[Shared by Truly, Madly, Hannah]
Why do children tantrum, and can it be avoided?
I think a lot of tantrums can be avoided and after a week of our household tantrums steadily increasing, and this post, i decided to reach out and discuss they are happening. This is a blow-by-blow account of what happened on the lead-up to a tantrum, and some key points of what i could have done better. Hindsight, a fabulous thing!
The blow-by-blow account
James: Can i have some more chocolate
Mummy: Its all gone darling, there is no more left
James: Its not all gone
Mummy: It is James
(10 minutes later)
James: Can i have some more chocolate Mummy?
Mummy: Its all gone darling, there is no more left, I’ve already told you.
James: ITS NOT ALL GONE
Mummy: It is James
Analysis : At the time, i thought i was doing well by staying calm. In hindsight i should have let him repeat the question, on his second attempt i should of said “No James, Ive already told you once its all gone, if you ask me again you cant have *treat/toy that i can take away*. I also should have spoken to him about contradicting me with “Its not all gone!” instead of letting the backchat slide.
James : Can i have some more chocolate Mummy?
Mummy : No James not now, its all gone.
(I walk him over to the dustbin and show him the empty wrapper)
James : A biscuit then?
Mummy: If you ask nicely you can have a biscuit.
James: Can i have a biscuit please?
(James climbs onto a chair near the biscuit cupboard to look)
Mummy: There you go, you choose a biscuit
(James ignores me and tries to open the biscuit cupboard)
Mummy: No James, you can’t have anything else, close the cupboard door and choose a biscuit if you want one.
James: I want one of those (gesturing at a Mars-Bar)
Mummy: No James, you cant have one they are daddy s, if you don’t choose a biscuit when i get to 3, I’m going to put the biscuits away, 1, 2, 3 (biscuits go back in the cupboard)
James: No Mummy, i want one of those! (Tantrum starts, I lift him down from the chair and put the chair away, he immediately tries to get the chair back out to climb on again why screaming and crying.)
Mummy: James, i am not talking to you when you are screaming (walks away)
James: (Screaming continues)
Mummy: Ignores screaming until it stops about 6-7 minutes later
Analysis : Lots of things i could have done better:
- I said he couldn’t have chocolate because it had all gone, therefore he heard, “if we do have it, i can have it” – I should have said chocolates a nice treat, but we dont have it all the time, you have already had some today.
- I showed him the wrapper. This made him accept that the chocolate had gone, but only prompted him to ask for something else. I should have not repeated myself as i said above, and given him a warning and consequence for asking again.
- He asked for a biscuit and i agreed. I agreed because it was nearing snack time, and i didn’t mind him having a biscuit, but all it learned him was move the goal and you will succeed.
- I let him climb onto the chair, which put him at my height and gave him access to open the cupboard and more control over the situation.
- By this point he has me fully engaged in conversation and my full attention on him, hes in control, it looks like it could be an attention issue
- When i said no to the Mars-Bar, it should have been a straight no, with no explanation. I explained that they were Daddy’s. This only leaves room for him to ask Daddy and hope for a difference response and possibly another tantrum. I was too specific, i should have said “No, you have already had chocolate today, its a treat we don’t eat it everyday,” or something similar.
Some good points….
I did pull out some good points too, in an effort not to make myself feel like a rubbish parent!
- I remained calm
- I was firm at points and put the biscuit tin away after the count of 3, like i promised i would.
- I didn’t talk to him mid-tantrum, i waited until he calmed down afterwards
In fairness to James, he’s recovering from a cold, its nearly the end of his first half-term at nursery, he knows there’s a big change ahead with a baby coming in April (from all the clothes and furniture and changes to the house) and he was tired. He fell asleep in Daddy’s arms before bedtime (see the feature image)
What do you think to my analysis and my initial reaction, any more points Ive missed? How do you deal with tantrums?