Parenting Diaries - Handling the tantrums
And each of us have perfected our style of handling the tantrums. But these tantrums show us something ugly sometimes. Like this kid who was having a tantrum at Nantu's school the other day. She told her teacher "I want to kill you". The teacher was shocked and so was I. When the initial shock and fear had passed out of my system, I grew rational. The kid probably did not even know what she was saying. She was just having a fit of anger and she probably said what she had heard someone else saying at that time. More reason to watch what they hear! (Pict Courtesy: www.childrenofthenewearth.com)
How I handle this personally is to invite open discussion. Every afternoon Nantu and I sprawl on the bed and talk. I prompt him to talk about school and friends and the shows he watches on TV. This way I understand how he perceives the world. I am forewarned on the language he picks up or the habits! And I gently correct him. And teach him good from bad!
I learnt this from my mother. She encouraged us to talk to her and the result, every time I learnt a bad word or even the time when I learnt about the truth of birds and bees; I talked to her about it! As time went by she turned out to be my best friend. And that is what I try to be to Nantu as well. His Best Friend! To this end, sometimes it is good to just listen and not be judgmental or adult about it!
Now about the tantrums. We all know that temper tantrums are unbelievably common and every child has these emotional outbursts. Temper tantrums need to be handled with a cool head. What has seemed to help in my household is calming down.
When Nantu was younger a distraction seemed to help. And I would remove him from the source of the tantrum. Or the location of the tantrum. For example if the tantrum happens at a mall, we drop everything and head for the car. Soon he learns that he stands to lose by the tantrum and stops!
At home, I have Nantu go to his room and finish crying. I never ask him to stop crying. I believe he needs to get him out of his system. I tell him "Go finish crying for as long as you want. When you are done come to me and we will talk". Once he has had time to calm down, invariably he is ready to listen to reason. At this point I usually have him tell me what the problem was, what he did wrong and what he should have done instead. Then I have him apologize and immediately after everything is forgotten and I give him a big hug and tell him how much I love him.
If the tantrum is triggered by hunger or sleep as they most likely are. I hold him till he is calm without saying a word, let him have a good cry. And then proceed to attack the root cause. After the food or a good night's sleep, reason prevails but not before!
But there are times when nothing works and he can't stop crying himself or he just can't calm down. After all he is a kid. Then I drop all reason and hug him and coddle him or tease him and tickle him till all is well again.
All children are unique. But my attempt here is to share some experiences and gain from your experiences. This way we can all be better parents! Please do share how you handle tantrums.
Writer's Island Poem available at Creative Outbursts - Dear Son - From a Mother's Heart
Sunday's scribblings inspired Post available at Confessions of a closet geek - My Experiments With Truth - MK Gandhi
And now a true vacation begins. I will be holding still for a while, I promise. I will keep you updated though.