Monday, July 14, 2008

A Note on Tantrums

And if you are still amidst the storm of regular tantrums....

A child psychologist did an interview in Cookie magazine this month, and made a great point about dealing with the inconsolable child: "When a person's drowning, it's not the time to teach him to swim."

Sure, this sounds easy enough: do not use this time to punish, lecture, negotiate, or attempt to reason. The first priority seems to be the need to difuse. Do whatever is takes to calm your child and save the "teachable moment" for the time after, when they actually can hear what you are saying.

If they occur at home, I usually give her space instead of attention (attention seems to prolong or encourage it). If we are in public, I just abort whatever mission I am on (at least for the moment), to get her to a secure place where she can calm herself down.

In real moments of disaster, I have just held her and reassured her. This usually starts off with some resistance, but as long as I am firm and soothing, it almost always works.

And then we talk.

Having said that, I have also had to walk out of places with her flailing in my arms and there have been more than a few times when I screamed in a pillow....but, in the words of my brother Mike, it is all a part of living the dream.

And it gets better....until the next phase.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

This advice could not come at a better time. My daughter had a complete breakdown in the tub tonight. I of course had enough and tried to reason and yell and cry did not work. My hubby on the other hand was trying to be soothing. I should have let him calm her and kept my big mouth shut.