I often get asked, how do I deal with temper tantrums?

Probably one of the hardest parts of parenting is working through your child’s temper tantrum. When I was a teacher and counselor, I dealt with a lot of tantrums, but the kids were generally able to keep it in during the day. I wasn’t privy to the post-school, in-car meltdowns, and I either had support, or I WAS the support. But as a parent, I was not prepared for the overwhelming amount of anger, screaming, hitting, and crying accompanying tantrums. Sometimes I felt like the house was going to flood from all the tears!

Now, I am very opposed to slapping negative labels on children’s developmental stages. Terrible twos, four-nados, no no no. Thing is, the high emotion in a tantrum is normal. Children are supposed to have human emotions. You, in your 20s, 30s, 40s, etc., have the same big internal emotions, with a key difference being that you have (consciously or not) developed coping strategies to avoid going nuclear. — Well, hopefully you have. If not, it’s time for some internal work. Luckily, you’re in the right place.

Tantrums at different ages may look different, but at the root they’re all the same. The tantrum-haver was stressed to begin with, and something pushed them over the edge. It doesn’t matter what age, kids will always have tantrums and so will you. So do I. Again, this is normal.

In this episode, I’ll dive into the four main steps of tempering a temper tantrum:

  1. Detach
  2. Label
  3. Normalize
  4. Support

I’ll define what I mean with these steps, because I know, they sound pretty nebulous. I’ll arm you with strategies that you can deploy to help your child get out of the “red zone” and back to yellow and then green.

Now, a caveat: by applying this process, you may feel like you’re giving in to the tantrum, but the goal is to change the behavior, not the emotion. You don’t want strong emotions to go away. Emotionless Stepford children and Stepford people are creepy. Your results will be better if you try out your own additional strategies as you feel inspired to do so. I am not an infallible source of knowledge. Yours is the opportunity to experiment and figure out what works for your kids (and what works for you, if you need to learn some coping strategies). Remember: you’ve got this!

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