Tantrums

@SViswan (12095)
India
July 23, 2008 10:11am CST
Recently, I read two different theories of handling a child (especially a toddler) when they are throwing a tantrum. One theory said that the toddler throws a tantrum when they are frustrated. And the best way to deal with it is to pick up and hold the child because the child will find it comforting. The other theory said it's better to ignore the tantrum till the child calms down. Picking the child up to comfort would reward the negative behaviour. I usually ignore the tantrums and it works for my younger one (my older one never threw a tantrum). Once I walk away, he picks himself up and follows me....and the duration of the tantrum seems to be coming down with time. So, what category do you fall into? The parent who comforts or the parent who ignores?
19 people like this
54 responses
@dpk262006 (55822)
• Delhi, India
24 Jul 08
I think most of the parents would prefer the first option. When a toddler make tantrums, it is a normal tendency of a parent (specially a mother) to hold him/her to sooth him/her down. For ignoring a child's tantrum, a mother need to be a bit bold and courageous, which appears difficult to me. At the most a mother will scold him/her but will ultimately hold him to prevent from doing further tantrums.
4 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
lol...so you mean...I'm a bold and courageous mother?
@dpk262006 (55822)
• Delhi, India
25 Jul 08
It appears to me that you are.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Thank you...though it makes me sound like a unloving mother, I take it as a compliment..lol
• United States
24 Jul 08
Sometimes, you just have to let them cry it out. With my nephew, that is what had to be done. You had to just let the child cry it all out. Comforting him just did not work for him.
4 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
It doesn't work for all kids all the time.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jul 08
Well, what would you do? Hit them, in California that is against the law now. Spank them, you can get in trouble for that too. Yell and scream at them, they do not always get the message, especially if they are strong willed. My nephew has been yelled at and screamed at many times, and he still repeats his mistakes.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Oh my...I've never hit or spanked my kids for throwing tantrums. And I live in a country where it is allowed. I meant that comforting doesn't work for all kids...just like it didn't for your nephew. I do let my kids cry it out and talk to them later when they are calm.
@snowbitz (487)
• Philippines
24 Jul 08
I usually ignore it because if you keeps on picking the child up you will send a wrong message that it is okay to do that.but sometimes it depends specially if she was hurt badly i need to pick her up.But most of the time i just ignore her .If she calm down already that is the time i will lecture her about what she did.My daughter is turning 2 this august and she can already understand some of the things that i am telling her.After the tantrums try to communicate with the child in a language or words that they can easily understand use common words that you usually use to them
4 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Yes, my younger one is just 20 months old...and he doesn't understand all verbal messages.....but I'm trying to be consistent by giving him verbal messages along with actions to show what I need him to do.
@I_LUV_U (2503)
• India
24 Jul 08
Well, I'm no parent as of yet, but there have always been some toddler in our family, at regular intervals. I think you have a valid point there, as to how it would impart negative values to the child. Another alternative would be to change the topic, that is divert the child's attention to something else and more interesting. I have found this very effective particularly against children a little older than toddlers.
4 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Actually you are right...that sometimes works with my 20 month old.
@ravinskye (8245)
• United States
23 Jul 08
my oldest never threw tantrums either. my middle one is good for it. i just ignore her. it doesn't seem to be making much difference though. but if you try to comfort her she just screams more. i think she just need to have that meltdown every so often.
4 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
23 Jul 08
It must be tough when both methods don't work. I've never experienced that. I teach kindergarten and ignoring seems to work for me there too.
2 people like this
@Hatley (162017)
• Garden Grove, California
23 Jul 08
sviswan hi I am the parent who firmly comforts, my son never got out of my really hard grip, even as he screamed. i talked softly to him and said we are sitting right here until you calm down. when you quit screaming we are going home. I know ]you are tired and you wanted that toy. you have lots of toys and mama cannot afford that one. Pretty soon he relaxed and fell asleep in my arms. so I carried him out to the car where my husband was waiting. little kids get overwhelmed with all the new info coming into their little brains and cannot always relax themselves and know they are tired. they need help.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Yes, I agree they need help...and your approach works if you have been consistent with that kind of approach since the child was little. That's how it worked for my older one.
@checapricorn (16072)
• United States
23 Jul 08
Hi SViswan, I have no kids but I observe my friends have different approach also! My close friend will ignore the kid and when the kid will cry or wild, she will spank her..And ask if she needs another spanking..LOL! Of course the child will say No and a sign that the mom wants her to stop.. On the other hand, I have a friend also who will comfort the child and the more the child will cry for whatever reasons...Then she will talk to the child softly and most of the time it works..SO, I guess it totally depends on the parents!
3 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
I think it depends more on the child than the parent....and a parent usually knows what works best for their child.
• United States
23 Jul 08
It all depends on the child. If the child has some problems like ADHD or Autism....etc...then definitely comfort them. They may not be able to help themselves. I am bi-polar and 38...I usually can't help it if I throw a tantrum. Now if the child is healthy and normal....take the kid to the bathroom and yank a knot in their tail.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
yes, a child with a problem has to be dealt with differently and normal disciplining techniques might not work or might have the opposite effect.
• United States
23 Jul 08
Something along the lines of a look of disbelief and then I just tell her there is no way I am listening to her until she can calm down so were both talking in normal voices but this gets challenging when my boyfriend (their father) is there with us and he likes to give into her tantrums just so she'll quite down because he gets really nervous when she's acting like that but Im used the episodes by now but she certainly plays it up and screams even more when we give in to her demands so thats why I do this.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
24 Jul 08
I can totally relate to that. My husband doesn't like the racket the younger one creats when he is having a tantrum and he then wants me to make him quiet as soon as possible.
@kezabelle (2985)
23 Jul 08
I think it depends on the child, mine if I cuddle them it just infuriates them! They are having a tantrum because they are frustrated its healthy and its ok it shows im setting boundaries for them which is great. I ignore a tantrum or if im not up to ignoring it i remove them from the room onto the stairs to calm down alone and in peace this usuall works best for them then its cuddles all round and we carry on. A toddler especially will only tantrum through frustration therefore its best to let it run its course and then forget about it.
3 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
24 Jul 08
Though ignoring works best for me...I think it depends on WHY the child is throwing a tantrum. Maybe they would need a little comfort and then that's what we need to give them.
@lilybug (21182)
• United States
23 Jul 08
I ignore it. My dad used to try to hold my son tight when he would have a tantrum to try and calm him down and it freaked him out. I put an end to that right away, but it was too late. He is 8 now and to this day if he is upset he does not want you to hold onto him.
3 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
24 Jul 08
My older one who is almost 8 needs to be left alone to cool off too. I can't even talk to him till he has calmed down. But the younger one throws himself on the floor and nothing works...if I ignore him and walk away he picks himself up and comes to me..and then we talk and I let him know I do not consider the behaviour appropriate.
1 person likes this
@Sillychick (3282)
• United States
23 Jul 08
I think there is a place for both. If a child is having a tantrum because something didn't go his way or he was told no, ignoring it is the best way to go, but be sure to talk to him afterward about better ways to get what he wants. This is appropriate because you don't want to make him think the screaming and having a tantrum is the way to get what he wants. On the other hand, if he is upset over something like he can't find his security blanket, or he keeps trying to do something and fails, I think some comfort is appropriate. I wouldn't just cuddle and say 'there, there, baby.' I would talk to him about it. 'I know you are having a hard time. Would you like some help?' The reason is because letting a child get too frustrated can hurt his self esteem, and discourage him from trying things on his own in the future.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
23 Jul 08
lol...we are of the same category. I believe in talking and understanding the child...and helping him/her show frustrations in a different way without throwing a tantrum. But my 20 month old can't talk yet and he can't understand such things just yet. So, ignoring gives him the message that it's not something I appreciate. But when it is a genuine case, I do pick him up and comfort him.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jul 08
Don't underestimate your child. When he gets angry or frustrated, tell him while demonstrating an acceptable way to express himself. Tell him 'No screaming. Stamp your feet when you are angry.' Validate his feelings, tell him it's ok to feel that way, and help him learn more appropriate ways to express it. After repeating this a few times, he will start to get it. You can even make a game out of it. Tell him to stamp his feet punch a pillow, or whatever is acceptable to you. Then do it with him. Then ask him if he feels better. You'd be surprised what children so young are capable of understanding.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
24 Jul 08
Yes, you are right...though he doesn't understand most verbal messages, I do show him through actions that it is not appropriate and I also use the same sentence to tell him that it's not the right thing to do. works for me.
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
23 Jul 08
half the time we laugh at her then she has to laugh too for there is nothing to throw a fit for after that
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
23 Jul 08
lol..that seems like something good to try:)
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jul 08
I am the parent who ignores. Some of my oldest sons tantrums were down right awful and I felt that I had to hold him close to me to keep him from hurting himself but I learned after getting popped in the jaw that walking away is best. 5-10 minutes all is better and he didn't even know what his problem was in the first place.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
23 Jul 08
lol...I know what you mean. My younger one is a head banger when he throws a tantrum. It's safer for the adults not to go near him. Congratulations! Btw, I thought you were on your honeymoon:) I haven't been around much and just didn't get to congratulate you at the right time.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jul 08
Honeymoon is in 2 weeks. When we were planning on getting married on the island we booked the trip THEN found out we couldn't do it there. So we just made the trip our "honeymoon" and moved the wedding up to accommodate the family who wanted to attend.
1 person likes this
@vanities (11351)
• Davao, Philippines
24 Jul 08
good question,,actually i guess depending on the situation itself..what i mean is if you think that the child is not hungry,and the diaper is not wet or something that makes him uncomfortable then its ok i guess to ignore the infant that is if you are busy or have some chores to attend to but if not..i mean your free that instant then maybe you have to comfort him..actually what i do is both with my children...if im busy with my chores in the house and thinking that they are ok and everything then i will ignore them(but first i had to check of course)but if im free and then i had to comfort them ..they really need it...that is the loving touch of a mother..
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
hmmm I usually stop what I am doing if I feel that my kids need to be disciplined right then. But then I may be wrong and giving it undue attention.
@pumpkinjam (5737)
• United Kingdom
24 Jul 08
The way I see it is that you use whichever method works best for the child. I personally prefer the ignoring approach. My older child only ever had one tantrum as a toddler and, as that involved nothing more than lying on the floor quietly, I ignored him. My little one has more tantrums and can be a bit more difficult. I will try to ignore him but he has a habit of throwing things and doing other dangerous things during a tantrum so I can't ignore him. Overall though, I am a parent who ignores, only stepping in where essential but I will not pick them up and cuddle them during a tantrum. Usually, I will give them a cuddle a little while after. As you say, I think that picking them up is rewarding them for bad behaviour so I will wait until they have calmed down and then they (hopefully) realise that they only get attention by being good.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
My younger one throws things on the floor too. I just go down to his level and tell him firmly to pick it up...even when he is throwing a tantrum. He has to get the message that he cannot throw things when he is angry....though I will acknowledge the frustration...I will not allow the actions that follow.
• Australia
24 Jul 08
Yes my baby throws tntrums i dont know why exactly for lots of different reasons mostly being not able to get what he wants. I can usually stop him eventually but it is very awkward and stressful and sometimes embarrassing. lol =) i'm interested in reading these responses.
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
How old is your baby? I start handling it the first time a situation arises....with my first one everything was easy and he always got the message at the first try but it takes a couple of attempts with my second to get the message through. Each child is different and once you understand them it's easy to handle them.
@jer31558 (3684)
• United States
24 Jul 08
I would definitely fall into the category of the parent that ignores the child throwing the temper tantrum. Though many may disagree with me, I think that by picking up and comforting a child in such situations encourages them to do it again.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
That's what I used to think too....but I appreciate what was said in the article about how it depends on the situation and what the child is throwing the tantrum for.
@4mymak (1796)
• Malaysia
24 Jul 08
tantrums - i ignore totally... if it is at public place.. (and they love to throw tantrums in public, dont they).. i would just pick them up.. not comfort them.. but just to get them out of the 'limelight' and attention - because i think somehow they 'enjoy' being the center of attention - even for the 'wrong reasons'... i have five children... indeed each child is soooo unique and different from each other.. and, right now.. my no.4 seems to be my 'biggest challenge'.. my youngest daughter seems to 'listen to reason' much better than her older sister (no.4), and no.4 tend to throw tatrums much more than her baby sister... i really, really hope and pray that she will outgrow this 'habit'... will she ??
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
I'm sure she will...if you continue showing her that it's not appropriate behaviour. My second one is the tantrum thrower and even in public....I usually ignore him unless it's a place where I find he might be disturbing others....then I pick him up and take him to a quieter place and speak to him in a firm tone. But if he creates a scene, I just stick my ground and ignore him or firmly ask him to pick himself up....I don't care if others think I am a bad mother to do it to a 20 month old....anyways I'm never going to see these people again...but it's important to me that my son grows up with the right messages.
@ladym33 (11009)
• United States
23 Jul 08
It really depends on the situation, sometimes I will ignore it, sometimes I will intervene and see what is causing the frustration to see if it is something I can help with. Then I will calmly explain how to do what ever properly, or do it for them. Sometimes young children get frustrated because they need some attention, and they want you. When I can see that, that is the case I will pick my child up and hold and hug him and give him some attention. If he is behaving so angrily for my attention then I should give him some. Like I said it really depends on the situation.
2 people like this
@SViswan (12095)
• India
25 Jul 08
Sounds like you've got the perfect balance:)