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pink, gold, and ballerinas

We just celebrated our Ella Kate’s, third birthday this week. We are celebrating with lots of pink, gold, and ballerinas. We also viewed Cinderella for the first time! Princesses are big in our house, so it was only fitting. Earlier this week, I said I am not sure she is going to make it to three because she does not listen. She pretends to not hear me when I give instruction. I tell her repeatedly she will get hurt one day if she continues to disobey!

She is also really great at throwing herself on the floor dramatically when she does not get her way. This is usually in public, so for me, it’s a great time. Anybody? Crazy kids! I hear similar stories from parents of my clients who need help figuring out how to handle the temper tantrums, fits, and anger.

I have found some helpful ways that work for clients who deal with tantrums for kids of any age. I have seen parents super frustrated, especially those naturally compliant, with their strong-willed children. They often feel inadequate and end the days exhausted and in tears.

Keep calm. Yelling and going crazy simply makes the parent look crazy and let’s face it, it’s tiring! Children do not calm down with an atmosphere of craziness anyway. It is often tempting to be so busy that our tone with children stays angry or harsh but simply changing the tone of instruction can sometimes prevent tantrums all together!

Simplify. Avoid arguing. It’s tiring and gets parents nowhere. After instructions have been given calmly, use as few words as possible. Refuse to allow them to pull you into an argument. Use phrases such as, “I love you too much to argue,” or “I’m sad that you don’t like me right now, because I love you to pieces.” Don’t waste time or energy arguing with your little munchkins. Allow your word to stand alone and keep your word. This earns respect.

Words. Tantrums can often be ameliorated by adjusting the words used. Instead of using a negative statement, try a positive way of answering. Parents do not have to give a different answer or give in to a request, but answer in a way that is more motivating. Instead of, “No, you cannot play until you finish cleaning your room,” try, “Yes, you may play as soon as you finish cleaning your room.” It sounds so much better that way and is still getting the job accomplished.

Follow Through. If you say it, do it. Take action the first time and enforce the punishment for the defiant behavior. You teach people how to treat you. If children can argue you out of punishment, they will continue to do it. Choose an appropriate consequence and stick to it. They will learn they cannot avoid, duck out, or talk out of a consequence.

If you have some wonderful little loves who, like all of us, throw tantrums and refuse to do what they are told, I hope these hints help. Have a happy week with your families! Much love to you! Love,


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