Only your child can learn to control and contain the inner struggle going on inside him/her. Know that you as a parent are not your child’s target! Your child is wanting to be independent but is still dependent on you for guidance, safety, and limits.
When your child begins to throw a tantrum:
- Be sure your child is safe, then distance yourself from the tantrum or ignore the behavior. Yelling or trying to reason at this point will probably make the tantrum worse.
- Pick up your child and hold her quietly or put her somewhere safe to “throw” her tantrum; then keeping her in your range of vision, walk away out of her sight until the tantrum calms down or is complete.
- Do not give in to the tantrum. This will only teach your child that this behavior gets him what he wants.
- When the tantrum is over, say something like, “It’s terrible being upset, isn’t it? I love you and will help you as you learn to control yourself.”
- Be patient. Stay calm. Tantrums do not mean your child does not love you.
When your child is put in a situation where he surprises you by not having a tantrum, be sure to praise your child! Rewarding appropriate behavior makes a big impression on children during these years because despite what we might think, they do want to please adults.