Parents Dealing With a Child’s Tantrum
Written by: EVELIA SAUCEDO, MA, AMFT
Dealing with a child’s tantrum is not easy. Many times, parents feel frustration over the child’s behavior. In some cases, parents feel they have done everything possible to figure out what the child wants and, in the end, find themselves yelling or lashing out at the child. At times, parents will attempt to talk to the child and the more they cry or yell, the parent will resort to yelling back or give an indefinite consequence.
Children’s behaviors are not always very complex; however, it may seem that way when we ourselves are feeling overwhelmed. Adults have red flags indicating when something is in the midst of forming (i.e. Irritability/anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, etc.); a child is the same way. When the child expresses behaviors in a tantrum form, the child may be experiencing strong emotions, however, a child is not able to express or identify emotions the same way as an adult. In some cases, a child knows he/she is feeling something, however, they may not know what emotion they are feeling and will in turn express as best they can (tantrums).
As a parent, I have experienced moments of frustration due to not understanding my child’s tantrums. I learned that the louder we get as parents, the more frustrated we will feel and the less effective we will be. According to an evidence-based practice model launched and implemented by UC Davis’s, the Parent Child interaction Therapy also known as PCIT, when we model behaviors and teach our children positive skills, it will be of greater advantage in the relationship with your child. In other words, the negative behaviors will decrease.
Modeling positive behaviors such as effective communication, will be to our advantage because our children will begin to implement what we teach. Learning to manage our own emotions will be helpful when dealing with our child’s tantrum, to decrease power struggles and conflict. Taking a few deep breaths to calm ourselves will go a long way; thus, helping the child to self soothe.
Written by: EVELIA SAUCEDO, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 101900. Supervised by Dr. Joselyn Josephine Ayala-Encalada Psy.D., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 96987