Dealing With More Temper Tantrums
Part 2 Special

Part II - Want My Own Way

 "Dealing With More Temper Tantrums"

This page has tips on dealing with temper tantrums of the 'Want My Own Way' variety.

These are more challenging - but unfortunately also more common - than Frustration tantrums.

Not sure which type of tantrum you are dealing with? Make sure you read

Part I before applying any of the ideas on this page.

Here 8 proven strategies for dealing with temper tantrums of the Want My Own Way variety: 

Stay Calm
More Temper Tantrums Are On The Way

This is a lot easier said than done when you are stressed and exhausted. Go to how to stay calm for some strategies that really work when you feel you are about to blow your top. 

Don't Give In

Toddlers can be master manipulators and if they see that a screaming fit gets them what they want, they will use it again and again.

There is some good news...

If you have given in to toddler tantrum demands before, it is not too late to start afresh. It may take a while, but if you are consistent, tantrums will be short-lived and less dramatic.

Divert Their Attention

Diversionary tactics work amazingly well. Toddlers have a short attention span – use this to your advantage.

It’s amazing how quickly they can snap out of a crying fit if something is interesting/funny enough.

Dealing With Tantrums In Public

Dealing with more temper tantrums in the supermarket and so on is always harder than at home.

Expert and parents agree that leaving the scene of the crime immediately is the best course of action.

While potentially very inconvenient, it gets the you-can’t-have-your-own-way message over in no uncertain terms.

Ignore The Tantrum

...or pretend to (for a maximum of five minutes). If the child is not in danger of hurting himself, go out of the room (This might be necessary for your own sanity - toddlers aren't the only ones who can throw tantrums).

Go to ignoring problem behaviour for more information about this effective strategy. It's the one that I - and loads of other parents I know - use the most, remember there will always be more temper tantrums, and they will all differ, so prepare yourself.

Comfort Your Toddler

What??, I hear you cry. One minute I should ignore my kid, then you tell me to give her a cuddle!

This page is not a step-by-step guide - rather a list of ways of dealing with temper tantrums suggested by both experts and parents.

I have found that sometimes when I open my arms and say 'You're cross, aren't you?', my toddler rushes up to me, desperate for comfort. His rage disappears as soon as it began.

Time Out

This is where you place the child on their own for a short time. Go to time out for more details.

Be aware that if you shout at your child when putting him in time out, it's completely ineffective because this gives him attention - something that he wants more than anything (even if it's negative). You may not prevent more temper tantrums, but eventually you toddler will remember that he does not want time out.

After The Tantrum

Every tantrum comes to an end at some time, and your toddler needs help learning how to come out of her distraught frame of mind. Start doing this as soon as possible in 3 ways:

  • Offering a cuddle - for me this is unconditional, no matter what my toddler has done preceding the tantrum. It is not pandering to him – after all, he has already lost the argument by the fact that I haven’t given in to his demands. Physical affection helps him cope with his loss of control.

  • Explain why you did what you did in response to your toddler's demands. This may be lost on a child under two – on the other hand, don’t underestimate her ability to understand you. Even if she doesn’t grasp what you mean, it will get you into the habit of explaining your actions, which is helpful for the older toddler.

  • Distraction - see the section on 'Diverting Their Attention'.

  • After your child has calmed down, don’t make a big deal out of the tantrum. Toddlers live in the moment and a behavioural post-mortem (especially if with another adult present) at tea time is completely ineffective.

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