How to tame an angry tyke

Strategies to control your child’s temper tantrums.

Tots-How-to-tame-an-angry-tyke

Young children will also often express their frustrations by throwing tantrums. While tantrums are not always avoidable, they can be shortened by stepping in before your child loses complete control, speaking in a calm voice and acknowledging her frustration.

Says Daniel Koh, Psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, “Avoid giving children the control, engage in power struggle and giving them attention for negative behaviour. Rather acknowledge the behaviour and set boundaries like ‘I can see that you are upset and I will only talk to you once you have calm down.’ Then, walk away, keeping an eye from a distance. This decreases the use of negative behaviour and show consequences when your child throws a tantrum.”

However, children learn only when things are consistently reinforced so it is best to teach your child when he is calm that tantrums are unacceptable so he knows what to expect. Most of the time, parents only teach during the outburst but as the atmosphere is tensed and pressured, such teaching does not sink into children. It is likely that the child will then return to his old habits rather than practice new skills learned.

Sometimes, children get so upset that they may attempt to hurt themselves or others. Try holding your child firmly but gently, using just enough strength to restrain him. Do not attempt to hit your child or use other physical punishment. Instead, when he calms down, offer a drink of water or face wash and redirect to a new and interesting activity.

Trying to correct a child’s angry behaviour can be overwhelming, and parents may find themselves being very angry with their children. Says Koh, “It is best to calmly tell the child that you are not happy with the behaviour and you will talk about it in five minutes. Then walk away and calm down, review the situation and determine how you will like to resolve the issue. If you feel that you cannot handle it, then ask your partner or family members for help.”

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