When tot throws a tantrum: Stay cool!

Rein in your anger and stay in control with these simple fixes.


It’s a simple request. You ask your kids to get ready so that you can head out for their swimming lessons, but when your youngest starts to whine and writhe on the floor, you get annoyed. Your voice goes higher in pitch and stronger in volume.

         According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2003, it revealed that almost 90 per cent of the nearly 1,000 parents surveyed said they’d yelled, screamed or shouted at their kids in the previous year. So, what’s the real issue?
         According to Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, most mums put their children’s well-being before their own (also known as the “martyr mum” complex), so it’s normal for mothers to feel frustrated as they have responsibilities and chores to deal with. Coupled with the lack of rest, sleep and a poor diet, her body has no time to recharge.
         “All these may cause the mum to be less tolerant, and getting angry could be her way of coping with stress when it comes to disciplining her child,” he says.
         If you feel that you’re going to lose your temper, Koh suggests several ways to “stay sane”.

1) Recognise your anger triggers and diffuse them

Then find ways to prevent it from happening in the future. For example, perhaps you were disciplined harshly for not attending music classes as a child. Take a moment to pause before you react and try to understand the reasons behind your child’s behaviour.
         “Always tell yourself that what you’re going through is normal, and that all mothers go through the same thing. Learn to forgive and let go of resentment,” Koh notes. Next, focus on how to address your child’s behaviour. 

 “Always tell yourself that what you’re going through is normal...”

2) Be alert to your child’s triggers

Hunger, sleepiness, irritability and boredom are all triggers — spot the signs early and nip any bad behaviour that will require you to discipline them in the bud. For example, if your peewee is hungry or about to have a meltdown, try to distract them before they gets there: Give him a snack or ask him to look at the clouds.
         Whenever her daughter starts to fuss, this signals that she needs a nap, says Sky Sek, 26, a property agent and mum to Scarlett, 9 months, and Veray, 2. “When Scarlett starts getting cranky, it’s her way of telling me that she’s sleepy. And before she has a meltdown, I’ll sing to her. This always calms her down and she’s asleep in no time,” Sek says. 

Three more cooling-off methods to come…