A tantrum is defined as an uncontrolled outburst of temper or caprice. Caprice is a sudden impulsive change of mind or a tendency to sudden unreasonable change. The subsequent anger left unchecked could lead to hitting, throwing objects or other uncontrolled behaviours. So, should you intervene as the parent, or just hope they will grow out of it? The problem with ignoring inappropriate behaviour when they are young is two-fold: as they grow older the behaviour becomes habitual, and it is more difficult to deal with because of their increased size and age.
As a parent when your child begins to manifest demanding tones and is using phrases like ‘It’s mine’, ‘I want’, or ‘No, I won’t’, then step into the strop and simply say, ‘No’. Use a tone of voice that is firm. But don’t raise your voice so much you end up in a screaming match with your child. If the child continues and you can see that this is creating a scene, pick the child up and take them to their room. Refrain from trying to console them or reason with them. Put the child on its bed and say: “When you are finished you can come back downstairs”. Leave the room, closing the door behind you. You do not want to reinforce this type of behaviour in anyway. Stand outside the door and wait. When the child is finished screaming enter back into the room. I know the frustration that you may feel. There were times when I would just say, ‘God help me!’ Do what works for you to maintain your cool. If, when you go into the room the child starts up again, say, ‘no’ and walk out. When the child is quiet, re-enter the room, take your child in your arms and affirm your love for them. Tell them you love them dearly but their behaviour is not acceptable and you will not tolerate it. Then have them apologize to you if they are old enough to speak.
Do this consistently with your child. Do not tolerate bad behaviour. I have a saying: “You deserve what you tolerate.” If you see poor behaviour in your child, then discuss with your partner how you are going to deal with it. When a decision is made, consistently put your plan into action. Don’t give up. It will change.
I remember seeing a hilarious commercial where the mother had a toddler in the store. In the last scene the Mum was lying at the door having a temper tantrum! Sometimes you may feel like that as you train up your child but don’t stop training – you will reap the rewards of a happier home.