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First Response to Tantrums

First Response to Tantrums

Advice from Michelle Buckner, LPC Watershed Counseling:

“In the midst of a tantrum, I find it helpful to remember my child is drowning in a sea of emotions. When someone is drowning, we don’t try to teach him how to swim. Instead, as a parent, we want to get our child to safety, remove him from the storm, get him to a quiet place, help him take some deep breaths and calm down. Later on, in the car ride home, or after a meal, or before bed, spend time drawing pictures or talking about the event with your child. Try to see or hear what was happening from the child’s viewpoint. That’s the time to brainstorm together on suitable behaviors when a similar situation happens again.

It’s also important as parents to understand our reactions in those situations. Most of us want to avoid being perceived as push-over parents and we just want to silence our kids as quickly as possible, especially if the tantrum is in public. Spend time reviewing what happens to you emotionally when your kids has a tantrum. Do you become angry, embarrassed, or sad? Making sense of these emotions will help you to be the calm during these tumultuous encounters.

And remember, when a child has a tantrum, it doesn’t say anything about you as a parent! All kids have them. It’s their little brains telling you they’re overwhelmed and can’t manage anymore. So come together and problem-solve to be prepared next time. If you avoid working through these scenarios with your kids, they can become established patterns that are harder to break.

About The Author

Dasha Peipon

Dasha is originally from Ukraine (it’s in the heart of Europe, look it up on the map if you want!) and moved to Mississippi with her family in September 2017. Before that she lived in Massachusetts and Maryland. She guesses they have a thing for “M” states. She is a writer, an editor, a teacher and the type of mom that never sits still. Being part of Parents & Kids has been helpful for her goal of finding places to explore with her kids, getting plugged in and her family becoming true Mississippians.

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