8 ways to manage your child’s tantrums better

January 16, 2017
  • 8 ways to manage your child's tantrums
    1 / 9 8 ways to manage your child's tantrums

    If you’ve been at the mercy of your child’s embarrassing tantrums in public, mothers Jasmine Han and Shelly Holly (pictured above) perfectly understand what it’s like.

    In their new book ‘I’m Not Perfect. I’m A Mom‘ they take a funny and reassuring look at how to be a great mother, even if you’re not perfect (and that’s most of us, right?).

     

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  • 1. Is “time-out” or the “naughty stool” a good way to help my child reflect, so they learn from a mistake?
    2 / 9 1. Is “time-out” or the “naughty stool” a good way to help my child reflect, so they learn from a mistake?

    Jasmine: Honestly, I’m not sure. Time-outs work best on very young kids, like toddlers, as they do not like being away from their parents.

    Can a kid that young ‘reflect’ on bad behaviour during a time-out?  Possibly not.

    But it does offer parent and child some quiet moments to calm down, and that helps. Your time-out location should be a quiet, boring, safe place.

    Place the ‘naughty stool’ there. Issue a minute of time-out for each year of age, so a three-year-old gets three minutes of time-out.

    Related: How to use time-out on toddler

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  • 2. It’s embarrassing to discipline my child in public. Are there any tips?
    3 / 9 2. It’s embarrassing to discipline my child in public. Are there any tips?

    Shelly: You don’t have to raise your voice. A hushed, low, serious tone sends the same message.

    In my family, whether we’re out or at home, a tap on the hand and a ‘death stare’ from me is usually enough.

    When they throw tantrums, I do not bother to distract or negotiate with them as they are too wrapped up in their emotions to hear me. And why reward their bad behaviour? Usually I ignore the drama or take them to a private corner to cool off.

    Related: Dealing with toddler tantrums

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  • 3. Unless I give in to his demands in a shop, my preschooler will not calm down. Nothing can stop him from going hysterical.
    4 / 9 3. Unless I give in to his demands in a shop, my preschooler will not calm down. Nothing can stop him from going hysterical.

    Shelly: It is hard… but it is important not to give in mid-meltdown. Kids will work out that throwing tantrums will not get them what they want.

    I have carried my son home from school while he kicked, screamed and hit me all the way.

    When we arrived home, I put him on the floor and waited 30 minutes for him to calm down. You cannot ‘manage’ all tantrums. Sometimes you just have to wait them out.

    Related: 3 ways to tame your child’s temper

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  • 4. Older relatives warn me I will spoil my child if I spare the rod. Others say caning a child simply teaches him to use violence.
    5 / 9 4. Older relatives warn me I will spoil my child if I spare the rod. Others say caning a child simply teaches him to use violence.

    Jasmine: Caning a child merely makes him obey immediately out of fear, but not because he’s realised his mistake.

    Having said that, my generation of kids in Asia got the cane, smack, or ruler when we deserved it, and we turned out okay.

    What really troubles me are parents who spank their kids because they are unable to control their own anger. Sometimes, it is the adults who need a time-out.

    Related: 5 ways to discipline children without caning or hitting

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  • 5. My 10-year-old doesn’t react well to a time-out. She stays mad for days and I end up having to take the first step to mend the relationship. What should I do?
    6 / 9 5. My 10-year-old doesn’t react well to a time-out. She stays mad for days and I end up having to take the first step to mend the relationship. What should I do?

    Shelly: Time-outs only work on younger kids and toddlers – because they dislike being away from a parent.

    For older kids, removing privileges works better, like taking away TV time in the evening or not allowing the use of the iPad.

    This discipline technique works best if the privilege relates to the behaviour and it is something the child values. With this, you can expect her to take the initiative to make good with you instead of the other way around.

    Related: How to discipline a child who doesn’t care

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  • 6. I often praise my five-year-old for doing something good. Will she get too complacent and expect to be rewarded all the time?
    7 / 9 6. I often praise my five-year-old for doing something good. Will she get too complacent and expect to be rewarded all the time?

    Jasmine: You can motivate good behaviour with reward, but the reward needs to be logically connected to the behaviour.

    So giving your child chocolate for tidying her room is not as useful as allowing her to watch some TV and relax after she puts her toys away.

    But the best way is to tell her how proud you are that she’s chosen to be helpful. Tell her, “You’ve put away your toys nicely. You’ve done such a wonderful job keeping your room neat and that helps Mummy too. So thank you!”

    Related: Reward or bribe for good behaviour: What’s the difference

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  • 7. I can’t get him to eat right, they have such extreme food preferences!
    8 / 9 7. I can’t get him to eat right, they have such extreme food preferences!

    “Your kids don’t eat vegetables? You haven’t raised them right!” said a friend.

    My kids love a food one day, but hate it the next. John ate only peanut butter sandwiches for one week and broccoli the next week.

    It all works out okay in the end. You have to pick your battles, and some days the food battle is not worth fighting.

    – Excerpt taken from I’m Not Perfect. I’m A Mom

    Related: 5 tips to beat picky eating

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  • 8. Am I the only one going through all these confusing parenting issues?
    9 / 9 8. Am I the only one going through all these confusing parenting issues?

    My children love me so much they sometimes hit me in public.

    Maybe it was because I tried to force one of them into a high chair they hated, or maybe one of them was having a bad day, or maybe one of them wanted the ball that I had refused to buy… with kids, sometimes who knows why they do it?

    – Excerpt taken from I’m Not Perfect. I’m A Mom

    Related: When baby hits you: Hit him back?

    This story first appeared in The Singapore Women’s Weekly

    (Photos: Facebook/NotPerfectMoms and 123RF.com)

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