Yesterday we looked at the mom who was defeated and embarrassed by her child’s temper tantrum. While checking out at Blockbuster, her four year old son discovered the candy aisle. When he was told “No” that he could not have candy, he threw himself on the floor, and screamed loud enough to get the attention of everyone in the store. After several more “No’s” and attempts to get the child to stand up, the mom gave in and let him have the candy. The crying stopped immediately, but the child’s behavior was validated for the future. If you want to get mom’s “No” turned into a “Yes” throw a temper tantrum!
What could she have done?
Knowing that dealing with this behavior was more important than any DVD she could have picked up at the store; she could have stopped, put the DVD on the counter, picked up the child and left the store. Next she should have buckled him into his car seat, but do not start the car.
Gently say, “Billy, as soon as you calm down we are going back in the store to get the DVD … and we are not buying the candy. No amount of screaming is going to change my mind. Do you understand?”
It might take another ten minutes to get this across to Billy. Then go back into the store. If, or when the child sees the candy again and starts back up, leave the store immediately and return to the car and buckle Billy in his car seat. But DO NOT leave the parking lot.
The child must be taught that he will not get his way, no matter how much he screams. Here’s the most difficult part ~ no matter how long this learning opportunity takes, repeat it until Billy responds appropriately.
Yes, it is a learning opportunity. As a parent I am called to train my child for adulthood so that when he becomes an adult he will be able to function as an adult … he won’t depart from his training (Proverbs 22:6).
This process of training will take only as long as it takes the child to believe the parent is serious. Take the time now, or every time you know you have to use the word “No” you also know you will be going into a battle. If the temper tantrums are not brought under control, you will not want to take your children anywhere in public. Worse yet, if we don’t deal with temper tantrums no one else will want to train your child.
Tomorrow: Why doesn’t my child throw temper tantrums for my husband?