CHILDREN AND TEMPER TANTRUMS
Why do young children have temper tantrums? Why do they act out? Are they trying to manipulate you or run the household? There are many reasons why children act out, but it is not because they want to be rotten!
A young child communicates through behaviour. He is trying to tell you something through his actions. What might he be trying to tell you? Is he tired, hungry, overwhelmed? His behaviour will tell you what he needs from you. It may be food, a quiet place, a nap, or even someone to acknowledge that he is feeling unhappy. Sometimes he needs to learn a new skill. As parents and caregivers, it is our responsibility to teach children the skills they need to cooperate with others and manage in life.
Punishing children does not teach them the skills that they need. If we think of ourselves as teachers, we can consider when is the best time to teach children. Do they learn well when they are tired or hungry? When they are upset or angry? We all learn best when we are feeling energized and strong and have a positive attitude.
When your child is feeling this way and you are too, this is the ideal time to teach your child a new skill. For example, if your child has temper tantrums, it is not because he is a rotten child. It is because he has not learned a skill; perhaps the skill of accepting “No”. You can teach your child how to accept “No” and even make it a fun experience. If your child is young, you can practice through dramatic play (Teddy Bear learns what to do when Mommy says “no “). Tell your child what he can say and what he can do, to replace the tantrum behaviour. Try spending a little time each day teaching your child a new skill, in a fun and entertaining way.
For more information on parenting strategies or to discuss your parenting concerns, contact the Parenting Line at Campbell River Family Services Society: 250-287-2421