Forget everything you may have read about coping with children‘s temper tantrums. Time-outs, sticker charts, television denial—for many, none of these measures will actually result in long-term behavior change, according to researchers at two academic institutions.
Whether a child has violent temper tantrums or is extremely clingy, their behaviors can be curbed, according to child psychologists at Yale University and King’s College London. Shirley Wang has details on Lunch Break.
Instead, a set of techniques known as “parent management training” is proving so helpful to families struggling with a child’s unmanageable behavior that clinicians in the U.S. and the U.K. are starting to adopt them.
Parents can control bad behavior if they are consistent with their approach to their child’s meltdowns.
This is not easy and many parents may become frustrated and revert to their “old” approaches before they actually see positive results.
My personal favorite book on the subject of children’s behavior especially that of toddlers is “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. It is easy to read and follow…my copy is totally dog-eared. I absolutely endorse his “Fast Food Response” to the toddler’s demanding demons.
You see, he says…toddlers lack the maturity and sometimes I do as well, to express what they really want …so a tantrum is the best way to get it.
Dr. Karp tells us to verbally recognize what the child actually wants…this usually gets the toddler to respond by suddenly stopping in his tracks…this is the time to inject some choices (not too many) or an alternative.
Why this works? Simple… it disarms the child…he gets his needs validated, understood and respected.
Really it works…I have tried it.
Dr. Karp makes a point here though, that is very important….if the toddler is doing something dangerous…you cannot use this approach…you must remove him from the unsafe situation and then move into the “FFR” (Fast Food Response)
So, there is hope for tantrums…remember “meltdowns are not pleasant for the child either.
Be patient and consistent and get help, you will probably need it…but trust me, it will be worth the effort in the end.