How To Deal With Children Who Are Having Tantrums

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So what a temper tantrum is usually a, a child's way of saying, I want to do something different. I want it, it's not fair. The way you did this isn't right. And so anger in and of itself, if we were a, if we're parents trying to understand it, why is the child angry? That's the question I would want to understand. Like, as a parent, I want to be curious about what's actually happening inside of my child. I wonder why they're so angry. And, and so I would, I would want to understand, okay, so we talked about this consequence, and now you're angry, but you're not gonna be able to negotiate with a child who's throwing a full blown temper tantrum. Trying to talk with them in that elevated state is not gonna be very productive. And so we might try other things. Look, I want to talk with you, but I can't right now 'cause I know you're really upset at me. So I'd like you to think about this. And then let's come back and let's talk through what you're experiencing now. You're modeling for that child how to communicate when they're, the term we use is flooded. When a child is flooded, when an adult is flooded, the research shows that we don't solve problems in that emotional state. We usually say hurtful things. I hate you, dad. I hate you, mom. Well, I hate you because of what you know. You're not giving me my way. You're taking something away. You obviously don't love me. And so when we, we create consequences, the natural temper tantrum is, you're not giving me my way. And I want you to be able to be on your device. I also have recognize that there are limitations. And so again, as parents, when a child is flooded, if we can regulate our emotions, then we can communicate more effectively. But if we buy into their emotional state, if we, if we so, so to speak, start yelling back, then it's, our system is flooded, their system is flooded, we don't solve the problem. We actually get into a match of who can get the most upset, the most angry. And physiologically, your body is preparing for what's called a fight response or a flight response. Oh yeah, you're, you can't talk to me that way. Well, right. Screw you, mom, screw you, dad. And now we start saying these things and we start doing things where instead, if we could simply, uh, emotionally understand our emotions, we can say, this seems to be something that you're really upset about. And I don't know the full story of why, I would love to know why, but when we're talking this way, I don't think it's gonna be very productive. So what I'd like to do is I'd like you to take 10 minutes or 20 minutes. I'd like you to think about what you're really trying to say to me here so we can talk through this. Because I want to solve this problem with you. And I'm talking about, I wanna solve it, I wanna work through it, but I we can't stay in this emotional state and have a productive outcome. Now you're modeling for a child how we don't escalate into conflict, but how We communicate when there is frustration. And that's not a skill that our society teaches us very well. So if you're not doing that part well, don't be too surprised because many of us as parents, we model what we saw as we were growing up. And most of us saw, well, calm down. You don't talk to your parents that way. And instead, we're trying to understand what's actually happening in our child. And so I think the question about what do we do with the child in a full body temper tantrum, uh, the truth is, is I, I wanna communicate with you. Uh, right now is probably not the best time. So when you wanna talk about this, you've thought through it to come to me and I'd love to resolve it. And so now what you're teaching the child is, is I want to talk through this, but I'm not gonna engage in this full blown body shaking, yelling, whatever it may be. And, and so we literally just allow them to be there and, and, and recognize that they're not gonna get attention for that kind of behavior.

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Dr. Kevin Skinner