01 Nov Temper Tantrums: What should a parent do?
Let’s imagine a scenario together for a moment (for some this may feel more like painful memory than fantasy!) Your usually adorable 9-month old, 18-month old, or even 4-year old, is having a full-blown tantrum: arms flailing, legs akimbo, head banging on the floor; or perhaps, as Mo Williams describes in his very popular picture book Knuffle Bunny, your child’s body seems suddenly to have become “boneless.” In the awful heat of the moment, between screams of manifest distress so piercing it seems implausible they could emanate from such a small creature, you attempt to take action. But what action? You wonder – “should I just be ignoring my child’s behavior at this moment?” You harken back to a lesson from Psychology 101: “I certainly don’t want this behavior to be negatively reinforced!” “But – wait,” you think, “I am the loving parent, her rock and foundation, determined to be there unconditionally through the highs and lows. My child is in great distress — shouldn’t I attempt to soothe and calm her?” Help!
When asked in the beginning of the semester which challenging child behavior would be most helpful to discuss in class, the majority of participants voted for tantrums. Even if you haven’t yet witnessed a tantrum from your child (you almost certainly will!), take a moment before class to read this very helpful article from Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science. During class we’ll have time to discuss the material and to work together to problem-solve your personal, real-life scenarios.