriate amount of terror at the prospect of their imminent punishment.
We used to call all that prep work "parenting".
“If the parent succumbs to that sort of behaviour - even once theyll have a long road to hoe before the child will take them seriously again, Smith said.”
Who ever hoed a road? I think that you hoe a row, e.g., or vegetables.
You'd be amazed at how fast kids can come around.
Not to be confused with “a long road to ho” which is an entirely different skillset.
You need oil to calm yourself?
I like the Bill Cosby approach, the one where he says, “You know, I brought you into this world, and I can take you out. And it doesn’t matter to me, because I can make another one that looks just like you...”
When he was not yet 2, we were downtown and headed out of a dept. store for lunch. He spotted a gum ball machine and wanted a BIG gumball. I said no and explained why.
He sat down and started screaming for it. I looked at him and said, “Well, I'm going to lunch, Do you want to come with me or are you going to stay here?”
He continued to scream. So I said, “Okay. Bye bye then,” and walked off - to where I could still see hm but he couldn't see me. In the meantime, two little old ladies had been watching - and one thought I was terrible to do that - while the other said I was handling it just right. They got into an argument over it, which scarred my son and he came running for mommy. That was the last ‘downtown tantrum”.
At home, there were a couple more ‘control’ attempts. If he didn't get his way, he'd literally bang his head on the floor so hard he'd get a bump on his forehead. I would totally ignore him and go about my business. After 2 or 3 of these episodes, he figured out the only one getting upset - and HURT - was him. End of that one.
Next one was holding his breath. He stood there turning red in the face, clenching his fists. I calmly walked to the sink, got a glass of cold water and calmly threw it in his face, turned away and went back to what I had been doing.
that was the last breath holding incident.
He was a challenge to raise! But he turned out just fine - and I always said God gave me the other 4 kids - who never resorted to such tantrums - as a reward for not committing infanticide - or tot-acide? ;o)
I can't figure out which.
There has to be a fear factor. I loved my parents and they loved me but they placed in me a fear of what would happen if I crossed the line. It works. Kids who throw tantrums have no fear of their parents reactions.
My translation: You want it upsida your head or on your butt???????
I love that approach, wish I ‘d have thought of it decades ago....:O)
I had a puker. She’d cry and gag herself because she knew that throwing up got her sympathy when she was sick. It worked maybe twice but the third time she did it, I saw her deliberately gagging herself and I said, “After you finish throwing up, I want you to pick those toys up like I told you!” Apparently, vomiting was too much effort and it didn’t happen again.
We were never allowed in stores.
Shopping for groceries was on a Friday evening. My brother and I waited in the car.
FIRST thing you do is to see if you are at fault.
Is the child well-fed? Has the child had a proper nap, or enough sleep? Have you timed your exposure to the sensory circus of the stores or wherever you are in public to be less than his capacity for it?
It is not the child’s fault if he is hungry, tired, or overwhelmed. Take some responsibility for that. Do not expect a child in that condition to reason or remember how he is supposed to behave.
Don’t take tired children ANYWHERE. Have food with you for him to snack on, and something to drink. Make your shopping trips or outings SHORT or pay for a babysitter.
If all of those things are kept, then you can start with your behavior mods as in this article. I have two (out of 3) great kids I can take anywhere, but only if their bodily needs are met.
And if you have a child on the autism scale, learn from me, who learned the hard way. NEVER TAKE YOUR CHILD ANYWHERE. LOL. OK, that is extreme, but as for shopping trips or other chores, leave him at home in his comfort zone. Leave him home from some big family get-togethers, even holidays. I regret dragging my poor child to all of the above, with ghastly results pretty much every time.
If you insist on going to family get-togethers, time it for 20 minutes and LEAVE. They can’t handle much more than that. They will be happier eating turkey with their beloved sitter alone with their favorite things, than at a big Thanksgiving meal. I PROMISE YOU. :)
I do something similar with kids raising hell in a public space. I stop, look, and keep staring at them. If they and the parent are close to me in a line, I talk to the parent to reassure them not to be embarrassed.
I was quiet by age 7 in Church, my dad paddled my bottom to make sure I was!
"... And it was three goddam years ago. The little f**ker had thrown all my papers all over the floor. All I tried to do was to pull him up. A momentary loss of muscular coordination. I mean... A few extra foot pounds of energy, per second... per second...."
I almost fell out of my chair the first time I saw that posted...:)
My how things have changed. Today, leaving a child/children alone in a car is considered child abuse.
LOL My parents were the same way. I can still see my mom looking over her shoulder at my brother, sister and me as the car would pull over to stop at our destination and issue the ultimatum.....”Any of you guys cause ANY trouble and you will rue the day.”
I was looking for that pic it was posted on a site along with 30 other pics called “things you should not do to your baby”the site is now dead...
I had a “breath holder” too. He was very strong willed. I used a paint paddle. At 16 he is still very strong willed but a nice kid.
I have said that to my kids many times too.
Now what kind nonverbal cue do you give to those who aren’t yours to indicate you are going to kill them without their parent(s) noticing? Finger across the neck in a slitting motion?
“I was quiet by age 7 in Church, my dad paddled my bottom to make sure I was!”
Dad would stop the sermon and yell at us from the pulpit — then the spanking at home after church.
One of my favorite lines! Along with the time mom said "I am so sick--" and he added sarcastically "AND tired..."
"I don't remember anything else that happened that day..."